Alaboutnothing Official Blog

April 9, 2018

Driver-less /Hands Free Vehicles Editorial

Filed under: Consumer — alaboutnothing @ 6:49 pm
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When I was driving for Uber driver-less cars was the subject of 50% of the conversations and out of that 50%, 80% would not use a driver-less car.  So its been discussed and this is our opinion.

A driver-less car is basically totally controlled by a “CPU” with special software, and the software is probably as complicated as we have ever seen.  Then the software controls a bunch of gadgets like gas pedal, brakes, and just about every other component that it takes to drive the car. Being an “EX” software developer that has written software for over 5 decades and some very complicated (Not like this) we can safely say “There is  no way in hell that this software can completely be tested.  The basic routines probably yes, but the little used routines probably got over-looked or not all the conceivable possibilities that can happen while driving a car are included.”

Just think about how many software AP’s, operating systems, etc. you use that have been around for years and they still get errors?  An error in a driver-less car could mean injury or worse to the passenger. The “CPU” may not know what to do on an error or might use the wrong routine to attempt a solution.

Juts think you might be in the back seat, rock & roll blasting the audio system, enjoying the ride going down 101 South and unknown to you there there is a car chase and the car being chased in Northbound in your lane , about a mile away in your lane, and coming head-on toward you at about 90 MPH.  So in less than a minute the two of you will meet.  You see the other cars going in your direction moving off to the left and right to avoid the oncoming car and then you see it about a 1/4 mile away, coming fast.  You notice the “CPU” has not done anything except flash a warning on the overhead message center that it’s having a problem that it does not know what to do.  Comforting huh?  You thought about jumping in the front seat and take control, but it’s to late.  You can only hope that the car coming at you is going to veer around you but at the last second you see that driver is looking back at the chasing police cars, not at you and “BOOM!”.

You might survive, but if you find yourself floating about a hundred feet over the crash site and you look down and see the driver-less car in about a million and one pieces, and notice there are angels on each side of you guiding upwards, then you probably did not make it.  We you get to the Pearly Gates you see a huge sign, “Driver-less Car victims go to the right and follow the arrows to the processing center.  Everyone else come right in, your party has started.”  When you get to the “Processing Center” you find out that because you died in the hands of a computer/software they did not know you were coming and on their books you had another 80 years to live.  So now they are scrambling for somewhere to put you and because of the outer thousands of souls in your line, it turns out that the Devil is taking the overflow in holding for 30 days and then you will be processed.

So we are taking a humorous look at this, but think about it.  When you get in or use a driver-less car, you have no idea how it functions or what you need to do if it malfunctions.  When you get in that car you are now a “Test Rat” and you are paying to be a “Test at”.  If you have ever driven you know that things come up that even surprised you.  The “chases” example above actually happened to us in Southern California in the mid eighties and the stolen car was a truck driven by a young kid.  When we saw the helicopter, we moved along with everyone else to the side of the road.  The driver-less cars stayed in their lanes. (There were none).

There is another worry is these vehicles use a electronic (GPS) map,  and the map might be wrong.  Example is when I was driving for Uber I was taking three students from Menlo College to China Town and when we were getting close, we came to a stop light.  The “map” said “Go straight a mile and then turn left.”  I showed this to the passengers because looking out the front window we saw that the road went about 1/2 mile and there was a six foot hight brick wall completely across the street blocking all traffic.  You have to ask yourself, “Would a driver-less car noticed?” Of course, the speed limit was only 35 MPH so a minimum of damage would have been done, but hopefully when the car got near it would do a U-Turn and continue on another way.  BUT you being a “Test Rat” don’t know for sure do you?

The only time this soul would get in a driver-less car is if a confirmed report has a comet coming toward Earth and a confirmed report that the comet is going to destroy the Earth, we would take driver-less car to the nearest bar and get really, really drunk. (If we made it that far).

We have nothing else to report and we thank you all for stopping by.  God bless all of you and have a great week,  We think the POTUS should be the first one to use a driver-less car to prove they are safe.

