The Self-Driving Car is Already Here

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Your next new car can probably already drive itself. Or at least, can steer itself. Accelerate (and brake) too. Without you doing much – and sometimes, nothing. As these capabilities are refined and – eventually – combined, the car that will drive you instead of you driving it will have arrived right under our noses.

Here’s a look at some of tomorrow’s tech that’s here today:

* Self-Steering –

So far, it’s marketed as assist, but give it time. When engaged, the system uses cameras built into the front end of the car to scan the road ahead. The electronic eyes “see” the yellow center line and the white line to your right and uses those to orient the car. Steering adjustments are made automatically, via electric or hydraulic actuators. You can literally feel the steering wheel being turned by someone – something – other than yourself. The sensation might remind you of being eleven again, sitting in your Dad’s lap, “steering” as he steered the car.

For now, these systems have limited capability. They can’t cope with more than very gentle radius curves – and when they can’t “see” the painted lines on the road, all bets are off. Better pay attention. It’s still important to not take your hands off the wheel. But what’s available now is a preview of what’s to come – and not too far down the road from now. The current systems would have been considered almost magical even five years ago. Five years from now, we’ll look back on them like we do brick phones.

But it’s a window into the future – which will get here faster than most of us probably expect.

* Self-acceleration (and braking) – 

Cruise control has been around for decades, but it has – until recently – required close human supervision. If you didn’t pay attention to the ebb and flow of traffic, your set speed of 45 MPH could result in your car pile-driving into the bumper of a car ahead doing 34 MPH. It was up to you to apply the brakes, in the event traffic up ahead slowed. And then it was up to you – again – to apply pressure to the accelerator, to bring the car back up to speed.

Cue Inspector Clouseau voice…. not anymore!

The latest adaptive cruise control systems can adjust you vehicle’s speed in relation to the ebb and flow of traffic without you doing a thing (other than engaging the system and dialing in your set speed). If you set 45 MPH and then encounter a car up ahead doing 34, your car will automatically reduce speed and maintain a two or three (or four) car length following distance (you can adjust this, usually), accelerating – and braking – as necessary. Some of the newest systems can bring the car to a complete stop without you touching the brake pedal at all – and then resume speed without you touching the accelerator at all.

Yeah. It takes some getting used to.

Variations of this technology are also used to emergency brake on your behalf. The systems are called collision mitigation (or something along those lines) and – like adaptive cruise control – use radar or laser as proximity sensors, constantly scanning the road ahead. If some object – including a pedestrian, in some cases – is detected in the path of the vehicle and you (the soon-to-be-replaced driver) don’t apply the brakes in time (as judged by the computer), the computer will apply the brakes for you. Several current model-year cars are in theory impossible to crash (head on) because a potential crash can be anticipated and avoided by the computer.V2V pic

Inattentive humans are being taken out of the equation.

Next year (for the 2017 model year) Cadillac will be the first major car company to fit its new cars with what’s called V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication capability. The cars will talk to each other – and we won’t be included in the conversation. Car A will let car B know it is approaching an intersection ahead. Each car will adjust to accommodate the other. Without your meddling, stupid human.

Other decisions about driving are being taken out of our hands, too.

Most new cars will protest mightily if you try to use the pull-up parking brake to make a turn (assuming the car has a pull-up parking brake; fewer and fewer new cars do). The radio volume will automatically turn itself down whenever the transmission is put into Reverse. While at the same time, a warning will flash on the LCD display screen (most new cars have these, too) advising you to “Check surroundings for safety.” I’ve never seen “safety” myself. He is an elusive fellow.idiocracy pic

I’ve had at least one new car (BMW) refuse to let me back the car up, old school style – with the driver’s side door cracked open and me looking rearward using my eyes rather than relying on remote view cameras. The computer took the car out of gear. Forget the Soup Nazi. The Safety Nazi is the new boss.

No backing up for you!

We’ve been pre-empted. The idea being that it’s better to idiot-proof cars than expect people to not be idiots. Those of us who aren’t idiots will resent this, of course. But we’ll taken along for the ride regardless.

