http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.11-GTA5-041817
11th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Announcing:

 Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Buyers, Sellers, Facilitators
May 17, 18

(In less than one month)
 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

 

Visit Landing Page for application and sponsorship opportunities. 

http://summit.SmartDrivingCar.com/  


Tuesday, April 17, 2017

Don’t Worry, Driverless Cars Are Learning From Grand Theft Auto

D. Hall, Apr 17, "In the race to the autonomous revolution, developers have realized there aren’t enough hours in a day to clock the real-world miles needed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Which is why Grand Theft Auto V is in the mix.
The blockbuster video game is one of the simulation platforms researchers and engineers increasingly rely on to test and train the machines being primed to take control of the family sedan. Companies from Ford Motor Co. to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo may boast about putting no-hands models on the market in three years, but there’s a lot still to learn about drilling algorithms in how to respond when, say, a mattress falls off a truck on the freeway….The idea isn’t that the highways and byways of the fictional city of Los Santos would ever be a substitute for bona fide asphalt. But the game “is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” said Alain Kornhauser…"  Read More Hmmmm... Well…we have a slightly different view of history wrt to GTA5.  The ‘Alain view’ is that Chenyi Chen*16 independently started investigating the use of virtual environments as a source of Image – Affordances data sets to use as the training sets in a ‘Direct Perception’ approach to creating a self-driving algorithm.  Images of the road ahead are converted into the instantaneous geometry that is implied by those image.  An optimal controller then determines the the steering, brake and throttle values to best drive the car.  The critical element in that process are the Image – Affordances data sets which need to be pristine.  Chenyi demonstrated in his PhD dissertation , summarized in the ICCV2015 paper,  that by using the pristine Image – Affordances data sets from an open-source game TORCS one could have a virtual car drive a virtual race course without crashing.  More importantly, when tested on images from real driving situations, the computed affordances were close to correct.

This encouraged us to look for more appropriate virtual environments. For many reasons, including: "wouldn’t it be amazing if ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ actually generated some positive ‘redeeming social value’ by contributing to the development of algorithms that actually made cars safer; saving grief, injuries and lives".  Consequently, in the Fall of 2015, Artur Filipowicz’17 began to investigate using GTA5 to train Convolutional Neural Networks to perform some of the Direct Perception aspects of automated driving.  With Jeremiah Liu, he continued his efforts in this direction last summer which were presented at TRB in January.  Yesterday, he and Nyan Bhat’17 turned in their Senior Theses focused on this topic.

Indeed, GTA5 is a rich virtual environment that begins to efficiently and effective address the data needs of Deep Learning approaches to safe driving.    Alain

A second life for open-world games as self-driving car training software

D. Etherington, Apr 17, "A lot of top-tier video games enjoy lengthy long-tail lives with remasters and re-releases on different platforms, but the effort put into some games could pay dividends in a whole new way, as companies training things like autonomous cars, delivery drones and other robots are looking to rich, detailed virtual worlds to provided simulated training environments that mimic the real world.

Just as companies including Boom can now build supersonic jets with a small team and limited funds, thanks to advances made possible in simulation, startups like NIO (formerly NextEV) can now keep pace with larger tech concerns with ample funding in developing self-driving software, using simulations of real-world environments including those derived rom games like Grand Theft Auto V. Bloomberg reports that the approach is increasingly popular among companies that are looking to supplement real-world driving experience, including Waymo and Toyota’s Research Institute…."  Read More Hmmmm... Yup!  Alain

  Apple Gets Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars in California

V. Goel, Apr 14, "Apple plans to start testing self-driving cars on California roads, the clearest signal yet that the world’s most valuable technology company wants to design or build autonomous vehicle technology.  On Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles granted Apple an official test permit that the agency said would allow the company to test autonomous driving technology in three 2015 Lexus RX 450h luxury hybrid sport utility vehicles. The permit authorizes six people to take control of the vehicles if necessary…. Read More Hmmmm... Not much else to read.  What’s substantive is:  Apple may actually have something that they want to put out on California roads.  🙂 Alain

