The Arizona Republic reports the car was going about 40 mph, apparently didn’t slow down and struck the woman in Tempe. The S.F. Chronicle says the car was going 38 mph in a 35 mph zone and quotes the Tempe police chief as saying the collision would have been difficult to avoid. The Chronicle also reports the woman had stepped from a median into the street about 100 yards from a crosswalk.
Car manufacturers and those who see a bright future from autonomous vehicles have been promoting safety as their chief virtue. Thus, it remains to be seen how the self-driving car’s software — and the person behind the wheel — didn’t ‘see’ or sense the woman in its peripheral vision. Whether the woman was in a crosswalk or not strikes me as somewhat besides the point if the technology is as good as advertised by its proponents.
The NYT story focuses on a piecemeal “regulatory environment” for self-driving cars. Excerpt:
Some states, like Arizona, have taken a lenient approach to regulation. Arizona officials wanted to lure companies working on self-driving technology out of neighboring California, where regulators had been less receptive.
But regulators in California and elsewhere have become more accommodating lately. In April, California is expected to follow Arizona’s lead and allow companies to test cars without a person in the driver’s seat.
Federal policymakers have also considered a lighter touch. A Senate bill, if passed, would free autonomous-car makers from some existing safety standards and pre-empt states from creating their own vehicle safety laws. Similar legislation has been passed in the House. The Senate version has passed a committee vote but hasn’t reached a full floor vote.
Look…I can see some potential pluses for self-driving cars — safety (perhaps one day) and providing mobility to those who can’t or don’t want to drive. But I remain pretty skeptical about much of this effort and it’s fairly obvious Uber is involved as a way to eliminate labor costs.
I thought this article in Wired, which noted the nearly 40,000 traffic deaths in the U.S. each year, also asked a potent question:
But human drivers kill just 1.16 people for every 100 million miles driven. Waymo and Uber and all the rest combined are nowhere near covering that kind of distance, and they’ve already killed one.
Your thoughts? Just to add to the mix: a post on Biking in L.A. on a bicyclist being run over and killed by a Fed Ex driver in Los Angeles.
New Metro line could pass through Arts District (Downtown News)
A look at the new and existing potential routes to be further studied for the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor project that proposes to build light rail between Artesia and downtown L.A. The story focuses on option H. Excerpt:
Alignment H is the most unique of the options. Terminating at Sixth Street, just east of Santa Fe Avenue, it calls for the site to also be serviced by Metro’s Red and Purple lines as part of a spur through the Division 20 rail yard.
Arts District denizens have long been clamoring for Metro to build a station that takes advantage of existing track, but in recent months there appeared to be little feasibility. At a meeting of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum in November, Metro CEO Phil Washington expressed support for the plan in concept, but said there was no money, and the project would not happen “unless manna falls from heaven.”
Cornejo said that if that alignment H is ultimately selected, it would be funded through Measures R and M, although exact costs are still being determined on all of the route options.
Stay tuned on this one. Two questions to be answered is how much transferring would these different routes require and where folks along the line in the southeast part of the county most want to go — Union Station or the downtown core.
One clarification to the Downtown News story: a final decision on a route is not being made this spring. Rather, Metro staff is going to the Metro Board in May for a decision on which of the Northern Alignment concepts should be carried forward into the project’s environmental study. It will likely be more than one and less than the full eight.
The Gotham-based actress and a political novice — best known for playing Miranda on “Sex and the City” — is going to make fixing the New York MTA and the subway a big part of her campaign.
How the subway talk plays in the Elmira, Seneca Falls and Altonas of the world remains to be seen.
Categories: Transportation Headlines