Have you ever heard the phrase; “that’s an accident waiting to happen” or have you ever pondered the uncanny resemblance of truth to Murphy’s Law “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” or its corollary “and, it will go wrong at the worst possible time,” I bet you have? Engineers love to joke about things like that but under their breath they heed the warning, build in safe guards and stress out over the details – how do you think I know this? Maybe in the end it’s a good thing we pay attention to the details, as the users just want the damn thing to work and not break.
Indeed, I think we all realize by now that fairly soon our cars and delivery trucks will drive themselves, buses, trolleys, trains, and airliners will run autonomously, at first we won’t trust such technology, but as the statistics prove we are safer using these artificial intelligent transportation devices than human drivers, we will probably acquiesce for that safety value. Still, what happens one day when something goes terribly wrong, and it probably will, and yes it will probably be at rush-hour on the busiest day of the year – Murphy remember?
There was an interesting video on YouTube from Los Alamos National Lab titled; “Space Weather Data Drop” which was published on January 30, 2017 which stated:
“Space weather data collected via instruments on GPS satellites has been made available to researchers for the first time. The instruments were developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory and ride aboard 23 of the nation’s more than 30 on-orbit GPS satellites. When you multiply the number of satellites collecting data with the number of years they’ve been doing it, it totals more than 167 years.”
The summary of the video also noted: The data gives researchers a treasure trove of measurements that they can use to better understand how space weather works and how best to protect critical infrastructure, such as the nation’s satellites, aircraft, communications networks, navigation systems, and the electric power grid.
Right so, ‘what if’ all the transportation in the world suddenly loses its navigation link? You think gridlock at rush hour is bad now, your so-called freeways will turn into giant parking lots of crashed cars and systems that turn themselves off – yes, an engineered safety feature – remember we will want to cover our butts and build in that safety feature – and the devil will probably be not only in the hot sun’s solar flare but also in the details of your car’s software code. Please consider all this and think on it.