http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.17-Summit-052317
17th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

May 18, Enormously successful inaugural Summit starting with the Adam Jonas video and finishing with Fred Fishkin’s live interview with Wm. C Ford III.  In between, serious engagement among over 150 leaders from Communities at the bleeding edge of deployment, Insurance struggling with how to properly promote the adoption of technology that may well force them to re-invent themselves and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the various technologies that are rapidly advancing so that we can actually deliver the safety, environmental, mobility and quality of life opportunities envisioned by these “Ultimate Shared-Riding Machines”.

Save the Date for the 2nd Annual… May 16 & 17, 2018, Princeton NJ  Read Inaugural Program with links to Slides. Fishkin Interview of Summit Summary and Interview of Yann LeCun Read Inaugural Program with links to Slides. Hmmmm… Enormous thank you to all who participated.  Well done!  Alain

As Profit Dwindles, Ford Is Said to Replace Its C.E.O.

B. Vlasic, May 21, "In a shake-up reflecting the pressures on the American auto industry, Ford Motor is replacing its chief executive, Mark Fields, according to officials briefed on the move.  Jim Hackett, who oversees the Ford subsidiary that works on autonomous vehicles, will take the reins from Mr. Fields…."  Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting!  For those of you that may have thought that SmartDrivingCars weren’t important to Ford’s future road map ….Think again! Alain

Australian guidelines for automated vehicle trials invite nationwide testing of new-era technology

Press release, May 24,  " Australian governments are taking steps to move to a new era of mobility, with today’s launch of national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles.  Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia is a joint publication of the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads. The guidelines support state and territory road agencies in providing exemptions or permits for trials, and give greater certainty to industry on conditions for trials…." Read more Hmmmm… Read the just released Guidelines.  Alain

Pittsburgh Welcomed Uber’s Driverless Car Experiment. Not Anymore.

C. Kang, "When Uber picked this former Rust Belt town as the inaugural city for its driverless car experiment, Pittsburgh played the consummate host.“You can either put up red tape or roll out the red carpet,” Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, said in September. “If you want to be a 21st-century laboratory for technology, you put out the carpet.”

Nine months later, Pittsburgh residents and officials say Uber has not lived up to its end of the bargain. Among Uber’s perceived transgressions: The company began charging for driverless rides that were initially pitched as free. It also withdrew support from Pittsburgh’s application for a $50 million federal grant to revamp transportation. And it has not created the jobs it proposed in a struggling neighborhood that houses its autonomous car testing track…." Read more Hmmmm… Details are important, especially when you have to go from Self-driving to Driverless for it to make any sense financially.  Alain

  Interviewing Truck Drivers at a Crossroads

T. Gabriel, May 22, "…Their work was tough, often lonely, and the stories poured out of them as though people beyond their fraternity had rarely asked about it. As one of the first drivers I interviewed, Greg Simmons, 54, from Hastings, Fla., put it — his words ended up in the headline of the article — “We’re throwaway people. Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights from The New York Times. Visit us at Times Insider and follow us on Twitter. Questions or feedback? Email us.

Truck drivers are everywhere on our highways, undergirding the American economy, but most of us know little about their work and personal lives beyond musty stereotypes from the days of CB radio. Most truckers were quick to disabuse me of any notion that life on the open road holds romantic allure…." Read more Hmmmm… It is a very tough job, one of the most dangerous and they need technology to improve their workplace, not to take it away.  Alain

Morgan Stanley Sees A $70 Billion Self-Driving Startup In Alphabet’s Waymo

 A. Ohnsman, May 23, "…The assessment by analysts Brian Nowak and Adam Jonas was undertaken after a surprise announcement that Waymo and No. 2 U.S. rideshare company Lyft planned to collaborate on testing of self-driving systems on Lyft’s platform. If the companies ultimately work together, it would be a big revenue generator for Waymo under a scenario created by the analysts that assumes it could generate $1.25 per mile for the tech firm…" Read more   Hmmmm… Very interesting!
Alainv 

  Nvidia And Waymo Grab Early Lead In First Lap Of Self-Driving Car Race

A. Ohnsman, May 22, "It’s too soon to declare a winner in the long race to perfect self-driving cars but Nvidia and Alphabet’s Waymo (created to commercialize Google’s automated vehicle R&D) have notched successes in both technology and strategic partnerships. Don’t count anyone out yet, though, as the Intel-Mobileye-BMW-Delphi alliance grows increasingly formidable and Elon Musk’s Tesla is hard at work forging its own path…" Read more   Hmmmm… We are still at Absolute (Kelvin) Zero, but those two are out in front.  Alain

Uber hires Raquel Urtasun to lead a new ATG self-driving unit in Toronto

D. Etherington, May 8 "…Uber is expanding its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) with a new office in Toronto, headed by local AI researcher Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto professor and the Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision.  Urtasun joins Uber in a senior role at Uber’s ATG, at a time when the organizational unit, which drives most of Uber’s work on autonomous driving, is in need of more stability at the top.