Urban leaders should plan for the public transit of the future

J. Niles, Apr 13, "… What’s largely unappreciated yet important is that leaders in urban regions need to prepare for two separate, competitive streams of vehicle automation. One stream lets automation assist the driver. A second stream has no driver. Not recognizing the distinction can result in confused predictions and ineffective public policy…." Read More Hmmmm... I claim there are 3 streams: Safe-Driving Cars that iaren’t Self-driving but have automate safety features that automatically take over and keep cars from crashing, going way too fast,  tailgating and all of the other bad things that we do when we drive, in addition to Self-Driving & Driverless. I agree: "Not recognizing the distinction can result in confused predictions and ineffective public policy" !  I also agree with his streams (except, of course, the need for  "impeccable up-to-date digital mapping"  and absolutely agree with the need for "well-maintained lane markings and signage" ( but more to help all of the conventional human drivers and not as much for the Deep Learning algorithms). Alain

By 2030, 25% of Miles Driven in US Could Be in Shared Self-Driving Electric Cars

Press release, Apr 10, "By 2030, around a quarter of all miles driven in the US could be in shared autonomous electric vehicles, which will offer consumers in large cities the lowest-cost, most convenient form of transportation, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

BCG’s key insight is that the convergence of three trends—ride sharing (services such as Uber and Lyft), autonomous driving, and vehicle electrification—create a far more compelling economic case than any of these forces alone. Due to their ability to cut travel costs by 60%, shared autonomous electric vehicles (SAEVs) could shift about 25% of miles traveled from private automobiles-—creating enormous benefits for consumers as well as causing major disruption to the automotive industry…" Read More Hmmmm... It would be much more believable if the BCG called these ‘Driverless Electric cars"  It is the Driverless aspect that makes then both manageable (to eliminate empty repositioning miles as much as possible AND to assign vehicles to take advantage of ridesharing opportunities as they naturally emerge as well as are encouraged through progressive pricing initiatives) and affordable.  Uber & Lyft simply have neither sufficient control over their drivers nor sophisticated enough vehicle-ride matching algorithms to do any meaningful ride-sharing or minimizing of empty miles.  The 2 Keys are: Driverless vehicles (they allow/require the fleet owner to have total control over which trips are served, at what price, by which vehicle, when thus enabling  the ‘minimization’ of empty  miles and ‘maximization’ of vehicle occupancy.) and Electrification because it is cheap and the fleet operator has no range anxiety  (during much of the day many vehicles are not being used, thus they can be recharging.)

By the way, we’ve estimated that today’s person-miles could have been served by vehicles traveling about half that distance (Average Vehicle Productivity (AVP = Person-miles demand/Vehicle-miles traveled) =2.0).  Alain 

When car ownership fades, this parking garage will be ready for its next life

R. Vincent, Apr 16,  "One of the country’s biggest apartment developers is working on plans for a grand residential complex in downtown Los Angeles that includes what appears to be an ordinary garage.  There will be row upon row of lined stalls at street level and two floors underground to store nearly 1,000 cars of tenants and visitors to the trendy Arts District, where parking is relentlessly hard to find.

But when it’s completed in about four years, the ample garage will be one of the first of its kind in Los Angeles: It’s designed to eventually serve other uses.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. has planned the garage for a time when ride-sharing services such as Uber and self-driving taxis whittle down car ownership until parking places become expendable…" Read More Hmmmm... Very interesting!  Alain

Hard Questions on Our Transition to Driverless Cars

A. Khanna, Apr 11, "…In combination with the sharing economy, driverless vehicles are likely to be deployed in fleets, benefiting higher utilization in urban settings. This portends a dual-track future. While sharing and driverless will converge for the 1.7 billion population living in sizable cities, the remainder of the population will also benefit, but largely from the safety advantages of self-driving cars that they will own…" Read more   Hmmmm... Some of these questions are hard questions but they have been around for a while.  I do applaud the strong distinction between Self-driving and Driverless; however, fleet-managed will be able to penetrate lower density communities so that sharing and driverless mobility potential is more far-reaching.  Also, much of the existing public transportation infrastructure can become even more relevant because it can be fed (solves the "first and last 1-> ’10’ miles" problem).  Also, existing public transportation serves only 2% of the daily trips in the US so it really can’t become much more irrelevant.   Finally, ‘connected vehicles’ (beyond what cell phones can and will do) have few embraceable opportunities.  Alain

Securing Driverless Cars From Hackers Is Hard. Ask the Ex-Uber Guy Who Protects Them

