http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.10-Ignored-041017
10th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Announcing:

 Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

May 17, 18
 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Visit Landing Page for application and sponsorship opportunities.  http://summit.smartdrivingcar.com/   Alain

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Autonomous Vehicle Global Study

F. Bruneteau, Apr 2017 "….Yet, despite their potential to reduce accidents, these features have been mostly ignored by insurers so far and have had little effect on premiums (p9)…." Read more   Hmmmm... This report is not free so I can’t link it but this statement suggests that it may be very worthwhile. Alain

Tesla becomes most valuable U.S. car maker, edges out GM

N. Randewich, Apr 11, "For the first time in the era of the modern automobile, the most valuable U.S. car maker is not based in Detroit…" Read more   Hmmmm... See comment after next listing.  Alain

Tesla Passes Ford in Market Value as Investors Bet on the Future

 B. Vlasic, Apr 3, "The record pace of auto sales in the United States is slowing down, leaving investors increasingly bearish on auto stocks.
But there is one exception. Tesla, the electric-vehicle upstart, continues to surge.
On Monday, Tesla surpassed Ford Motor in market value for the first time and moved within striking distance of General Motors, starkly illustrating the growing gap in investors’ optimism over its future versus the prospects for the traditional carmakers from Detroit… Read more   Hmmmm... Is it because they are electric or because they have AutoPilot.  A most crazy hypothesis: The upswing since the election is due to Washington’s Energy & Environmental Policy.   Can you say ‘AutoPilot’???  Alain

GM comes after Tesla with its own semi-autonomous driving system for Cadillac

B. Williams, Apr 10, " Make some room in the cruising lane, Tesla: Cadillac’s Super Cruise is ready for action.  The long-developed product, coming as an add-on feature for the 2018 CT6 sedan, will jockey with Tesla’s Autopilot to be the best semi-autonomous experience on the highway…" Read more   Hmmmm... Isn’t there a big difference between ‘coming as an add-on feature’ and ‘in user’s cars today’??? ‘Super Cruise’ has been ‘coming’ for a long time.  Now that GM is no longer leading, maybe it will finally follow.  Ouch! Alain

Future mobility: Bosch and Daimler join forces to work on fully automated, driverless system

Press Release, Apr 4, "  Bosch and Daimler are joining forces to advance the development of fully automated and driverless driving. The two companies have entered into a development agreement to bring fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) driving to urban roads by the beginning of the next decade. The objective is to develop software and algorithms for an autonomous driving system. The project combines the total vehicle expertise of the world’s leading premium manufacturer with the system and hardware expertise of the world’s biggest supplier…. The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence…Read more   Hmmmm... If they allow/encourage casual ride-sharing, they will have re-invented mass transit (where mass = 2 or 3 or…).  Yes!!  Alain

Google’s former self-driving car guru raises cash for his own startup

K. Kokalitcheva, Apr 5, "Aurora Innovation, the stealth startup founded by the former CTO of Alphabet’s self-driving car project, has raised over $3 million in venture capital funding, according to an SEC filing.
Keep reading 230 words
The team: Along with CEO Chris Urmson, who left Alphabet last year, the startup also boasts Sterling Anderson, who previously oversaw Tesla’s Autopilot software. The company has also hired several of Uber’s self-driving car engineers in Pittsburgh (many of which Uber lured away from Carnegie Mellon a couple of years ago), as well as engineers who have worked at Tesla, Nvidia, and Google.
The company: Aurora will develop a "full package" of software, hardware, and data to sell to automakers who want to build their own autonomous cars, …..The company raised just over $3.1 million last month. Allen & Company managing director Ian Smith is listed as member of Aurora’s board, likely a sign that his firm invested. Read more   Hmmmm... Congratulations Chris!  Seems like a good bet.  Alain

Zoox autonomous vehicle start-up hires ex-NHTSA’s Rosekind

 A. Sage, Apr 3, "Autonomous car start-up Zoox said on Monday that former top U.S. safety regulator Mark Rosekind was joining the Silicon Valley company as its chief safety innovation officer, underscoring the key role regulation will play in the nascent autonomous driving sector.

