http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.8-UberCrash-032717
8th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

Monday, March 27, 2017

  Announcing: SmartDrivingCars Deployment/Commercialization Summit;

May 17, 18
 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Visit Website for details.  http://summit.smartdrivingcar.com/   Alain

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

Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash

G. Cherelus, Mar 25, "Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.
The accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.  Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe…" Read more Hmmmm... Prudent move, but if the ACA performed as well as can be expected, then they need to get back out there ASAP.  On the other hand, if a really good ACA could have avoided this crash, then Uber should wait until they’ve improved the ACA before they get back out there.  Alain

Here’s what happens when a self-driving Uber fails

D. Muoio, Mar 20, "…We got a ride in Uber’s self-driving Ford Fusion back in September and experienced firsthand how regularly the car disengaged. Here’s what happens when the car fails and what it says about Uber’s place in the autonomous space:…" Read more Hmmmm... Progress, but still a long way to go and there is nothing in the article about how the system performs when ‘the other car failed to yield’.  Alain

The Challenges of Partially Automated Driving

S. Casner, E. Hutchinson, D. Norman, May 2016, "What does increasing automation require of drivers? The role of the driver in the extreme cases of fully manual or fully autonomous driving is clear. In manual cars, people drive, and in fully autonomous cars they do not drive. But what is the role of a driver in a partially automated car in which some of the driver’s responsibilities are replaced by computers, some of the time? Partial automation makes us part driver and part passenger, having to deal with the familiar problem of working together with computing systems. Even though totally autonomous driving will arrive someday, the transition will be difficult, especially during the period when the automation is both incomplete and imperfect, requiring the human driver to maintain oversight and sometimes intervene and take closer control.28

Here, we review two kinds of emerging car automation systems and discuss the challenges drivers will likely face when expected to work cooperatively with them behind the wheel. These automation systems range from those that offer informational assistance to drivers to those that can assume control of the vehicle for extended stretches of time—or even seize control of the vehicle when the driver wanders into unsafe situations. We draw on the state of the art in driving research, along with decades of previous work that examined the safety effects of automation as it was gradually introduced in the airline cockpit. We discuss a variety of challenges we expect to arise as automation assumes increasing responsibility for driving tasks once performed solely by humans. Some problems seem counterintuitive and some paradoxical, with few of them lending themselves to simple solutions. In the end we invite the reader to consider the evidence we present and decide whether drivers are ready to "go on autopilot" behind the wheel of the next generation of cars…Read more Hmmmm... This is really good (although I take issue with their critique of Nav systems).  Doomed to fail:  Asking a human to be the Safety monitor on an automated system which requires anything but the most simple action (for example: ‘hit the emergency brake button’).   Alain  

Nvidia is Making Moves to Dominate Self-driving Cars

MrTopSStep.com, Mar 20, "It’s been a busy week in the world of self-driving cars, from the Intel Corporation (INTC) acquisition of Mobileye NV (MBLY), to Uber and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) Waymo high stakes lawsuit. But, missed in all the fuss was actual real news — the undisputed leader, Nvidia Corporation (NVDA), is making waves to further its lead in self-driving cars and turn the segment into a multi-billion dollar business…." Read more Hmmmm... Interesting.  Alain

Driverless transit vehicles could replace Jacksonville’s current Skyway system

D. Dixon, Mar 26, "… The current Skyway route runs from San Marco along the south bank across the St. Johns River and then runs mainly from the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center to just north of Hemming Park.   The proposed routes for the autonomous vehicle extension of that service stretch well into Riverside’s Five Points area to the west and all the way to the Sports Complex to the east. It also runs along Main Street to the north in Springfield to UF Health and well into San Marco along Hendricks Avenue.  “It’s about connecting those places,” said Brad Thoburn, JTA vice president of planning, development and innovation…." Read more Hmmmm... A viable opportunity for Slow Speed Driverless vehicles.   Alain