 A. Greenberg, Apr 12, "…Miller couldn’t talk about any of the specifics of his research at Uber; he says he moved to Didi in part because the company has allowed him to speak more openly about car hacking. But he warns that before self-driving taxis can become a reality, the vehicles’ architects will need to consider everything from the vast array of automation in driverless cars that can be remotely hijacked, to the possibility that passengers themselves could use their physical access to sabotage an unmanned vehicle.."  Read More Hmmmm... I include this because I don’t appreciate this issue as much as I probably should.  I simply can’t understand why anyone would waste their time trying to hack one of these cars?  If one wants to use it as a remote control bomb delivery system, isn’t it easier to simply recruit a suicide driver?  If one wants to be cute and just cause a crash, isn’t it trivial to freak-out a human driver and cause them to cross into on-coming traffic? Is hacking a car, or even all of he cars, anywhere near the top of anyone’s bucket list?  Even Russian hackers must have way better things to do with their time!

Today we all behave, else there would be total carnage on today’s roads.  We’re also all going to need to behave with this new technology.  Alain

Auto Insurers Chase an Elusive Motorist: The Uber Driver

Dow Jones, Apr 10,  "…These plans are designed to fill insurance gaps that could affect drivers and their vehicles. Traditional auto policies won’t provide coverage during the periods a driver is providing transportation services for pay, and polices provided by ride-sharing companies aren’t always as comprehensive as a driver’s own plan….Even though drivers are often confused about what coverage applies during what periods, interest in these ride-sharing products is growing, insurance companies say. At Allstate, 65% of drivers who acknowledge working for a ride-sharing company buy extra insurance in the states that it is available, and the company has sold about 9,000 ride-sharing policies. The additional coverage costs $15 to $20 a year…  Read More Hmmmm... I don’t understand??? Are we arguing about "$15 to $20 a year" ??? Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention 

Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google?

M. Chafkin, Mar. 16  "…Then, last summer, Uber became the first company to operate a fleet of autonomous taxis, in downtown Pittsburgh. On the day it announced that service, Uber also said it had acquired Otto, a self-driving truck startup founded in January 2016 by a former Google employee, Anthony Levandowski. The 37-year-old engineer was an original member of Google’s car team and a protégé of its creator, Sebastian Thrun…."  Read more   Hmmmm... Not rehashing, but I finally saw this article which is much better that the one I originally included on this topic which hasn’t gone away.  Alain

What’s Behind Slowing Car Sales and Stalled (Auto) Stock Prices


Maryann Keller, Apr 17,  "While stock market averages close to all time highs that isn’t the case for the shares of car companies and car dealers, which have gone in reverse (mostly) for over a year now. Since stocks reflect future expectations, the lackluster performance is traceable to the simple fact that after the last two years of 17+ million sales, vehicle demand will decline this year and take profit margins in the same direction…

The combination of tighter financing and falling used car values will put a damper on new car sales…and especially for borrowers with large negative equity positions in late model vehicles and those in lower credit tiers. The effects will likely include lower total new vehicle sales, a shift by consumers to less expensive models, and pressure on the profits of automobile manufacturers, dealers and lenders especially the captive finance subsidiaries."   Read more   Hmmmm... If improved technology creates an even bigger value gap between new and used, does that help, hurt or is irrelevant?? 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 car testing on Triangle Expressway hinges on federal funding

A. Douglas, Apr 12, "Budget negotiations in Congress later this year could determine whether North Carolina and eight other states begin federally-funded on-road testing of self-driving cars…." Read more   Hmmmm... Really?  Self-driving cars are being tested throughout California, Arizona and Pittsburgh without any of the Swamp’s $$$. Why does N. Carolina need Washington $$$ (Oh, there once was a pipeline; never mind!). Alain  


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

Autonomous vehicles will not prevent half of real-world crashes

 
A. Thomas, Mar-Apr 2017, "The case for autonomous vehicles (AVs) is usually made by saying 90% of crashes are caused by driver error, so remove the driver and you avoid 90% of crashes…" Read more   Hmmmm... No!  Nobody makes that case.  It is regularly discounted to "50%" and applied only  to equipped vehicle, not not conventional vehicles. Otherwise your arguments are good and especially part of the last line: "While a 43% safety gains would be more than welcomed." C’mon Man! nothing else comes even close! Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

AV Policy Series

April 25, 2017
American Institute of Architects,
1735 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.


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


Recent Highlights of:

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

 

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 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

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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