Not to mention speed limiters.

Mike Sales
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Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Mike Sales » 14 May 2019, 12:26pm

I have been reading the thread on electric car windows, and discovering that car electrics and automatic controls are far more sophisticated than I dreamed, as I have very little to do with cars. It seems to me that the possibilities of all that gadgetry is not exploited as fully as it might be.
I read in the paper that some local authorities want more powers to enforce the engine off when parked law. Don't some cars already switch off when stationary and restart when the go pedal is pressed? Why not all?
I understand a black box can monitor driving, at the behest of insurance companies. If all cars had this a proper analysis of the driving which led to an accident could be done, as with aircraft.
At present there is a considerable margin for error allowed when charging speeders. Why are speedometers not accurate enough to remove this? Errors due to differing inflation pressures could be eliminated with GPS.
Not to mention speed limiters.
Any other ideas?

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby mjr » 14 May 2019, 12:44pm

You're looking for technical solutions to social problems. Ultimately, they won't work. The same people who disable stop-start and diesel pollution filters will disable speed limiters and trackers, or figure out ways to keep vintage vehicles on the road and upgraded to avoid those devices.

Road redesigns and policing are the ways to tackle these things IMO, not car gadgets.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Mike Sales » 14 May 2019, 12:52pm

mjr wrote:You're looking for technical solutions to social problems. Ultimately, they won't work. The same people who disable stop-start and diesel pollution filters will disable speed limiters and trackers, or figure out ways to keep vintage vehicles on the road and upgraded to avoid those devices.

Road redesigns and policing are the ways to tackle these things IMO, not car gadgets.


Why not combining both approaches?
And of course being caught with the gadget disabled would incur the same penalty as lack of insurance, destruction of the car. Speeding would be clear evidence of tampering. Lack of black box evidence after a crash, like failing to give a blood sample when breathalysed, is evidence of guilt.
Edited to add that policing would be made more effective by these gadgets.
And that leaving the engine running while parked is not an offence that the police bother with much, to say the least. Automatic enforcement would be far better.

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby fastpedaller » 14 May 2019, 1:10pm

Mike Sales wrote:
mjr wrote:You're looking for technical solutions to social problems. Ultimately, they won't work. The same people who disable stop-start and diesel pollution filters will disable speed limiters and trackers, or figure out ways to keep vintage vehicles on the road and upgraded to avoid those devices.

Road redesigns and policing are the ways to tackle these things IMO, not car gadgets.


Why not combining both approaches?
And of course being caught with the gadget disabled would incur the same penalty as lack of insurance, destruction of the car. Speeding would be clear evidence of tampering. Lack of black box evidence after a crash, like failing to give a blood sample when breathalysed, is evidence of guilt.
Edited to add that policing would be made more effective by these gadgets.
And that leaving the engine running while parked is not an offence that the police bother with much, to say the least. Automatic enforcement would be far better.


The will to enforce the laws we have seems to be lacking - so adding more laws won't necessarily help.

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby thirdcrank » 14 May 2019, 2:04pm

As I keep posting, autonomous AKA self-driving cars are a lot nearer than some think. A lot of the technology is dressed up in names like driver-assist, but we are approaching the possibility of driver-replace. Car marketing is based on introducing the latest wizardry at the top end of the range first. A big chunk of out economy depends on marketing motor vehicles. Few of the "high-worth individuals" who buy posh motors want to be at the mercy of other road users. eg Nobody will shell out zillions to have a car with a speed limiter when older bangers don't have them.

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Mike Sales » 14 May 2019, 2:42pm

thirdcrank wrote:As I keep posting, autonomous AKA self-driving cars are a lot nearer than some think. A lot of the technology is dressed up in names like driver-assist, but we are approaching the possibility of driver-replace. Car marketing is based on introducing the latest wizardry at the top end of the range first. A big chunk of out economy depends on marketing motor vehicles. Few of the "high-worth individuals" who buy posh motors want to be at the mercy of other road users. eg Nobody will shell out zillions to have a car with a speed limiter when older bangers don't have them.


It would seem plainly wrong to me to have robot drivers programmed to break the law. so speeding and running the engine whilst stopped would be eliminated? The black box would presumably be part of the control programme.
I quite see that "features" are meant to appeal to the buyer/driver, and would not be fitted to cars in order to sell them, but self-driving cars designed to break the law would surely be illegal.
Is being overtaken such a humiliation for a motorist that a swanky driver would instead choose an old car? What a dilemma.