The 10 U.S. Cities Where Self-Driving Cars Make the Most Sense

K. Korosec, Mar 21, "…The top U.S. cities primed for self-driving cars is led by New Orleans, Albuquerque, Tucson, Ariz., Portland, and Omaha, according to a new index created by Inrix, a company that aggregates and analyzes traffic data collected from vehicles and highway infrastructure…" Read more Hmmmm... I’m not sure that the INRIX metric is anywhere near the right one; therefor,  the resulting list needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  My metric would identify the cities that have the greatest potential for casual ridesharing that isn’t already served by existing transit systems.  Alain

Tesla Model 3: Autopilot is most popular option among reservation holders and 58% want a battery upgrade

F. Lambert, Mar 21, "Unsurprisingly, the Autopilot is most popular option among reservation holders and maybe a little more surprising, a majority of Tesla Model 3 reservations holders in the US want a battery upgrade over the base “more than 215 miles” option…" Read more Hmmmm... Comfort & Convenience and Range Anxiety. Alain

 

Self-Driving Cars’ Spinning-Laser Problem

 T. Simonite, Mar 20, "Many components go into making a vehicle capable of driving itself, but one is proving to be more crucial and contentious than all the rest.
That vital ingredient is the lidar sensor, a device that maps objects in 3-D by bouncing laser beams off its real-world surroundings….Still, many in the self-driving-car industry think lidar needs reinventing if it is to become practical enough. Velodyne is one of several companies working on designs that don’t use spinning mirrors to direct their laser beams out into the world, as the devices on the road today do. Versions that steer their lasers electronically, described as solid state, should be much cheaper, smaller, and more robust, because they don’t have moving parts…" Read more   Hmmmm... Interesting.  Alain

Driverless Future? If they ever get the bugs out, autonomous cars will put a lot of human drivers out of work

S.  Greenhouse, Mar 21, "Self-driving (sic) vehicles will threaten the jobs of as many as five million people—workers who make a living as taxi drivers, long-haul truckers, Uber and Lyft drivers, local delivery drivers, limo chauffeurs, and even many bus drivers. … Read more Hmmmm... ‘Self-driving’ won’t put anyone out of a job. These systems still need drivers for parts of each trip.  ‘Driverless’ may eventually put all 210 million licensed drivers out of work, 96% of whom don’t get paid to drive.   Alain

Silicon Valley likes to "move fast and break things." What happens when it makes cars?

T. Lee, Mar 20, "Mark Zuckerberg popularized the slogan “move fast and break things” to describe the breakneck pace of innovation at Facebook, and the phrase has become popular across Silicon Valley. So what happens when technology companies start to build a technology — self-driving cars — that can literally move fast and break not just things but people?
It’s a crucial question not only for the major Silicon Valley companies working on self-driving technology — including Google, Uber, and Tesla — but also for regulators. The balance is tricky: If regulators are too lax, people could die from malfunctioning self-driving vehicles. But overregulation could delay the introduction of cars that drive themselves much better than a human driver, costing many more lives in the long run…" Read more Hmmmm... This is the basic quandary.  Alain
  


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention 

Unexpected Consequences of Self Driving Cars

R. Brooks, Jan 12, "…In this post I will explore two possible consequences of having self driving cars, two consequences that I have not seen being discussed, while various car companies, non-traditional players, and startups debate what level of autonomy we might expect in our cars and when. These potential consequences are self-driving cars as social outcasts and anti-social behavior of owners. …" Read more Hmmmm... Interesting. The social interaction will be different.  How do we socially interact with elevators today or even our own computers/smartPhones??? Alain


On the More Technical Side

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



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

Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles

M. Chapman, Mar 23, "Single, childless and 68, Steven Gold has begun to think about future mobility and independence. Although in good health, he can foresee a time when he won’t be a confident driver, if he can drive at all. While he hopes to continue to live in his suburban Detroit home, he wonders how he will be able to get to places like his doctor’s office and the supermarket if his driving becomes impaired.
For Mr. Gold and other older adults, self-driving cars might be a solution…." Read more Hmmmm... This is an irresponsible suggestion.  ‘Self-driving’ cars only relieve the driver from the task of driving some of the time in some places.  The rest of the time in the rest of the places a ‘confident‘ driver is required!  So while self-driving might offer some comfort and convenience to ‘confident’ older drivers, they are NOT the mobility solution for ‘non-confident’ older drivers.  Nor are they the solution for the young, the visually impaired on the inebriated!   Mobility for these folks requires Driverless, period.  Alain   