The hiring of Rosekind, the former head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is a major play for Zoox, which has remained secretive about its plans and strategy, and a hire that shows the importance of regulation in how self-driving technology rolls out.   Zoox said Rosekind would lead the company’s efforts to "safely develop, test and deploy autonomous vehicles." Read more   Hmmmm... Great catch. Congratulations Mark! Alain

Another startup promises self-driving taxis ‘soon’

A. Dalton, Apr 6, "…Udacity already trains engineers for work in the fast-growing autonomous vehicles field, but now the company is ready to harness all that talent and launch its own self-driving taxi company. Led by CEO (and former Udacity Vice President) Oliver Cameron, the new spin-off company will be called Voyage and has given itself the goal of getting autonomous taxis to "real users" in less than five years…. Voyage can hit that goal thanks to a "maturing" ecosystem that will allow the company to add autonomous functions to existing vehicles…" Read more   Hmmmm... Finally, someone’s going after the after-market. (Although, isn’t that what Google did???)  Alain

Renesas ‘Opens’ Autonomy for Cars

J. Yosida, Apr 11, "Renesas Electronics emerged from a prolonged silence with a bang Wednesday morning (Japan time), heralding the launch of Renesas Autonomy, a newly-designed advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving platform.
Although details of the platform remain sketchy (the company isn’t yet disclosing all the plaform’s building blocks), Amrit Vivekanand, vice president for automotive business at Renesas Electronics America, stressed that his company’s autonomous vehicle platform stands apart from its competitors because, “This is an open platform.”
The operative word here is “open.” Read more   Hmmmm... Great! Alain

GM and SAE International Select 8 North American Universities for New Autonomous Vehicle Competition

Apr 6, "…This new autonomous vehicle design competition is a three-year challenge to develop and demonstrate a fully autonomous passenger vehicle. The competition’s technical goal is navigating an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level 4 definition by Year 3…GM will provide each team with a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and suppliers will aid the students in their technology development by providing vehicle parts and software…Read more   Hmmmm... Congratulations! Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention 

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl

  Parkgeddon, Apr 8, "Don’t let people park for free…EVEN if the new headquarters that Apple is creating in California does not prove to be “the best office building in the world”, as Steve Jobs boasted shortly before his death in 2011, it will be an astounding sight. ..And then, unfortunately, there’s the car park. For 14,000 workers, Apple is building almost 11,000 parking spaces. … Tot up all the parking spaces and the lanes and ramps that will allow cars to reach them, … In all, the new headquarters will contain 318,000 square meters of offices and laboratories. The car parks will occupy 325,000 square meters…Apple is building 11,000 parking spaces not because it wants to but because Cupertino, the suburban city where the new headquarters is located, demands it….But parking influences the way cities look, and how people travel around them, more powerfully than almost anything else..

Water companies are not obliged to supply all the water that people would use if it were free, nor are power companies expected to provide all the free electricity that customers might want. But many cities try to provide enough spaces to meet the demand for free parking, even at peak times..

Some base their parking minimums on the “Parking Generation Handbook”, a tome produced by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. This reports how many cars are found in the free car parks of synagogues, water-slide parks and so on when they are busiest…Read more   Hmmmm... Talk about something that is in desperate need of being reinvented… the ITE Parking Generation Handbook.  Was it originally written by the Auto Industry?  Alain

  Driverless shuttle bus to be tested by public in London

D. Thomas, Apr 5, "Over the next three weeks, about 100 people will travel in a prototype shuttle on a route in Greenwich, London.  The vehicle, which travels up to 10mph (16.1kmph), will be controlled by a computer.
However, there will be a trained person on board who can stop the shuttle if required during the tests.  Oxbotica, the firm that developed the technology behind the shuttle, said 5,000 people had applied to take part. Read more   Hmmmm... The Gateway vehicle looks a lot like Heathrow’s ULTra Pods. 🙂  Alain


