http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.3-Again-021717
3rd edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

Friday, February 17, 2017

Motor-vehicle deaths up 6% in 2016

Press release, Feb. 15,"With continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated 3% increase in motor-vehicle mileage, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2016 totaled 40,200, up 6% from 2015 (10% in NJ) and the first time the annual fatality total has exceeded 40,000 since 2007. The 2016 estimate is provisional and may be revised when more data are available. The total for 2016 was up 14% from the 2014 figure….
The estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2016 was $432.5
billion, an increase of 12% from 2015. The costs include wage and productivity losses, medical
expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage…."Read more  Hmmm… Just the facts, mam!  🙁 Alain

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

U.S. Traffic Deaths Rise for a Second Straight Year

N. Boudette, Feb. 15, "Over the last decade, new cars have gotten electronic stability control systems to prevent skids, rearview cameras to prevent fender benders and more airbags to protect occupants in collisions. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns to remind the public of the dangers of drunken driving, failing to buckle up and texting while on the go.
Despite all that, more Americans are dying on roads and highways than in years, and the sudden and sharp increase has alarmed safety advocates….

“The way to bring down the rise in deaths is with a wide range of the nuts-and-bolts measures, not self-driving cars,” the consumer advocate Ralph Nader’55 said in an interview in October…"
" Read more  Hmmm…Technically, Ralph is correct; however, what would be effective are ‘Safe-driving Cars‘. I am dumbfounded by the malaise of US DoT, NHTSA and the Insurance industry (including insurance regulators) in failing to recognize the virtues that ALWAYS ON Automated Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping and Speed Limiters would have in actively addressing the inattention and aggressive driving that is fueling this growing carnage on America’s roads.  Technology essentially exists today that works effectively and has a very attractive ROI; yet this article and the NSC fail to even mention it.  I’m totally flabbergasted.  Alain 

Road Warrior: Would you disconnect a safety feature?

J. Cichowski, Feb 16, "If you’ve wondered why road crashes are killing more people now than they were 50 years ago, the National Safety Council trotted out many of the same old reasons this week – speeding, texting, booze, pot, and gas prices low enough to encourage us to drive – and crash – more than ever before.

But in a poll involving 2,001 motorists that accompanied the NSC’s latest figures, the safety group discovered another reason, one that rarely gets much attention:  Drivers are disabling built-in safety features designed to help them either detect or respond to risks…." Read more  Hmmm…Of course they are turned off.  They don’t work well enough.  They must/should be made so well that folks don’t want to turn them off.  This one is on the car manufacturers and NHTSA.  Manufacturers haven’t been serious enough about these things nor made them well enough so that buyers would NOT turn them off and NHTSA has not been vigilant enough to insist that automakers make them well enough.  NHTSA should have "recalls" to entice the auto industry to make these well.  Also, many of these systems are/have been "warnings" and were set such that they had/have way too many ‘false alarms".  Consequently,  they are simply annoying and they should be turned off.  Again, my point has been that we have simply glossed over ‘Safe-driving cars‘.  No one admits that they don’t drive safely, safety isn’t ‘sexy’, and it doesn’t ‘sell’ (consumers won’t/don’t buy).  We’re all in denial.   In reality, we don’t drive safely, it does end up costing us a lot (and for some, the ultimate) and insurance isn’t doing enough/anything to encourage auto maker to make, and for us to to buy and not turn-off, Safe-driving technology even though this is Insurance’s highest fiduciary responsibility its stock holders.  I simply don’t get it!  🙁  Alain

Young Millennials Top List of Worst Behaved Drivers

T. Johnson, Feb 15, "A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers. These dangerous behaviors ― which increase crash risk ― included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. .." Read more  Hmmm… see also Link, And insurers aren’t insisting that these kids only drive ‘Safe-driving Cars’ (cars equipped with Automated Collision Avoidance ,… systems).  i don’t get it.  They need technological oversight.  Alain

  Thune and Peters Announce Joint Effort on Self-Driving Vehicles

Press Release, Feb 13, WASHINGTON – Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today announced a joint effort to explore legislation that clears hurdles and advances innovation in self-driving vehicle technology. Thune and Peters offered the following joint statement on this new partnership:
 
