When "Politicizing" a Tragedy is Wrong

Bob Enyart reports on the sad case of the 43-year old woman who attempted suicide in the Chicago office of a liberal U.S. Congressman who used the occasion of her self-immolation to call for even more government health care spending. So, the question is, When is it wrong to "politicize" a tragedy? Finally, Bob discusses a heart-wrenching email he received from an out-of-state listener who has just begun her freshman year at a leading research university.

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Electric, driverless, and coming.

Automating the Trucking Industry: Bob also reports again, briefly, on the continuing automation of transportation in air and on land and water. (If you recollect when Bob first spoke of the painful change coming soon, even by 2020, for many truck drivers, please send along that show link to Bob@kgov.com. Thanks!)

Post-Show Updates:
- September 2016: Uber, the car ride company, eyeing the $700 billion dollar-a-year trucking industry, has purchased the automation firm Otto. This business plans to retrofit big rigs for driverless operation for only $30,000 each, or just 25% of the cost to employ a driver for a single year. Meanwhile, Google (Alphabet) is suing Uber/Otto for theft of it's self-driving technology.   
- October 2016: Budweiser makes first automated beer delivery, 120 miles without a driver in the front seat, from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs, but just out of reach of the RSR studio.
- December 2016: After an Otto truck autonomously drove 35 miles through central Ohio, the U.S. government, without giving a timeline, suggested that those in the transportation industry prepare for the eventual loss of at least 80% of all truck driving jobs.
- February 2017: Upstart Embark unveils it's self-driving truck technology on Nevada's open roads.
- March 2017: Truckers worrying say they do a lot besides just driving.
- April 2017: Driverless delivery pods (see image, right) announced and Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire reports a $60 million-dollar infusion into Peloton Technology's driverless trucking effort to improve fuel efficiency and safety. Elon Musk announces a September unveiling of Tesla's automated freight truck.
- May 2017: The U.S. Army, after a year of preliminary tests, is ready to begin fully-automated trials on Michigan highways including the Blue Water Bridge to evaluate the system's capabilities on a steel girder bridge. This CBS Detroit report does not mention military convoys but of course convoys especially lend themselves to early adoption of automated driving.

Pre-2016 Flashbacks, Etc:
- 2015: The first automated semi-truck road test occurred on 5/5/15 while that year 4,050 large trucks were involved fatal crashes killed 4,067 people.
- 2012: Out of almost 330,000 large-truck involved crashes in the U.S., just over 3,800 were fatal and killed nearly 4,000 people that year. (While of course the statistics vary year to year, for a rough breakdown, about 70% of deaths are of those in passenger vehicles, 15 percent are pedestrians and bikers, and 15% are those in the trucks. Of course, the truckers share in the responsibility for only a portion of these crashes.
- 2011: Number of large truck crashes and resulting deaths begins to increase after previous decline. (BEL: The increase could be related to increasing decriminalization of pot and to deteriorating U.S. infrastructure.)  
- 1979: Large-truck involved crashes reached their peak and killed 6,431 people, mostly in passenger cars.

Non-Trucking Automation News:
- July 2017: Michigan's autonomous Motor City is Ann Arbor (ha!, avoid the Victory Inn there) 
- March 2017: BMW to deliver driverless car by 2021.
- April 2017: Daimler is working with Uber on self-driving technology and Daimler and Bosh plan to deliver driverless taxis by 2023.
- June 2017: Ford plans to deliver market-ready autonomous cars in 2020.
- June 2017: Automotive News reports that Mercedes Benz is now conducting daily tests on five auto-driving vans.
- June 2017: Boeing is moving toward automated airliners that need no pilots.
- Oct. 2015: In view of automated cargo flights, pilotless plane flies alongside commercial jetliner for three hours. 
- March 2015: Mercedes introduces the F 015 concept car.

* Regarding Amber Alerts, Etc. Having millions of self-driving cars and trucks, and quasi-self-driving cars on the road will sometimes bring about the immediate location of an abducted child for whom an Amber Alert with license plate number has been issued. NBC reports in 2017 that the CEO of processor manufacturer Intel is proposing ways to address privacy concerns raised by car and truck awareness. Here at KGOV, we don't believe that there is a right to anonymity. We also recognize that such technological developments will be a great help to law enforcement trying to rescue abducted children, identify rapists, and capture murderers. Might there be abuse? Of course. There is abuse of everything. The paranoid and those doing wrong will be most fearful.