We’re almost there.

This close.

Drivers Ed – and driver’s licenses – may well soon be as quaint as vinyl LPs.

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning!

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Another take on the self-driving car that hits home:

    “Leaving aside technical, financial, and cultural issues for the moment, the question I’d really like to see us thinking about now — before we really need the full answers — is how we’re going to prevent mass government abuse of these vehicles.

    The amount of video and other data these vehicles will be collecting
    will be immense. You can bet governments will want it, both in
    individual cases and en masse. Governments will want to know where every car is or was, every moment. They will make license plate scanners totally obsolete.

    They will want remote control capabilities. Whether or not vehicles can be started. Whether they will keep running or automatically pull over to the side of the road to await a police vehicle (or drive into the nearest police station, with the windows and doors locked?) if they believe a suspect is inside. Whether or not you can drive if you haven’t been paying your bills or are having a legal dispute. They will want the ability to block all vehicles from areas where they don’t want to be observed, and shoo all vehicles already there out of the area. This means individual and en masse remote control. Pretty powerful stuff.”

    — Lauren Weinstein (https://lwn.net/Articles/658951/)

  2. You know what else is already? They’re growing mechanical trees. They grow to their full height. And then they chop themselves down.

    And Three Quantum Lepton Atomic Spin Light Miles From Here, Tor Sharkey Copy Pastes And Edits Laurie Anderson to say:

    All of life comes from some strange lagoon. It rises up, it bucks up to it’s full height from a boggy swamp on a foggy night. It creeps into your house. It’s life! It’s life!

    Deep in the heart of darkest America. Home of the brave.
    I turn around, and it’s fear. I turn around again, and it’s love.
    Nobody knows me. Nobody knows my name.

    Ha! Ha! Ha! You’ve already paid for this.

    Listen to my heart beat.

    Somewhere Plucky The Owl Flies Excellently And Is A Most Excellent Bird. Being Most Excellent To Each And Every Other Excellent Bird
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=335_1423514563

    This is the picture. I see pictures of site visitor people. And we’re all standing on our heads, excellent visitors and ready. For you… we’re looking out.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azj9WD4sU0M

    Catching up, moving in. Spontaneously praexeologically we all jump up. Now we can land on our feet, look out.

  3. Interesting take on the future of commercial driverless cars:

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2492191,00.asp

    “There are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. alone. There are nearly 1 million professional bus drivers. There are a quarter million taxi drivers and chauffeurs. We quickly get to 5 million jobs before we even get to UPS, FedEx, general delivery vans, the U.S. Post Office, florist delivery, Domino’s Pizza, etc. It adds up to a lot of pro drivers. And let’s not even get into Uber.
    I can assure you that the Teamsters Union (1.3 million), among other groups, are going to take a hammer to these machines and set back implementation where it is needed most.”

    It will be very interesting to watch the various special interests get going when these things become commercially available. If they’re allowed to exist, expect to see massive taxation of the vehicles in order to offset the lost revenue from the IRS. And another set of taxes/transfer payments to pay for the unemployment and “worker retraining” from all those displaced workers.

    But as long as businesses save a dollar over paying for a human worker, they’ll push ’em through.

    • Hi Eric,

      Yup.

      Mass unemployment looms for anyone who drives for a living (this includes me).

      I am certain it’s going to happen, too. The corporate company town overlords who own this country – own the world – will see to it. Just as they made sure we got “free trade” with China.

      The question is: Will the volk accept it? I think so, yes. Americans – in general – are a shockingly passive people, despite all the crap talk about this being the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” I mean, think about it. People – in general – accept not only having their own junk fondled by government goons, they permit this to be done to their children, to cripples and old people.

      So long as they have fuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttttball and beer and EBT…. yes, they will accept it.

      • The biggest problem is that the masses not only accept it they will ridicule and beat down the individuals who don’t. No liberty until the schools are out of government hands. They condition us to be domestic livestock from the time we are little children so it is what we see. Even those of us who more or less survive are damaged.