“More than any other automotive technology in history, self-driving vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce the more than 35,000 lives lost on our roads and highways every year and fundamentally transform the way we get around. Ensuring American innovators can safely develop and implement this technology will not only save lives but also solidify our nation’s position as the world leader in the future of mobility….Read more 

Hmmm… ‘Self-driving’ is interesting; however, Automated Vehicles have a broad spectrum which in my mind ranges from
Safe-driving

( Automated Collision Avoidance and Lane Keeping that is on ALL the time ready to spring into action (much like today’s anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control) keeping the driver from getting into a collision-prone situation.  This technology is essentially available now and with encouragement from Congress can most quickly deliver substantial safety benefits.  ‘Safe-driving’s biggest challenge is that ‘safety does not sell’.  Consumers need to be convinced. Congress could help by strongly promoting (without mandating) this safety technology.  A simple beginning is by having NHTSA up its safety standards/ratings to explicitly include Automated Collision Avoidance (ACA) systems that actually work be a part of those ratings.  NHTSA/congress could also encourage the development of after-market ACA systems so as to accelerate the penetration/adoption of these systems into many of the cars, trucks and buses that are on the road today. ),

‘Self-driving’

(which extends the Safe-driving’s safety benefits and delivers the comfort and convenience of taking hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals some of the time.  Since Self-driving extends Safe-driving, it doesn’t itself contribute additional safety except that it delivers comfort and convenience benefits that sell.  Indirectly it will be getting consumers ‘to buy safety’.  That is why the auto industry is focused on self-driving.  It believes consumers will be willing to pay for technology and thereby pay for the base ACA systems.  In this arena, Congress/NHTSA need only be welcoming.)

and ‘Driverless’

(this extends self-driving to places/conditions/times when it can do it all the time, never needing any human driving assistance.  Driverless will revolutionize mobility in those places/conditions/times by providing inexpensive, sustainable and resilient mobility to ‘everyone’, including freight/goods, in those places/conditions/time.  We are close to having driverless in very limited places/conditions/times.  Congress could really help by supporting the still needed research and development to as rapidly as possible extend driverless to more places/conditions/times.)

Alain   

Congress Could Make Self-Driving Cars Happen—or Ruin Everything

A. Davis, Feb. 15, "Congress just stepped into the robocar game. In the past two days, a pair of senators started drafting legislation to advance autonomous vehicles, and the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a two-hour hearing exploring how on the tech might be deployed. For your elected officials, it’s a considerable, if tentative, step into the future of transportation…It could start by revising the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to reflect autonomous technology. For example, the rules require things like foot-activated brakes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration can amend the regulations, but it requires several rounds of draft rules and public comments. That takes years. Congress can make the same change quickly with a law, or even a clause tucked into, say, an infrastructure omnibus.

It could also tweak Title 49 of the US legal code, which allows the secretary of transportation to exempt vehicles from federal standards—to a point. The law (specifically section 30113(d) and 30113(e)) limits those vehicles to 2,500 per manufacturer in a 12-month period, and the exemption can’t last more than three years. Federal regulators may be happy to let Google produce a car without a steering wheel or brakes, but without congressional help, that goodwill can only go so far. Read more  Hmmm…Very interesting!! Alain

Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning

T. Litman, Jan. 2, "This report explores the impacts that autonomous vehicles are likely to have on travel demands and transportation planning. It discusses autonomous vehicle benefits and costs, predicts their likely development and implementation based on experience with previous vehicle technologies, and explores how they will affect planning decisions such as optimal road, parking and public transit supply. The analysis indicates that some benefits, such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the 2020s or 2030s, but most impacts, including reduced traffic and parking congestion, independent mobility for low-income people (and therefore reduced need to subsidize transit), increased safety, energy conservation and pollution reductions, will only be significant when autonomous vehicles become common and affordable, probably in the 2040s to 2060s, and some benefits may require prohibiting human-driven vehicles on certain roadways, which could take longer."  Read more  Hmmm… Very nice study; however, Table 6 p11 "Navigation Systems"… 1985 was the absolute beginning, which would be equivalent to 2005 for driverless cars.  Navigation started to move in 1997 (When ALK Inc. 1st put CoPilot on the market) and the adoption was fueled by CoPilot and other after-market products which led to today’s total market penetration over a 30 year span. 