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December 24, 2016

My Uber Journey Journal Entry – Christmas 2016

Filed under: UBER Journey — alaboutnothing @ 8:44 pm
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uber_chopperIt’s finally here, Christmas 2016 and we would like to send out holiday greetings and many blessings to all of our friends and we are happy to include all the Uber riders we have had the honor to serve in the last few months.  It sure has been a journey and we are enjoying every moment and we hope they are also enjoying.

It’s been busy the last few weeks with the holiday parties and travel to places all over the world.

UBER News Flash —  A Toyota Prius was seen and tracked doing 67 MPH in a 65 MPH speed zone!  Yes, I could hardly believe my eyes when I look at me odometer and saw the Prius was 2 MPH faster than the speed limit.  I then checked the plates and found them to be from Canada.  Aha!  I waved as I passed them and thought “Maybe 60 liters per kilometer is doable by Canadians.”

We are still surprised by the riders we pick up and how up-beat everyone is.  The conversations are always a learning experience and no matter what age, it’s always an exchange of ideas and culture.  One common subject of conversation lately has been the “Driver-less” cars.  Since California is demanding Uber get the proper permits and such, Uber has decided to go elsewhere for testing.  We still see the Google cars on the roadways, so they must have complied.  So far the common agreement by many passengers is that they would not want to ride in one yet, even with a driver along just in case.  Most do agree that using “Driverless” semi-trucks across the countries roadways is a great ides, but cars not yet.  The conflict is mainly that mixing driverless cars and cars with drivers is like mixing oil and water.

Uber Newbie Alert — Recently we have heard rumors that there are actually people who don’t understand how the Uber experience works.  Yes, I was shocked too, and then I experienced a call for a ride by an Uber “Newbie”.  Here is what happened – I received a pick up alert and when I accepted I saw that the pick was at Rosewood Hotel a place we pick up riders often.  So I was about 5 miles away at the Stanford Mall and we headed toward Sand Hill road on my way for the pickup, when my phone rang.  I pulled over to answer and when I said “Hello”, I immediately heard “Where are you?” No identification, but the voice sounded like a friend of mine so I said, “At the Stanford Mall on my way to a pick up”.  Then I heard, “How come you are not here and when will you be here?”  I was now confused so I said, “Who is this?”.  The answer was, “Ms Chou and I am waiting at the Rosewood Hotel and you should have been here by now!”  Then she asked “How long until you get here?” I said, “About 10 to 15 minutes depending on the traffic.”  I added that I just received the pickup notice about 20 seconds ago and I was now on my way.  Then she said again, “You should be here now and I don’t want to wait that long so I am going to cancel and call someone else.”  I said, “Okay, that is your choice and the only way I can get there now is to call Scottie from Star-Trek” and have him beam over, but that is an extra fee.” (DUH).  15 minutes later I get another pickup alert for Ms Chou and accept it, knowing that a phone call was imminent and sure enough here she was again.  She said, “Why did you accept this ride request?”  I said, because if I did not it would go on my Uber record as a cancellation and I did not want that to happen.”  She then said, “Just turn off your phone.”  I said, “You should know that you are not the only person in the universe using Uber and I was waiting for the next trip.” She then hung up.  (Probably called Lyft or a cab)

** Uber-Up  — So to Ms Chou (And any other Uber newbie) I dedicate how to Use the Uber APP instructions once you send the request.  Just know that an Uber driver will be receiving the request for pick up and you can see at the lower right of your screen how  many minutes away the driver is and this will update as the driver get closer.  Also when the drive arrives you will be notified that he/she/it has arrived and is waiting.  You have 2 minutes to confirm, and if you don’t the driver has the option to cancel.  That’s it!  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist and 99.9999% of the population has figured this out, and now you know also.

Something I have on order is a dash-cam.  I want to capture the “I own that real-estate lane changers” on video and then post on here.  I have also seen a few close call accidents and figured that if I had one on video it might help the police is solving the case.  Once I was stopped at a red light and a car from behind me swerved around me and sped away through a busy intersection.  I was amazed no one hit him/her/it as they went through and down the street.  So when I get it installed I will be posting some test videos.

We have nothing at add except “Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!”

** Update – Our new catch phrase will be “Uber-Up” for people who have not used Uber.

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