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The folly of trolleys: Ethical challenges and autonomous vehicles – Brookings Institution

If someone has ever asked you to picture yourself in a scenario where you had the decision to kill one person or five people in order to save a train, then they’ve presented you with “the Trolley Problem”. Many people are using this analogy to illustrate their ethical concerns when it comes to autonomous cars. While this scenario presents two distinct choices with two distinct outcomes, experts argue that autonomous cars cannot relate to this scenario because they cannot possibly have a full understanding of all of their surroundings.

Key Takeaways:

  • The trolley problem is one of the problems that is often raised up about autonomous vehicles. It occurs when someone is presented with two situations with similar potential consequences.
  • The introduction of the trolley problem which seems like a good fit kills all conversations about autonomous vehicles when they are brought up.
  • The solution to any problem, including the trolley problem, is to understand how autonomous vehicles work and to have a grounding in the technology.

“Once we understand how these vehicles work—that is, the mathematics behind their learning—we will see how there are many other design choices that are far more morally important.”

Read more: https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-folly-of-trolleys-ethical-challenges-and-autonomous-vehicles/

Why 3 in 10 Fleets Aren’t ELD Compliant

ELD stands for electronic logging device, and regulations were put into place in December of 2017 to mandate certain specifications for truckers to follow. Oftentimes, fleets are not compliant to these guidelines because the drivers refuse to take part in the appropriate training when it comes to operational safety. Taking part in the course training associated with the ELD program will ensure optimal safety of the driver, passenger, cargo, and anyone that they come into contact to while en route.

Key Takeaways:

  • Although the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect in December of 2017, by 2018, about 29% (3 in 10) of fleets were still not compliant.
  • While the language used for logging technology has changed over time, the basic premise of moving from paper logs to electronic logs has not changed.
  • Two barriers that have been identified in implementing e-logs are the hassle of installing the hardware and software, and acceptance by drivers and driver training.

“Some of those fleets had been grandfathered in with automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) – 13% had plans to implement ELDs by December 2019.”

Read more: https://www.worktruckonline.com/321422/why-3-in-10-fleets-arent-eld-compliant

TMC Calls for Proactive Tire Pressure Management System

TMC stands for the Technology & Maintenance Council, and they are responsible for setting industry standards in the management of tire pressure in common vehicles. By finding the perfect amount of tire pressure, the council analyzed three different attributes: load capacity, driving forces, braking forces, and environmental resistance. Each individual vehicle should have their own tire pressure limits after taking into account how heavy the cargo that they are carrying is weighed in at. The more cargo that is present, the more that it weighs down on the tire management system.

Key Takeaways:

  • The TMC future committee is working on automating the process of gauging tire pressure. It wants to build an automated system for actively managing tire inflation pressure.
  • The proposed system, though in recommendation stage, should be able to rapidly adjust tire inflation pressure when tire load, speed, temperature or vehicle changes.
  • It is noted by TMC that establishing a maximal tire inflation pressure depends on the maximum likely load expected at the wheel position of each vehicle.

“In an industry that struggles to get drivers to use a tire pressure gauge instead of whacking a tire with an axe handle, TMC is now saying that merely verifying a tire OE’s recommended pressure isn’t enough.”

Read more: https://www.truckinginfo.com/321471/tmc-proposes-a-new-proactive-tire-pressure-management-system

2019 Vehicles Increase Advanced Steel Content

The new structures made of high-steel located in modern vehicles are ensuring that cars are much more durable than they once were. Enhanced durability leads to higher amounts of longevity, which is something any consumer would love to invest in. Some examples of auto companies using high-steel in their manufacturers are Volkswagen’s 2019 Jetta and its hot-formed steel, as well as the 2020 Toyota Corolla with its torsional rigidity due to the implimentatio of high-steel.