Urtasun’s work on self-driving technology in general, and specifically with perception algorithms that help autonomous vehicles take better measure of their surroundings, have made her an influential figure in the growing self-driving space. She joins a number of other top AI researchers coming out of University of Toronto who have gone on to secure positions of importance at major tech firms; U of T AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, who heads Google Brain’s Canadian operations, is another. " Read more   Hmmmm… Very nice.  Congratulations Raquel!  Alain

When the Robots Reach the Road

 B. Lindbergh, May 18, "The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh, who still doesn’t have a driver’s license, investigates how far away we are from a driverless future, the utopian (and dystopian) visions of what a driverless world could look like, the hurdles that have to be cleared, and whether driverless cars can arrive in time to save him (and other licenseless citizens) the trouble of ever learning to parallel park."  Listen to PodCast  Hmmmm… Entertaining  Alain

Germany adopts self-driving vehicles law

May 12, "Germany cleared the way for its giant automotive industry to develop and test self-driving cars, when the upper house of its parliament approved on Friday a law setting out the conditions under which they could take to German roads.

Under the law, first mooted by Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, a driver must be sitting behind the wheel at all times ready to take back control if prompted to do so by the autonomous vehicle…." Read more Hmmmm… Of course, this is a ‘Self-driving’ law  that effectively forbids ‘Driverless‘  so as to protect the fundamental business model of German car manufacturers.   Alain

In Self-Steering Race, GM Maps New Path With Super Cruise

J. Plungis, May 3, "GM’s new Super Cruise feature could represent a breakthrough in the race to build smarter autonomous vehicles because it not only steers, brakes, and adjusts speed for the driver, it also uses infrared cameras to assess whether the driver is paying enough attention.  The updated new-production version of Super Cruise, unveiled at this year’s New York International Auto Show, will be available as an option for the 2018 Cadillac CT6 later this year…."  Read more Hmmmm… Essentially an advertisement, but hopefully this puts Cadillac on notice to finally release this product.  Let’s see if Cadillac make you also buy "Corinthian Leather", is pre-ordered by dealers, is sold by the sales team and is priced.  Alain

Driverless cars are the future, and the ugly battle to dominate the field is on

R. Mitchell, May 16,  "…The most powerful weapon, along with the cash to make use of it, is intellectual property.

“When you own the I.P. for autonomous technology, that’s a huge asset,” Keeney said. “That’s who’s going to own the economics of this market.”

And who stands to gain the most? Whoever is first to market, Keeney said. That’s because data collection is crucial to perfecting robot car technology, and the sooner technology hits the road, the more data stream back to improve the systems.  Which explains the bare-knuckles nature of the Waymo-Uber battle…."  Read more Hmmmm… Seeking Domination of emerging markets has never been pretty…  Railroad Barons, Big Oil, Electricity, Telegraph, Telephone, Computer Operating Systems, Internet Search, eCommerce, … Alain

Intel sees big growth opportunity in self driving cars: Chief Architect Jack Weast 

F. Fishkin, May 23 Listen to this interview Hmmmm… OK
Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention 

40 Proposed U. S. Tranportation & Water Infrastructure Projects of Major Economic Significance

T Horst, R Mudge, R. Ellis & K. Rubin, Fall 2016, " In recognition of the important role that public works infrastructure plays in supporting national economic growth, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), on behalf of the Build America Investment Initiative, commissioned this study. Its objective is to identify 40 proposed transportation and water infrastructure projects in the United States of major economic significance, but whose completion has slowed or is in jeopardy.1 This study provides the public with a picture of how, if completed, these proposed infrastructure projects would have a positive impact on national and regional economic activity, such as reducing congestion, improving safety and reliability, decreasing flood hazard, and other benefits….

… As a group, the 40 projects highlighted in this study return between $3.50 and $7.00 for every dollar of capital expenditure."  Read More Hmmmm… Who doesn’t want to make 3.5 -> 7 x on their investment.  Certainly worth a place in the mix.  Alain

A roadside test for texting and driving?

F. Kunkle, May 18, "Ben Lieberman, whose son was killed in a crash involving a distracted driver six years ago, wants to find a way to stop drivers from texting and driving before other teens are killed.

He has given talks at schools. He has attended law enforcement conferences. He has seen people throw up their hands over the lack of a reliable field test to determine for sure whether a driver in a crash had been texting around the time of impact.

“I kept hearing over and over again, there’s no such thing as a Breathalyzer for distracted driving,” Lieberman said. “So I asked why not?”  Now such a device seems close at hand.  But Lieberman has also found that lawmakers and others, citing privacy concerns, are reluctant to embrace…"  Read More Hmmmm… Unfortunately, "… after a crash…" is too late. Bandaids are good, but crashes need to be avoided and that can only come from the widespread adoption of Automated Crash Avoidance technology that actually works.     Alain


On the More Technical Side

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



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

Cars With Advanced Safety Systems: Detailed list of cars with features that help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions

Apr 26,  "Need a new car? Then consider one with active safety systems. Manufacturers are building cars with systems that can help you avoid or mitigate a crash in all sorts of situations, such as closing in on another car too quickly, changing lanes into an unseen car in a blind spot, or simply backing out in a busy parking lot.