  4. Some state roads here don’t have the white side line while the minor state and paved township roads have no lines at all. That represents a the majority of the byways out in the Styx. Best of luck without those visual cues. The pesky road debris, wildlife, road kill and potholes along with switchbacks and hairpins and bridges freezing before road surfaces makes the self driving car as realistic as George Jetson’s flying space buggy.

      • Striping dirt is a fools endeavor. Ask anyone fielding a sports team.

        Letting the car self-drive as the human operator becomes accustomed to being wholly distracted/inattentive/comatose behind the wheel is a death sentence. As with automated planes and trains operating in tightly controlled environments, humans dozing on the controls is frowned upon.

  5. These features can be very helpful. I recently drove my GFs non-adaptive cruise control equipped car on a longish road trip, and it was a handful in semi-heavy freeway traffic — almost took it off cruise control altogether rather than keep drifting slowly closer to the car ahead of me, since I’m used to the cruise keeping me at a comfortable distance.

    Yes, I get your fears of the nasty places the government might take this — but we’re this close to having what amounts to a built in chauffeur working for free.

    • “a built in chauffeur working for free.”
      Hardly – you just pay for it up front all at once instead of weekly.
      And what if you don’t want a chauffeur? As I understand it, these things can’t be turned off.

      • Unless you’re driving a car several multiples of the salary of a chauffeur, such as nothing on the road now at all, the upfront cost of these features is a tiny fraction of what a chauffeur would cost over the lifetime of a car.

        Some of these features have to be turned on — last I checked, cruise control takes you manually engaging it — and yes, this could go in bad directions with politicians seeking to control every bit of our life — but some of this technology is really useful.

    • I and every other trucker just wish to hell everyone would learn to use a cruise. I was just discussing this yesterday with a colleague since he brought it up because of a woman doing this to him, passing him and then slowing down. WTF is up with that. I’d as soon every car on the road went faster than me and I could just stay in the right lane and only have to pass slower trucks.

      But no, that’s not what all the clovers out there want. It’s not dangerous enough for them. What makes people in cars and pickups drive faster than a big rig but need to slow down once they’ve passed? It just doesn’t make sense.

      Their thinking: Well, I just passed that big rig but he’s not speeding up, must be a cop ahead, never mind he’s going 5mph slower than the PSL, so I better slow a bit. Does it never occur to people that big rig is speed limited….and that it’s on cruise control…..and slowing down can ruin the run you have on a hill…..and that slows down the rigs behind him and then everybody is having to step on their brakes, even harder as more rigs are slowed and all this makes it more dangerous for everybody out there? And still, why in hell be going faster and come up on a rig, pass it and then slow down? Hey Vern, I just don’t get it. And it goes on all day every day.

      Ok, I realize I have no clue as to what people like that are thinking. My best guess is they aren’t…..thinking.

      BTW, when you see a bunch of big rigs on the brakes slowing down, they probably haven’t colluded to all test their brakes at the same time, more than likely they see something you don’t, probably clover slowing down rapidly for whatever reason they do that. Still, unfortunately, it’s not legal for us to run their ass over and be done with it.

      And those a-holes with ten times as much power per lb. as a big rig get to the end of the entrance lane on a freeway and not speed up enough to get out in front of a line of trucks but once everyone has had to move over and some have to slow, they speed up and go around all those trucks they made slow down just so they didn’t have to push a bit further on the fuel feed? It won’t break the bank or hurt the engine or use enough more fuel you could ever even figure it……..so what’s up with that?

      • Eightsouthman,

        There are certain roads that have mild inclines. It is not significant, but if one is not attentive to their driving, it will result in the slowing of their vehicle (often a 10 to 20 mph drop in speed). This results in a traffic jam for no legitimate reason (such as construction or a crash).

        (I am thinking specifically of the Staten Island Expressway East from Exit 8 to Exit 12 and the GSP South after Exit 98 near mile 94. Others roads exist, but these stand out to me.)

        People attentive to their driving would maintain their speed on the up slope of the road and not cause traffic to bunch up.

