http://smartdrivingcar.com/5.7-Summit-032017
7th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

Monday, March 20, 2017

 

  Announcing: SmartDrivingCars Deployment Summit; May 18, 19  Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 

Save the Date:  "Princeton University will be hosting on May 18 & 19 a two day conference bringing together the buyers, sellers and facilitators of SmartDrivingCars (& Trucks, & Buses) with the purpose of getting off the ground and accelerating the commercialization/deployment of this technology so that society can emerge from the hype and begin to capture the benefits of this emerging mobility revolution. 

The focus ranges from:

  • near-term safety benefits of Safe-driving Cars (How insurance and new car dealers can benefit by promoting the RoI advantages to fleets and mutually beneficial promotional discounts to consumers.), as well as an update as to the performance in automatically avoiding crashes of the technology options available in showrooms today .
  • near-term mobility and community service benefits of the array of emerging low-speed Driverless shuttles to all in gated communities and campuses, to the mobility disadvantaged in   many/most suburban communities and to address first-mile, last-mile accessibility challenges in transit-oriented communities, and
  • near-term regulatory challenges that are needed to facilitate the shared use of our existing streets by low and normal speed  Driverless  vehicles, and
  • the current state-of-the-art in DeepDriving,  to the long-term opportunities of using affordable Computer Vision and elegant Deep Learning training, testing and enhancing techniques in SmartDrivingCars, and more.

Details in the next issue of SmartDrivingCars.  Alain  Save the date 

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

Meet ‘Professor X,’ the AI genius who left his lab at Princeton to beat Uber, Google, and Intel at their own game

M. Weinberger, Mar 18, "In the spring of 2016, Dr. Jianxiong Xiao — affectionately known among students and staff as "Professor X" — said goodbye to his plum professorship at Princeton and his post as the founding director of the school’s Computer Vision and Robotics Labs.
By the fall of that same year, Xiao, known as something of a risk-taker, had moved himself and his family from New Jersey to Silicon Valley, and raised some modest seed funding for his new startup focused on self-driving cars.
His startup, dubbed AutoX, has done its best to stay under the radar to date — apart from a filing with the California DMV to test self-driving vehicles. …

Nowadays, Xiao says, AutoX is about 20 people strong, almost all engineers, with PhD-level computer vision talent that had previously worked at companies like Apple, Magic Leap, and Microsoft.   And with all that brainpower on board, Xiao says that they were able to build their prototype from scratch in only six months, without using anyone’s technology.
" Read more Hmmm… Congratulations Jianxiong!  Chenyi, you spawned a new "49er".  Alain

There’s a raging talent war for AI experts and its costing automakers millions

D. Muoio, Mar 12, "…So why is it that tiny startups with little to no brand recognition are getting acquired for millions? AI specialists told Business Insider it has little to do with acquiring the startup’s tech and everything to do with nabbing talent.
That’s because there’s a serious lack of experts in the field of deep learning, a branch of artificial intelligence where computers learn on their own. Deep learning is key to advancing self-driving tech as it allows cars to learn safe driving at a much faster rate than traditional programming.
"The growth of demand is much faster than the rate of which we can produce people with PhDs or even master’s in this area," Yoshua Bengio, head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, told Business Insider. "There’s just an explosion of interest from the industry… and it’s like a fire growing on the prairie." …
"The sad thing is most of these are just for recruiting," he said. "It’s kind of a loss for the economy because most often the projects these small companies had don’t continue once they’ve been integrated into the company…. It’s kind of a waste of resources and investment in some sense." Read more  Hmmm…Traditional long-career hardware engineers that produced horsepower, fins and chrome have been Detroit’s core; not the software and algorithm whiz kids that have fueled Silicon Valley and Wall Street Banks. Now, the future of the auto industry is in software and algorithms rather than horsepower, chrome and fins.  Leapfrogging Silicon Valley in=s neither easy nor cheap.     Alain

Tesla Autopilot 2.0: Watch the latest and ‘greatly improved’ version of Autopilot at work

