On 2/16/2014 11:47 PM, Mahon, Tom (DNR) wrote: Peter Moncure responds…..
I can see benefits and serious hazards to this technology. Could the same technology be used to disable a vehicle being pursued by police? (Or, would smart crook would find a way to disable the device.)
Yes. Or they could disable any vehicle they feel like, at any time. They are already using license plate recognition on every car they get behind. It then keeps a record of everything associated with that plate. The question of disabling a vehicle, or for that matter, performing any action other than informational to the driver, is not yet firmly decided. Applying brakes for an invisible-to-the-driver hazard in the roadway is probably the biggest safety benefit, but the degree to which it will be optional or will be able to be overridden by the driver is not yet known. That would apply to both car-to-car and car-to-roadside.
Could it be used to monitor someone’s travel route and time? (Wouldn’t a search warrant normally be required?)
Yes and yes. But of course, there are lots of things that require a warrant that have been bypassed by federal agencies. You know, like cellphone records, etc… For car-to-car, well no, at least, no more than would be possible by actually following the desired car with a squad unit. After all, the “SR” in DSRC is “short range” and for a car unit it’s probably less than 1000 feet. For car-to-roadside, the answer is much more complicated, and depends on the privacy and liability answers Tom raises, as well as the density of installed roadside units which will be far from ubiquitous on most roads
Could a stalker or angry ex-spouse use the technology to pursue their victim? (Who would be liable for the unintended consequences? Wrongful death? Domestic Violence?)
Yes, and likely no one. This is really a variation of the question above, and has the same answer.
What’s to stop someone from hacking the system and causing havoc on the highway by sending out false messages to other vehicles? ? (The
jerks that get their kicks writing a computer virus will have fun with this stuff.)
Not much, if anything. For car-to-car systems, a hacker would require access to the car to hack its input or output. He could set up a “fake car” message and send it locally, but this would be risky for him as it could eventually be tracked. Radio hackers imitating police calls are perhaps similar, and not too prevalent. Like many foolish and dangerous behaviors, this one would no doubt be tried and found guilty. (ok ok bad pun)
The traffic accident in the fog scenario can be solved by low-power active radar, without opening the civil-rights can of worms. Something similar could even be tailored to alert a driver that dozed off and is headed off the road. (Of course, the traffic accident in the fog can be prevented by drivers that have the ability to lift their foot off the gas pedal.) Personally, I am convinced that technology is running far ahead of the social and legal framework. I see a major civil-rights law suit ahead for this technology. (George Orwell saw it coming.) That’s being nice. Anybody who uses Windows knows how unreliable it is.
This system will not run on Windows. Rather it will be hard-coded, just like the computers already in the cars are
Having a computer making decisions about the vehicle I’m riding in is not acceptable.
Better go buy a pre-1990 vehicle then.
It’s one thing to set off a ‘beeper’ of some sort when it senses something, it’s quite another to let it smash the brakes or turn the wheel on it’s own. People WILL DIE.
I would never argue that introducing new technology won’t have some accidents, you’re right, it will. Some will die, whether it is an active system or advisory system (people will infer incorrectly). But far more will be saved I think
We just turned in a leased vehicle that had the back-up alert. It would false positive 9 times out of 10. If the car had been allowed to actually hit the brakes when it did that, we would never have been able to back out of our own driveway, let alone a space in a parking lot. Can you imagine if it had the same kind of sensor for forward motion, and it could hit the brakes or turn the wheel on it’s own?
I can. But that didn’t happen. And until these scenarios are vetted, it won’t happen with DSRC either. DSRC is a far more pervasive technology than back-up alerts, with (as you both point out) far greater consequences if they get it wrong. And there will be bugs, no software escapes them (I should know!!), but they will be found, and most cleaned, before you get to prove your own assertions.
I return you to one incontrovertible fact: the most dangerous object in any car is its driver. Sure, there’s the risk as with Asiana 214 that drivers (well pilots in that case) become over-reliant on technology, or incorrectly trained, and if I had to point at the biggest issue that would be it. But even beer-drinking 60-year-olds will eventually find a level of trust (or not) with DSRC, and drive accordingly. Look on the dark side: DSRC may become the barkeep’s best friend lol. Though car-to-car won’t help with trees, mailboxes, ditches and telephone poles…
My wife just bought a car which has lane control in it, I was (like you) quite skeptical but I have to say it works pretty well. It is advisory (vibrates the steering wheel), and though it misses occasionally it has made both of us better drivers already. Claim that you have never nodded off for a second or two while driving, and I’ll just grin. Not saying that DSRC, especially in its initial configuration, will protect you against that, but it’s coming to a Chevy near you, and though you may not (or never!) like it, perhaps your family will on your behalf.
Regards to all,
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