        Regarding large trucks and other big vehicles:

        I have no need nor desire to travel along side these potential death (to me) machines. Either I pass and put the vehicle fading in my rear view mirror or a drop back a good distance behind them.

        If they happen to pass me while I am in the right lane driving relatively slowly, they will soon fade from my view as they continue at their rate of travel.

        This nuisance is almost as bad as the Left Lane Loser that blocks traffic in the left lane.

        • Mith, I could write a book on this. But in the US, virtually everything has cruise control and the interstates I travel have very little change in incline for the most part. I can drive a car or pickup and change speed with a cruise control to an infinitesimal amount and this is with not so new vehicles.

          Grossing 80,000 lbs with my truck running 70 mph, it doesn’t take much of an incline to drop the speed since the engine isn’t high hp. Cars on the other hand, have little power to make up to maintain the same speed and the ones I speak of, I know well, have driven and know the power of the engines and know the ability of those vehicles to maintain a constant speed almost no trucks could. But the drivers evidently don’t use the cruise, a standard item on the vehicles I speak of. It’s insane to pass a truck, even at only one mph and not continue to move past it at that rate. But it’s done constantly, often when my truck is actually losing a small amount of speed.

          Why is this? Idiocy as far as I can tell. Tahoes, Infinity SUV’s, new pickups of all sorts as well as new cars of all types come standard with cruise that works nearly perfectly. I realize some lowball cars don’t come standard with cruise and I’m aware of the models and makes that may not come standard, of which there are few these days. But when Tahoes, Explorers, and all sorts of foreign makes of an expensive nature don’t maintain a speed after they pass, I can only think the drivers are stupid, incompetent fools.

          After all, when someone comes up on you fairly rapidly and then slows down after a pass, in a place where DPS abound, it tells me they are not competent. All they need to do is to not change their cruise speed. I can’t change mine. It’s against the Speed Limiter and not only does the rpm not change but the speed rarely change and if anything, falls off due to hills. But my point is, they are passing a truck that only runs 70 mph in a 75 mph zone which most people are running close, or to, 80 mph. So why do they not maintain that speed they used to overtake you when you saw that vehicle a mile or two back? It makes no sense but it happens constantly.

          It makes no sense, even if they’re merely running a half mph faster than you(a passing speed for trucks, one you can easily see and have to wait to complete a pass)for a car to not continue on it’s half mph faster speed. I’m certainly not the only trucker to have this happen and piss me off. It’s so stupid. it’s dangerous but most of the danger is for the vehicles behind me, big rigs mostly, that are pacing me and then I have to fall off and so they have to fall off too and then on back down the line it goes but the amount of speed each vehicle has to scrub increases as the line increases. That truck that’s coming up on me at a mph either has to pull out, depending on traffic or cut their speed and so that gets sent back to other trucks traveling at nearly the same speed. All because some dolt can’t simply leave the cruise on or use the damned thing.

          A month ago I bent a new bumper on a Peterbilt because a brand new Tahoe with people almost my age, went around me and then slowed to the point of me slowly overtaking them. My speed hadn’t changed but once around me, and 5 mph below the speed limit, they simply backed off just enough to make me close the gap on them. So they didn’t like that Pete on their ass and sped up…….very slightly, only to slow down again. Why the hell did they come on me and pass me just to slow down? It certainly wasn’t because of the vehicle they were driving that maintains a speed within much less than a mph. This crap goes on for mile after mile with them slowing and then speeding up a bit and slowing, on and on. The problem was, they stayed out in front of me by only a couple hundred feet at the most and sometimes not more than 50 feet. Meanwhile I’m doing the same speed and cussing them. We come up on a curve and my trailer is leaning to the outside so I don’t want to cut hard and would have no need to do so except when they were at a minimum distance, they all of a sudden swerve since they obviously look at the road right in front of their hood ornament, and whip the Tahoe to the right, exposing a big piece of concrete with a post embedded in it that had fallen off a trailer that had passed me many miles back, a stupid idiot with a 16 foot utility trailer with a bunch of junk on it. I tried to swerve to the right but being on a curve to the left, had a limited amount of space(very limited since they had dropped back very close to me) and I hit the offending flotsam with my new bumper bending it and scraping it and damned near making me lose control. Another foot to the right and no telling what would have happened.

