Momentum - September 2019 - 2

EDITORIAL
WILL DRIVERLESS CARS SLOW TRAFFIC?
Everyone who has gotten behind the wheel
of a car is familiar with the driver who has no
compunction whatsoever about cutting in front
of another car. Offer anything resembling an
opening, and the aggressive driver will happily
capitalize on the opportunity. Being nice on the
roads doesn't help you get where you're going
any faster, that's for sure.
Indications in these early days of driverless
cars is that autonomous technology is too
nice. Anything taken too far can have negative
Patrick Ponticel,
consequences, in my opinion. Even niceness.
MOMENTUM Editor
And so we shouldn't necessarily think of
driverless cars as our friends-not yet, anyway.
The problem with excessive niceness among
driverless cars is that they will slow traffic for everyone, I believe. They
may well save lives, eventually, and improve society in other ways,
eventually. I just don't foresee traffic flow being among those ways, ever.
In these early days of autonomy, driverless cars most likely will
be programmed to strictly abide by the posted speed limit. They'll
come to full stops at stop signs. They'll leave unusually large buffers
between them and the car in front. They'll slow at yellow lights, instead
of gunning it as many human drivers do to get through the light just
before-and sometimes just after-it turns red. Such caution may seem
upon first consideration to be a good thing, and to some extent it is. But
in terms of traffic throughput, I submit that it's not.
Just as we all are familiar with the aggressive driver's ways, we also
are familiar with the excessively cautious driver's ways. I'm talking about
the one who drives 1 mph over the speed limit while taking 60 seconds
to overtake a truck on the highway instead of driving 10 mph over the
limit to get past the truck in 10 seconds. There's much merit to the
notion that drivers should "keep up with traffic"-and not only in the
scenario and in the sense described above. Excessive caution can be a
danger unto itself in all kinds of circumstances. We all know this. And
so we shouldn't be surprised if we see an increase in rear-ends as more
slow-moving driverless cars are loosed onto the roads.
Many details on many aspects of driverless cars need to be sorted
out before humans are banished from the driving task-if that day ever
comes. For now, how human and non-human drivers coexist on the roads
is a bigger problem than is generally acknowledged, it seems to me.
Perhaps I'm too pessimistic and shortsighted. What do you think?
Have you done research that undermines my thesis? If so, you are
welcome to submit an article on that research. Send it to momentum@
sae.org. Or you can voice your general opinion about driverless cars in a
broader discussion on the SAE Member Connection online community
(connection.sae.org/participate/sme-technical-discussions).

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2 September 2019

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Momentum - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - September 2019

Momentum - September 2019
Contents
Editorial
Briefs
Student Generation
Air Mission
Baja Believers
Passing Tech Inspection Proves Difficult for Teams at Sae Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Competition Comes to Mcity
Penn State Behrend Repeats as Champ at 40th Anniversary of Sae Supermileage
Victory for Victoria at Formula Hybrid
Engineering the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
F-16 Anti-Collision Software Now Used in the F-35
Sae 101: Innovations in Mobility Conference
Miscellaneous News for Sae Student Members!
DOSSIER: Samuel Brennan of Millersville University
Navigating the Hiring Process in Industry
Momentum - September 2019 - Momentum - September 2019
Momentum - September 2019 - Cover2
Momentum - September 2019 - Contents
Momentum - September 2019 - Editorial
Momentum - September 2019 - Briefs
Momentum - September 2019 - Student Generation
Momentum - September 2019 - 5
Momentum - September 2019 - 6
Momentum - September 2019 - 7
Momentum - September 2019 - Air Mission
Momentum - September 2019 - 9
Momentum - September 2019 - 10
Momentum - September 2019 - 11
Momentum - September 2019 - Baja Believers
Momentum - September 2019 - 13
Momentum - September 2019 - 14
Momentum - September 2019 - 15
Momentum - September 2019 - Passing Tech Inspection Proves Difficult for Teams at Sae Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Momentum - September 2019 - 17
Momentum - September 2019 - Competition Comes to Mcity
Momentum - September 2019 - 19
Momentum - September 2019 - 20
Momentum - September 2019 - 21
Momentum - September 2019 - Penn State Behrend Repeats as Champ at 40th Anniversary of Sae Supermileage
Momentum - September 2019 - 23
Momentum - September 2019 - Victory for Victoria at Formula Hybrid
Momentum - September 2019 - 25
Momentum - September 2019 - Engineering the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
Momentum - September 2019 - F-16 Anti-Collision Software Now Used in the F-35
Momentum - September 2019 - Sae 101: Innovations in Mobility Conference
Momentum - September 2019 - Miscellaneous News for Sae Student Members!
Momentum - September 2019 - DOSSIER: Samuel Brennan of Millersville University
Momentum - September 2019 - 31
Momentum - September 2019 - Navigating the Hiring Process in Industry
Momentum - September 2019 - Cover3
Momentum - September 2019 - Cover4
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