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http://SmartDrivingCar.com/6.46-NovDispatch-102718
46th edition of the 6th year of SmartDrivingCars

Saturday, October 27, 2018

cid:<a href=part7.44D81C98.0ECE93BA@princeton.edu”>  The Dispatcher, Vol. 6, No. 1

M. Sena, Nov. 2018, "IN THIS ISSUE:
Ready or Not, Here Comes the Waymo Taxi Robot ………. 2 …a must read…but…"…Alphabet is definitely not in the altruism business..."
Tesla Inc.: The Most Misunderstood Car Company ………. 7 …a must read…especially: "…Looking for love in all the wrong places..."
United Nations Climate Panel Issues Its Report …………. 13 …a must read…  "…How do you love your toast?.."
Dispatch Central …………………………………………………….. 16 …interesting…
Senator says BEV’s not paying fair share ………………………. 16 …a must read…
Stockholm unwelcomes dockless bicycles …………………….. 16 …implication that new mobility must be welcomed, else they have no chance of succeeding…
Driving with one hand tied behind your back ………………… 17
The first experience house was in Paris ………………………… 17
IKEA Imagines Roaming Rooms for Its Furniture ………… 18 …Half-Baked…
Musings of a Dispatcher: Pollyanna Predictions …………. 20x …nice..` Read more  Hmmmm…. Also listen to PodCast Episode 64  with Michael Sena.  Ala

imap://alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.4&filename=fkcoajjkbhnffcof.pngSmart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 64 – Michael Sena

F. Fishkin, Oct 27,  "Here come Waymo’s Taxi Robots: In Episode 64 The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for a look at Waymo and Tesla. Is it the most misunderstood car company? And some thoughts about MIT’s survey on autonomous vehicle morality choices. Tune in and subscribe!"  Hmmmm…. Now you can just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay.  Alain
Real information every week.  Lively discussions with the people who are shaping the future of SmartDrivingCars.  Want to become a sustaining sponsor and help us grow the SmartDrivingCars newsletter and podcast? Contact Alain Kornhauser at alaink@princeton.edu!  Alain

cid:<a href=part16.1B277454.BCB815F7@princeton.edu”>  Waymo Releases Guidelines for Autonomous Vehicle Tech Crash Response

T. Homer, Oct 20, "Autonomous vehicle developer Waymo recently published a document titled "Waymo Fully Self-Driving Chrysler Pacifica Emergency Response Guide and Law Enforcement Interaction Protocol." The 36-page guide provides rescue workers with information that may prove to be vital in the event of a crash involving one of the company’s modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids that are currently being used for development and testing in select areas across the United States…." Read more Hmmmm…. good article but take a close look at the Waymo document itself, next item…. Alain

cid:<a href=part20.BAFCAD54.EEBE1D48@princeton.edu”>Waymo Fully Self-Driving Chrysler Pacifica: Emergency Response Guide and Law Enforcement Interaction Protocol

Waymo Team, Oct 18, "This guide is intended to be used by trained first responders and assumes a professional-level background in safely responding to emergencies, including those involving damaged vehicles…."  Read more Hmmmm…. This demonstrates the substantial amount of overhead/support that is needed to operate driverless vehicles.  The amount of oversight that is needed suggests to me that consumers are ill-prepared to accept the responsibility of overseeing the safe operation of their own driverless cars. Maybe at some distant point in the future, but certainly not in the beginning.  We’re barely able to nurture conventional cars when we chaperone them every step of the way.  Just think what might happen when we just send them out on our own.  We’re not all that good at it with our children, that have a real brain and some common sense.  With now our Driverless car???  C’mon Man!!    Alain

cid:<a href=part24.A3307A85.5B5F160C@princeton.edu”>  Ford’s plan for driverless cars goes bey ond technology

T. Lee, Oct. 22, "Waymo says it will launch a fully driverless taxi service later this year. GM’s Cruise is aiming to do the same thing in 2019. Ford, by contrast, doesn’t plan to launch a commercial service until 2021.

You could view this as a sign that Ford is far behind in the race to driverless cars. But in a Monday meeting with Ars Technica, Ford executives argued that they are laying the foundations to make Ford a major player in the autonomous vehicle market over the coming decade…the nation’s capital has been selected as Ford’s second 2021 driverless cars launch city, alongside Miami. Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed Ford to DC in a Monday press conference along the Potomac River waterfront.

…so no matter how quickly Waymo expands, it’s not going to replace more than a small fraction of the cars on the road between 2018 and 2021…."  Read more Hmmmm….  Very good article, but Tim is forgetting that these are fleet vehicles and not (or should not be, personal driverless vehicles.. Each serves about 10x trips as compared to the personal auto so it doesn’t take all that many cars to serve a large portion of personTrips (all US non-walking, non-airplane and non -NYC-Subway personTrips) could be served with about 35M ride-shared aTaxis with each ride-sharer incurring no more than a 10% increase n travel time had they ridden alone.  Sounds like Ford may be destined to be, at best, the "T-Mobile" of the aTaxi business.  Oh well.  It is a shame they didn’t pair up with Waymo. Read  Burn’s Autonomy. Alain 

cid:<a href=part28.7460EC02.B5F63959@princeton.edu”>  Tesla ‘obviously’ plans to take on Uber and Lyft, says CEO Elon Musk

L. Kolodny, Oct 24, "On a third-quarter earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company “obviously” plans to jump into ride-hailing in the era of self-driving cars.  “Tesla will operate its own ride-hailing services and compete directly with Uber and Lyft, obviously.” Musk said.

