And most other places in the country, for that matter.
Latest vehicle registration figures from the New Zealand Transport Authority show there are more than enough vehicles registered in South Canterbury for every man, woman and child to be on the road at the same time.
On a day where public transport chaos caused by unions affects Auckland we can see the future in an article at The Atlantic. Google’s self driving cars have now logged more than 300,000 miles of driving without a single accident.
The future isn’t rehashed 19th century technology confined to rails and loops, rather it is ubiquitous information highways and computer controlled self driving cars.
Len Brown can moan all he likes about his multi-billion dollar millstone of a rail loop, but he would be better advised to invest in communications infrastructure to support driverless cars and then turn Auckland into a truly spectacular liveable city. He could even drop the $400 million notes required for the Pacific Fibre and pop that into the infrastructure development for the city, it would certainly be more beneficial over a longer term than a stupid rail loop.
Ever since Google began designing its self-driving cars, they’ve wanted to build cars that go beyond the capabilities of human-piloted vehicles, cars that are much, much safer. When Sebastian Thrun announced the project in 2010, he wrote, “According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million lives are lost every year in road traffic accidents. We believe our technology has the potential to cut that number, perhaps by as much as half.”
New data indicate that Google’s on the right path. Earlier this week the company announced that the self-driving cars have now logged some 300,000 miles and “there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control.” (The New York Times did note in a 2010 article that a self-driving car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light, so Google must not be counting the incidents that were the fault of flawed humans.)
For comparison, in the United States in 2009 there were 10.8 million traffic collisions, according to the Census Bureau. That same year, American cars logged some 2.954 trillion miles, for a collision rate of about .365 per 100,000 vehicle miles traveled. Now, you can’t directly compare the two figures. Google’s cars have been tested in pretty hospitable conditions, not facing, for example, the rigors of a New England winter. And, as Google engineer Chris Urmson, writes, they still “need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter.” Additionally, the cars are still driving with “occasional” human control. But at the very least, the Google cars are slowly building a pretty good-looking driving record.
This technology is still at its very early stages and 300,000 miles is not all that big of a sample. According to a “cursory” analysis by Bryant Walker Smith of Stanford Law School, “Google’s cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars. If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles.” We’re still a long way away from there.
A reader emails me:
There are better issues than the Ports of Auckland to focus on…..
Cars and girls….this is a real issue you need to focus on.
.270 or .308 for red deer?
Short Bursts or Full auto?
If a member of your caucus had a gay ute would would you do?
a. Tell him to sell it.
b. Give him a big hug and offer him counseling.
c. Send him to counseling with Chopper Read
d. Ask Chopper to include Gay Utes in his next harden the fuck up skit.
Why does wild venison taste so much better than farmed venison?
What is your favourite wine for getting birds pissed?
A pallet of piss or a few kegs?
Would you go pig hunting with Paula Bennett?
When you are making sausages what is your favourite meat:
What is your preferred method for catching kingfish?
If your hunting dog was not listening would you:
a. Electric collar it
b. Boot it.
c. Send it to time out
If you could personally fire any New Zealand Defence Force Weapon what would it be?
Which of these Shane Jones favourites is better?
a. Debbie Does Dallas
b. Deep Throat
c. Who’s nailin’ Palin?