The only way to achieve substantial market penetration of either Safe-driving Cars or Self-driving Cars in 30 years (by 2035) is either through Federal Mandates (as was achieved with Airbags) or after-market (as with Navigation). 

Driverless Cars could take less time because they will be a fleet -play rather than a consumer-play (but they have yet to start).  There is a lot more in this report worth serious contemplation.  Alain

Ford Bets $1B On Startup Founded By Waymo, Uber Vets

M. Liedtke, Feb. 13, "Ford Motor is spending $1 billion to take over a budding robotics startup to acquire more expertise needed to reach its ambitious goal of having a fully driverless vehicle on the road by 2021.  The big bet announced Friday comes just a few months after the Pittsburgh startup, Argo AI, was created by two alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics program, Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander.

The alliance between Argo and Ford is the latest to combine the spunk and dexterity of a technologically savvy startup with the financial muscle and manufacturing knowhow of a major automaker in the race to develop autonomous vehicles. Last year rival General Motors paid $581 million to buy Cruise Automation, a 40-person software company that is testing vehicles in San Francisco…" Read more  Hmmm…Very interesting!! Alain

One Reason Staffers Quit Google’s Car Project? The Company Paid Them So Much

A. Barr, Feb 13, "For the past year, Google’s car project has been a talent sieve, thanks to leadership changes, strategy doubts, new startup dreams and rivals luring self-driving technology experts. Another force pushing people out? Money. A lot of it.

Early staffers had an unusual compensation system that awarded supersized payouts based on the project’s value. By late 2015, the numbers were so big that several veteran members didn’t need the job security anymore, making them more open to other opportunities, according to people familiar with the situation. Two people called it "F-you money."… Read more  Hmmm…They earned it!  Congratulations! Alain 

Fully autonomous shuttle service unveiled in New Zealand

Feb 10, "In the same week that Paris launched a driverless shuttle service on a bridge across the Seine, New Zealand has unveiled its own autonomous shuttle trials at Christchurch Airport. In the first on-road research trials in New Zealand, the fully autonomous, electric-powered Smart Shuttle, which can carry up to 15 people, will run on private roads on the airport campus.

The driverless vehicle trial is being conducted in partnership with HMI Technologies, a New Zealand-based Intelligent Transport System provider…." Read more  Hmmm… Congratulations to Paris & Christchurch! Alain

Las Vegas launches the first electric autonomous shuttle on U.S. public roads

D. Etherington, Jan 11, "Las Vegas, transportation beat reporters can’t quit you; CES was like a car extravaganza, and now you’re launching a self-driving, fully electric shuttle on public streets. The shuttles are the result of a partnership between shuttle-maker Navya, fleet logistics provider Keolis and the city of Las Vegas, and began picking up members of the public today, riding a regular route along iconic Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street — right in the thick of regular traffic.

The route will run between January 11 and 20, and will use Navya’s ARMA shuttle, which previously underwent testing in the U.S. at the University of Michigan’s MCity autonomous testing facility, and which has been deployed in France since 2015…. Read more Hmmm… Old news I had missed.
Alain


Reader’s Comments..

with respect to my comment in the previous issue:

Hmmm… Some nice ideas; however, Google/Alphabet/Waymo may just offer it for free and have its advertisers pay to have the opportunity to secure your undivided attention to buy stuff during the ride.  Hmmmmmm$$$ Alain…  Steffen Bartschat wrote: “With advertising revenue for Facebook and Google estimated to be in the range of $100 per user per year in the US, I don’t see how an advertising revenue model can work to support building, operating, and maintaining an unlimited private transportation service, even if the value of those captive eyeballs increases by an order of magnitude.”  Hmmm… Steffen, excellent point!  I stand corrected. Advertising$$$ aren’t that great.  Thank you!  Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention


On the More Technical Side

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



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

Dubai to launch driverless flying cars by this summer

C. Nelson, Feb 13, "Dubai skies are set to be abuzz with driverless flying cars within months, the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Monday, in what will mark another world’s first for the city.

