My Dad would speak of mechanical sympathy; the idea that you needed to understand how a machine worked to operate it efficiently and to maximise its operational life. For driving, it was listening to the engine, not braking too hard, and using the gears appropriately. Likewise, for printers, fan the reams of paper to help avoid paper jams; for lawn mowers, avoid mowing grass that was long and wet; telephones, listen for dial tone before dialling the number; you get the idea.
These technologies are primitive compared to that of autonomous vehicles. But whereas getting a paper jam is a mere inconvenience, not properly understanding the technical limitations of an autonomous vehicle can be (and has been) deadly.
We as members in the industry, to a large extent already have a familiarity with many of these issues. But we must be careful to not assume that the rest of the community has this level of understanding.
To emphasise this point, watch the following. It is sobering in the extreme.
To have mechanical sympathy, you need a basic understanding of how the machine works. How can society at large gain an understanding of AVs and their supporting technology? Will this become part of the driver licence process? If so, then what will getting a licence look like in the future?
In Queensland, to gain an open driver licence, you need to complete a PrepL online program, a written road rules test, 100 hours of supervised driving, complete a practical driving test, hold your P1 licence for one year, pass a hazard perception test and finally hold a P2 licence for at least one year.
This is a complex area. We have invited Russell White, the founder of the Australian Road Safety Foundation and Managing Director of Driver Safety Australia, and a good friend of Transmax to post what he sees as being the future of obtaining a driver licence against the backdrop of this technology.
Coming next week…