[SystemSafety] Uber "self-driving" cars run red lights on Day 1

Philippa Ryan pmrc at adelard.com
Thu Dec 22 12:04:36 CET 2016

Whilst I can’t answer many of these questions, I do wonder if the red light problem is due to differences in regulations between states and the vagaries of the rules surrounding traffic lights. A quick google (http://www.californiadriving.com/law/ <http://www.californiadriving.com/law/> and http://www.drivinglaws.org/resources/traffic-tickets/moving-violations/running-red-lights-and-stop-35# <http://www.drivinglaws.org/resources/traffic-tickets/moving-violations/running-red-lights-and-stop-35#>) tells me that both SF and Pittsburgh will have the same rules for turning right on a red light, but not necessarily for turning left. 

I was nearly run over a couple of times in SF before my host pointed out to me that a red light did not mean a car couldn’t turn!

Best wishes,

> On 22 Dec 2016, at 10:39, systemsafety-request at lists.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de wrote:
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2016 06:05:55 +0100
> From: Peter Bernard Ladkin <ladkin at causalis.com <mailto:ladkin at causalis.com>>
> To: The System Safety List <systemsafety at techfak.uni-bielefeld.de <mailto:systemsafety at techfak.uni-bielefeld.de>>
> Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Uber "self-driving" cars run red lights on
> 	Day 1
> Message-ID: <a4335c2c-bdd4-7507-5ac3-9c405c29e380 at causalis.com <mailto:a4335c2c-bdd4-7507-5ac3-9c405c29e380 at causalis.com>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> So, the Cal DMV revoked the registrations of Uber's cars and invited the company - again - to apply
> for a permit to test them on public roads. They said that one can be issued in 72 hours.
> https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/21/uber-cancels-self-driving-car-trial-san-francisco-california <https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/21/uber-cancels-self-driving-car-trial-san-francisco-california>
> One can wonder about that. What about the reports of running red lights while pedestrians are
> crossing, and serious questions about interactions with cyclists? How would DMV analyse and manage
> that situation in 72 hours, even supposing they could call on expertise, experience and person-power
> enough to be able to perform a Risk Analysis on an open system with complex technology in that time?
> Suppose the analysis were not to be favorable, what then?
> Another question is why these cars are apparently having problems in SF but not in Pittsburgh?
> A third question is what society is to think about a legal entity putting an unprecedented
> safety-critical technology into public space where it could harm people and ignoring the (mild)
> regulation and regulator. I don't see how it is in anybody's interests to let such a thing happen.
> What if companies running nuclear power plants started putting the finger up to the NRC?
> Which raises the fourth question. Regulating automotive vehicles has been pretty straightforward so
> far. Now that these complex open systems are beginning slowly to populate roads, could it be that we
> need regulatory sophistication comparable to that for nuclear power or airworthiness certification
> for commercial airplanes?
> Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Bielefeld, Germany
> MoreInCommon
> Je suis Charlie
> Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319  www.rvs-bi.de <http://www.rvs-bi.de/>

Dr Philippa Ryan Conmy, Consultant
Adelard LLP, 24 Waterside, 44–48 Wharf Road, London, N1 7UX
Office No: 020 7832 5850 
pmrc at adelard.com <mailto:pmrc at adelard.com> http://www.adelard.com

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