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

 


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Deployment/Commercialization Summit
May 17 & 18, 2017
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Save the Date


Recent Highlights of:

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, February 10, 2017

  Regulatory Chill May Pivot Connected Vehicle Tech’s Course

M. Ross, Feb 8, "Technology and telecommunications groups opposed to a federal mandate that cars automatically communicate with each other are hoping the proposal is an early victim of President Donald Trump’s regulatory clampdown.
The Department of Transportation rushed to publish a draft rule in the final days of the Obama administration that would mandate all new cars and light trucks be equipped to transmit data to other vehicles to warn their drivers of potential collisions. The department and automobile manufacturers have been laying the groundwork for such a rule for more than a decade, with millions of dollars in testing indicating that the radio-based technology could immediately save lives.  No, that’s its fundamental flaw.  Even if you have it, it can’t do you any good unless the other guy has it.  Thus it can’t do anything immediately …The draft rule could save up to 1,365 lives each year by 2060.   Immediately??? I’ll surely be dead and gone. All that money spent to get such a finding.  
….The total annual costs to comply with the mandate 30 years after the rule’s launch range from $2.2 billion to $5 billion, according to 2016 NHTSA data. Consumers can expect to pay about an extra $300 per vehicle equipped with DSRC technology, the data show.   That’s a lot of ‘good money to be thrown after bad’.  Let’s spend Billions to justify our Millions in sunk costs?   Much worse than ‘doubling down’ …Meanwhile, artificial intelligence, camera technology, sensors and radar, which are already being used in autonomous vehicle development, improve vehicle safety and don’t require cars to be connected to each other, Paul Brubaker, president and CEO of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation,…"

Read more  Hmmm… Not ‘Regulatory Chill’ but simply Common Sense. C’mon Man! I’m on the AV side of this one. V2V is fine on top of AV, but staying on the DSRC bandwagon is silly when it will be completely obsolesced by 5G before it has sufficient penetration to be better than ‘a hope & a prayer’ in avoiding crashes.  V2V requires both vehicles to have the technology.  The chance that both cars can even talk to each other, let alone know what to do and do what is needed, to avoid a crash is the product of the adoption percentage of DSRC.  So, a mandate today, that pertains only to having DSRC in new cars, will be lucky to be in 30% of the cars by 2025.  Thus, the chance that DSRC is even relevant in an impending crash is 0.3 x 0.3 = 0.09.  Meaning that there is only about a 10%  (1 in 10) chance that DSRC is even relevant in averting a crash.  It simply takes a long time to replace the cars that are on the road today with new ones.  However, many of us replace our phones with the latest and greatest much more quickly, so that by 2025 it is not unreasonable that as many as 70% of drivers will have 5G phones.  The chance that these phones will have the opportunity to be a relevant V2V device in averting a crash is 0.7 x 0.7 = 0.49 .  Which road should we go down… DSRC mandate giving us at best a 1 in 10 chance of being relevant in 2025 ( and we still need AV to perform the avoidance of the crash) or wait and piggy back on our 5G device that gives us a 1 in 2 chance in 2025 at no additional cost because we will have purchased it for other reasons.  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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Announces New Federal Committee on Automation

News, Jan 10, "…U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I’m proud to announce this new automation committee, and look forward to seeing its members advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficient.”… Read more Hmmm… Excellent!!! Congratulations Chris, Bryant, Missy and everyone else.  Alain

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lessons From the Tesla Crash

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

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities

March 23 Hmmm… Watch the video of the Committee Meeting.  The testimony is Excellent and very compelling! Also see Self-Driving Minnesota 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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