Self-Driving Cars More Likely To Hit Black Pedestrians than White Ones



What? Why isn't the technology calculating mass and velocity instead of going by light?


@1: The car uses a physics model for calculating where it will be in N seconds, what acceleration is needed to drive at a target speed, how much to turn the wheel. For obstacle/pedestrian avoidance, the tricky part is figuring out where the obstacles are and what they are. It does this using various image sensors including cameras, radar, and lidar. The hard part is, given these sensor images, recognizing things like people, signs, and other cars. This uses neural networks which have to be trained from examples.
This process is subject to biases in the training data.


The worst ones are the self-driving KKKias.


Lidar's not gonna care. Don't run without lidar.

But yeah, all black-box models need to have evaluation of their their fairness. Sen. Warren?


I just read that report cited by AOC and it explains the gap perfectly. States even give more money to non white schools than they do predominantly white school so there really isn't an issue.


Not sure why Charles left this part out:

"The report, 'Predictive Inequity in Object Detection,' should be taken with a grain of salt. It hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. It didn’t test any object-detection models actually being used by self-driving cars, nor did it leverage any training datasets actually being used by autonomous vehicle manufacturers."


"corporate firms investing in our robot-car future refuse to share key or useful information with the public"

This should be illegal as corporations often avoid regulations by withholding critical information needed to decide which direction should the technology take. The examples abound (big oil and climate change, Monsanto and glyphosate, asbestos, POPs, etc) In fact, the increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2010 also points to the 2010 jump in US smartphone sales (, ie. another technological development that hasn't been regulated properly.


Humans are also more likely to hit black pedestrians.


@2 -- Great comment, chris! Thanks.

Like everything, it seems, autonomous automobiles need to be Properly Taught.


@6 yeah, I doubt this thing has much to do with any object detection from imagery being used in cars. Cars can't afford to care whether a thing in the road is a person or an escaped emu or a stray garden cart with a parade float on it. They all happen, you can't hit any of them. Object detection (something there) is primary, object classification (what is it) is very much secondary. And black people are far from the lowest-albedo things around.

Again: lidar rocks.


“a market solution to the dangers of driving, the non-stop jams, the long list of negative externalities (many of which are contributing to climate change) that amounts to nothing more than replacing one luxury with another.”

Well... not surprisingly, you’re wrong as hell there.

Once we replace driver operated cars with autonomous cars we can network them with each other and traffic signals so that they can be routed like packets in a computer network. The increased efficiencies will be massive, and should, for all intents and purposes, eliminate traffic jams.


Most likely explanation is that black pedestrians are more likely to jay walk than pedestrians of other colors.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Algorithms Can Be Racist. Here's Why She's Right.


Huh. You can't post links at all now?



And this


@6, Charles mentioned both the lack of data sets and obstacles to testing. From Charles' post: "The Vox post points out two important things about the study, “Predictive Inequity in Object Detection,” conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology. One, it only had access to datasets from academic research because corporate firms investing in our robot-car future refuse to share key or useful information with the public."


12 you almost managed to open your mouth without shit falling out of it!


@17 brand maintenance


@12 Having lived in the CD in the mid 1990s, I can attest to that.

BTW does this mean black dogs are in more danger than white dogs? What about dalmatians, will the car stop and think about it before running them down?

Pretty shitty software if you ask me.


Most of the weight and fuel cost of a vehicle is due to safety features that can be eliminated if we move to fully automated vehicles in modern cities. The tech is a few years out, but policies and attitudes are decades behind. Shame, because if you want to democratize transportation it's our best hope and would demonstrate that we've actually overbuilt our roadway infrastructure. CO2 emissions would become a small fraction of what they are today.

Charles, you're fighting for the wrong side on this one.


Wow. And that is why the left is fucking retarded. Lol. Cars without drivers are racist! Lol


@21 what is your excuse


@21 Well the left often advocates against their own self interests as Charles is doing here. But to exemplify a fucking retarded you have to look at low income laborers and factory workers who voted for Trump when what little hope they have lies in more income equality, job training, education and well funded social safety nets.


@22, BURN


@17 I’m just basing that on the data I’ve personally collected at the intersection of 4th and Pine between 8:00pm and 9:00 pm every week night over the last 8 years. If I had a dollar for every time a pedestrian was crossing there against the light (causing me to fight the temptation to accelerate into them and break and lean on my horn instead) I’d have a car payment. If I only counted the dollars for white pedestrians crossing illegally, I couldn’t even buy lunch.


11 So the fastest model you have in mind is the one that is retro-fitted onto the 20th century infrastructure. Visionary stuff there, donut. Next invent the light bulb.


6000+ pedestrian deaths, ONE by robot car, and the problem is robot cars can't see black people?


While we are at it, "jaywalking" was invented as a crime by the automakers who needed to own the streets. Nowhere else in human time has walking on earth been deemed illegal. But gotta-fuck-me seems to love bullshit old wives tales.


Unlike with human eyes, a little engineering could add IR sensors to robot cars and solve the visibility problem.


@12 Having lived in the CD in the 90s, I can testify to that fact.

What about black dogs then, do they get run down? Dalmatians just get clipped?


"Nowhere else in human time has walking on earth been deemed illegal"

Enjoy the 13th century then.

You know what happened if you jaywalked in front of a 4 horse stage coach carriage?


@28: My goodness, given its nefarious origin, jaywalking should be legalized. The resulting deaths, injury, and property damage would be a small price to pay to ensure that the ghosts of Henry Ford and his brethren don't continue to torment our society.


31 Good grief you were home-schooled, we get it.


32 A myth Henry Ford's children laugh all the way to the bank with.


Edsel stopped laughing on his way to the bank in 1943.


Maybe if BLM protesters stopped blocking highways, they wouldn't get hit. Some food for thought. Ah well. Let the stupid weed themselves out


@28: The term 'jay walking' was derived from 'jay driving'. Which was applied to people who failed to operate horse-drawn or motor vehicles according to the rules of the road.

As these rules became codified into motor vehicle laws, 'jay driving' disappeared from our vernacular. However, 'jay walking' seems to have remained in use due to our unwillingness to develop similar right-of-way etiquette for pedestrians.


Q. "You know what happened if you jaywalked [back in the day][circa the roaring 1200s] in front of a 4 horse stage coach carriage?"

A. You'd win The Darwin Award?
That's Fantastic.


Welcome, Sherlock.
THNX for the clue.


"Maybe if BLM protesters stopped blocking highways, they wouldn't get hit. Some food for thought. Ah well. Let the stupid weed themselves out" --Das_ich_89

You oughtta pass a Law.
Oh, wait, some states are already hard at work:

"Lawmakers in North Dakota, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas proposed bills that would make it legal for drivers to hit protesters if the driver did not do so willfully, according to Mick Bullock, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures. A similar bill also was introduced in Rhode Island... "

Now, there's an interesting word.
Don'tchya think?

But, not this State. Not yet.
And we try to keep our lynchins'
down to ZERO. Or fewer.
So far; so good:
The Terrorists haven't won yet.

PS. 40a was for 31


@41 kristofarian: No wonder the number of pedestrian fatalities keeps on rising nationwide. It's chilling to think about getting hit by driverless cars, regardless of one's skin color. So far, so good here, though, right (at least I haven't been hit by a motorist or driverless vehicle yet)?


Charles, thanks for making a joke of this news so i do not have to. Of all the things people need to worry about this...