The RTA, in collaboration with the Chinese firm Ehang, has carried out the first test run of an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying a human, the Ehang 184, and the authority said it is set to launch operations very soon…." Read more  Hmmm…?????? Alain


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

Driverless cars will attract hefty insurance premium

Feb 16, "MOTORISTS will face high insurance costs to run driverless cars under government plans for specialist policies that cover crashes caused by a vehicle’s on-board computer.  Owners will be required to take out one premium covering both driver error and vehicle malfunctions, to ensure that accident victims get easy access to compensation without having to lodge multiple claims.

Legislation being outlined by the Department for Transport will force insurers to pay up even if cars crash as a result of being hacked. Ministers insisted that the all- encompassing insurance system, which is outlined in the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, to be published within weeks, will cut red tape and make it much easier for driverless cars to be run on British roads…." Read more  Hmmm…This will ensue that individuals won’t own Driverless Cars and fleets will self-insure with manufacturers.  C’mon Brits!  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:


Recent Highlights of:

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles Meet Human Drivers: Traffic Safety Issues for States

J. Hedlund, Feb 2017Fully autonomous vehicles – cars and trucks that can drive themselves, without a human
at the controls – are coming soon. In fact, they already are on the road. Yes! …Autonomous vehicles will change our lives in many ways. Yes! … But all vehicles on the road will not be autonomous for a very long time, perhaps never.  Until then, autonomous vehicles must share the road with vehicles driven by humans. Yes! How can this be done safely? States are responsible for safety on the roads – for licensing drivers, registering vehicles, and establishing and enforcing traffic laws. So states must take the lead in dealing with the many traffic safety issues that a mix of driver-operated and autonomous vehicles will bring. Yes! In particular, states should help educate the public about the benefits that autonomous vehicles will bring and the risks that they may present, educate drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles about their driving responsibilities, and educate all drivers about how to share the road safely with autonomous vehicles. Yes! This report should help states understand and address these issues. It’s written for state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs), and State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs)….Great!

The public’s views on new technology can change quickly. AVs today may well be similar to automobiles a century ago or smart phones only 10 years ago: a new technology with a few ardent supporters and many skeptics initially but which quickly became both acceptable and highly desirable. As Henry Ford is purported to have said regarding automobiles (probably incorrectly), “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Also, today’s teenagers are more accepting of AVs: in the Kelley Blue Book survey, 48% of respondents age 12-15 said they would be comfortable riding in an AV compared to 36% of all respondents….Yes!

Laws or regulations formed in haste may hinder rather than help AV testing and implementation. (p17) Yes! " Read more  Hmmm… This is a very well written and well referenced report that is well balanced and properly presents the challenges.  Some modest suggestions are: Abandon the SAE/NHTSA Levels and go with 3 types/classes/levels: Safe-Driving, Self-driving and Driverless.   Also, this is not the first technological change that DMVs have faced.  The advent of turn signals changed driver testing.  Self-driving is really not that much different.  DMVs could start by addressing cruise control in that they could promote & educate on the best use of cruise control.  By the way, I am not aware of a single sign along any highway encouraging/promoting/prohibiting the use of cruise control.  DMVs could start with that since it really is not much different that Self-driving.  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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Volume 4, Issue 3

M. Sena, Jan. 5, "In This Issue:
Report from Dispatch Central 1 "…While the 12 million people in the EU who earn their livings directly from the automotive industry are delighted by the news that car sales figures for Novem-ber were up significantly, and it looks like 2016 will be another banner year, there are people in governments doing everything in their power to make both building and owning motorized vehicles economically unviable…" Read more  Hmmm…Very interesting!

Autonomous Driving News Apple’s Letter to NHTSA 1 "…The Vehicle Safety Act requires companies to certify vehicles to the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) before first sale. But this law applies to new motor vehicles intended for sale to the public, and by implication, by companies that make and sell cars, not companies like Apple that may or may not intend to sell cars. Further, FAST Act2 specifically allows car makers, but not non-car makers, to test on public roads without requiring ex-emptions from FMVSS…Read more " Hmmm… Very interesting!