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Vorpal » 14 May 2019, 3:11pm

I think that the insurance industry will drive (sorry about the pun) this for us. Already, people can get a discount for having a dash cam or black box. As evidence accumulates that vehicles with speed limiters, automatic lane changing, etc. are safer, insurance companies will charge people without those things more money, and that will push the market to automation.

I don't imagine that classic vehicles will be taken off the road in anytime in the near future, but they will likely become more expensive to insure.

Unfortunately, that may well mean that being without automation becomes a status symbol of itself.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 14 May 2019, 3:27pm

I'm utterly, completely, 100% for them. Even better, they'll be GPS regulated so we won't have this ludicrous situation where one vehicle is 0.5 MPH faster than another. It's just a shame it'll be cracking on a decade before they're implemented in full, without any ability to switch off or override them.

I wouldn't mess about with black boxes etc. My insurance is only just over £100 fully comp on my venerable old Smart car (33 years no claims, retired for a safe profession, Class 1 trained), so there's no incentive for me to do so. If in future the insurers start to significantly penalise people with old cars that don't have speed limiters of black boxes then I'll simply drive it to the scrappers and go without, and instead of getting £100 quid a year from me they'll get nothing.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby mjr » 14 May 2019, 3:35pm

Mike Sales wrote:Why not combining both approaches?

Because the purely technical solutions are doomed to failure. Even without disabling the gadget (and how's that working out for idling and pollution filters?), there's probably ways of exploiting them to break laws in new and interesting ways.

Plus, it also feels like it's missing some important points, like many cyclist-injuring collisions occur at junctions without breaking the speed limit but still going too fast for the junction.

Mike Sales wrote:And of course being caught with the gadget disabled would incur the same penalty as lack of insurance, destruction of the car. Speeding would be clear evidence of tampering. Lack of black box evidence after a crash, like failing to give a blood sample when breathalysed, is evidence of guilt.
Edited to add that policing would be made more effective by these gadgets.

That sounds a lot like guilty until proven innocent - so why would anyone buy a car with these gadgets? Is your plan to ban all low-tech cars from the roads? I don't think that's tenable - and personally, I feel it's not desirable because we should be moving towards more energy-efficient vehicles, not loading all vehicles down with more and more equipment.

Requiring insurance is already a bit of a dodgy one in a few ways, including that it doesn't apply to various government vehicles and rich people can opt to deposit a bond of just £15,000 instead, but there's a public protection/restitution argument for widespread third-party insurance which IMO doesn't extend to these gadgets.
Mike Sales wrote:And that leaving the engine running while parked is not an offence that the police bother with much, to say the least. Automatic enforcement would be far better.

Maybe, but why use millions of in-car gadgets that are vulnerable to tampering? And why do we care whether it's a new or old car polluting while parked? If not, then a much smaller number of mobile automatic monitoring, initially targetted at sensitive locations like schools, seems a better way forwards to me.

Vorpal wrote:Already, people can get a discount for having a dash cam or black box.

That's far from universal. I think someone on here reported it was cheaper to switch from a black-box policy to a non-BB one after a year or two of incident-free driving.

Vorpal wrote:As evidence accumulates that vehicles with speed limiters, automatic lane changing, etc. are safer, insurance companies will charge people without those things more money, and that will push the market to automation.

I think you mean if evidence accumulates, not as.

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Even better, they'll be GPS regulated so we won't have this ludicrous situation where one vehicle is 0.5 MPH faster than another.

Does GPS have too much lag for regulating, though? As I understand it, GPS shows you the speed you just did (by comparing your current and previous position readings), whereas a speedometer (if calibrated correctly) measures the speed you are now doing (by measuring the axle speed AIUI). So, GPS is fine for evidence of what happened, but the slight lag makes it not as good for regulating current actions. That's why I chose a head-up speed display that wired into my car (so using the same data as the dashboard and the speeding alarm) instead of one of the Gps-based ones.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 14 May 2019, 3:43pm

In answer to your lag question, I'm not entirely sure. I think it depends on the processing power of the receiver to keep making the calculations, but that's not my field I'm afraid. Certainly the EU reckon the effect will be a uniform top speed, and not a slightly variable one that even the best mechanical limiters bestow.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Mike Sales » 14 May 2019, 3:58pm

There are a lot of objections there MJR.
One is that these fixes do not fix everything at once. I see that as a feeble criticism.
They are not perfect. Don't let the good be the enemy of the best. As I suggested, they could be an aid to police enforcement, as well as automatic regulation.
I never imagined that people would want to buy them, but, like other features of cars, they could be obligatory in manufacture.
I had never heard that idling cut-outs were being disabled. Certainly the law banning idling at rest is not working, so pure enforcement has failed.
Clearly destroying cars in which such fixes had been deliberately disabled is a different matter to destroying those which never had them, and surely easily distinguished.
As the on road fleet turns over the number of cars without these features which are legally required on new cars would decrease. This would make speeding, which is almost universal at present, more and more difficult, and the air marginally cleaner.
I meant to suggest that GPS could be used as a reference, over distance, to calibrate speedometers and adjust for inflation etc. This is surely not beyond the capabilities of modern IT.
Roadside monitoring of emissions would need identification and following up of the culprit, just as speed cameras have their problems.
I am surprised you are so implacably opposed to these suggestions.