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/



Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time

25% of U.S. driving could be done by self-driving cars by 2030, study finds

D. Etherington, Apr 9, "Self-driving still seems to be a ways off from active public use on regular roads, but once it arrives, it could ramp very quickly, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group. The study found that by 2030, up to a quarter of driving miles in the U.S. could be handled by self-driving electric vehicles operating in shared service fleets in cities, due mostly to considerable cost savings for urban drivers…"  Read more   Hmmmm... Sorry, Self-driving doesn’t stimulate car-sharing, nor does it stimulate casual ride-sharing.  So there will be no cost reduction (except insurance which is captured by Safe-driving (with your hands on the wheel)).  Self-driving will be purchased by the 10%er that live way out in the burbs and self-drive to clogged cities.  Alain 


C’mon Man!  (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)

Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Automated Driving

Navigant, Apr 2017, "This Navigant Research Leaderboard Report examines the strategy and execution of 18 leading companies developing automated driving systems. These players are rated on 10 criteria:…Read more   Hmmmm... I couldn’t get by the 1st chart.  When the ranking’s from one’s ratings don’t pass the sniff-test, then one should question the rating system.  C’mon Man!  How are you reducing your 10 criteria to 2 values???  What???  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 17 & 18, 2017
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Save the Date


Recent Highlights of:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Uber Crash Shows Human Traits in Self-Driving Software

M. Bergen, Mar 29, "… Uber Crash Shows Human Traits in Self-Driving Software…In a statement to police, Patrick Murphy, an Uber employee in the car, said the Volvo SUV was traveling 38 miles per hour, a notch below the speed limit. He said the traffic signal turned yellow as the Uber vehicle entered the intersection. He then saw the Honda turning left, but "there was no time to react as there was a blind spot" created by traffic. The Honda hit Uber’s car, pushing it into a traffic pole and causing it to turn on its side. …Eyewitness accounts can often be unreliable, and other witnesses in the police report did not say that the Uber car was at fault — something the police agreed with. Still, Torres’s account raises the question of whether Uber’s self-driving sensors spotted the light turning yellow and, if so, whether it decided it could safely continue through the intersection….Self-driving cars have more often been criticized for driving too cautiously, slowing or stopping when human drivers would be more aggressive. Autonomous vehicles operated by Waymo have been rear-ended due to such issues and the company has been working to make its system more human…" Read more   Hmmmm... Read the whole article.  In a very concise way it hits the major issues, one of which is the very sensitive subject of offensive v defensive driving.  How should we tune driving behaviors?  As I pointed out last week, it would be very helpful if Uber released all of the data that was captured in the seconds leading up to this crash so that everyone can as Mark wrote:  "…Last year, after a Waymo car bumped into a bus, the company said it used the incident, and "thousands of variations on it," to refine its software.   "This is a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving — we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements," it added…."  Alain

Monday, March 27, 2017

Uber self-driving test car involved in crash in Arizona

N. Lomas, mar 25, "More bad news for Uber: one of the ride-hailing giant’s self-driving Volvo SUVs has been involved in a crash in Arizona — apparently leaving the vehicle flipped onto its side, and with damage to at least two other human-driven cars in the vicinity.
The aftermath of the accident is pictured in photos and a video posted to Twitter by a user of @FrescoNews, a service for selling content to news outlets. According to the company’s tweets, the collision happened in Tempe, Arizona, and no injuries have yet been reported….Local newspaper reports suggest another car failed to yield to Uber’s SUV…" Read more Hmmm… Important: Looks as if this is the same situation as with the Florida Tesla Crash.  The Uber car was cutoff and it’s the other guy’s fault.  Hopefully Uber will release (or the police has impounded and will release though FoI) the pre-crash data streams from the Uber GPS, video, radar and Lidar systems so that it can be determined if Uber’s Automated Collision Avoidance (ACA) system did all it could be expected to do to avert this Crash. 