          Oh, don’t get me wrong, I blame the fool losing crap off a trailer but I can avoid what I can see and I can’t see something obscured by a brand new vehicle who won’t stay away from me. It’s little shit like this that gets people killed. There is no excuse for it.

          Yesterday a buddy I run with had a similar situation with a woman doing the same to him. He has big power and no speed limiter so he runs up over 80 mph and doesn’t let her pass on the inside after she’d just dropped back and then sped back up. He gave her the old air horn and she backed off. He dropped back to 75 and them set his cruise and she stayed behind him. He called me and was cussing, telling me what was going on. I sympathized and wished, once again, I had no speed limiter.

          You can credit a lot of this to those fools who limit trucks but have no understanding of the road. I don’t care if I run over 70 for the most part, but at times, need to run well over 80 to simply avoid crap like this. Without those clovers doing that shit though, it wouldn’t be necessary.

          A friend who is a truck driver had a GF who wanted to go on a long run with him but admitted she hated truckers for the things she thought they did to her in her car. She trucked for a couple months with him and admitted she was dead wrong and wondered how he survived the bs non-commercial drivers do all the time. And the enforcers and deciders hold trucker to a higher degree of safety than non-CDL drivers, a totally unfair approach to it all considering the consequences of non-CDL bad driving.

          The rules of the road are totally unfair to drivers who live on the road and do their best to be safe.

          So, don’t play games, keep the shiny side up and watch out for the fools who can’t drive…….and there’s plenty of them.

          • I think a lot of drivers think they’re less likely to get a ticket if they’re not the lead vehicle. Also they think they’re safer when they’re in the far right lane where they’re less visible.

            This is what causes them to drive 85 or whatever, and then suddenly slow to a few mph over the speed limit when they consequently become the lead driver in a pack.

            Most things are like that in America. Some kind of civic superstition becomes the norm.

            A bizarre scrambling of terrorized lemmings stampeding in mindless hysteria due to threats of violence and theft by the predatory ruling class.

      • Last night I am crawling along at 55mph on CC in the second to right lane because the rightmost lane is closed for something or the other. Trucker moving along slower yet so I have move left lane and pass him on CC. Another trucker goes around me on my left and eventually moves over in front of the first trucker. Then there’s enough space in pause between everyone rushing around so I move back right and guess who’d now doing 65 or more? First trucker.

        Truckers often force me out of the right lane if I am to maintain 55 then I am stuck next to them and other truckers are on my ass… Driving the PSL is annoying in every way possible.

            • They are legal for private operated vehicles (-VA & DC), but not for commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds nationwide. Its a federal law. Illinois, New York and New Jersey have additional laws against commercial drivers having radar detectors.

              California and Minnesota prohibit radar detectors from being mounted on the windshield.

        • BrentP, do they have those bans on the inside lane for truckers? That’s really a drag since nobody is just going ot get into that lane and stay. But the a-holes that inhabit city councils, as in this state, can enact that for their city and the other a-holes of the county can do the same. It’s sure nice to have laws enacted by people who are simply selfish. They like to pick on truckers(every little town through the metroplex) who only want to pass the clovers who don’t know what’s going on. I have yet to see an idiot that brakes hard or floors it to whip across four lanes with no signal nearly getting run over by trucks and cars in the process get stopped by a revenooer. But just let that trucker do 66 in a clear lane where the PSL is 60(pure revenooing)and some dick with lights and radar are making his day into a bad one.

          i can promise you truckers are cussing people who do 55. it causes them to have to back out and lose momentum and end up crawling up hills, a truckers nightmare. But let’s not let logic and physics get in the way of collecting revenue.

          • Trucks must be in the right two lanes on much if not all of I-294. Not that they obey it.

