Expert Mechanic: Driverless Cars to Benefit New Jersey and Save Lives

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Jason Bigelow, owner of Advanced Tire & Auto in Aberdeen, appears on WJLP-TV to discuss timetables, safety and hacking concerns, economic impacts and other issues related to autonomous vehicles

Jason Bigelow

I don’t think you and I will be able to walk into a dealership and purchase one of these vehicles in 2020,But I do see implementation in industrial applications such as farming and agriculture, warehouses and construction sites

Driverless cars will hit America’s roadways sooner rather than later, saving millions of lives and creating higher-paying jobs throughout the U.S. economy, predicted Jason Bigelow, owner of Advanced Tire & Auto Center on Highway 35 in Aberdeen, on an interview with WJLP TV (Channel 3).

During the conversation on “Another Thing with Larry Mendte,” the ASE technician--who has more than 25 years of experience as well as advanced certifications in hybrid and electronic automotive technologies--fielded questions on a raft of subjects related to driverless cars. The interview touched on timetables, safety concerns, economic impacts and even whether hackers or terrorists could use the vehicles to cause harm. The PMCM TV interview show was broadcast on April 23rd and 24th on both WJLP out of Middletown, N.J., and KJWP (Channel 2) in Wilmington, Del. It also airs online via YouTube and the Web channel AnotherThing.TV.

The conversation kicked off with Mendte--whose award-winning show features interviews with regional politicians, newsmakers, activists, reporters and business leaders--asking Bigelow whether it is farfetched to believe driverless cars could rid the world of car accidents and deaths on the highway. According to Bigelow, taking the human element out of driving could ultimately be a huge boon to safety. “It is estimated that more than 1 million people die [globally] every year in car collisions and crashes,” he noted. “Ninety-two percent of those are the result of human error and could have been avoided.”

While some manufacturers aim to put autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020, consumer adoption is still a ways off as carmakers continue to refine the technology and policymakers struggle to make the necessary changes to the country’s legal and regulatory frameworks. “I don’t think you and I will be able to walk into a dealership and purchase one of these vehicles in 2020,” Bigelow told Mendte. “But I do see implementation in industrial applications such as farming and agriculture, warehouses and construction sites.”

Following this initial adoption of autonomous cars, trucks and tractors, Bigelow predicted, the transportation sector will hop aboard as taxis, limos and municipal bus services begin to leverage the technology. “Imagine having a driverless Uber. It shows up and takes you where you need to go,” he said. “A taxi, limousines, city buses—these vehicles can operate on controlled routes at low speeds. So this will happen before driverless vehicles are introduced on the highways.”

During the interview, Mendte noted that many Americans are afraid of the technology and that California regulators have even acted to put the brakes on the progress of Google and others by insisting that driverless cars always have drivers available to take over in emergencies. To date, however, even the early iterations of Google cars appear to have impressive track records on safety, Bigelow said.

Since 2009, he noted, Google has driven its cars over 1.3 million miles and human error has been cited in all but one of the 17 recorded collisions involving the cars. The exception, which happened last month, may or may not have been the fault of the car, he said. Meanwhile, programmers continue to ramp up safety by tweaking the complex algorithms in play. “Too much ‘safety’ can actually be a hazard,” Bigelow said. “They are actually talking about changing the algorithm so that the car will actually speed on the highway—it will stay with the flow of traffic, even if that involves speeding, so as to not cause a collision or crash. They want the cars to behave a little more like humans.”

When asked about the potential for unions and others to fight the phenomenon amid lost jobs—from taxi drivers to body shop workers—Bigelow responded: “There is absolutely going to be some loss, but there are also going to be new, higher-paying jobs for computer engineers, software developers and more. As the technology grows, the industry is going to grow. It will be a new avenue. Some people resist change in the beginning, but if you look at the upside of it, this will create more jobs than it takes away.”

The interview also explored some seemingly farfetched scenarios, such as people sending driverless cars to run errands for them, or terrorists using them to ferry bombs to soft targets. The latter is a real concern, Bigelow noted, as is the potential for the cars to be hacked. In fact, some carmakers have already dealt with hackers breaking into their Wi-Fi-connected cars, he noted. “There are hackers out there exploiting and showing the weaknesses of these cars,” he said. Ultimately, Bigelow predicted, the benefits of the technology will outweigh such concerns as manufacturers confront and solve such problems.

To view the full interview, visit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjv2D_O1Dxs&list=PLkYJ4ZfEvkWP3qeiPsm424o6dVKs2Y4W6&index=2

About Advanced Tire & Auto Center
Advanced Tire & Auto Center, located on Route 35 in Aberdeen, Twp., N.J., was established by veteran mechanics Jason and Janet Bigelow in 1995. Known for its focus on diagnosing and repairing state-of-the-art, 21st-century vehicles, Advanced Tire & Auto Center utilizes 21 factory O.E. diagnostic tools paired with highly-trained technicians to perform the same level of service offered by dealerships, but at lower costs. Its comprehensive services include tire sales and service, fleet vehicle services, wheel alignments, “check engine light” diagnostics, and much more.

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Press contacts: At Parness & Associates Public Relations, Bill Parness, bparness(at)parnesspr(dot)com or Lisa Kreda, lkreda(at)parnesspr(dot)com (732) 290-0121. At Advanced Tire & Auto, Jason Bigelow, Jason(at)advancedtireauto(dot)com, Janet Bigelow, Janet(at)advancedtireauto(dot)com, (732) 290-7300.

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