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Posts Tagged 'vehicle'

Why Self Driving Cars Won’t Work For Ridesharing

Driverless CarsSan Francisco is where ridesharing started. Uber, Lyft and the defunct Sidecar as well as smaller players have all started here in the City and they all seem to think they can get rid of drivers now.

This is one of the strangest ideas I have heard in a long time and these companies need to look at Muni in San Francisco to understand what will happen if you remove drivers from cars. Our Muni and BART trains have tried to be autonomous in the tunnels and that didn’t work very well now did it. Many of you may not know this, but there was a time when Muni tried [for a very short time] to have the drivers step out of the compartment when trains entered West Portal Station and let the trains, on tracks, be controlled by a computer. That didn’t work and now a driver has to sit there and make sure the computer is working right and doesn’t crash when the train begins to pass 60 mpg in the tunnel.

I know what some of you are saying, but Google/Uber/some other tech company wasn’t controlling them. OK, fine, but even with a driver riding along on a Muni or BART train have you seen what happens on one of those trains? How would a driverless car picking people up and taking them to their destination on city streets be any different?

There is already the reported problem of lots of these cars getting into accidents. Most of the time it isn’t the fault of the car’s computer, but the humans that are driving around them.  You can write that off if you want, but I don’t think everyone is going to jump onboard from day one when a driverless car becomes available.

Then there are the other problems that people don’t think about. I’m one of those guys that do and here’s something to think about. A driverless car is like the set of Home Alone. People won’t have an overseer to keep them in check. I’ve given rides to young people who even with me behind the wheel have gotten into a fight in the back of my car. I stopped and threw them out, but think about what the first thing that dominates a new technology is…PORN.

VHS, DVDS, the Internet all become intrenched because of the porn industry. I would not be surprised if some of the first people who grab a driverless car will shoot a porn film in it that will be on the internet within a couple of days. The second or third will be someone who pukes and after that will probably be some kid who thinks it would be cool to take a dump in a driverless car.

Imagine if you will for a moment the amount of human body fluids that will be flooding, soaking into and dripping from the insides of a driverless car. No one has talked about safety features in these cars because that of course would be an invasion of someone personal privacy.

Will these cars be equipped with cameras that can see all over the car? Will these cars be equipped with fluid sensors to notify home base if someone barfs or pees in the car? NOTE: I have heard from lots of drivers who have had riders not just puke, but also pee in their cars. This usually happens after midnight and the person is pretty drunk and well, it seems like a good idea at the time… Maybe the companies that are on the bandwagon will make these cars self cleaning so that after a person or porn film crew leaves the car it will sanitize and sterilize the interior for the next rider’s safety.

Then there is the drunken factor that I barely touched on. People like the current ridesharing services because they don’t have to drive home drunk, but their faculties are not at their best. I’ve been asked to pull over so someone could jump out and vomit. I’ve also had a large number of people who put in the wrong address or wanted to go to Safeway, but Google’s Maps which every system uses for some reason chose not the Safeway that was closest to them, but one in the East Bay or North Bay [seriously, try it]. How will the computer controlling the vehicle know whether the customer is right? Will the car electrically zap the riders who have passed out after drinking too much to rouse them to get out because the car has hopefully arrived at the correct location?

In the end the public has been sold a science fiction novel that has been poorly written. This isn’t the taxis of Blade Runner or even Total Recall for that matter. Driverless cars for the masses are a long way off and the idea of driverless transport vehicles are an even longer way off.




Ed Lee Nails The Niners

Ed Lee Goes 49er For The CrowdsMayor Ed Lee got his way with the niners. He has nailed down the Bay Area for Superbowl L [that’s 50 for those of you who don’t speak Roman or 2016 if you don’t keep up with the Superbowl]. The only problem is that the 49ers won’t be playing the game in San Francisco. Not entirely a bad thing when you think about it.

The 49ers are moving to Santa Clara which means that the police department there will be inundated with overtime, double shifts and trashed vehicles, both public and private whether the 49ers win or lose. After they recover from their hangovers they’ll get a chance to spend all their hard earned money by taking a drive up to San Francisco. While we’ll need more cops on duty it won’t be as many as Santa Clara will need and it won’t be much more than what you see for your regular Bay To Breakers race.

In my opinion this is a good thing. The people visiting the Bay Area won’t have the energy after a drive up here to trash the place because they’ll have used up all that energy down south. Think of all the speeding tickets we’ll be able to issue them all on their drive up here.Think of the parking tickets to feed the cities coffers from the fans forgetting to put a few dollars in the meters. Think of all the seafood and sourdough bread they’ll be eating when they come here. Think of all the other things we’ll all be standing by to help take their money from them.

This could really help San Francisco after the America’s Cup which looks like it will cost the city a mint in the end. We’ll all get to make more money during the day and retire home at night to the quietness of our San Francisco homes a little bit better off for a week or so. It may not be the best time to go sightseeing, but if you live here you can do that anytime.

While I’m sure that there will be lots of people saying how it won’t be the same with the 49ers not playing in San Francisco, I’m sure in the end it will be a little bit similar to those people who used to say that the waterfront won’t look the same without the Embarcadero Freeway. They were right, it looks better. Think of the 49ers moving to Santa Clara as we’re just sending them to grandma’s house to play for the little while. While they’re gone we get to relax and clean up what they’ve done here. Mayor Ed, I think I owe you a beer.