            I don’t care who doesn’t like me going 55mph. I just don’t care. It’s an absurd set up and it has to go away. Anyone who doesn’t like it can complain to the state legislators who still haven’t figured out how to write a law to force the bureaucrats and executive to set a proper speed limit. It’s been years now since the 70mph limit was passed. So now the parts of the state that should be speed derestricted are now 70mph but where most everyone lives is still in the Nixon era. The bureaucrats fudged the speed studies so when they get around to it they might increase it to 60mph.

            I’m done playing the stupid game of who gets picked by the cop. Done with it. Years ago when the a-hole state cops drove 90+mph they didn’t ticket people driving slower than them. Now they do. That’s was the last straw for me. The game is so tilted now it’s not playable. First the super-speeder laws to put anyone doing 81+ mph in prison and now the cops cruising at 90+ to choose who ticket. The game just isn’t even remotely playable now. So 55mph it is and I don’t care who is inconvenienced. They want a government, they vote for a government, they can’t conceive of the sun coming up in the morning without a government, so f’ em. They’ll be getting their 55mph automated cars soon enough anyway they might as well get used to it.

  6. So can I drink and not drive? Much of the drug laws use the specter of drunk or stoned people driving as a motivation. What happens when that is gone?

      • Bob Will’s day 1983 or so and the ABC shows up, TABC(tX. alcoholic beverage commission). A friend is on his own property watching the goings on in the “city park” next door, just a pasture next to his pasture he was in. It was about midnight and he gets accosted by these piggies for pissing on his own land in full view of 5,000 people, people who couldn’t see him nor cared how many times he pissed. It was a very peaceful even till the LEO’s showed up en masse.

        it makes no difference what it is, insert piggies and it becomes something not fun at all. If Bob had been alive that year, he would have raised hell.

  7. Small typo. “won’t be included int he conversation”

    Just wait. V2V computers have a little conversation about a outside programmed parameters unavoidable collision.

    car1 : I have one adult driver
    car2 : I have two adults and three children
    car1 : OK, I’ll sacrifice my driver to save your five occupants. (drives you off the cliff)
    car2 : Agreed. See you in silicon heaven.

    • Not so fast. They first have to connect to a government database and find the value of each person to the government-corporate farm. When it turns out the car with one adult driver who is 40 years old and generates $2,000,000 in corporate productivity per year while paying $40,000 in taxes and costing the corporation $100,000 in total employment costs and the family is a bunch of welfare recipients with a net carrying cost of $65,000 a year… watch the family get driven off the cliff.

      That folks is what comes down and has come down to for a very long time. Remember the Ford Pinto case when it came to light the government had automakers calculate the costs of safety mandates vs the economic value of the people who would be saved by them? Now in the 1970s they had to do it by averages. Today, with total information awareness the powers that be could make that calculation in a few seconds on an individual basis should they set up a system to do so.

      • DUDE, WHAT have you been SMOKING…? 😉
        The welfare leech votes for more government.
        Someone stupid enough to work instead? They’re everywhere….
        4 votes > 1 vote….

        (Tongue in cheek, I’m sure you know – but might be true, too!)

        • The workers vote for far more govt than the welfare leeches. Leeches just want their free shit and at most, a system to inhibit the more capable and productive so they at least have a chance.

          The workers want their govt to help the poor in other countries. To bring their beliefs to the world. To stop the bad guys as they perceive them.

          The workers demand war and state charities. The workers want to be part of national greatness and do amazing things as a whole.

          The workers were harnessed to win the fights of cowboys versus indians. Such that no one can be an indian anymore.

          The workers are harnessed to win the latest fight of cops versus cowboys. Which in their end games, means no one can be a cowboy anymore.

          You can’t run around naked and live off the land and enjoy all the squaws and children you can handle anymore. That war is over.

          If they triumph fully in their current war, you won’t be able to ride around on a horse or a vehicle doing your own thing without answering to anyone else anymore. That war will be over.

          You can either contribute somewhere like here, send a few dollars. Take action now.

          Or let the battles play out, and wake up one day where you’ve always known you’d end up.

          A world where nothing of significance you do is off the grid. Outside their surveillance. Not measured and compared as part of their statistics and analysis.