One assumes that the Self-driving systems, offensively, are sufficiently good that they won’t fail-to-yield or inappropriately change lanes or run into things in the lane ahead, or…(Note: Uber’s running of a red light in SF is a very serious flaw!  Had a crash occurred, then the software/Uber would have been at fault.  That event must be essentially never occur; and it occurred within the first few days. Not good!).   But one also needs these cars to be good defensively with its Automated Collision Avoidance (ACA/’Smart-Driving Car’) capability.  We should ask: Has Uber been too cavalier about the defensive ACA / Safe-driving Car aspects and rushed into the Self-driving Car realm (which does them no real good because they require Driverless which may not necessarily evolve out of Self-driving).  What Driverless does need is elegant, robust and fault tolerant ACA /Safe-driving capabilities. 

Also…  In all of the driving Google/Waymo has done, they’ve only been at fault once, a 2mph crash with a bus, and have been hit several time where the other car was at fault.  Undoubtedly, the Google/Waymo cars have been ‘cutoff’ many time, but their ACA system averted a crash.  Quite possibly, in some of these cases, a human driver may not have fared as well.  It would be interesting to know how many because this would be a measure of the extent to which Google/Waymo cars have made everyone else around them safer human drivers.      Alain

Monday, March 20, 2017

Uber’s autonomous cars drove 20,354 miles and had to be taken over at every mile, according to documents

J. Bhuiyan, Mar 16, "Some of Uber’s self-driving cars aren’t driving as smoothly as the company hoped they would. Documents circulated throughout the company’s self-driving group, which Recode obtained, gives us a first look at the progress of the ride-hail company’s robot cars in Pennsylvania, Arizona and California.
The top line: Uber’s robot cars are steadily increasing the number of miles driven autonomously. But the figures on rider experience — defined as a combination of how many times drivers have to take over and how smoothly the car drives — are still showing little progress….
For example: During the week ending March 8, the 43 active cars on the road only drove an average of close to 0.8 miles before the safety driver had to take over for one reason or another…
The good news is the number of miles between these “critical” interventions has recently improved. Last week, the company’s cars drove an average of approximately 200 miles between those types of incidents that required a driver to take over…" Read more Hmmm… Waymo is so incredibly far ahead.  Even with these statistics, it depends on when and where the miles were drive.  It is relatively unchallenging in some places at some times, especially if you’ve experienced it many times before. Its all about being able to handle the unexpected to achieve Driverless. Uber accrues no substantive value until it reaches Driverless.  Self-driving’s only value is as a way/process to achieve Driverless.  Alain

Friday, March 10, 2017

Intel to Buy Mobileye, Maker of Sensors for Self-Driving Cars, for $15.3 Billion

M. Scott, Mar 13, "Intel agreed on Monday to buy Mobileye, an Israeli technology company that specializes in making sensors and cameras for autonomous cars, for $15.3 billion, as the global microchip giant tries to expand its reach in the fast-growing sector….As part of the deal, Intel said it would buy Mobileye’s outstanding shares at $63.54 a share, a 34 percent premium to Mobileye’s closing price on Friday….

Intel’s deal for Mobileye seems to be a recognition that chip-making rivals like Nvidia and Qualcomm have moved slightly ahead in the race to provide the computing power needed for autonomous cars… Intel said it would continue investing in the autonomous-driving industry, a sector that it said would be worth about $70 billion by 2030…"  Read more Hmmm… The hits keep coming!  Friday..the California Regs welcoming Driverless; Monday… this.  Tomorrow… nVIDIA????   Alain

 