What Car Companies Are Doing 2 "…So Uber must have made Volvo a pretty sweet offer when it gets rid of all the drivers with their own cars and has its own fleet of driverless cars…Read more" Hmmm…Very interesting!

Reurbanization or Spreading the Sprawl 3 "…Where do you want to go? My chart below has two opposing scenarios. In the top scenario, we keep doing what we have been doing. In the bottom sce-nario, we try to match policies with desired results. You choose…Read more" Hmmm…Very interesting!
Automotive Navigation-The Future of Traffic Info 4  "…ROUTE GUIDANCE WITHOUT
traffic information is useless..Read more" Hmmm…Stop right there.  We’ve known that!  The connected world will not get here until most of road vehicles are part of what will be but a few competing fleets.  It is those  fleet owners/managers that will find it compelling to deploy connectedness throughout their own fleets. Any meaningful sharing of data between competing fleets is not in any future that I foresee. It may even violate anti-trust laws (Unless Putin takes over the world).   Alain
Musings of a Dispatcher – Civilis cogitationes 6 "…I did not see a lot of people cycling to their jobs when I was in Västerås in the early autumn of this year.  Like most places in Europe
and the U.S., when cars became affordable for people with even modest incomes—starting in the 50s in the U.S. and in the 60s in Europe—it was a delight for workers to get out of the rain and snow and into their own car. It’s the same today in emerging markets, especially China,.." Read more  Hmmm…Our only hope is "Driverless"!  Alain

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Waymo’s 100 autonomous Chrysler minivans are here

J. Golson, Dec 19, "Chrysler has completed the 100 autonomous Pacifica minivans that will join the Waymo (née Google) fleet in early 2017. The vans, which are plug-in hybrid variants with Waymo’s self-driving hardware and software built in, are part of a partnership between Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Waymo that was announced earlier this year.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik said last week that his company is not interested in “making better cars.” Instead, it wants to make “better drivers.”…"

Read more Hmmm…Nice that these vehicles are targeted to a ride-sharing market (more seating capacity and easier in&out than the Prius/Lexus/Bug.) 

However,  the quote by John Krafcik is VERY troubling.  To make "better drivers" all one needs is Automated Collision Avoidance systems (or what I’ve termed ‘Safe-driving cars’).  That is indeed a laudable goal; however, that goal can be reached with a lot less hardware and software than what is in these modified Pacificas (which have a conventional steering wheel, brake & throttle pedals and driver’s seat).  But Safe-driving cars aren’t helpful to the Steve Mahan’s of this world (or to the young, or the Ubers or enable the Modified Pacifica’s to offer inexpensive high-quality shared-ride on-demand mobility to all.   Most unfortunately, what all of the extra gizmos on the modified Pacificas enable is for the driver to be better able to consume Google Ads for part of his/her time trapped in this vehicle.  So a more honest quote might have been: it wants to make "better drivers who can better consume Google Ads."  No wonder Chris bailed!  🙁  Alain

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Google is spinning off its self-driving car program into a new company called Waymo

A. Hawkins, Dec 13, "Today, Google announced that it would be spinning off its six-year-old self-driving project into a standalone business called Waymo, which stands for “a new way forward in mobility,” according to John Krafcik, the CEO of the new company.
It was previously reported that Google would be dropping its plan to build its own vehicle without steering wheels and pedals, instead focusing on creating the self-driving technology that can be installed in third-party vehicles. Krafcik didn’t provide much clarity there, but did state definitively that the new company was still fully committed to fully autonomous vehicle technology.

“We are all in, 100 percent, on Level Four and Level Five fully driverless solutions,” he said.

Krafcik didn’t comment on a report in Bloomberg that Google would be starting its own ride-sharing service in partnership with Fiat Chrysler using the Italian car maker’s Pacifica minivans as its fleet of self-driving taxis. Google and FCA announced their collaboration earlier this year. Krafcik did confirm that the self-driving Pacificas were still in the build phase, but would hopefully be on the road for testing very soon.