Tesla’s platform, which is not yet operational, will give customers the ability to “offer their car, add or subtract to the fleet at will,” Musk said. Tesla plans to run a company-owned fleet of autonomous vehicles to pick up passengers wherever or whenever there are not enough customer cars to be lent out, he said comparing this service to the peer-to-peer lodgings business of Airbnb…."   Read more Hmmmm….  To me this is more "false and misleading" than saying he "had secured funding to go private".  He neither has access to gig workers to drive his fleet of cars nor is he even close to having safe driverless technology that any community would allow, let alone welcome, to "drive" down their streets. If you are not welcome, then watch out (See  )  Alain

cid:<a href=part34.8CD4DBD4.7F853A13@princeton.edu”>  Urban Planning Guru Says Driverless Cars Won’t Fix Congestion

J. Markoff, Oct 27, "…“One thing is certain: Zero- or single-occupant vehicles,” even ones that can drive themselves, “are a bad thing,” he and the transportation planner Jerry Walters wrote in an article last year in Urban Land, an urban planning journal. “They cause congestion, eat up energy, exacerbate sprawl and emit more carbon per passenger-mile.”…"  Read more Hmmmm….  Everyone knows that, but what this article and many others "assume" is that there are only two options.. single-occupant thing and many-people-stuffed-into-thing (aka mass transit).  he thing in the middle is the few-people-stuffed-into-the-thing-some-of-the-time, which is what autonomousTaxis have the potential of actually delivering affordably and efficiently.  The the peopleMilesTraveled can go up (improving quality of life) AND the vehicleMilesTraveled can go down (improving quality of life).  All we need to do is to find the people who could travel together (something "the internet" does/could-do very well) and then to make it desirable to travel together (which again something "the internet" does/could-do very well because it lets us bury ourselves in our device.) Alain

cid:<a href=part37.958417CD.829A8DDF@princeton.edu”>People want self-driving cars to prioritize young lives over the elderly

S. Krishna, Oct 24, "Today, MIT released the results of a global survey on the moral and ethical decisions that autonomous vehicles should be programmed to make. The survey reveals that general preferences include prioritizing human lives over animals, younger and healthier people over the elderly and saving more lives over fewer lives. People also preferred to spare bystanders (who were obeying the law) over jaywalkers…."  Read more Hmmmm….  Possibly interesting when you have absolutely noting else to do and are just passing the time sipping you favorite cocktail.  What you should do is not kill either.  It is very unlikely that the only choices are to kill one or another.  That unlikeliness is essentially "Squared", or worse, for each to have a equal probability, which we know can’t be 1.0 (nothing is!).  Any decision process considers the probability of each eventuality being realized.  This study fundamentally assumes that each outcome is equally probable making it totally sophomoric.  

Also, as has been pointed out to me, the tort system of law actually effectively addresses this situation.  Go ahead program some decision process,  the courts will assess the penalties that really reflect the societal values.  As these are adjudicated, the algorithms will naturally evolve, with an unfortunate lag, to follow changing societal values.  

Final thought…we are probably killing more young and old people by wasting our time discussing this rather than dealing with much more important questions like making sure we don’t allow ourselves to get in a position that we unnecessarily kill a young or kill an old.  I certainly hope that Uber never spent a minute on this problem because that minute would have been much more usefully spent looking through their code and really understanding that they should not be operating in a domain where they turn off their Automated Emergency Braking system. Alain   
 


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


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


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

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The End of Driving Workshop
Planning for Autonomous Vehicles Now

Dec 6, 2018
Mississauga, ON, Canada


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3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Save the Date; Reserve your Sponsorship

Catalog of Videos of Presentations @ 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
Photos from 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Program & Links to slides from 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit


  On the More Technical Side

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


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Recent PodCasts

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 63- Danny Shapiro, nVIDIA

F. Fishkin, Oct 26,  "NVIDIA is out with its first self driving safety report and in Episode 63 of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, NVIDIA’s Director of Automotive, Danny Shapiro, joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin to chat about what is in it…and more. Also…the NJ legislature, with help from Alain…is starting to take action. Plus the latest from Ford. Tune in and subscribe! "

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 62-Jack Stewart, Wired

F. Fishkin, Oct 19,  "Why do people keep rear ending self driving cars? It’s the title of the latest article by Senior Writer for Wired, Jack Stewart. This week Jack joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for Episode 62 of the Smart Driving Cars podcast. And there’s more on semi-autonomous safety, Lyft, Uber and Waymo. Tune in and subscribe!" 

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 61-Marjory Blumnethal, Rand, Measuring Safety

F. Fishkin, Oct 13,  "What’s need to ensure safety in driverless vehicles? In Episode 61 of Smart Driving Cars, Princeton University’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin are joined by the principal investigator for the just completed Rand autonomous vehicle safety project, Marjory Blumenthal. Tune in for that and more on the latest from Waymo, Tesla, Cadillac, Lyft and more."

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 60-Ed Felten, Princeton & Bryant Walker-Smith, U S. Carolina

F. Fishkin, Oct 6,  "With Waymo poised to begin commercial driverless transportation in Arizona…is there reason to worry? In Episode 60 of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, hosts Alain Kornhauser of Princeton and Fred Fishkin tackle that and more, joined by Ed Felton…a Princeton computer science professor who served as a technology advisor in the Obama administration and Bryant Walker Smith, legal expert from the U. of South Carolina. Tune in and subscribe!… Tune in and subscribe!"