Robot cars — with no human driver — could hit California roads next year

R. Mitchell, Mar 10, "California is back on the map as a state that’s serious about welcoming driverless cars.Truly driverless cars — vehicles with no human behind the wheel, and perhaps no steering wheel at all — are headed toward California streets and highways starting in 2018…
The regulations lay out “a clear path for future deployment of autonomous vehicles” in California, said Bernard Soriano, deputy director at the Department of Motor Vehicles…." Read moreHmmm… Congratulations Bernard!  This is fantastic news on the road to providing high-quality mobility for all.  It squarely addresses the fundamental need to efficiently re-position vehicles so that they can get to even those who can’t drive.  This is a real turning point for automated vehicles from self-driving toys for the 1% to affordable, environmentally friendly mobility for everyone.  Alain

Friday, March 3, 2017

Buffett has an interesting theory about why self-driving cars will hurt the insurance industry

E. Gurdus, Feb 27, "The self-driving car business could become a major threat to insurance companies when the technology hits the market, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC’s "Squawk Box" on Monday.
If autonomous vehicles prove to be safer than regular cars, insurance costs will plummet, and by the time roads are filled with self-driving cars insurers like Geico will have taken a serious hit, Buffett said…

"If I had to take the over and under [bet] ten years from now on whether 10 percent of the cars on the road would be self-driving, I would take the under, but I could very easily be wrong," he said…." Read more  Hmmm…Really shouldn’t go against Buffet; however, he’s going to be smiling all the way to the bank.  I just don’t see how the premise implies Geico takes a serious hit.  I tell everyone that I don’t understand insurance.  I guess I just don’t understand insurance.  🙁 

I suspect that by cars he means cars + light trucks for which there are about 250M currently registered in the US with 38% being greater than 10 years old.  Assuming these basic numbers remain roughly constant: of the 155M vehicles sold in the next 10 years, 25M or 16% would need to be ‘Self-driving’.  Since we are starting from a zero base with zero production, we are going to need to be upwards of a 30% adoption rate in the 10th year in order to have populated 16% of the fleet through that year.  So, I agree with Warren wrt ‘Self-driving‘":  "I would take the under, but I could very easily be wrong"  Wrt ‘Safe-driving, I would take the over, because the early numbers are attainable, especially if Insurance comes on board.  Wrt ‘Diverless‘: No way unless they are manufactured by a non-traditional entity that is totally disruptive in years 8,  9 and 10.   Alain 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Alphabet’s Waymo Alleges Uber Stole Self-Driving Secrets

M. Bergen, Feb 23, "It took Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo seven years to design and build a laser-scanning system to guide its self-driving cars. Uber Technologies Inc. allegedly did it in nine months.
Waymo claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that was possible because a former employee stole the designs and technology and started a new company….Anthony Levandowski, a former manager at Waymo, in December 2015 downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary and confidential files, including the lidar circuit board designs, according to the complaint. He also allegedly created a domain name for his new company and confided in some of his Waymo colleagues of plans to “replicate” its technology for a competitor…." Read more   Hmmm…This is very serious.  So unfortunate.  🙁   Alain

Friday, February 17, 2017

Motor Vehicle Deaths in 2016 Estimated to be Highest in Nine Years

Press release, Feb. 15, "NSC offers insight into what drivers are doing and calls for immediate implementation of proven, life-saving measures…

With the upward trend showing no sign of subsiding, NSC is calling for immediate implementation of life-saving measures that would set the nation on a road to zero deaths:…" Read more  Hmmm…"Automated Collision Avoidance" or anything having to do with ‘Safe-driving Cars‘ is not mentioned anywhere in the Press Release.  One of us is missing something very fundamental here!!  So depressing!!  🙁   Alain

Friday, January 27, 2017

Serving the Nation’s Personal Mobility Needs with the Casual Sharing of autonomousTaxis & Today’s Urban Rail, Amtrak and Air Transport Systems

