Ford CEO Jim Hackett Tuesday joined the growing ranks of vehicle and tech execs willing to say publicly that self-driving cars won’t arrive as soon as some had hoped.
The industry “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Hackett told the Detroit Economic Club. Though Ford is not wavering from its self-imposed due date of 2021 for its first purpose-built driverless car, Hackett acknowledged that the vehicle’s “applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.” Bloomberg earlier reported the comments.
There’s been an approximate 3% rise in serious and deadly accidents in major American cities once ride-hail platforms are introduced, according to new findings from researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The services definitely bring serious pluses, the study acknowledges, like increased convenience for commuters needing to get from A to B — not to mention whole new avenues of income for people with a driver’s license.
But the findings say there’s a flip side that should be weighed too: “Costs exist, are not trivial, and can be measured in human lives — specifically, in increased rates of major traffic accidents and traffic fatalities.”
These fatalities can also be measured in dollars, researchers say. Applying the U.S. Department of Transportation’s statistical value of a life, the potential drag on economy from lives lost is about $10 billion, according to the study.
It was nearing 5 p.m. on a Wednesday, and as usual, Shawna Walker was doing three things at once.
After a long day of conference calls from her Springfield, Va., home, the federal employee was rushing to finish an assignment for her job in human resources. She stirred a pot of spaghetti on the stove, and made sure her 14-year-old son, Jalen, was working on his homework at the kitchen table. Jalen’s football practice would start in a half-hour, about a 20-minute drive from their home, but both Walker and her husband were still tied up with work.
Then, a woman knocked on the front door, wearing an orange T-shirt with the word “CareDriver” on the back.
“You can call me Miss B,” the woman, Jacqueline Bouknight, said while shaking Walker’s hand and introducing herself to Jalen.
Last week, the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a lawsuit against Lyft in California for not having any wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area. By not having the adequately equipped vehicles to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs, Lyft is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
However, this is far from being the only case that transportation has been made inaccessible to people with disabilities, nor is California the only state with this problem.
For example, in New York City, only 112 of MTA’s 472 subway stations are accessible, and out of those, 100 are currently working in both directions. Additionally, less than 1,800 of the city’s 13,000+ yellow cabs are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps, which means less than 15% of the taxis are accessible to New Yorkers with mobility difficulties.
However, as we approach a new era of transportation, notably driverless cars, it is crucial to keep the issue of accessibility at the forefront of our minds.
In 2013, the District became one of the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to pass a lawgoverning the operations of self-driving cars—also known as autonomous vehicles—on public rights of way. Now, with the vehicles growing in popularity nationally and Ford testing them on D.C. roads, several local legislators want to make those regulations stricter through two new bills.
On Tuesday, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who chairs the Council’s committee on transportation and the environment, pitched the “Autonomous Vehicles Testing Program Amendment Act of 2019,” along with Ward 6Councilmember Charles Allen and Chairman Phil Mendelson. The bill would set up a permitting process for autonomous vehicle testing within the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which would have to review and approve such permit applications. Companies that seek to test self-driving cars in the city would have to provide an array of information to officials, including on each vehicle it plans to test, safety operators in the test vehicles, testing locations, insurance, and safety strategies.