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Collision course: pedestrian deaths are rising – and driverless cars aren't likely to change that

The Guardian

In 2010, the small community of specialists who pay attention to US road safety statistics picked up the first signs of a troubling trend: more and more pedestrians were being killed on American roads. That year, 4,302 American pedestrians died, an increase of almost 5% from 2009. The tally has increased almost every year since, with particularly sharp spikes in 2015 and 2016. Last year, 41% more US pedestrians were killed than in 2008. During this same period, overall non-pedestrian road fatalities moved in the opposite direction, decreasing by more than 7%. For drivers, roads are as safe as they have ever been; for people on foot, roads keep getting deadlier. Through the 90s and 00s, the pedestrian death count had declined almost every year. No one would have confused the US for a walkers' paradise – at least part of the reason fewer pedestrians died in this period was that people were driving more and walking less, which meant that there were fewer opportunities to be struck. But at least the death toll was shrinking. The fact that, globally, pedestrian fatalities were much more common in poorer countries made it possible to view pedestrian death as part of an unfortunate, but temporary, stage of development: growing pains on the road to modernity, destined to decrease eventually as a matter of course.


The Life and Death Decision AI Robots will Have to Make

Forbes - Tech

How comfortable are we leaving life and death decisions up to robots? While machines can crunch all the data, they must be programmed by humans to use that data. That means we as humans need to grapple with these scenarios to instruct machines on how to make decisions regarding life and death matters. From autonomous cars to drones deciding what targets to hit to robotic doctors, we're at the point where many are contemplating the life and death decisions AI robots will have to make. At first, the decisions we imagine machines needing to make don't seem that troubling.


Watch Torc Robotics' Autonomous Car Share the Road with Pedestrians - FutureCar.com

#artificialintelligence

Pedestrians continue to be a tricky thing for autonomous technology to get down. After Uber's incident where one of its self-driving Volvo's struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz. the focus on autonomous vehicles is how they can share the road with people. While current technology can detect other vehicles and is starting to get good at detecting cyclists, pedestrians continue to be a sore spot. Pedestrians, cyclists, and human drivers are tricky things to get right. And it takes us years to understand that, for us to be able to know that we should look out for bad drivers and to share the road with others.


The Life And Death Decision AI Robots Will Have To Make

#artificialintelligence

How comfortable are we leaving life and death decisions up to robots? While machines can crunch all the data, they must be programmed by humans to use that data. That means we as humans need to grapple with these scenarios to instruct machines on how to make decisions regarding life and death matters. From autonomous cars to drones deciding what targets to hit to robotic doctors, we're at the point where many are contemplating the life and death decisions AI robots will have to make. At first, the decisions we imagine machines needing to make don't seem that troubling.


Patent describes how Lyft's self-driving cars might communicate

Engadget

Safety is a major concern when it comes to autonomous vehicles, for both the people they're transporting as well as those who are nearby. And it's not yet clear how or even if self-driving cars will communicate with the people around them. But Lyft has just been granted a patent that gives us a look at how it might be planning to address this issue. The patent describes a system that would first detect the location of individuals around the autonomous vehicle and then choose an appropriate message that could be displayed to them via screens and signs on the car itself. "Drivers and pedestrians are accustomed to interacting in particular ways, removing a driver from some vehicles can lead to uncertainty and miscommunication," says the patent.