Tag Archives: autonomous vehicles

“Ensuring the Safe Design of Autonomous Vehicles; Suggestions to Help Resolve the Issues”

Byron Bloch has made many contributions to knowledge about vehicle safety. Here is one more endeavor on his part to make the roads safer — this time related to autonomous vehicles.

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Byron Bloch participated in the recent “Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress” held in Novi, Michigan and provided attendees with useful information to lawyers, engineers, and policy makers as autonomous vehicle development proceeds.

With Byron’s permission, his material is attached for your use.

Lou Lombardo

Ensuring the Safe Design of Autonomous Vehicles;
Suggestions to Help Resolve the Issues
by Byron Bloch, Auto Safety Design, Potomac, Maryland, USA
Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress
Novi, Michigan — October 25-26, 2016


Byron closes with this thought:

LET’S STAY IN COMMUNICATION — As this emerging new area of automated systems and fully autonomous vehicles continues its rapid development and promotion, it will be important to stay in communication, to exchange issues and ideas, to continue in a constructive dialogue with each other.

Perhaps you design or test or install automated systems for vehicles, or manufacture autonomous vehicles, or operate them, or are in Federal or State agencies that regulate transportation and related activities. It is constructive for us all to work toward the Vision Zero goal of eliminating vehicle-related fatalities of drivers and passengers, and of pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. We must act together as a rational, compassionate society to help prevent such needless tragedies.

I would suggest that a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman would be the most logical person to facilitate that kind of essential communication. Let’s not leave it to chance.

Are you listening, President Obama?

Pres. Obama, sign this Exec. Order–while you still can–to protect people from violent vehicle deaths!

IMG_4460DOT Policy Officials Group Photo March 4, 2016

” Start-Up Otto in Fast Lane to Test Self-Driving Trucking by Year’s End”

Every time I turn around, there is more news about “self-driving” or autonomous vehicles. I hope that there is effective communication and collaboration among all the players involved to bring these latest and greatest technologies safely to the road.

Self-driving trucking start-up Otto is poised to put its software in the hands of long-haul truckers by the end of this year for testing, its co-founders said on Thursday.

Otto, co-founded by Google car and map project veterans Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, will also begin testing five retrofitted Volvo trucks at Northern California’s autonomous vehicle testing grounds, GoMentum Station, in coming weeks.

By the end of the year, small owner-operators and larger commercial partners will begin using Otto’s self-driving kit, Levandowski told Reuters at the facility in Concord, north of San Francisco, adding the company has a target of “thousands” of testers by 2017.

Otto has not yet announced when the technology will be ready for sale. . .

Read more here: Start-Up Otto in Fast Lane to Test Self-Driving Trucking by Year’s End, Insurance Journal, Alexandria Sage, August 8, 2016

“Economics Will Push Adoption of Self-Driving, Electric Trucks” Trucks.com

“Economics Will Push Adoption of Self-Driving, Electric Trucks”

Look for semi-trucks to become more intelligent and electric.

That’s the assessment of Morgan Stanley Research analyst Ravi Shanker.

While there are hurdles, Shanker argues in a recent report to investors that powerful economic and regulatory forces will push the trucking industry toward electric, self-driving trucks.

Look for autonomous trucks to be introduced in 2020, “around the time we expect to see the launch of electric semis, right as the new fuel economy and emissions regulations for commercial trucks gather steam,” Shanker said.

Established truck manufacturers and start-ups are already moving in that direction. . .


Will @SenJohnThune Hold Auto Safety Hearing on Tesla Fatal Crash Before the Nov. Elections?

Will Senator John Thune (or anyone else for that matter) hold an automotive safety hearing on the Tesla fatal crash before the November elections? That is the question raised by Lou Lombardo in his latest thought-provoking missive:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NHTSA has failed to protect us again by policies promoting use of motorists as guinea pigs for profits.

Now Senator John Thune (R) of SD, up for re-election this year, has written to Tesla’s Elon Musk:

“To address the foregoing issues, I request that you direct company representatives to brief Committee staff on the details of this incident, including the technology that was in use at the time, Tesla’s actions in response, and the company’s cooperation with NHTSA, by no later than July 29, 2016.”  See

But there are 34 Senate seats up for election in 2016 and Senator Thune is expected to easily win re-election.  See

Do the people of South Dakota know that every year more than 100 people die of crash injuries in SD?  See

Do the people of South Dakota know what their chances of surviving crash injuries are without health care?