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 59-Alex Roy, Basic Urban Mobility

F. Fishkin, Sept 28  "Basic Universal Mobility? Writer, editor, champion endurance driver and thought leader Alex Roy…joins Princeton University’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for Episode 59 of the Smart Driving Cars podcast. Plus…Alain’s take on Tesla and Elon Musk….Toyota…and more..

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 58-Keith Code, Motorcycles

F. Fishkin, Sept 22  "In this edition of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, Alain Kornhauser of Princeton University and co-host Fred Fishkin are joined by the founder of the Superbike School, Keith Code. Keith is an instructor, coach, author and researcher into motorcycle safety…and a champion racer. Beyond that….he’s an old high school friend of Alain’s! And there’s more on BMW, Apple, VW and more! . Tune in and subscribe!"

 Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 55-Larry Burns, Autonomy

F. Fishkin, Sept 6,  "The coming new world of driverless cars! In Episode 55 of the Smart Driving Cars podcast former GM VP and adviser to Waymo Larry Burns chats with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin about his new book "Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car and How it Will Reshape Our World"

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 54-Michael Sena, September Dispatcher

F. Fishkin, Aug 26,  "The impact of the Hitch service murders in China on ride sharing, Toyota’s investment in Uber and the issue of who controls data…are the focus of Episode 54 of the Smart Driving Cars podcast. Co-hosts Alain Kornhauser of Princeton University and Fred Fishkin are joined by The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena."

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 49-Bern Grush, End of Driving

F. Fishkin, July 27, "When will we shift from buying cars to buying rides? In Episode 49 of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, entrepreneur, speaker and co-author of "The End of Driving: Transportation Systems and Public Policy Planning for Autonomous Vehicles" …Bern Grush joins co-hosts Alain Kornhauser of Princeton and Fred Fishkin. That along with the latest on Ford, Waymo, Uber and more."

 Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 38-Bryant Walker-Smith, Welcome Mat

F. Fishkin, May 10, "The continuing Uber crash investigation, Waymo and Ohio rolls out the welcome mat for the testing of self driving cars. All that and more in Episode 38 of the Smart Driving Cars podcast. This week Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin are joined by Bryant Walker Smith of the University of South Carolina and Stanford. Tune in and subscribe!"

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 33-Michael Sena, April Dispatcher

F. Fishkin, Apr 4, " Waymo is making it real! In Episode 33 of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, hosts Fred Fishkin and Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser are joined by Michael Sena, publisher of The Dispatcher newsletter. Take a deep dive into Waymo’s deals with Jaguar and talks with Honda.. Tesla, Volvo, Uber and Ambarella. And the Princeton Smart Driving Car Summit is coming up!         "


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

cid:<a href=part74.50A4B369.3BC04AFC@princeton.edu”>New Jersey Pending Legislation re: Autonomous Vehicles

Oct 16, Establishes fully autonomous vehicle pilot program A4573 Sponsors:  Zwicker (D16); Benson (D14)

Oct 16, Establishes New Jersey Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Task Force AJR164 Sponsors:  Benson (D14); Zwicker (D16); Lampitt (D6)

Oct 16, Directs MVC to establish driver’s license endorsement for autonomous vehicles A4541 Sponsors:  Zwicker (D16); Benson (D14); Lampitt (D6)…"  Read more Hmmmm…. Things are beginning to move in New Jersey.  Alain

cid:<a href=part81.7A4D7EB3.C345A967@princeton.edu”>Testimony of Alain Kornhauser, Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology – Monday, October 22, 2018 – 10:00:00 AM

cid:<a href=part74.50A4B369.3BC04AFC@princeton.edu”>Audio Recording of Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology – Monday, October 22, 2018 – 10:00:00 AM

cid:<a href=part86.9458619B.FB64DA13@princeton.edu”>  Nvidia delivers its self-driving car safety report to the feds

A. Hawkins, Oct 23, "Nvidia, one of the world’s best known manufacturers of computer graphics cards, released its autonomous driving safety report on Tuesday. The Santa Clara-based company, which for several years has been engaged in a high-stakes venture to build the “brains” that power self-driving cars for major automakers like Volvo, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, is only the fifth company to delivery its voluntary safety report to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration….

The 20-page safety report highlights the “four pillars” of Nvidia’s approach to autonomous driving technology: AI chips like Pegasus and Xavier that power the vehicles’ operations; data centers to process the massive amounts of data produced by fleets of self-driving cars; the company’s Drive Constellation simulation software to enable virtual world testing; and adherence to federal and international safety standards…. Nvidia is only the fifth company to release its safety report under the voluntary guidelines created by the US Department of Transportation…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. Also listen to PodCast Episode 63 with Danny Shapiro.  Alain

Friday, October 19, 2018

cid:part92.D63B7742.96F5AD4C@princeton.edu  WHY PEOPLE KEEP REAR-ENDING SELF-DRIVING CARS

J. Stewart, Oct 18, "The self-driving-car crashes that usually make the news are, unsurprisingly, either big and smashy or new and curious…. Look at every robocar crash report filed in California, though, and you get a more mundane picture—but one that reveals a striking pattern. In September of this year, for example, three self-driving cars were sideswiped. Another three were rear-ended. One of them by a bicycle. And that’s not even the strangest one: In June, an AV operated by General Motors’ self-driving arm, Cruise, got bumped in the back—by a human driving another Cruise….

As this chart shows, GM’s Cruise has filed by far the most reports in 2018, but don’t read too much into that. If the pattern holds from 2016 to 2017 (we won’t have full 2018 numbers until early next year), Waymo has been dialing down its testing in California in favor of Arizona. Cruise has been ramping it up and does its driving in the chaos of San Francisco. Waymo has the second-most collisions, followed by Zoox, a startup that also tests in the city…..

