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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Michigan's Pothole Laden Roads Make It The Perfect Candidate To Test Autonomous Vehicles

      Michigan is using potholes as a plus when it comes to autonomous vehicle testing

    California and Michigan are currently fighting a chunk of close to $4 billion in federal funding that President Barack Obama proposed last month to develop autonomous vehicles. Both are proposing World War II military sites as the place to test autonomous technologies. But Michigan has an interesting trump card; potholes.

     

    Anyone who has driven the roads in Michigan knows they are quite terrible (and that's being somewhat kind). Due to the harsh weather conditions and difficulty in keeping the roads maintained, potholes spring up and can grow into very frightening sizes.

     

    “California is not the real world -- they don’t have four seasons. We’ve got real potholes. It’s a much more real-world scenario,” said Debbie Dingell, the Democratic congresswoman representing Ypsilanti, MI.

     

    Michigan is proposing to use the run down Willow Run factory site - a former bomber and GM transmission plant - as the test site. Not only does the site offer a wide range of potholes, it is also quite large - 330 acres to be exact. The state has put up $20 million to buy and develop the site from Racer Trust, a holding company set up by GM during the 2009 bankruptcy.

     

    California's proposal is the former Navy base in Concord, California (near San Francisco) that offers 2,100 acres and 20 miles of roads. It is also the home to GoMentum Station, a facility that tests autonomous vehicles.

     

    Both locations have their advantages. California's location is nearby Silicon Valley. Michigan's location is nearby a number auto manufacturer testing and engineering facilities.

     

    Who will take the prize? Supporters believe with pothole-laden roads and the harsh winters could give Michigan the edge.

     

    We'll be watching this fight.

     

    Source: Bloomberg

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    Well this would be more impressive if the car with out the strut would do more than slight damage to 2 of the balls.

    This reminds me of the Ford Truck commercial that show the twin I beam suspensions breaking light bulbs but the cab not breaking any from around 1970. Such a big deal for something most other trucks would also do.

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    The only time where poor maintenance of infrastructure instead of being corrected by fixing it is instead a competitive advantage for federal funding aka tax dollars!!

     

    I'm not very political...but $4 billion dollars...like how Mr.Trump says billion, $4 BEEELIION dowllaars.... for a government that doesn't have the money really, when instead you could fix the water supply in Flint for a fraction of that cost, and actually improve people's lives very quickly...

     

    Instead of making better things...

     

    Why can't they just make things better?

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    The only time where poor maintenance of infrastructure instead of being corrected by fixing it is instead a competitive advantage for federal funding aka tax dollars!!

     

    I'm not very political...but $4 billion dollars...like how Mr.Trump says billion, $4 BEEELIION dowllaars.... for a government that doesn't have the money really, when instead you could fix the water supply in Flint for a fraction of that cost, and actually improve people's lives very quickly...

     

    Instead of making better things...

     

    Why can't they just make things better?

     

    A lot of it comes down to money. Michigan, unfortunately, doesn't have money to go out and fix the roads properly - they tend to patch them with the hope it will last. If I remember correctly, the state has increased the gas tax as a way to increase the amount of money for the roads.

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    All I'm saying is that if there's federal funding waiting to be spent, there's a lot better capital budgeting projects where money really should be spent.

     

    This isn't a first world problem. Again, I don't want to be political, but...lack of drinking water is a third world problem. I should know, I emigrated away from that. You wouldn't believe how backwards some of those places are - there people believe in witches and they treat women horribly, visible minorities are treated better than slaves but worse than servants, it's not anything America should share with those regions.

     

    This isn't even a socialist issue. Why should wealthy neighbourhoods get better water supplies, and by many reports cheaper water bills? Especially because, apparently, Flint had some of the most expensive water bills in the entire country. I have some extended family that lives near Flint too. I don't know if they're affected or not, but it sends my head into a very angry state. You can't have nice tech, all the latest smartphones and fancy cars all the while people are dying because of lead poisoning.

     

    Even that - we can't even fix our naturally terrible water delivery systems because of the backwards thinking when it was originally thought up, instead we pay money every year to increase the pH of the water so it is less acidic, so lead doesn't leach into the water. And that's in Canada too.

     

    A nation like the United States should atleast provide clean drinking water to its citizens or have low-cost NGO providers - especially to the most vulnerable of communities.

     

    I mean, like you hear of Native American reserves within Canada and U.S. that have terrible water supplies, but a MAJOR population centre. I shake my head.

     

    I disagree with this federal funding and its purpose. It has value. But there is no impetus to speed it up. Throwing money at some problems don't fix them. We've seen before how cost reduction in technology kind of render initial investment kinda moot. For example, Motorola's first global phone network cost $1 billion dollars in 1980s dollars. Yeah. And that was a flop, because it was too expensive and stupidly implemented, that they sold the satellite network within a year of being online for $25 million.

     

    The auto industry can get its tech subsidies, but shouldn't people who can't afford new cars atleast have drinking water. For peats sake, it's stupid. It's just stupid. I hate this move, because obviously politicians don't think about clean water or California's record drought, and how clean water and the basic food stuffs are more scarce than people realize.

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    The only time where poor maintenance of infrastructure instead of being corrected by fixing it is instead a competitive advantage for federal funding aka tax dollars!!

     

    I'm not very political...but $4 billion dollars...like how Mr.Trump says billion, $4 BEEELIION dowllaars.... for a government that doesn't have the money really, when instead you could fix the water supply in Flint for a fraction of that cost, and actually improve people's lives very quickly...

     

    Instead of making better things...

     

    Why can't they just make things better?

     

    A lot of it comes down to money. Michigan, unfortunately, doesn't have money to go out and fix the roads properly - they tend to patch them with the hope it will last. If I remember correctly, the state has increased the gas tax as a way to increase the amount of money for the roads.

     

    Here is the current list from lowest to highest by state of the gas tax. I sorted based on normal petrol second column is diesel. WOW and I thought washington was high on gas tax, nothing compared to others including Michigan.

     

    post-12-0-59137700-1456498175_thumb.jpg

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