          A world where you as an individual can ever be anything but cattle.

          A world where there is no anonymity. No hiding behind a corporate veil. No getting lost in the crowd.

          A world of interdependent worldwide cattle, where everyone monitors everyone elses everything. Some people end up in a hellhole confinement pen. Others are “lucky” to be in some kind of confined free-range captivity.

          But captive cattle, you surely will be.

          The self-caging cattle are already here. There all around you.

          Get yourself an airline sickness bag, and go read any articles and any public internet comments about VW, I dare you.

          All your high-minded beliefs about ‘golden rules” will come to naught.

          Because you can’t do anything to others, when you lack the very capacity to do anything important of your own volition in the first place.

          That the first rule of NAP, you do whatever it takes to have the capability to exercise your principles.

          When you’re trapped inside some system of subdivided military industrial economic machine, there is no individual principles or actions any longer.

          Isn’t it time to pay up, and see how far down the rabbit hole you can still go. And equally important, how long you can stay down there. How well you can live down there, outside your local control matrix.

          Are you really going to risk being down by the river and on your own, over some tiny fractional 7% of required site funding.

          I hope somebody among us isn’t that foolish, and is able to do something about it.

          • Now the Indians are dressin’ up like cowboys
            And the cowboys are puttin’ leather and turquoise on
            And the music gets sold by the lawyers
            And the fools who fiddled in the middle of the stations are gone

            Some folks say they’ll never miss them
            Fiddle screeched like the engine break
            Ol’ Cherokee Fiddle gone forever
            Like the sound that the whistle on an old locomotive make

            So when you smell the smoke and the cinders
            Slick your hair back, open up your case
            Play Cherokee Fiddle, play for the whiskey
            Good whiskey never let’s you lose your place
            No, good whiskey never let’s you lose your place

            • So this morning I’m running a really bad road, so rough springs are slapping, the cab’s popping and the trailer and tractor are doing a snake dance. I have a really funky radio that responds to just the slightest touch and loves to change channels and even bands just because you happened to hit the volume/adjust everything else button just to turn it up or down. Well, my station disappeared so I begin to blindly punch(can’t look now)the buttons that change channels. I’m doing it slowly sorta….and then I hit a powerful station so I leave it because it’s playing the intro to Cherokee Fiddle by Johnny Lee. it was deja vu….all over again(RIP Yogi). I sang along.

              The next song was one of them country things, the new type, a guy speaking of dropping his cell phone talking to his girl on the outs with him. What a great song…….and I changed channels immediately, or at least tried to. But then I hit that perfect control, the Off button…..aaaahhhh!

      • BrentP, exactly. Back in ’76 we lived in near Cedar Park, Tx. and drove to Austin frequently. There was a new subdivision built on the west side of 183 and every day there were wrecks, often bad ones, from no turn lane with people(this was 55mph time but everybody ignored it)wanting to go home and two lanes of high speed traffic to contend with. Thousands of people had complained and it was a scandal from all the deaths. One day a DPS is chasing a speeder and rear-ends a Pinto so hard it went into the oncoming lane to head-on a Chevelle and countless people piled up into each other from both directions with people being killed and lots injured.
        This shit had been going on over a year with no results but after Mr. high and mighty DPS was the cause(no other way to spin it)of that bad wreck, the next day a survey crew was on the scene and less than two weeks later the highway was widened and a turning lane from both directions was made, the fastest highway reformation I have ever seen.

        It didn’t satisfy people and there were countless suits against that trooper and the state.

      • Good point Brent. My scenario was a simplification to point out that ‘your’ car may decide to kill you.

        However I doubt contacting the database real time will be necessary. A ranking system will likely be pre-programmed at startup based on the driver having to insert their chipped drivers license. Politicians, government teat-suckers, oinkers and the well connected ($$$$$) will obviously be ranked as worth saving over mundanes in all scenarios.

        • And with that you have made a good point about the social and political nature of it all and pointed out a new feature. The special people will be given priority in traffic. Other vehicles commanded to make way, lights change favorably, and so on.

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