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Hello boys and girls.  I don’t know what it is like where you are but here in France the weather is abysmal. Record rain fall has managed to make the news, Paris in danger of being flooded and loads of people running around shouting “Merde” and “Alors!”.  One thing that isn’t reported and to me is arguably more important to report than a restaurant being a bit damp is that this deluge of biblical proportions has managed to wash loads of crap from the fields onto the roads.  Even main roads now have a nice slippery covering of mud on them, which makes for a very interesting ride into work. I suppose I should look on the bright side though, I don’t feel the cold as much because I am too busy concentrating on keeping the bike upright. ….oh and to add insult to injury , in the middle of all this I learn that the French government has decided, in June,  to lower the national speed limit on single carriageway roads from 90km/h to 80 km/h; because that is going to make such a difference when a car pulls out on you isn’t it?

It is slightly damp

 

Talking of cars pulling out, have you guys heard about this?

A biker in California is suing General Motors after a collision with a driverless car.  On December 7th a Chevrolet Bolt was being tested in San Francisco.  The biker, Oscar was in traffic when he says the car changed lanes and knocked him off his bike. 

Chevrolet says that the car was going to go into the right-hand lane but backed out of the move. Also the back-up driver also attempted to steer the vehicle away from the bike but couldn’t do it in time to stop it hitting. Of course the San Francisco police reckon it is all the bikers fault because he was breaking local law, lane splitting to be exact.

There are a few things that spring to mind here:

  1. If the car backed out of the move before going into the lane how did it hit Oscar?
  2. If the “back-up driver” saw the bike and had to intervene to steer away from the bike it also suggests that the car was already moving into the lane.
  3. To me it seems from this one episode that the driverless car system in the Chevrolet is not good enough. The human driver saw the problem that was caused by the robot system changing lanes. Surely a driverless car has to be able to see behind it and check for overtaking traffic, whatever the situation and unlike a human it should never forget to do this and never be in a position when it thinks it is not necessary.

Ok Oscar might have been lane splitting and therefore breaking that law, but the whole point of  driverless vehicles is to take the human error out of driving….unfortunately it is humans who are trying to program them to take the human error out and  of course, Chevrolet will probably say it is not the systems fault because he shouldn’t have been where he was. If they do, would that mean that they have a whole subroutine that takes over when they cross into a state that does allow lane splitting?

Personally I hate the idea of driverless cars, but then again I love driving. Also I  use computers all the time, and despite humanities best efforts look how many updates, bug patches and glitches that get applied and found every day…yet before too long we are going to be putting our and everybody around us lives in their hands.

Sorting out the insurance claims alone is going to be a nightmare, after all , who is going to be to blame when make A crashes into make B….or even worse make A crashes into make A?

And on that fun note I will leave you!

Stay safe

Ratso

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