Key Takeaways:

  • Advanced high strength steel is increasingly being preferred by automakers for their cars as is seen by the number of 2019 models released this year.
  • High strength steel being used in areas like the body of the car will ensure the car is more durable and has improved occupant protection.
  • The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta model is composed of 35% ultra-high strength steel while the 2020 Corolla boasts of 60% in torsion thanks to the use ultra-high tensile steel.

“In fact, in a survey conducted earlier this year by the institute, 90% of consumers said they believe steel is stronger than other materials used by automakers.”

Read more: https://www.automotive-fleet.com/321424/2019-vehicles-increase-advanced-steel-content

Taking the Individualized Approach to Safety

Massachusetts-based company Boyle Transportation recently won the HDT Safety & Compliance award and for good reason. The company places immense value on their drivers and even refers to them as ‘professional drivers’. Boyle sets the bar high with their industry-standard safety initiatives and programs that every person in the company embraces with enthusiasm. Boyle has even been named the “Best Fleet to Drive For” several years in a row by the Truckload Carriers Association. According to transportation manager Mike Lasko, safety and security is not something that he has to ‘sell’ to staff, it’s just what Boyle does. Lasko cites himself as a source of advocacy and support for the drivers, taking a proactive approach whenever they need a helping hand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Michael Lasko first thought that the offer from Boyle Transportation to be its safety manager was “too good to be true” until he met with its managers.
  • Lasko observed that instead of treating its drivers as just drivers, everyone he spoke to at Boyle referred to them as “professional drivers” which impressed him.
  • Lasko has worked with some of the best hands at three different companies as safety manager.

“Lasko deals with challenges during his day-to-day duties, including the biggest challenge of all — creating and implementing safety programs and initiatives that everyone will not just tolerate but embrace.”

Read more: https://www.truckinginfo.com/321483/taking-the-individualized-approach-to-safety

No Cab? No Driver? No Problem

Recently at Almedalsveckan Week, Swedish company Einride unveiled its new T Pod truck, the company’s first attempt at autonomous trucking. The T Pod truck measures 23-feet long and can haul up to 15 pallets of cargo in urban delivery settings. The T Pod has an all-electric design and can travel about 124 miles powered by one charge. While there is no driver in the vehicle, the T Pod is operated remotely by a human. According to Einride executives, by 2020, the company will roll out a complete network of T Pods, along with charging stations.

Key Takeaways:

  • The T Pod is an autonomous truck unveiled by a Swedish company that was launched on July 4.
  • The T Pod is the first of its kind because it was designed as a completely driverless vehicle. There is no driver compartment even.
  • To enhance its T Pod truck, the company, Einride, is planning to install a network of charging stations connecting Swedish cities by 2020.

“The company said that, initially, the T Pod can be controlled remotely by human drivers, although it is working to establish the necessary infrastructure and support elements that will eventually allow the truck to operate completely autonomously without any active human input whatsoever.”

Read more: https://www.truckinginfo.com/141585/no-cab-no-driver-no-problem

Keys to Managing Fleet Safety With Telematics

A properly-deployed telematics system can provide useful insights into vehicle and driver performance, especially when there is not a full-time human safety manager. Telematics can alert you to drivers who employ potentially hazardous maneuvers like jackrabbit starts, hard braking and driving too fast. Some telematics systems prevent drivers from using phones on the road, and may even provide immediate feedback to drivers. They can also help prevent tailgating. Telematics can also provide both managers and drivers with comprehensive “scorecards” gauging each driver’s absolute and relative safety patterns, and giving both a clearer picture of how to improve.

Key Takeaways:

  • Telematic systems are a great tool for fleet companies. They provide several information including vehicle location, fuel economy and erratic driving events.
  • It has been estimated that a driver-related incident in a fleet could have disastrous consequences for the company and that is why telematics is important.
  • Some telematic systems offer alerts to the driver to curb overspeeding and inform him about erratic driving patterns.

“Measuring engine diagnostics provides another safety net, as understanding pending parts failures can stave off the potential for an on-road incident while shortening maintenance downtime.”

Read more: https://www.businessfleet.com/157559/keys-to-managing-fleet-safety-with-telematics

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