These reports, written and filed by the companies running the cars, consist mostly of check boxes, with a line or two explaining what happened. Some detail thankfully freaky, presumably rare incidents: “The Cruise AV was struck by a golf ball from a nearby golf course.” Some reveal what we’ll call exasperation on the part of other road users: “The driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch.”

Other sorts of crashes happen more frequently.  Drilling down into the data shows that autonomous vehicles being rear-ended accounts for 28 of the 49 filed reports, nearly two-thirds….  But combine that with the fact that the computer was in charge in 22 of those 28 rear-end crashes, and you have reason to believe that the AVs are doing something that makes cars behind them more likely to hit them. Maybe that’s driving herkily-jerkily (as we experienced in a Cruise car in San Francisco in November 2018), or stopping for no clear reason (as we experienced in an Uber car in Pittsburgh last year). That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It indicates a conservative focus on safety: Better to stop for a fire hydrant than run down a preschooler. But part of being a good driver is behaving in a way others expect, which doesn’t include constantly stamping on the brakes…"  Read more Hmmmm….  This is a really good article and deserves your full attention.  A couple of comments…  As is mentioned, not enough about the operational environment is reported to really indicate if it is the automated operational aspects that are inducing the crashes.  There is a wide variance in the way people drive.  Many of us get upset with people who don’t drive the way we drive and sometimes we run into the back of them.  We report to the police that we do this about 1.7 million times a year.  (Who knows how many there would be if the reporting was as stringent as California’s?).   There are about 3.2 Billion vehicle miles traveled per year.   This implies that the ""Police" reported rear-ender-rate"  is about one per 2 million miles driven, which is roughly an order of magnitude better than the "California AV reported rear-ender-rate".  But given the likely differential reporting between the national number and the California AV number and that a large part of the National VMTs are driven in domains where few rear-ending crashes occur (cruising at higher speeds in not so congested "freeways"), the difference may in fact be negligible when "apples" were really compared to "apples".

What is not said, that is really be clear, is that these SmartDrivingCars, when operating using their automated driving systems, DON’T rear-end people-driven cars!   That is the real message here!   And, by the way, why do people-driven cars still rear-end other cars????  Why haven’t the OEMs developed Automated Emergency Braking systems that actually work (definition of work: don’t let the car crash into things in the lane ahead!).  Here they (OEMs) are working feverishly to sell us visions of being able to take our hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals so we can text, watch movies and sleep, yet they haven’t even developed the system that keeps the car from plowing into a firetruck that’s parked in the lane ahead or rear-end a GM/Cruise car as it’s trying to make its way through San Francisco obeying traffic laws.  C’mon OEMs. You can do this.  Alain

Saturday, October 13, 2018 

cid:<a href=part105.BAD96BB2.A5B9ED9B@princeton.edu”>  Measuring Automated Vehicle Safety:  Forging a Framework

L. Fraade-Blanar, Oct 2018 , "In this report, we develop a framework for measuring safety in AVs that could be used broadly by companies, policymakers, and the public. We considered how to define safety for AVs, how to measure safety for AVs, and how to communicate what is learned or understood about AVs. Given AVs’ limited total on-road mileage compared with conventional vehicles, we consider options for proxy measurements—i.e., factors that might be correlated with safety. We also explore how safety measurements could be made in simulation and on closed courses. The closely held nature of AV data limits the details of what is made public or shared between companies and with the government. The report focuses on identifying key concepts and illuminating the kinds of measurements that might be made and communicated….

“The success of autonomous vehicles requires public trust. Right now, autonomous vehicle development is happening along different paths by competing developers,’’ said RAND researcher Marjory Blumenthal. “This framework can be a common reference point for all developers and can lead to safer vehicles.”

The research is sponsored by Uber’s Advanced Technologies, which approached RAND in summer 2017 for help in creating such a framework. It builds upon past RAND research into AV safety and other trends.  "  Read more Hmmmm….This is a very good report on a very challenging subject, that of trying to use quantitative measures to obtain a subjective and perceptive concept of safety and fear.  I suspect that even though we haven’t had a plane crash in the US since Feb 12, 2009,  some people remain afraid to fly.  That said, establishing a specific measure(s), of course, leaves one open to gamesmanship.  Everyone agrees that VMT is not the right rate simply because VMT is not a constant measure of challenge.  Most VMTs are extremely simple, many are hard and some are really difficult.  Unfortunately, the toughest may well be those that we’ve neither experienced nor imagined.  That recognition leads to some recommendations that don’t seem to be included in the report.  One has to do with not only the classification of the VMT scenarios but also their discovery and subsequently the sharing/publication of their discovery to the AV community at large.  This may well be one of the legacies of the Uber-Elaine Herzberg Crash.  The scenario, comprising of the short distance the Uber car traveled in the 6 seconds prior to that crash, is now part of everyone’s "Challenging VMTs". 

One of the troubling elements of this report is that it deals with the SAE levels.  This is really unfortunate.  The SAE levels do not contribute to a better understanding of safety.  The attention should focus on the mobility that is trying to be achieved.  In this case it is Driverless mobility within a specified domain.  Whether that domain might eventually become infinite (everywhere) is irrelevant.  Safety is always within some domain.  Airplanes are not safe if they are flown under water.  Of course there are domains where driverless vehicles will not be safe.  Clarifying the domains where the technology is safe, or is being tested to determine its level of safety is really important and ensuring that the vehicles do not operate outside of their safety domain is an extremely important element of establishing "safety".

