My suburban neighbors get their panties in a twist periodically over the issue of people speeding along narrow two-lane roads bordered by houses and occasionally used by pedestrians and dogs (we have decided not to invest in sidewalks). There are demands for speed bumps that town officials refuse to meet.
We’re now in about Year 20 of most residents of the U.S. carrying an electronic device most of the time. Cars are stuffed full of electronics and have near-infinite electric power available.
If human lives are important to us, why haven’t we developed an electronic infrastructure for collision-avoidance in situations like this? Cars tell the pedestrians’ phones that they are approaching and phones alert cars and drivers that it is time to slow down for that person in the road just over the hill. This can be tied into the auto-braking systems that manufacturers are now putting into cars.
There would have to be a way for the devices to notice that there were so many cars and pedestrians that it was time to shut down (“Manhattan mode”) but that doesn’t seem too challenging to build.
Self-driving cars seem to be relying on the same senses that had led to accidents for human-driven cars. Why not supplement with the electronics that have successfully prevented nearly all high-altitude mid-air collisions among airplanes?