A tourist who rented an app-powered car says she was stranded on a rural road along the Northern California coast after she lost cell phone service.

Source: Weekend trip turns into ordeal after app-rental car loses cell service – SFGate

This is what happens when city-based entrepreneurs have never ventured outside big metro areas. They incorrectly assume cellular service is available everywhere. And design a car rental service whose cars won’t re-start if stopped in a place lacking cell service. Face palm moment. (Technically, you can order a separate “GigCard” which will be delivered in up to two weeks and use it to start your car with cell phone service. Hmmmm.)

This is a problem of relying on automation for everything – something Boeing has perhaps discovered with their automated MCAS control system failure.

The FAA, of course, has learned nothing. The FAA has proposed that all drones have a mandatory connection to cell service – and that they be unable to take off if there is no GPS signal (and for many, an Internet connection). This effectively bans flying model aircraft in buildings, homes, exhibit halls, businesses, warehouses, movie sets. It also de facto shuts down flight in numerous parts of the country.

Far too many tech people believe in fantasies that are not ready yet – while automation can do much, it also has failure points that have not been accounted for, leading to killing people (Boeing, Uber’s self driving car experiments).

Update: The FAA eventually realized that the technology to track every model airplane in real time, once per second, via the cellular network, was not available and went back to what Congress actually requested: that model aircraft periodically transmit identification information. Far simpler. This allows model aircraft to continue to be flown in remote areas. I live in eastern Oregon – most of this half of the state is uninhabited BLM, USFS and State lands, which if used for anything, are some cattle operations and timber in a few places. It is very remote – and no cell service. Perfect place to fly quadcopters and model airplanes.

By EdwardM