Another element that exists here is that of "sampling bias".  Using any amorphous measure such as VMT invites sample bias because some VMTs are so simple that a biased accumulation of those VMTs leads to one perception, whereas a biased accumulation of other VMTs leads to another, quite different perception.

In the report, here is not a realization that "Wall Street" (corporate survival) fundamentally depends on Safety.  It does so in aviation.  Historically plane crashes have inflicted extremely heavy penalties on airline companies.  Uber suffered enormously financially because of the Elaine Herzberg crash.   The role of Wall Street in establishing and maintaining safety needs to be included in this discussion.  Alain   Correction:  This report was originally incorrectly attributed to T. Lee.  It is a Rand Corp report authored by Laura Fraade-Blanar, Marjory S. Blumenthal, James M. Anderson, Nidhi Kalra.  Alain

Friday, October 6, 2018 

cid:<a href=part24.A3307A85.5B5F160C@princeton.edu”>  Fully driverless Waymo taxis are due out this year, alarming critics

T. Lee, Oct 1, "Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, is planning to launch a driverless taxi service in the Phoenix area in the next three months. It won’t be a pilot project or a publicity stunt, either. Waymo is planning to launch a public, commercial service—without anyone in the driver’s seat.  And to date, Waymo’s technology has gotten remarkably little oversight from government officials in either Phoenix or Washington, DC.

If a company wants to sell a new airplane or medical device, it must undergo an extensive process to prove to federal regulators that it’s safe. Currently, there’s no comparable requirement for self-driving cars. Federal and state laws allow Waymo to introduce fully self-driving cars onto public streets in Arizona without any formal approval process.  … Maybe, but automobiles weren’t regulated until long after Henry Ford and we’re barely approaching the "Henry Ford" stage of the Driverless r/evolution….   That’s not an oversight. It represents a bipartisan consensus in Washington that strict regulation of self-driving cars would do more harm than good.  … rightfully so because this is so new that we don’t know what to do.  It is still at such a small scale that even if it  began to fall apart completely not much harm could be done.. " If you think about what would be required for some government body to examine the design of a self-driving vehicle and decide if it’s safe, that’s a very difficult task," says Ed Felten, a Princeton computer scientist who advised the Obama White House on technology issues.

This hands-off regulatory approach drives some safety advocates crazy….Mary "Missy" Cummings, an engineering professor at Duke, agrees. "I don’t think there should be any driverless cars on the road," she tells Ars. "I think it’s unconscionable that no one is stipulating that testing needs to be done before they’re put on the road."… But there is no formal process requiring the company to submit information about its technology and test results to regulators in Phoenix or Washington. …

Even safety advocates like Chase and Cummings don’t necessarily want to see cars subjected to the kinds of comprehensive regulations imposed on aircraft and medical device makers. But they’d like to see the government take a more active role in testing self-driving cars—before they’re allowed on public roads.  But Princeton’s Ed Felten questions whether that’s realistic. He points out that there are unique challenges to testing self-driving cars…

And while Cummings told me that "there has never been any kind of real-world testing" of Waymo’s cars, that doesn’t seem quite fair to Waymo.   …  Ultimately, the only way to test how a self-driving car will perform on real public streets is to test them on real public streets.

If formal FDA-style testing isn’t realistic, what could regulators do instead? Bryant Walker Smith advocates what he calls a "trustworthy company" model for regulating self-driving cars. Instead of writing prescriptive, technology-focused standards for driverless cars, he says, regulators should focus on validating car companies’ own processes for developing and testing driverless cars.  Smith would like to "have governments say: are these companies making a credible case? Are they candidly communicating? Does the company support their assertions?"  "Regulation is not just a rule or a prospective approval," Smith notes. "Regulation is all of the tools available to governments: investigations, inquiries, recalls, prosecutions for misrepresentations to governments."

But the company hasn’t released much data to back up its safety claims. We know Waymo has logged millions of miles on Arizona roads, but we know very little about how its vehicles have performed.   Waymo needs to not just build safe technology, but also convince the public that its technology is safe. Being more transparent about both its technology and its testing efforts could help."  Read more Hmmmm…. What is not pointed out is that "Wall Street" is serving as the ultimate safety regulator in a way that is much more draconian than any "FAA", FDA", "watchdog" or "Congress".  Last year Waymo and Uber were thought by many to be essentially neck-to-neck in the driverless car race.  Both valued at about $75B.  Today Uber is struggling to maintain its $75B valuation while Adam Jonas has pegged Waymo at $175B.  By far the biggest difference in accolades between the two companies is that one had one crash that killed a pedestrian and the other didn’t.  The "Wall Street" lesson of a $100B implication of just one fatal crash is not lost on anyone in this industry.  Safety is fundamentally recognized as an absolutely necessary condition to being a player in this emerging form of mobility. Alain 

 

cid:<a href=part115.5ECA94DC.7AEE6381@princeton.edu”>  FORGET UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME. WE NEED UNIVERSAL BASIC MOBILITY

A. Roy, Sept 5, "…THE ORIGIN OF UNIVERSAL BASIC MOBILITY (UBM).   UBM is inspired by Universal Basic Income (UBI), which has long been debated as a solution for a variety of societal ills…

Freedom of movement has never been accompanied with a right to mobility. Governments built infrastructure, but you still had to buy your own horse or car. As population density rose and traffic worsened, modern states invested in more roads, more trolleys, more buses and more trains, creating an informal mobility compact between governments and their citizens — we will provide means of transporting you more efficiently than you can transport yourselves.   Unfortunately, people move and cities grow faster than governments can build, and people will solve transportation needs as they see fit. Hence, the oldest cities in the United States are dominated by struggling public transit systems, and the newest ones are choking on the cars around which they grew….