It may be too soon to say that Google is abandoning its plans to build it’s own fleet of driverless cars, without steering wheels and pedals. That said, Krafcik made it clear that Waymo “is not a car company, there’s been some confusion on that point. We’re not in business of making better cars, we’re in the business of making better drivers.”…Read more  Hmmm… Boy that is a lot of hedging.  If they are in the business of making better drivers, then all they need to do is to make Automated Collision Avoidance systems that actually work… avoid collisions (aka Safe-driving Cars).  That would make all drivers better drivers, but it wouldn’t do anything for non-drivers… the young, old, poor, blind, those under the influence, …  Has Google abandoned all of those folks and reverted to the ‘dark-side’?  Alain

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

 Why the driverless car industry is happy (so far) with Trump’s pick for Transportation secretary

R. Mitchell, Dec 6, "Silicon Valley voted heavily for Hillary Clinton, but companies working on driverless cars seem overjoyed with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao.   Chao will wield great power over how driverless cars and other automated vehicles will be regulated — or not….Industry insiders say they don’t want Chao to ignore driverless car policy….

Instead, they hope to avoid a patchwork of differing and conflicting rules across the 50 states.   “This should be centralized,” said Alain L. Kornhauser, director of the transportation program at Princeton University and an autonomous vehicle expert, “but that doesn’t mean the states don’t play a part. It would be better if we had a common understanding….” Read more Hmmm… Yup! Alain

Sunday, November 20, 2016

  DSRC’s ‘Dead End,’ Says Qualcomm Exec

J, Yoshida, Nov 15, "…Qualcomm’s pending takeover of NXP Semiconductors isn’t making the path to V2X any clearer.

NXP remains a staunch advocate for DSRC-based V2X (as demonstrated via truck platooning on Munich roads last week during Electronica). Qualcomm, a leading voice and force behind the progress of the cellular standards, is sticking to its cellular radio technology-based V2X evolution…We see this as a continued cellular revolution with new elements coming in… " Read more Hmmm…V2X is important, but primarily as a complement to vehicle-centered automated collision avoidance and not as a centralized orchestration of individual vehicles.  Finally seeing this as: "We see this as a continued cellular revolution with new elements coming in…"  may bring some reality to V2X.  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, October 7, 2016

An Alarming 10% Rise in Traffic Deaths in the First Half of 2016

D. Victor, Oct. 5,  "Traffic deaths in the United States rose 10.4 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015, maintaining a steady climb….

The numbers were released on Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which noted that Americans drove about 50.5 billion more miles in the first six months of 2016 than in the first half of 2015, an increase of 3.3 percent….Officials have not identified a specific cause for the most recent increase… " Read moreHmmm…worst kept secret…Texting!!!  It is an epidemic and the way to address it begins with Automated Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS)…what is on the shelf today (if it only really worked), and a necessary foundation for Self-driving (which improves Quality-of-Life for some but increases VMT) and Driverless (which improves Quality-of-Life for all and decreases VMT).   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

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ford Promises Fleets of Driverless Cars Within Five Years

N. Boudette, Aug 16, "In the race to develop driverless cars, several automakers and technology companies are already testing vehicles that pilot themselves on public roads. And others have outlined plans to expand their development fleets over the next few years.    At a news conference on Tuesday at the company’s research center in Palo Alto, Calif., Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive, said the company planned to mass produce driverless cars and have them in commercial operation in a ride-hailing service by 2021….
“That means there’s going to be no steering wheel. There’s going to be no gas pedal. There’s going to be no brake pedal,’’ he said. …." Read morHmmm…This is significant because it implies that Ford, (or an entity under its control) will operate and deliver on a day-to-day basis MaaS (Mobility as a Service).  In other words it will both build/assemble and operate mobility’s "Cloud".  The scale economies of such a mobility "cloud" are arguably much more substantial than that of the data storage & computing "cloud".  Think about it!  Alain

Monday, August 1, 2016

SJMobileye Ends Partnership With Tesla

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percent in 50 Years

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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