Key active safety systems include:…" Read more Hmmmm… Good news… Great list of Active Safety Feature.  Bad news…The exhaustive list of Make/Model-Feature uses a completely different naming systems for the features which must be totally confusing to Consumers, CR’s customers.  Plus, there is zero attempt by CR to try to tell its customers the extent to which these systems work or don’t work.  I understand that this is not easy to do, but to put out what you have have not come close in "…there remains the challenge in interpreting each manufacturer’s offerings, each with their own unique name, and then figuring out which trim and/or option is necessary to get the gear…."  Alain


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

To prepare Louisiana for driverless vehicles, DOTD signs $2 million consulting contract

W. Nobles < May 16 "The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has established a $2 million contract with three out-of-state companies as the state continues to get up to speed in the race to deploy driverless vehicles onto public roads.

The "multi-year" deal to research and plan for both connected and autonomous vehicles and their impact on state roads involves a partnership between Arcadis U.S., Inc., California-based Iteris, Inc., and Texas-based Alliance Transportation Group, Inc., according to a released statement from Arcadis. Arcadis is headquartered in Amsterdam…"  Read more Hmmmm… Forwarded from an Anonymous SDC reader…"We could have saved La some big bucks, or made a bundle:  Here is my report:

  • Automated vehicles – Maintain paint striping on the roads and let AV’s go wherever they want.
  • Connected vehicles – Do nothing, wait for the telecoms to set up 5G

Can I have the $2 million now?!  C’mon LaDoT!  Want to buy a bridge?  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

AV Policy Series

June 2, 2017
American Institute of Architects,
1735 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.


2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 16 & 17, 2018
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Save the Date


Recent Highlights of:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Exploring the Bear Case: Distracted Driving + ADAS = $7 Trillion of Used Values at Risk

A. Jonas, Feb 1 "A sharp rise in traffic death & rapid growth of semiautonomous tech as standard equipment can accelerate the obsolescence of used cars, with potentially negative implications for secondhand values, auto credit & SAAR. We see elevated auto credit risk & avoid used car exposure….
…One could reasonably argue that if a technology can save 10k or 20k lives and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year in the US it should be (1) affordable and (2) not be optional equipment. Contrary to this, we found the majority of models currently available either do not offer active safety features or offer them only as optional equipment at prohibitively high costs. Our key takeaways are summarized below:…" Read More Hmmmm… First, sorry that I just saw this excellent report.  On top of the enormous substance, this report doesn’t mention that some/many of these systems don’t work as well as they should.  Some don’t brake if the the object ahead is stationary, others get confused with white back-lighting, others only apply the brake after the driver starts applying the brake and others only apply the brakes up to a 50% level.  Here we are trying to let drivers take hands of wheels and feet off pedals, yet we don’t have Safe-driving Cars that actually work (…experiencing essentially no false positives or false negatives) .  Alain

Monday, May 8, 2017

Walt Disney World plans to deploy driverless shuttles in Florida

R. Mitchell, Apr 28, "Walt Disney World in Florida appears poised to launch the highest-profile commercial deployment of driverless passenger vehicles to date, testing a fleet of driverless shuttles that could cart passengers through parking lots and around its theme parks.

According to sources with direct knowledge of Disney’s plans, the company is in late-stage negotiation with at least two manufacturers of autonomous shuttles – Local Motors, based in Phoenix, and Navya, based in Paris. It’s unclear whether contracts would go to both or just one of the companies…." Read More Hmmmm…This is exciting and substantial especially if it will be justified purely on its ability to deliver mobility, not entertainment, and will be financially self-sufficient.  Since it will be operating on Disney property, Disney can pretty much do as Disney wishes without having to be burdened by regulation meant to alleviate anxiety about the new and unfamiliar.  This is really exciting! Alain

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Waymo to Offer Phoenix Area Access to Self-Driving Cars

D. Streitfeld, Apr, 25, "…On Tuesday, the company was to announce the next phase of testing: putting ordinary people inside its Chrysler minivans and Lexuses….Only those who live in Chandler, Mesa, Tempe and Gilbert — roughly the southeastern Phoenix area — will be eligible for the program. And the cars, for that matter, will not take them anywhere else — no weekend jaunts to the Grand Canyon. Read More Hmmmm... Here we go!  Very conservative, but the path ahead is clear.  In 2013 they said that they were going to do this in 2017!   This is the beginning of real commercialization. Congratulations!  This is a major milestone.  Alain

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

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

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 more Hmmm… 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, 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 

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, 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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