 According to the NY Times editorial today SD does not yet have Medicaid expansion.  See http://kff.org/health-reform/slide/current-status-of-the-medicaid-expansion-decision/  and

Do the American people know how their State ranks in vehicle fatalities?  See
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/2011-CrashFatalitiesByStateRank.pdf  and
Political policies and elections matter.  Matter to people in the most important dimensions of life or death See
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MonthlyReport-January2013-Vol1.pdf  and
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/Oct2013-Monthly%20Report-HealthInsurance.pdfSo will Senator Thune hold an auto safety hearing on the Tesla fatal crash before the Nov. elections?

Will the media ask questions and demand answers of government and auto company officials that advance safety?

Will the Senate invite both Mr. Musk and Marianne Karth who, having lost two daughters in a truck underride crash , knows first hand the importance of safety policies?  See http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/06/underride-crashes/

 Lou Lombardo

Univ. of Mich. Law set to be repository for legal & regulatory info. involving autonomous vehicles.

The University of Michigan is getting set to take on the challenge of becoming a central repository for legal and regulatory information relative to autonomous vehicles.

. . . while the focus has been on the gadgets and sleek designs, popular culture has taken little notice of a key component of a driverless future: the legal implications. Fair enough, since it would be difficult to create a compelling narrative about whether it is legal for the Minority Report cars to cross state lines, or the liability issues raised by a crash between KITT and a car driven by a person.

In the real world, though, those issues must be addressed before driverless cars can take the rapid leap forward that many are predicting. That’s why a group of Michigan Law faculty members and students are working on a grant-funded project to survey the legal and regulatory issues that arise from automated vehicle technologies. They are working with academic and industry leaders to survey issues such as liability, insurance, privacy, intellectual property rights, and antitrust implications. . .

“It’s hard to know how this is going to affect insurers and how the risk will be allocated. This is something very important to the industry. If we move in the direction of greater manufacturer responsibility for highway accidents, it will mean a shift of auto risks from auto insurers to product-liability insurers,” Logue says, and figuring it out could slow the speed at which autonomous vehicles hit the roadways. Automakers, meanwhile, are “nervous that it will inhibit innovation,” he says. . .

Some developers of driverless cars could take on the liability themselves — including Volvo, which has said it will do when cars are in fully autonomous mode. The carmaker also has promised death-proof cars by 2020. In the driver’s seat

The topic of liability was discussed. The article suggested that compensation to victims might come in this way:

One option would be the establishment of a fund, along the lines of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund—which requires compensation to be provided for any individual (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of Sept. 11, 2001, or the debris removal that took place immediately after the crashes. With standardized technology and driverless cars, Crane suggests, manufacturers could pay into a fund that would compensate people who are injured in accidents. In return, they could be immune to tort liability.

So, if that is the way it went, what pressure would there be on any individual manufacturer to fix defects, etc.? Based on our experience and observations of the lack of accountability, in past decades, by trailer manufacturers to do anything substantial to prevent underride deaths, I am very skeptical about this.

Roundtable Display Table Underride Roundtable May 5, 2016 186

whitehouse.gov PETITION: End preventable crash fatalities/Appoint Nat’l Traffic Safety Ombudsman

August 3 UPDATE: The petition on the White House site is expired. Please sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition at Care2;  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

We are asking for 100,000 Americans to sign our new petition on WhiteHouse petition site. Once we get 150 signatures, it will become searchable on their website.

If we are able to get 100,000 signatures in 30 days — by July 31, then the White House has promised that they will respond to our new petition, which calls on President Obama to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman, who will be an Advocate for Safer Roads.

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which you have to reply to in order to confirm your signature is valid.

What the Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition says:

Every average day in the U.S., 100 of our loved ones die in crashes and 400 more suffer serious crash injuries–along with $2 Billion in crash losses.

We propose that the President establish an independent Office of National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to be an advocate to eliminate preventable crash deaths and serious injuries.

We need someone who has a mandate to advocate on behalf of the victims, someone who is not compromised by competing interests. We call on the President to take this action to protect our families and loved ones from one of the leading causes of preventable death.

Traffic Safety has not been a national priority. Without this Presidential action, too many lives will continue to be lost to vehicle violence.

Please SIGN the Petition: https://wh.gov/i6kUj. Then, SHARE this post. We have to get 100,000 in 30 days! July 31 is the target date.

 Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition
Read this post for Memes & Videos to help you raise awareness & promote this petition: Memes & Other Tools to Spread the Vision of a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to Advocate for Safer Roads
Read more about how a Traffic Safety Ombudsman could help us move more quickly toward ending tragic and preventable crash fatalities and life-altering crash injuries:

A grieving mom appeals to the President (short version):

A grieving mom appeals to the President (longer version):

Let’s demand safety, America, for We the People:

SIGN  & SHARE the WhiteHouse.gov TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

Questions? Comments? email me: marianne@annaleahmary.com