Freedom of movement is limited wherever the government/citizen mobility compact is stressed or broken. We see this “mobility underclass” in the public transportation deserts in and around numerous cities. The mobility underclass has few options; if they can afford a car, they contribute to broader traffic and infrastructure problems. If they can’t, they are often forced into unregulated private/shared options below the radar of even the largest and most ambitious transportation network start-ups.

A parent who spends four hours a day commuting means a child deprived of critical family time, a worker too tired to be effective, a human being without downtime….

A growing number of the mobility underclass are falling into “structural immobility” — the state in which lack of mobility limits their ability to obtain and keep jobs, access basic services, contribute to society or maintain a reasonable quality of life. The gap between freedom of movement and affordable mobility options creates a self-perpetuating system of economic, social and emotional loss, depriving society of countless productive citizens…" Read more Hmmmm….  As you know I love the "elevator analogy".  One can argue that Elevators provide a high level of UBM in tall buildings.  (The stairs offer a very low (unacceptable level) of UBM (fine for a couple of floors, but anything higher is a non-starter).  Walking/(bicycles, electric skate boards) in cities are like the stairs. Great for short distances but… Up to now the car has been the elevator.  Unfortunately we’ve had to own our own, drive it ourselves because we couldn’t afford a chauffeur,  and only use it for ourselves (never share rides that would leave a car or a couple of cars at home because we didn’t know anyone else had a similar mobility need for this trip at this time).

Luckily in buildings, elevators are not owned by individuals (except the Donald).  They are made available by the land owners (owners of the floors) and made available to anyone 24/7 so that the floor owners can collect rent on the floors that they own.  The elevators provide high quality UBM in tall buildings.

Horizontally, aTaxis could be offered and operated just like elevators.  Often used by single individuals simply because no one else is going up. But, if the demand warrants, the elevator is readily shared by those going in the same direction (same narrow wedge) at about the same time.  Anyone can use them any time.  How they are priced/subsidized is a public policy decision.  No reason why property owners wouldn’t make them be very affordable especially if it gets people to visit/use their facilities/land.  Thoughts???  Alain

Saturday, September 22, 2018

cid:<a href=part119.F5484D3B.82787E40@princeton.edu”>BMW Develops New Insurance Concept, Aims at Future of Car Insurance

G. Nica, Sept 17, "With the BMW Group’s technical know-how and Swiss Re’s expertise as a reinsurer, an algorithm has been developed that is capable of representing the complex effects of driver assistance systems on the safety of BMW vehicles as a score. This score facilitates calculation of an individual vehicle-specific insurance premium…." Read more Hmmmm….  Wow, can this really be true.  I’ve been calling for this for at least 4 years.  Have they really "developed" the algorithm??  Hope they publish it.  I’d love to see it. To what extent does expected liability become independent of expected driver behavior?  How does improvement in "BMW vehicle score" correlate with both reduced insurance premiums and the incremental  cost of the incremental Driver Assistance System.  What "Driver Assistance System" yields the Minimum { insuranceCost + incrementalCapitalizedSafetySystemCost} for each model???  Can’t wait to learn the details.  Hope it is not all smoke & mirrors.  Alain

Friday, September 7, 2018

cid:<a href=part123.0E1913C4.CC6C0097@princeton.edu”>  Self-Driving Cars Will Keep Getting Better Forever

D. Silver, Sept. 4, " Evans raises a particularly interesting question about autonomy: "what winner takes all effects apply?"

Waymo, which recently surpassed 9 million miles driven autonomously, started working on autonomous vehicles in 2009, years before many current competitors. That head start has allowed them to rack up far more autonomous miles than other companies (the next closest program appears to be Uber’s now-paused Advanced Technology Group, with 2 million autonomous miles)….
Similarly, Tesla has sold hundreds of thousands of Autopilot-enabled semi-autonomous cars. Collectively, Autopilot-enabled vehicles have driven approximately 1.5 billion miles, providing Tesla with a dataset no other company has.

With those kinds of leads, a question arises of whether Waymo and Tesla have already won the market?  …." Read more Hmmmm…. Very good question!!  What do you think?  Alain  

Friday, August 31, 2018

cid:<a href=part34.8CD4DBD4.7F853A13@princeton.edu”>  Customers Died. Will That Be a Wake-Up Call for China’s Tech Scene?

cid:<a href=part129.72F6D4D8.F27F68CC@princeton.edu”>  Waymo’s Big Ambitions Slowed by Tech Trouble

A. Efrati, Aug 28, "HANDLER, Ariz.—Alphabet’s Waymo unit is a worldwide leader in autonomous vehicle development for suburban environments. It has said it would launch a driverless robo-taxi service to suburban Phoenix residents this year. Yet its self-driving minivan prototypes have trouble crossing the T-intersection closest to the company’s Phoenix-area headquarters here.

Two weeks ago, Lisa Hargis, an administrative assistant who works at an office a stone’s throw from Waymo’s vehicle depot, said she nearly hit a Waymo Chrysler Pacifica minivan because it stopped abruptly while making a right turn at the intersection. “Go!” she shouted angrily, she said, after getting stuck in the intersection midway through her left turn. Cars that had been driving behind the Waymo van also stopped. “I was going to murder someone,” she said.

