The Dangers of Luxury Cars and GPS

On the road, we increasingly rely on imperfect computer systems

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Spectrum editor Steven Cherry talks to contributor Robert Charette about the risks and implications of technologies that are meant to make driving better.  Recently, a California Highway patrolman and his family died in a car crash when he was unable to stop his Lexus ES350 from accelerating. In New York state, incomplete GPS information has contributed to an increase of commercial truck accidents, which has prompted potential legislation. Charette discusses how these particular stories illustrate the automation paradox--the more human operators rely on computer systems, the less likely they'll be ready to respond when those systems fail.

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Computing

GPS Helps Cause Traffic Jams in Ireland

Sat-nav.gif There was an interesting little story a few weeks ago in the London Telegraph about how GPS systems are causing traffic problems on the popular tourist Ring of Kerry trail between Killorgon and Kenmare. Apparently, traffic traditionally travels in a one way fashion counter-clockwise between Killorgon and Kenmare, but GPS systems are telling drivers to go clockwise instead. When tourist coaches traveling one way meet trucks coming the other, traffic bottlenecks start appearing on the narrow trail. The Killarney Town Council, the Telegraph says, wants GPS manufacturers to change …

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