A. Kornhauser, Jan 14, "Orf467F16 Final Project Symposium quantifying implications of such a Nation-wide mobility system on Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO), energy, environment and congestion, including estimates of fleet size, needed empty vehicle repositioning, and ridership implications on existing rail transit systems (west, east, NYC) and Amtrak of a system that would efficiently and effectively perform their ‘1st mile’/’last-mile’ mobility needs. Read more  Hmmm… Now linked are 1st Drafts of the chapters and the powerPoint summaries of these elements.  Final Report should be available by early February.  The major finding is, nationwide there exists sufficient casual ridesharing potential that a well–managed  Nationwide Fleet of about 30M aTaxis (in conjunction with the existing air, Amtrak and Urban fixed-rail systems)  could serve the vehicular mobility needs of the whole nation with VMT 40% less than today’s automobiles while providing a Level-of-Service (LoS) largely equivalent and in many ways superior than is delivered by the personal automobile today.  Also interesting are the findings as to the substantial increased patronage opportunities available to Amtrak and each of the fixed rail transit systems around the country because the aTaxis solve the ‘1st and last mile’ problem.  While all of this is extremely good news, the challenging news is that since all of these fixed rail systems currently lose money on each passenger served, the additional patronage would likely mean that they’ll lose even more money in the future. 🙁  Alain 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fiscal Year 2016 SRD Program Grant Selections

Public Announcement, Jan 22: "Pierce Transit will receive $1,664,894 to deploy buses equipped with collision avoidance warning systems or automatic braking features. The objective of this project is to deploy and demonstrate collision avoidance technology in partnership with the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), a collaborative organization of 25 Washington public transit agencies that combine their resources to provide and purchase insurance coverage, manage claims and litigation, and receive risk management and training. Pierce Transit will work with WSTIP to accurately determine the business case for investing in these technologies." Read moreHmmm… Finally!! More than 3 years since Lou Sanders of APTA, Jerome Lutin and I first proposed to FTA to do such a thing for the benefit of the entire bus transit industry (which FTA deemed as non-worthy) the FTA has finally turned around and jumped on-board.  The unfortunate news: we lost 3 years.  The fortunate news: the process of substantially reducing bus crashes is finally underway thanks to the hard work in the interim by Jerome Lutin and Jerry Spears (formerly of WSTIP).  This and the good news below from Tesla may finally enlighten the insurance industry to play a leadership role in the market adoption of SafeDrivingCars/Buses/Trucks.  Congratulations Jerome & Jerry!  Alain

ODI (Office of Defects Investigation) Findings on Tesla AEB & AutoPilot

(Above link should work) Jan 19, "… Summary: …     NHTSA’s examination did not identify any defects in the design or performance of the AEB or Autopilot  systems of the subject vehicles nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed.  AEB systems used in the  automotive industry through MY 2016 are rear-end collision avoidance technologies that are not designed to reliably  perform in all crash modes, including crossing path collisions.  The Autopilot system is an Advanced Driver Assistance  System (ADAS) that requires the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.  Tesla’s design included a hands-on the steering wheel system for monitoring driver engagement…
…  ODI analyzed data from crashes of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles involving airbag deployments that occurred while operating in, or within 15 seconds of transitioning from, Autopilot mode. Some crashes involved impacts from other vehicles striking the Tesla from various directions with little to no warning to the Tesla driver.  Other crashes involved scenarios known to be outside of the state-of-technology for current-generation Level 1 or 2 systems, such as cut-ins, cut-outs and crossing path collisions…. 
…The Florida fatal crash appears to have involved a period of extended distraction (at least 7 seconds)…"
.Hmmm… nothing else is written about this nor is a basis given for  the ‘at least 7 seconds’.  Possibly the most important information revealed in this summary is Figure 11, p11: "…  Figure 11 shows the rates calculated by ODI for airbag deployment crashes in the subject Tesla vehicles before and after Autosteer installation.  The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation…
…A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted.  Accordingly, this
investigation is closed. "  Read more  Hmmm… WOW!!! . Every word of this Finding is worth reading.  It basically exonerates Tesla, states that AEBs (Automated Emergency Braking) systems don’t really work and aren’t designed to work in some scenarios (straight crossing path (SCP) and left turn across path (LTAP), see p 2,3).  …which suggests, to me, that DoT/NHTSA should be placing substantial efforts on making these systems really work in more scenarios.  And… there is the solid data that ‘AutoSteer" reduced Tesla crashes by almost 40%!!! WOW!! Will Insurance now finally get on-board and lead?  Alai

