Dangerous safety system?

Technology in driving is becoming more dominant...
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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby akirk » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:34 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:And then look at the marketing on this one.

The car will keep you safe!

Other manufacturer adverts are doing the same. Volvo have one where the car even takes avoiding action. I hope it doesn't count me on my motorcycle as expendable, compared to hitting the car in front, if I'm coming the other way.

I really dislike what this advert is selling - the concept is that you can be accident prone all your life, but you don't have to take responsibility as you grow up - the machines will do it for you - horrendous!


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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby Gareth » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:24 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:... if I'm coming the other way.

Or alongside, for a multi-lane carriageway.

GTR1400MAN wrote:I hope it doesn't count me on my motorcycle as expendable, compared to hitting the car in front ...

Being serious for a moment, the algorithm will be
  • which action will cause least value property damage?
  • property damage value outcomes being equal, which transport is carrying the most humans?

As I see it, motorcyclists will be the first against the wall (squished) when the machines take over :P
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby crr003 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:36 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:And then look at the marketing on this one.

The car will keep you safe!

That's spooky - I'd made this clip (RHD) earlier:

Following distance about one car length; target lane hogging (another issue). That's the way to drive.......

If people are allowed to purchase vehicles with these features, they should have to take an extended DVSA Test in a normal car to prove they should be allowed on the road.

Re the Honda "convenience" feature - that'll be great for pressing on in thick fog - there's a little picture of a car on the instrument panel when you get close enough; you don't even need to try and look out of the windscreen!

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby Strangely Brown » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:48 pm

This is an interesting read:


I particularly like the penultimate paragraph:

"Safety-critical software systems are already developed either with a very careful program of design, testing and verification, or they use formal methods to generate proofs that the system meets the requirements. Of course, that assumes the requirements are correct and complete."

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby fungus » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:24 pm

akirk wrote:
waremark wrote:
akirk wrote:I would expect the manufacturer to detail in the manual how their systems work

Is that expect in the literal sense of the word, or in what would happen in a fantasy utopian world? Manuals dont normally explain fairly simple systems on cars, let alone the complex algorithms at play in autonomous driving.

I think it should be okay to explain the basic outline:
- you have automated braking
- it activates up to this speed
- it chooses to come on when it spots an obstacle in this area (with pretty diagram)
- you can turn it on and off here...

now as a driver you know that if something comes into that range when you are doing less than that speed the car will brake...
the reality is that for most cars the autonomous systems are no more complex than e.g. auto wipers / cruise control - both of which are arguably semi-autonomous systems, you would expect those to be explained in the manual...

Matt1962 wrote:
akirk wrote:
Strangely Brown wrote:
Really? How much control do you think you'll have over a [semi-]autonomous car that is "under your control"? Do you really expect manufacturers to provide details of their algorithms so that it would be possible for you to "know how the system operates"?

I think that is rather the point of this discussion. Manufacturers are taking more and more decisions away from the driver so at what point does the liability fall to the manufacturer of the "safety" system rather than the driver?

I would expect the manufacturer to detail in the manual how their systems work - and for the driver to read the manual! :D (not likely I know!!!)
At this stage with cars they are not really autonomous it is a set of very simple logic systems and it is up tot the driver to understand them and drive accordingly - or turn them off, or choose to buy a car without them...

we do live in a society where people love to find someone else responsible for their mistakes, but I think that a part of AD is the notion that we drive in a more aware / more deliberate / more controlled fashion, so if that is a car with systems like this, then I think that we do need to understand them and drive accordingly...


I don't agree with some of that.....
'Driving accordingly' in the real example here would mean making sure that your speed was always either above 28mph (45Km/h is the point at which the unwarned autonomous braking switches off) OR low enough to mean that no one is EVER going to drive into the back of you if you come to an abrupt halt for no reason. I don't think this is possible (and there would always be a transition period anyway).
The incident I mentioned originally, happened at around 20mph and was violent enough for the drawers to shoot out from under the front seats etc. I would hope that as an 'advanced driver' I would not have run into the back of a car that did the same thing, but I am not completely convinced :|. Turning the system off might seem like the correct AD solution, but I suspect this might have its own unwelcome implications with regard to insurance etc. (maybe another topic?).
I'm with Strangely Brown on this one. If the incident I described had led to a rear end collision, the major fault would have been with my car. As the driver I would have been blameless and the driver of the car behind would have been maybe 25% responsible. Is this different from the car having been supplied with a mechanical fault that causes an accident?

