Thank goodness we've got the Europeans to help us mandate stuff for cars. Whatever would we do without them. Without stuff like Pedestrian Impact Standards, we would surely still be stuck in the Dark Ages. Certainly we'd all be dead, and the auto industry would be lost and directionless.
Yeah. Unnecessary garbage like Pedestrian Impact regulations are partially responsible for cars being so heavy and having such poor visibility, since they necessitate high noses, which in turn create high beltlines unless you want your car to look like a Dutch shoe. Seems like European lawmakers and politicians are determined to meddle in every single thing, reglardless of their scope of understanding. Worse, they're abysmal at considering secondary repercussions beyond those for which they create their laws. The same groups demanding improved emissions are the ones adding weight to cars in the name of safety, making efficiency more difficult.
Now they're here to save the day again with a new moronic, unnecessary, and spectacularly-poorly-thought-out mandate: automated braking systems. Yes. The EU will be REQUIRING autonomous braking systems on all cars starting in 2014.
This is ridiculous. It's offensive. It's terrifying.
I've explained/ranted about the fact that these computerized override systems are not what safety-proponents want them to be before. Their supporters will tell you that they can react more quickly than any human, and that having them there to step in for you on that one occasion where you're not able to react can only be a good thing.
They are ignoring reality.
The reality is this:
These systems react based on an extremely limited set of specific criteria gathered by a limited number of specific sensors looking for a limited number of specific things. In the event of a specific set of expected circumstances, they do their thing.
The real world is not specific. It is not controlled. It is not a laboratory experiment. It is dynamic. And only a HUMAN MIND is capable of taking the full range of information available to it and reacting effectively. Only when you narrow the circumstances and the inputs and control their occurance does a computer becomes superior.
The self-braking system only knows one thing: whether or not the car is approaching an obstacle at a speed that will lead to collision. That's it. It doesn't know what that obstacle is. It doesn't know what's beyond the obstacle. It doesn't know what's happening beside or behind or even above or below or inside the car that is being controlled autonomously. It does not have the capability to combine all this information. And it doesn't have the ability to judge the best reaction. It can only decide if a front-end collision is going to happen, and then brake or not brake.
There is an infinite number of possible situations in which braking to avoid one collision might be less ideal than allowing that collision to avoid something worse. There is also an infinite number of possible situations where braking hard might be more dangerous than not braking, even if it means a collision. Autonomous braking systems don't care, because they don't KNOW this. They'll just do their two-step dance and their advocates will continue to sing their safe praises to the world.
And none of this takes into account the possibility of FAILURE on behalf of the autonomous braking system. What if it fails on the highway at 75mph? Nevermind reacting to the car in front of you stopping abruptly without warning--imagine THE CAR YOU ARE DRIVING doing that!
These systems are not creating safer cars. They are merely trading one source of risk for another. And it's not acceptable. I'm sick of this stuff. I'm sick of lane departure prevention, automatic braking, stability and traction control, and other systems that take control out of the hands of the reasoning-capable humans and put them in the minds of a single-minded computer program.
This is unacceptable. I refuse to drive in a world where cars have been programmed to believe they are better drivers than the people behind their steering wheels. I refuse to tolerate this kind of meddling, small-minded, short-sighted, idealistically misguided idiocy in legislative form. If this s*** comes to America, there's going to be Hell to pay.
It's true there's a problem with inattentive and incapable drivers. But ignoring their failings and working AROUND them is not a solution. The solution is to require drivers to demonstrate sufficient capability or be denied the right to drive.
A message to Europe:
If your pedestrians can't stop walking in front of multi-ton moving slabs of metal, they deserve to die.
If your drivers can't operate cars in a safe manner, they do not deserve to drive.
Stop making laws that cascade, set dangerous precedents, and affect industry, products, and consumer choice around THE WORLD because you're too dim-witted to understand how reality works.
And, finally: get bent.
Thank you for your time.