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Cocoon this! Is this our nirvana for safety?(8 posts)

Cocoon this! Is this our nirvana for safety?AllisonHayes
Jul 17, 2002 5:29 AM
Crash-avoidance systems in passenger cars.

"If you just think where it's headed, what we're going to end up doing is putting a cocoon around the vehicle, using radar, infrared sensors and the computer to identify bicycles and motorcycles or cars approaching, or people," says J.T. Battenberg III, chairman of Troy, Mich.-based Delphi Automotive Systems.

Highway safety regulators see new technology as an important weapon in reducing crashes and fatalities. Collision-warning sensors, lane-change alarms and even an adaptive cruise control that will bring the car to a complete stop.

Move to prevention

By creating a radar-powered safety zone around our cars, they argue, we can move from the technology of protection -- better bumpers, seat belts and air bags -- to the technology of prevention.

i But will it be enough to protect us from the rednecks and the soccer moms?
I'd rather call it a pleasant high-tech
Jul 17, 2002 6:01 AM
As long as rednecks and soccer moms are at the controls, cyclists will keep dying under their wheels. If you let a computer drive - it has to be bug-free. Being a programmer myself, I can guarantee that there will be errors in every program. Software is way too complicated to account for every possible situation. Therefore, the rednecks will stay behind the wheel for quite long time.
We're doomed!!!!!!!!!
OK, let's assume it is even marginally successfulAllisonHayes
Jul 17, 2002 6:08 AM
what do you do about those vehicles that don't have it installed?

I have my latest on-board cocoon 5000 safety system. It stops my car and I avoid hitting the cyclist only for some 1988 Oldsmobile to cream me from behind, knocking me into the cyclist.

Unless these are on all the vehicles, it doesn't help much. And what about redundancy?
OK, let's assume it is even marginally successfultz
Jul 17, 2002 6:21 AM
My point was that these systems are unreliable, and will be such for quite a while. And even then, they are just aides to human drivers, a lot ot whom should never be allowed in driver's seat. Hi-tech toys are not the solution.
"What is then?", you would ask? I would probably say "education, education and then some more education". Theoretical and practical. Make theory and drive tests very difficult. I've heard that the Germans have three or four drive tests - one on a parking lot, to test pure car handling skills, one in the city, one on highway, and one at nighttime. I may be incorrect, but I am pretty sure that getting a license there is more difficult than here. All it took me to get a motorcycle license in NYC were 20 stupid multiple-choice questions, and an easy ride in a desolate neighborhood, with "figure 8" maneuver being the most difficult part of it.
nirvana is not a product of technology...lnin0
Jul 17, 2002 6:05 AM
This just sounds like one more thing to allow drivers to become less attentive, less skilled and less responsible while keeping them safe in their steel cacoon while watching tv and talking on the phone.

My vote is to get them off the streets completely - 5th Element style. Then we only need to worry about some idiot landing on us or getting hit by falling wreckage ;)
Robot DriverScot_Gore
Jul 17, 2002 6:41 AM
I fully expect that within my lifetime cars will drive themselves. It may not be everywhere or even every lane of the road. There will probably be a fine for going on manual control in some places AND bikes will be prohibited in those areas. So, no this won't save us from operator error or malice.

my two cents

Robot Driver - Let Us Hope Notlnin0
Jul 17, 2002 10:23 AM
Yeah, good may not be everywhere, on every road or every car...but it will be in just enough places to totally deaden what little driving skills people have left. So that when they are off auto/robot-pilot on some country road they will have no skills when encountering a bicyclist.

The future looks bright!!!
malice vs. technologykenyee
Jul 17, 2002 12:08 PM
I think you've got the two confused unless things become totally automated (and boring) like in Minority Report.

People with malice will always find a way, no matter what tool: baseball bat, beer can, gun, knife, rock, rope, car, etc.; stupid politicians and media are focusing on the tool instead of the act of evil by a *person*. They'll always find a way to inflict harm. E.g., even w/ automated cars, what's to keep them from leaning out the window and chucking a full beer can at you. You'll still go down, get road rash, break a collar bone or arm, etc., but at least the guy didn't swerve at you, right? :-P

There is some interesting car tech to prevent hits from doing lots of damage. They're experimenting w/ hoods that pop up from the windshield side so you'll slide over the roof instead of go through the windshield. They're also experimenting w/ hoods that deform more easily. Doesn't help if a pedestrian gets clipped. Read the Patrick Bedard column in Car & Driver a few months back where he describes the damage he got when he was hit by a car (hint: consider where the bumper hits a pedestrian)-: