Friday, June 24, 2016
CNN (6/23, Howard, 2.4M) reports a major social and safety dilemma arises in the debate over self-driving cars: passengers or pedestrians. A new study published in the journal Science sets out hypothetical driving scenarios in which decisions have to be made to save either the lives of pedestrians or the lives of the passengers in the self-driving car, but are these cars capable of making such ethical decisions? After six months of conducting nearly 2,000 surveys, researchers found that “76% of respondents believed it is more moral for a driverless vehicle to sacrifice one passenger rather than 10 pedestrians when faced with such a scenario. However, 81% of respondents said they would rather own a car that protected them and their family members at all costs.” PBS NewsHour (6/23, Griffin, 209K) adds the study also found that “Even when people imagine being in a car with a family member or even with their own child, they still said the car should kill them for the greater good,” according to the study’s lead author and psychological scientist Jean-Fraçois Bonnefon of the Toulouse School of Economics.
ABC News (6/23, Jahdi, 4.15M) reports that road tests for self-driving cars are currently underway across the country, bringing this idea into a reality. However, on of the major barriers keeping these cars off the market is deciding “how to program these vehicles’ safety rules in the most socially acceptable and ethical way.” The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to release updated guidelines on autonomous vehicles and automated safety technology this summer. Iyad Rahwan, an author of the study, added “That is over one million global deaths annually. But as we work on making the technology safer, we need to recognize the psychological and social challenges.” The Los Angeles Times (6/23, Kaplan, 4.12M) reports Rahwan continued his interpretation of the variant survey results saying “People want to live in a world in which driverless cars minimize casualties, but they want their own car to protect them at all costs.”
The Wall Street Journal (6/23, Marcus, Subscription Publication, 6.27M) also reports.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Los Angeles police, Chrysler investigate recalled SUV’s role in actor’s death.
In continuing coverage, news outlets report that there is growing concern that a defect in a recalled vehicle may have played a role in the death of Hollywood actor Anton Yelchin. ABC World News Tonight (6/21, story 8, 1:30, Muir, 14.63M) reported that Yelchin was killed after he was pinned by his 2015 Jeep Gran Cherokee. ABC adds that last summer, the NHTSA “began looking into complaints about the gear shifter in Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler 300s and Dodge chargers.” In April 2016, Chrysler issued a voluntary recall over reports of the rollaway cars contributing to 212 crashes and 41 injuries.
Reuters (6/21, Shepardson) reports that the Los Angeles police and Chrysler are separately investigating whether the recalled problem contributed to the crash. The NHTSA “said it is in touch with both to hear their findings.”
NBC Nightly News (6/21, story 7, 2:05, Holt, 16.61M) reported that Chrysler said the recall will involve a software upgrade for the electronic gear shifter that will be ready in July and August. However, NBC notes that “typically, 30 percent to 40 percent of drivers don’t get their cars fixed after receiving a recall notice.”
The New York Times (6/21, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 14.18M) reports that Center for Auto Safety Executive Director Clarence Ditlow said, “There was no sense of urgency on Chrysler’s part or NHTSA’s part given the potential for death or injury.” The Times points out that the NHTSA “had publicly chastised the company, which acknowledged delaying recalls in almost two dozen cases going back to 2013 and affecting millions of vehicles.” NHTSA Head Mark Rosekind had said at the time, “This represents a significant failure to meet a manufacturer’s safety responsibilities.” Chrysler promised to speed up its recalls and agreed to pay close to $105 million in penalties.
Cars (6/21, Schmitz, 876K) reports that the incident has also renewed concerned about electronic gear selectors. The article explains that instead of a conventional gear-shifter that “slides along a track and clicks into varied positions,” the electronic selector “snaps back into a central position upon selection and that position is indicated by lights.”
Friday, June 3, 2016
Several carmakers announce additional Takata recalls.
Several news outlets report that additional carmakers have announced recalls of Takata air bag inflators on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal (6/2, Spector, Subscription Publication, 6.27M) report that General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler Vans, Jaguar-Land Rover, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz issued recalls on Thursday, according to NHTSA filings. The article writes that additional recalls are expected over the months and years ahead. The article explains that the NHTSA is carrying out the recalls in stages and will prioritize the recall in states with hot and humid climates where the airbags are more vulnerable.
USA Today (6/2, Bomey, 6.31M) mentions that the latest recalls add an additional 4.4 vehicles to the recall. The article reports that car owners can check if their car is affected by the recall on NHTSA’s website. The article adds that nearly “all major automakers are affected by the recall in some capacity.”
Detroit Bureau (6/2, Eisenstein) adds that the recall has put a financial strain on Takata and the company is The airbag recall has put Takata under a severe financial strain and allegedly looking for a buyer. The article mentions that takeover specialist Kohlberg Kravis Roberts may step in.
Bloomberg News (6/2, Plungis, 2.07M) features a detailed analysis of the Takata air bag recall, which first started in 2008.
International Business Times (6/2, Chabba, 670K), Reuters (6/2, Shepardson), Consumerist (6/2, 45K), Cars (6/2, Newman, 876K) also reports on the story.
GM disagrees with NHTSA on Takata recall. The AP (6/2, Krisher) reports that General Motors says that the parts in it its trucks and SUVs do not pose a safety risk. The NHTSA disagrees with GM’s assessment and says it has to go through two more recalls, which are part of the first round of Takata’s recall expansion that was announced in May. GM “said that it would begin the recall process in cooperation with the NHTSA even though it doesn’t believe inflators in its trucks are unsafe.” The article suggests that GM’s resistance is surprising since it only recently went through the ignition switch scandal.