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation

B. Grush, Oct. 2016, "Two contradictory stories about our transportation infrastructure are currently in circulation. One is that Ontario’s aging, inadequate and congested infrastructure is perennially unable to catch up with a growing and sprawling GTHA. The other is that vehicle automation will soon dramatically multiply current road capacity by enabling narrower lanes, shorter headways and coordinated streams of connected vehicles to pass through intersections without traffic signals to impede flow.
Since the premature forecast of peak car in 2008 and now the hype surrounding the automated vehicle, we are often told that we have enough road capacity; that shared robotic taxis will optimize our trips, reduce congestion, and largely eliminate the need for parking. This advice implies we need wait only a few short years to experience relief from our current infrastructure problems given by decades of under-investment in transportation infrastructure.

This is wishful thinking. Vehicle automation will give rise to two different emerging markets: semi-automated vehicles for household consumption and fully automated vehicles for public service such as robo-taxi and robo-transit. These two vehicle types will develop in parallel to serve different social markets. They will compete for both riders and infrastructure. The purpose of this report is to look at why and how government agencies and public interest groups can and should influence the preferred types and deployment of automated vehicles and the implication of related factors for planning…" Read more Hmmm…Bravo!  The Key Findings & Recommendations are excellent.  This is an excellent report (but it largely misses goods movement.)  Especially 5.1 (read ‘semi-autonomous’ as ‘Self-driving’ and ‘full-automation’ as ‘Driverless’.  My view:  Driverless may well be at the heals of Self-driving because it is a business play rather than a consumer play.  Driverless will be ordered by the hundreds or thousands rather than individually.)  and, of course Ch 10: Ownership (the business model) is more important than technology. Alain

Friday, September 23, 2016

Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution In Roadway Safety

September 2016, "Executive Summary…For DOT, the excitement around highly automated vehicles (HAVs) starts with safety.  (p5)

…The development of advanced automated vehicle safety technologies, including fully self-driving cars, may prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago. (p5)

…The benefits don’t stop with safety. Innovations have the potential to transform personal mobility and open doors to people and communities. (p5)

…The remarkable speed with which increasingly complex HAVs are evolving challenges DOT to take new approaches that ensure these technologies are safely introduced (i.e., do not introduce significant new safety risks), provide safety benefits today, and achieve their full safety potential in the future. (p6)  Hmmm…Fantastic statements and I appreciate that the fundamental basis and motivator is SAFETY.  We all have recognized safety as a necessary   condition that must be satisfied if this technology is to be successful.  (unfortunately it is not a sufficient condition, (in a pure math context)). This policy statement appropriately reaffirms this necessary condition.  Alain

"…we divide the task of facilitating the safe introduction and deployment (…defines “deployment” as the operation of an HAV by members of the public who are not the employees or agents of the designer, developer, or manufacturer of that HAV.) of HAVs into four sections:(p6) Hmmm…Perfect! Alain

"…1. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p6)…"  Hmmm… 15 Points, more later. Alain

"…2. Model State Policy (p7)   The Model State Policy confirms that States retain their traditional responsibilities…but… The shared objective is to ensure the establishment of a consistent national framework rather than a patchwork of incompatible laws…" Hmmm… Well done.  Alain

"…3. NHTSA Current Regulatory Tools (p7) … This document provides instructions, practical guidance, and assistance to entities seeking to employ those tools. Furthermore, NHTSA has streamlined its review process and is committing to…"   Hmmm… Excellent. Alain