We might have to disagree ;) but if (as per my answer to Waremark above) the driver reads the manual, and knows that under 28mph within a certain zone an obstruction / moving target / etc. will cause it to activate, then you would have known that a person moving into that zone might trigger braking, so if you are happy with the system, you adjust your driving and perhaps pausing / lifting off may have stopped it triggering (we don't know how close you were), if you are not happy with the system interfering as your ability to analyse the situation is better than the car's ability, then turn the system off...

the Kodiaq manual is here: https://ws.skoda-auto.com/OwnersManualS ... Manual.pdf The section on Assist systems (pg 213) starts with:
The assistance systems only serve to support the driver and do not relieve the driver of the responsibility for driving the vehicle

so that is the manufacturer liability removed ;)
Page 248 explains that a pedestrian crossing will trigger the system... also that Front Assist will intervene up to 130mph
Page 247 explains how to set the distance at which it triggers (though the manual is not clear whether that is also for pedestrians)
Page 249 tells you how to turn it off...

So, I am not clear why you think that as the driver you will be blameless - the machinery you are in charge of behaved as the manual said it would - and you had the choice to turn that system on or off - why is that therefore not the driver's responsibility?

I do believe that as new systems come in we need to find better ways for drivers to understand the implications and a diagram showing scope and explaining how it works would be better than text...

This is also why my newest car is 2003 and has none of this - auto lights / auto windscreen wipers / cruise control are as automated as I get and even then I keep an eye on them! I have no doubt that there will be drivers in the future who will get into a car like mine - set cruise control and let it drive into the back of another car and then blame the machinery because they were used to front assist or equivalent and expected the car to back off - maybe I am old-fashioned, but the driver holds responsibility for what the car does - the manufacturer only holds responsibility for communicating to the driver what it will do, and then making sure that the system behaves as expected...


I have cruise control, it's called a right foot. My wifes Skoda has it but I never use it.


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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby mainbeam » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:15 pm

Matt1962 wrote:
mainbeam wrote:If you stop suddenly for no good reason where there is following traffic that is likely to be negligent even if the following traffic is driving too close to also be able to stop safely.

That would also be my view. So, going back to the original topic, could the car manufacturer be guilty of an offence (or responsible for any damage caused) in this type of situation?

There is a potential for product liability rather than driver liability if the vehicle does something unexpected although until there is a claim that is appealed we can't know.

I do think the advice below is good.

waremark wrote:
If I owned the car in the OP I would want it checked very carefully.

If you are aware of the problem, driver liability is more likely to arise.

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby GTR1400MAN » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:18 pm

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein

Mike Roberts

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby Jonquirk » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:57 pm

And yet the IAM has stated that AEB is the must have safety feature we should all be looking for when we change our car.

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby Matt1962 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:37 pm

Jonquirk wrote:And yet the IAM has stated that AEB is the must have safety feature we should all be looking for when we change our car.

I suppose if all cars were so fitted, then a ‘false alarm’ from the front car would test the efficiency of the systems in all the following cars :D.

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Re: Dangerous safety system?

Postby Matt1962 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:49 pm

akirk wrote:
Matt1962 wrote:I seem to remember an old Top Gear feature where they were trying to crash a car with autonomous braking.

To be honest I am a bit uncomfortable with the idea of switching off a feature that to outsiders would appear to be there to protect pedestrians etc. If you cast your mind back to the tragic case of the brakeless cyclist, I think that most of the informed commentators agreed that the absence of brakes was probably irrelevant other than with regard to the punishment of the cyclist. I wonder whether we are far away from similar situations regarding drivers decisions on 'safety' technology. Who is to say whether I could respond as fast as the autonomous system if someone walks out in front of me?

I understand where you are coming from, but I feel that if you pick apart what you are saying it is actually quite worrying...

If society is going to move to a place where there is liability through not using something like the semi-autonomous braking system because you have turned it off - even though you have brakes which do the job well - then that is the start of a slippery slope which states that humans are deemed less competent than the system. Also, a system is only intelligent as those who code it (who are not there in that setting - and who, as you found out, get it wrong!), so it would be saying that the driver is deemed less competent than a coder sitting elsewhere...

there is a difference between:
- turning off a semi-autonomous system which chooses when to apply the brakes - and leaving a competent human in charge to choose when to apply the brakes (brakes still extant)
- not having any brakes at all :)

and this is where there is an AD relevance...
you don't need to have the human faster than the autonomous system
you simply need to:
- apply better logic
- be able to predict better
- drive to the circumstances
- know what you plan to do next, so decisions are made in context (very relevant ref. this discussion as you would have taken into account following cars as well)
- anticipate much further down the road

actual speed of the braking need not be milli-seconds quicker because the good driver will have changed the need to brake in that way

any driver who needs semi-autonomous braking should hand in their licence immediately - they are not fit to drive... and you have clearly demonstrated in what you have said, that (a) you didn't need it and in fact (b) you were more intelligent than the system... so turn it off and just drive... at what point will such a system prevent injuries where you can not?


I completely agree with you this time. Unfortunately we are moving into a world where personal initiative and responsibility tends to be frowned upon. Arguably you are no longer allowed to rewire your kitchen or service your gas boiler. I suspect that the choice of which ‘safety’ systems you disable in your car will soon also be a thing of the past.

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