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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Vorpal » 14 May 2019, 3:58pm

mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:As evidence accumulates that vehicles with speed limiters, automatic lane changing, etc. are safer, insurance companies will charge people without those things more money, and that will push the market to automation.

I think you mean if evidence accumulates, not as.

No. I mean 'as evidence accumulates'. Automation has had significant safety benefits in every other industry where it has been introduced, and it will in motor traffic, as well. There may be some aspects that are initially problematic. Most industries have had issues to resolve with the introduction of automation. The automotive industry is not likely to be different that way.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby mjr » 14 May 2019, 4:12pm

Mike Sales wrote:There are a lot of objections there MJR.
One is that these fixes do not fix everything at once. I see that as a feeble criticism.

I note that you don't quote me there. Probably that's because it's not an objection I made. If you're not going to discuss it properly, I don't understand why you posted it on a forum.

Mike Sales wrote:They are not perfect. Don't let the good be the enemy of the best.

That's a nice cliché, but the "tragedy of targets" is real. You prioritise something because it's easy to measure or control with a gadget (like speed) and that's what gets optimised, not the outcome what you really want (fewer collisions or reduced casualty rates).

Haven't we seen this in action often enough in other transport topics? Take pollution, for example. The pollution measurement devices are put at the kerbside, so the result has often been more junctions repainted to have more lanes because that puts more polluting vehicles in lanes further from the kerb, which probably increases the total pollution in the town because there are now more lane-metres of queuing space available so more vehicles attempt to pass through, but we don't care because we're not measuring as much pollution at the kerbside. :roll:

Selected highlights of the rest:

Mike Sales wrote:I had never heard that idling cut-outs were being disabled.

I'm surprised about that because mine has a button on the dashboard to disable it! (An S inside an Ø.) I don't push it, but it was pointed out by the salesman as a feature. I think lots of people disable it.

Mike Sales wrote:Certainly the law banning idling at rest is not working, so pure enforcement has failed.

I don't think there is any enforcement, so how can you say it's failed? It doesn't seem to be getting any better so it seems likely that gadgets have failed.

Mike Sales wrote:I am surprised you are so implacably opposed to these suggestions.

I wouldn't go so far as saying I'm implacably opposed, but I feel they're a big waste of energy in two ways: firstly, they're burdening cars with more energy-consuming equipment to lug around; and secondly, they'll be a very tough sell to the voting motorists and seem like a massive distraction from sustainable safety.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby mjr » 14 May 2019, 4:14pm

Vorpal wrote:
mjr wrote:
Vorpal wrote:As evidence accumulates that vehicles with speed limiters, automatic lane changing, etc. are safer, insurance companies will charge people without those things more money, and that will push the market to automation.

I think you mean if evidence accumulates, not as.

No. I mean 'as evidence accumulates'. Automation has had significant safety benefits in every other industry where it has been introduced, and it will in motor traffic, as well. [...]

Sounds like you've prejudged the topic.
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Re: Not to mention speed limiters.

Postby Mike Sales » 14 May 2019, 4:34pm

"The good is the enemy of the best" is hardly a cliché, any more than the failure of some targets is.
I thought that your many criticisms of the less than perfect performance of some fixes merited this. I'm sorry if you feel traduced. Even if a fix does not quickly eliminate the problem it may still improve things, but some of your criticisms seemed to me to be on such grounds.
I suppose that when you say that idler cutouts have not reduced pollution you mean that overall traffic emissions are not going down. What I meant was that I pass many parked cars, with and without drivers, with the engine running. The nearest seat to the bus stop I use in town is next to the taxi rank, so I say this with feeling. Enforcement has not deterred this.
I think that most of my suggestions are software modifications of existing devices, so will not add much weight.
Your idea that putting emphasis on speed limits misses the point is one I have come across in other places. You know the objections to it. Slower speeds make the roads less forbidding for us vulnerable road users, impact less likely and less traumatic. Speed is a good proxy for imposing danger on us and needs limiting.
I'm sorry, I'm getting weary of this and propose we agree to differ.