This world is without emergency brakes. We have safety checkpoints and procedures, but no way of shutting everything down in one area. Humans have identified the emergency, namely Global Warming, but we have no way to apply the brakes.
In fact, most of our modern conveniences were developed to help the disabled and physically handicapped. If people were as aware of the many nuances of disabilities as they are the newest letter being added to LGBT, maybe they would use a map and leave the GPS to those who need it to survive. Instead of Face-timing all night long to coordinate on a video game, they would agree that unlimited data should only exist for those with disabilities.
I live in a city that has allowed the testing of autonomous cars on its streets. The sight of the vehicles with spinning radar and cameras mounted on roof is quite common. Now, a bicyclist in Pittsburgh not only has to worry about the health effects of breathing exhaust, but also what type of mental health effects spinning radar will have in the long run. This used to be only of concern to those in the Navy or Merchant Marines that live aboard vessels with powerful invisible wave technologies.
Advocates for the autonomous vehicles tout the potential for the elderly and disabled to be independent with the technology. I wonder if they ever took a poll to find out how many elderly or disabled people actually want self-driving vehicles. If there are only so many handicap accessible locations and elderly community centers for the autonomous vehicles to drive to, then you aren't really improving much in the way of access to new places. You would be just as successful staffing more manned vehicles to stop at these handicap friendly locations with that research money.
What do you do when you have a vehicle that can take you anywhere in a city built on hills and you can't climb steps? I believe autonomous cars are a scam and dangerous. They are as much of a scam as having more than one mobility chair maker in the United States. If fifty states each have their own powered wheelchair manufacturer, they are simply milking off of Medicare and Medicaid.
Before all this investment in autonomous vehicles there should be a powered robotic wheelchair capable of climbing stairs that is affordable to all disabled people. A truce should be called between these powerchair manufacturers and only two national companies should be allowed to equip the disabled and elderly. The names of these two electric wheelchair companies should be simply Democrat and Republican. The ultimate test for the Democrat chair or Republican chair will be for it to climb five Victorian style wooden exterior stairs.
After all, wouldn't the disabled rather take a bus but be able to climb onto any porch in a city to petition for change? Delivery companies like UPS and Fedex could stop touting the convenience of drone delivery and start using robotic wheelchairs to deliver packages. If they archive each delivery they can gather data of the weight of each package and trajectory or telemetry of each approach to a porch. These robotic chairs may be able to climb 20 stairs with a lighter than human package on board and plug into the truck to run all day. I don't like the idea of Google having pictures of the front of my house published online, but if that data helps a person in a powerchair knock on my door I'll tolerate it.
As my spouse and I collected garbage off the streets of Pittsburgh last Earth Day I couldn't help notice all of the vehicles driving about. It would seem that the initial intent of Earth Day was to try to get people to abstain from driving a greenhouse gas emitting vehicle for one day of the year. So which U.S. city is going to be the first to ask all of its people to abstain from starting an exhaust emitting motor and bar others from entering the city on Earth Day?
A great deal of people around Pittsburgh have a second property in the countryside and many have an ATV for their property or leisure. These ATV's are much more fuel efficient than street legal vehicles and even the side by side ATV's get 50 or 60 miles per gallon while transporting 4 people and gear. If I were elected mayor of Pittsburgh I would announce a plan for Earth Day to put the city on track to having zero emissions on Earth Day. First, on Earth Day there would be free street parking for handicap vehicles citywide. Second, motorcycles would receive free parking in all of the city owned parking garages. Third, the only vehicles allowed to drive on city streets on Earth Day are motorcycles, handicapped vehicles, Port Authority buses, and ATV's of any shape or size. ATV's would only be allowed on secondary roads and not State or Federal interstate systems.
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