F. Lambert, Mar 18, "As Tesla is reportedly close to finishing its Autopilot 2.0 update that will remove the speed restrictions and bring the system to parity with the first generation, we get a good look at the latest version of Autopilot on the new hardware suite through a 30-minute drive by a Model S owner. Video…"  Read more  Hmmm…Continued Progress, congratulations. Note: it is really impressive how Tesla has been using ‘crowd sourcing’ and empowering its customers to help in this improvement process.  Compare my experience with Daimler in the almost 3 years that I’ve had my S550 with the ‘997 package’.  Daimler has never even emailed a survey to determine my satisfaction with its drive assistance technology (the 997 package).  Nor has it even requested that I share any of the data that is sensed continuously by its array of sensor.  Nor has it offered to upgrade any of the software during the 3 major (non-inexpensive) maintenance services that the car has had.  More striking, the car was stolen from my driveway 10 days ago.  Since I’m so cheap, I never initiated the mbrace and I was informed that the only way that it could be initiated was from inside the car.  I was told that there is no emergency back door.  Amazing!  I should be thankful that they are protecting my privacy, but what Daimler hasn’t seem to realize and Tesla seems to have taken to its fullest is that some of its customers would be interested in helping and their experience in actually using the technology in every day situations is actually very valuable and helpful.  I will now go to a showroom to see how much improvement Daimler has actually made in the past 3 years compared to how far Tesla has come with this technology over the same period of time.  I really wish that I didn’t have such range anxiety, so I guess I’ll get a Volvo.  Alain

Insurance Company Announces Discounts For Tesla Autopilot Users

B. Anderson, Mar 17, An Ohio-based company called Root Insurance has announced that Tesla owners can get a discount on their premium if they use the Autosteer feature of Autopilot, a system that automatically keeps the vehicle in its lane without driving input.   In the announcement, Root Insurance cites a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that concluded crash rates of Tesla models have fallen by almost 40 per cent following the introduction of Autopilot…" Read more Hmmm… Finally someone has seen the light!  (and)  Alain

  Mobileye’s Revenge

R. Lanclot, Mar 14, "…How does the Tesla® Autopilot discount work?
During the test drive, Root’s app measures Autosteer-eligible highway miles.
We apply a tiered discount—above and beyond any good driver discount you’ve already earned! The higher the percent of highway miles driven, the higher the discount.
Good drivers of Tesla cars save a lot of $$$ with Root!
More details: https://blog.joinroot.com/tesladiscount/Read more Hmmm… With the above. Alain

Self Driving versus Driverless – A Mobility Update with Alain Kornhauser #CES2107

K. Pyle, Mar 10, "…He alludes to the idea of taking a holistic view of how automation interacts with the built-environment. A self-driving approach that favors single passenger vehicles will be associated with longer commutes, more sprawl and more vehicle miles traveled. Driverless would be more like the elevator scenario, where people summon a shared vehicle, reducing congestion, energy use and vehicle miles traveled…" Read more  Hmmm…Ken, You are very kind. Thank you.  Alain

Initial Assessment and Modeling Framework Development for Automated Mobility Districts

S. Young, March, 2017, "..This paper examines such a concept to displace privately owned automobiles within a region containing dense activity generators (jobs, retail, entertainment, etc.), referred to as an automated mobility district (AMDs).  The paper reviews several such districts including airport, college campuses, business parks, downtown urban cores, and military bases, with examples of previous attempts to meet the mobility needs apart from private automobiles, some with automated technology and others with more traditional transit based solutions.  The issues and benefits of AMDs are framed within the perspective of intra-district, inter-district, and border issues, and the requirements for a modeling framework are identified to adequately reflect the breadth of mobility, energy, and emissions impact anticipated with AMDs…".  Read more  Hmmm…Very informative and worth reading.  Alain

Austin is fine without Uber and Lyft… until it isn’t

F. Tepper, Mar 12,"Since Uber and Lyft left last May, a bevy of alternatives have sprung up — like Ride Austin, Fasten and Fare. These apps all essentially provide the same experience as Uber and Lyft — drop a pin and a car shows up. All of them comply with Austin’s background-check law, and some of them even charge drivers and riders less than Uber and Lyft did.
I had even begun to wonder if maybe Uber and Lyft made a mistake by stubbornly refusing to comply with Austin’s fingerprint-based background-check requirement, because it showed that a major U.S. city could actually survive without them.
Until they couldn’t.
Last night, arguably the biggest night of SXSW, it rained — and everyone wanted a ride. And on cue, the apps failed. Overloaded with demand, Ride Austin and Fasten were essentially “bricked” — you either got stuck at a loading screen or the apps said there were no cars available — when there clearly were.
Riders were stuck, and drivers were circling the city with no way to get matched up with riders….".  Read more  Hmmm…How much do each of these companies need Driverless Cars?!  Once we have them, how many more of these companies will emerge?? (unless the maker keeps them only all for its own use?!).  Alain

Driverless Shuttle Program Kicks Off in California to Tackle First Mile/Last Mile Mobility Obstacle