"…4. New Tools and Authorities (p7)…The speed with which HAVs are advancing, combined with the complexity and novelty of these innovations, threatens to outpace the Agency’s conventional regulatory processes and capabilities. This challenge requires DOT to examine whether the way DOT has addressed safety for the last 50 years should be expanded to realize the safety potential of automated vehicles over the next 50 years. Therefore, this section identifies potential new tools, authorities and regulatory structures that could aid the safe and appropriately expeditious deployment of new technologies by enabling the Agency to be more nimble and flexible (p8)…"  Hmmm… Yes. Alain

"…Note on “Levels of Automation”  There are multiple definitions for various levels of automation and for some time there has been need for standardization to aid clarity and consistency. Therefore, this Policy adopts the SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. )  Hmmm… I’m not sure this adds clarity because it does not deal directly with the difference between self-driving and driverless.  While it might be implied in level 4 and level 5 that these vehicles can proceed with no one in the vehicle, it is not stated explicitly.  That is unfortunate, because driverless freight delivery can’t be done without "driverless"; neither can mobility-on-demand be offered to the young, old, blind, inebriated, …without "driverless".  Vehicles can’t be "repositioned-empty" (which (I don’t mean to offend anyone) is the real value of a taxi driver today).  So autonomousTaxis are impossible.

Also, these levels do not address Automated Emergency Braking  (AEB) Systems and Automated Lane Keeping Systems which are the very first systems whose on-all-the-time performance must be perfected.   These are the Safety Foundation of HAV (Highly Automated vehicles).  I understand that the guidelines may assume that these systems are already perfect and that "20 manufacturer have committed" to have AEB on all new cars, but to date these systems really don’t work.  In 12 mph IIHS test, few stop before hitting the target, and, as we may have seen with the Florida Tesla crash, the Level 2/3 AutoPilot may not have failed, but, instead, it was the "Phantom Level 1" AEB that is supposed to be on all the time.  This is not acceptable.  These AEB systems MUST get infinitely better now.  It is a shame that AEBs were were not explicitly addressed in this document.

"…I. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p11) A. Guidance: if a vehicle is compliant within the existing FMVSS regulatory framework and maintains a conventional vehicle design, there is currently no specific federal legal barrier to an HAV being offered for sale.(footnote 7)  However, manufacturers and other entities designing new automated vehicle systems
are subject to NHTSA’s defects, recall and enforcement authority. (footnote 8)   . and the "15 Cross-cutting Areas of Guidance" p17)

In sum this is a very good document and displays just how far DoT policy has come from promoting v2v, DSRC and centralized control, "connected",  focus to creating an environment focused on individual vehicles that responsibly take care of themselves.  Kudos to Secretary Foxx for this 180 degree policy turn focused on safety.   Once done correctly, the HAV will yield the early safety benefits that will stimulate continued improvements that, in turn, will yield the great mobility, environmental and quality-of-life benefits afforded by driverless mobility. 

What are not addressed are commercial trucking and buses/mass transit.  NHTSA is auto focused, so maybe FMCSA is preparing similar guidelines.  FTA (Federal Transit Administration) seems nowhere in sight.  Alain

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

May 7 Crash

Hmmm…What we know now (and don’t know):

Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving

Chenyi Chen PhD Dissertation , "…the key part of the thesis, a direct perception approach is proposed to drive a car in a highway environment. In this approach, an input image is mapped to a small number of key perception indicators that directly relate to the affordance of a road/traffic state for driving….."  Read more  Hmmm..FPO 10:00am, May 16 , 120 Sherrerd Hall, Establishing a foundation for image-based autonomous driving using DeepLearning Neural Networks trained in virtual environments. Very promising. Alain

Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

Sunday, December 19, 2015

Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars

Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1.  Hmmm … Watch Video  especially at the 13:12 mark.  Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above!  Also see his TipRanks.  Alain


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