The hesitation at the intersection is one of many flaws evident in Waymo’s technology, say five people with direct knowledge of the issues in Phoenix. More than a dozen local residents who frequently encounter one of the hundreds of Waymo test vehicles circulating in the area complained about sudden moves or stops. The company’s safety drivers—individuals who sit in the driver’s seat—regularly have to take control of the wheel to avoid a collision or potentially unsafe situation, the people said….

 In reality, the vast majority of Waymo’s test cars continue to use safety drivers. Typically, the cars that drive without a person at the wheel have been in relatively small residential areas of Chandler, Ariz., where there is little traffic, according to people familiar with the program. And these vehicles are monitored closely by remote operators that can help the cars when they run into issues. (Waymo last week told the Verge that its first driverless taxis would include a “chaperone” from Waymo who would sit in the cars.)…"  Read more Hmmmm…. As I’ve been saying, we are still at the very beginning…. 0.001 degrees Kelvin.  Plus "others/non-users" will never like them.  Just this morning I honked at the driver in front of me who passed up a gap to make an unprotected left turn.  I had to wait for a whole cycle!!  I hate every car that drives on Cleveland Lane in front of my house.  I want that street all for myself.   I hate buses.  I hate trucks.  I hate everything and everyone but me.  This is just human nature.  Little respect for others.  Heck, I’m the only good driver out there. The innuendos are not surprising.  We’ll just have to grin and bear them as we do with all of the conventional cars running around out there. 

On a more serious note, this reality demonstrates that we may need  regulation/legislation that  explicitly protects the rights of driverless cars to share the  public road infrastructure.  We do this for bicycles, motorcycles and in a way even for trucks and buses.  Also, buses, and other vehicles today have signs on their backs that state "This vehicle stops at all RR crossings" because it differs from normal car behavior.      I suggest that Waymo and all that are testing driverless vehicles on city streets place a sign on the back of each vehicles:"This Car Obeys All Traffic Laws and Rules.  You should toocid:<a href=part132.0CD4DCAA.F45E745B@princeton.edu”>  cid:<a href=part133.BD223696.C94AB84E@princeton.edu”>Alain

Sunday, Augus26, 2018

cid:<a href=part135.BCA1CAEC.6B520059@princeton.edu”>The founder of $3.2 billion startup Zoox says that he was ousted as CEO ‘without a warning’ because ‘the board chose a path of fear’

T. Wolverton, Aug 22, "The CEO of Zoox has left in a management shake-up at the the high-profile, well-funded, and idiosyncratic self-driving car startup.

Zoox has already started searching for a replacement for Tim Kentley-Klay, who cofounded the Silicon Valley-based company, a source close to Zoox told Business Insider. In the meantime, it has named board member Carl Bass as its executive chairman and cofounder Jesse Levinson as its president, the source said. Bass is the former CEO of Autodesk.

Kentley-Klay confirmed his ouster in a statement posted on his Twitter account. Zoox’s board fired him "without a warning, cause or right of reply," he said in the statement.  "Today was Silicon Valley up to its worst tricks," he said. "Rather than working through the issues in an epic startup for the win," he continued, "the board chose a path of fear, optimizing for a little money in hand at the expense of profound progress for the universe."

Along with his statement, Kentley-Klay posted a pair of charts comparing Zoox to its chief rivals — Google spinoff Waymo, Uber, and GM-owned Cruise. The charts essentially assert that Zoox has made more progress with its technology for less money than its rivals… A native of Australia, Kentley-Klay had no background automobile engineering or artificial intelligence before starting Zoox, according to a recent Bloomberg profile. Instead, he had worked in online advertising.." Read more Hmmmm…. Must be trying to protect its $3.2B valuation and avert an "Uberism" (a single valuation-changing irresponsible incident) .   Alain

Saturday, August 18, 2018

cid:<a href=part129.72F6D4D8.F27F68CC@princeton.edu”>  Uber’s Losses Mount at Self-Driving Car Unit

A. Efrati, Aug 15, "Uber has been spending between $125 million and $200 million a quarter on its self-driving car unit over the past 18 months, The Information has learned, equivalent to between 15% and 30% of the company’s quarterly losses. The previously undisclosed spending highlights the financial burden that self-driving car development has imposed on Uber and why CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is under pressure to decide what to do about it.

Some investors have told Uber officials that it may be wise to divest the self-driving car unit, said a person familiar with the issue. Uber has invested least $2 billion in the unit over the past three years. Yet the company hasn’t yet come up with a clear path to commercializing the technology it has developed.

The group’s quarterly cash burn of $1 million to $2 million per day has been particularly high during quarters when Uber paid for expensive hardware like cars and sensors that are attached to the cars, said a person with knowledge of the data. The company has tried to reduce some expenses by withdrawing operations from Arizona and cutting a development effort for self-driving trucks. Broadly, though, there’s no sign that the unit’s cash needs will meaningfully come down. An Uber spokeswoman did not have a comment….