P. McCauley, Mar 6, "…During a demonstration March 6, representatives from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), EasyMile and the Bishop Ranch business park gathered in San Ramon, Calif., to announce the launch of a pilot project utilizing two shuttles as a first mile/last mile (FM/LM) mobility solution. The two shuttles, costing $250,000 each, will begin testing in an empty lot at the business park and will eventually move to an adjacent occupied lot. To abide by current state law, the pilot will transport people across the business park without crossing public streets…"  Read more  Hmmm…It is a start and we desperately need real starts.  Congratulations  Alain

NVIDIA and Bosch partner on AI self-driving car supercomputer

S. Hanley, Mar 17, "NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced to attendees at the Bosch Connected World conference in Berlin this week that they have partnered with Bosch to producing  an artificial intelligence supercomputer aimed at the self-driving car industry.
“I’m so proud to announce that the world’s leading tier-one automotive supplier — the only tier one that supports every car maker in the world — is building an AI car computer for the mass market,” said Huang. “We’ve really supercharged our roadmap to autonomous vehicles. We’ve dedicated ourselves to build an end-to-end deep learning solution. Nearly everyone using deep learning is using our platform.”…" Read more Hmmm…Teams are forming. 🙂 Alain

2016 Was The Year Of Autonomous Vehicles For SEC Filings

M. Leder, Mar 10, "…In 2016, Footnoted counted 128 filings that made some kind of reference to “autonomous vehicles.” That was up from just 37 in 2015, and 23 in 2014. Between 2000 and 2013, there were a total of 75 references to autonomous vehicles in filings. That number looks to take another giant leap this year. Already through March 7, there were 54 filings with autonomous vehicle disclosures…."  Read more Hmmm…It’s 1849 and its a gold rush. 🙂 Alain

2017 INRIX Autonomous Vehicle Study

March 2017, "…“Shared-use vehicles will be a highly effective deployment of autonomous vehicles, where shorter, intra-city trips can maximize occupancy and efficiency, which means safer, faster and more convenient travel for users,” said Avery Ash, autonomous vehicle market strategist at INRIX…" Read more Hmmm…Interesting report from the folks that understand traffic congestion throughout the nation.  Alain

Volvo Trucks tests on-highway three-truck platooning  

Staff, Mar 13, "Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley recently completed a successful demonstration of partially automated truck platooning, made possible by Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, or CACC, technology.

Three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauled cargo containers at California’s Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110, highlighting for public officials and other stakeholders the technology’s potential for improving highway safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems…."  Read more  Hmmm…Platooning is a fine demonstration, but these truck all need really good Automated Collision Avoidance systems that actually work before they go trying to find someone to platoon with.  Just as with connected vehicles, it is going to take substantial deployment before meaningful benefits/value can be accrued.   Alain

NIO unveils new self-driving electric car concept, says they’ll have autonomous cars in the US by 2020

F. Lambert, Mar 10 "Electric and autonomous vehicle startup NIO unveiled a new concept today to set the tone for its upcoming mass market car. That’s after first showcasing its tech in a $1 million supercar last year.
In Austin for SXSW today, NIO laid out its “vision” for the future of autonomous cars and the“NIO EVE” concept is the first embodiment of that vision…"  Read more  Hmmm…Welcome the the gold rush.  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


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

Cars Now Talk to Other Cars, if You’re Into That Sort of Thing

A. Marshall, Mar 16, "Excellent news for the gas-sipping, headlight-blinking, gossipy autos among us. Cadillac’s flagship 2017 CTS sedan will talk to other cars. Well, other 2017 Cadillac CTS sedans, but it’s a start. If the government gets its way, all cars will talk to each other one day soon.
Engineers call the technology vehicle to vehicle communication. General Motors and Uncle Sam call it the future of automotive safety in a country where more than 32,000 people died in collisions last year. Today, V2V might let one Cadillac warn another to a predicament…"

Read more  Hmmm.. The last sentence is too embarrassing to reprint above.  Chances that 2 Cadillacs are close enough and both equipped for V2V to be of any value is ‘slim to none’. Cadillac, please just focus on getting Automated Collision Avoidance to just work and push that.  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

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


Recent Highlights of:

Friday, March 10, 2017

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

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

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

 

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

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Alphabet’s Waymo Alleges Uber Stole Self-Driving Secrets

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

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

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

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

  Regulatory Chill May Pivot Connected Vehicle Tech’s Course

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

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

Friday, January 27, 2017

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

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fiscal Year 2016 SRD Program Grant Selections

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

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

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Announces New Federal Committee on Automation

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

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation

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

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 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

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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