The argument against selling the autonomous unit would be that Uber needs to have a way to develop self-driving cars if other companies won’t partner with it. Long term, self-driving cars could help Uber’s ride-hailing network reduce costs from not having to employ drivers. If Uber doesn’t develop the cars itself, it will need to figure out how to get other car developers to agree to use their vehicles to pick up Uber’s passengers…." Read more Hmmmm…. They are really between a rock and a hard place. They can’t really grow without. If someone else is successful at making it work, they’ll operate it themselves rather than license it (Netflix didn’t license its service to Blockbuster).   With that competition, Uber’s valuation goes to 10x earnings which is an ugly IPO .  The only upside rests in Driverless, so they can’t get out.   Alain

Friday, August 10, 2018

cid:<a href=part123.0E1913C4.CC6C0097@princeton.edu”>  Why Waymo Is Worth A Staggering $175 Billion Even Before Launching Its Self-Driving Cars

A. Ohnsman, Aug 7,  "Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s multibillion-dollar self-driving vehicle bet hasn’t yet launched commercial operations but that’s not stopping Morgan Stanley from predicting massive potential for the company that’s emerged as the leader in the autonomous tech race.

A year after his initial estimate that Waymo was likely a $75 billion startup, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas raised it to a staggering $175 billion, citing greater revenue potential from passenger ride services and licensing of its tech. The biggest source of future revenue, however, is likely to come from autonomous trucking and delivery services, which Jonas thinks could generate as much as $90 billion….." Read more Hmmmm…. Wow, a year ago some thought Waymo and Uber were neck2neck in the Driverless horse race. Waymo executed its business plan, had no crashes and went from $75B to $175B.  Uber executed its business plan, had one crash and went from $73B to  ? (<$50B) .  Just in case you thought safety wasn’t important.    Just think, if Waymo continues on its business plan without causing a crash, it means that their "driverless suite" really does work in its expanding geo-fenced areas.  That dynamic evolution suggests that in September, 2020, there will be ~100,000 Waymo aTaxis serving ~5M trips a day throughout many medium density areas across a substantial part of the USA.   And in September 2022 there will be…  (you can do the math…  Kornhauser’s Waymo Law.. 10x every 2 years).   There is a very big "IF… & WITHOUT", but when the "driverless suite" works (and it may well be working now, since it hasn’t caused a crash, but Waymo hasn’t divulged "near misses"..), then the probability that the "driverless suite" causes a crash is really small and there is essentially zero pushback to delivering what is an almost insatiable demand for the affordable mobility services afforded by the"driverless suite".  That’s why it is worth $175B today ….   and potentially $500B in 2020. (Boy this is fun!!).  Alain

Friday, August 3, 2018

cid:part150.75D6928F.A244D501@princeton.eduOn the eve of a 6-month pilot, Drive.ai details its self-driving car plans

Friday, July 27,  2018

cid:<a href=part135.BCA1CAEC.6B520059@princeton.edu”>Ford is taking on Waymo and GM’s Cruise by creating its own standalone self-driving division

Friday, June 15,  2018

cid:<a href=part157.BE1541B6.356FF987@princeton.edu”>  Waymo’s early rider program, one year in

Waymo team, June 13, "Ariel rides after school. Neha hops to the grocery store. Barbara and Jim zip around town while kicking back.

They’re all part of the Waymo early rider program we launched last April. Today, over 400 riders with diverse backgrounds use Waymo every day, at any time, to ride all around the Phoenix area. Their feedback helps us understand how fully self driving cars fit into their daily lives.

One year in, our early rider program and our extensive on-road testing is helping us build the world’s most experienced driver. In fact, our fleet of cars across the U.S. is now driving more than 24,000 miles daily; that’s the equivalent of an around the world road trip! Here’s a quick report on how our riders use Waymo, what we’ve learned, and what’s next….As some of the first people in the world to use self-driving vehicles for their everyday transportation needs, our early riders are helping shape this technology. Thanks to their feedback, we’re refining the rider experience to make sure that: …  nobody wants to carry grocery bags a block down the street… "  Read more Hmmmm…. Yipes!!  The personal car isn’t bad enough in its focus on private single-occupant parkingSpot2parkingSpot mobility? Are we now going to have Waymo providing it Door2Door with zero opportunity to share rides and while delivering negative public benefits of increased energy, pollution and congestion with all of its empty vehicle repositioning.  No wonder the CPUC voted to forbid ride-sharing.  Did Waymo made them do it since Waymo hasn’t done ride-sharing in Phoenix? Having 2 or more people in the car isn’t ride sharing if they would have all gone together in their own car had Waymo not been there.  So Bad!!!  Without ride-sharing, this is just expensive, energy inefficient and environmentally challenged private chauffeuring for the entitled privileged class:  See video Just like watching Oszzie & Harriet or Leave it to Beaver.  For Waymo to "Win it", they’ll need to embrace ride-sharing because no "Blue-state" PUC is going to be as impressionable as as California’s.  Alain

Tuesday, June 12,  2018

cid:<a href=part164.B5421C19.4F022410@princeton.edu”>CPUC AUTHORIZES PASSENGER CARRIERS TO PROVIDE FREE TEST RIDES IN AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES WITH VALID CPUC AND DMV PERMITS

Press Release, May 31, "…Today’s decision also allows TCP permit-holders that hold a “DMV Manufacturer’s Testing Permit – Driverless Vehicles” to operate autonomous vehicles without a driver in the vehicle, subject to certain restrictions. Authorization to provide this service is available only to TCP permit-holders with driverless autonomous vehicles that have been in DMV-permitted driverless operation on California roads for a minimum of 30 days. Entities seeking to participate in the pilot program are not allowed to operate from or within airports; must limit the use of the vehicle to one chartering party at any given time (i.e., fare-splitting is not permitted); must ensure that the service can only be chartered by adults 18 years and older; and may not accept monetary compensation for the ride. Participants are also required to continuously comply with all DMV regulations, and to report certain data to the CPUC on a quarterly basis that will be publicly available…."  Read more  Hmmmm…..Good News:  Able to serve customers with autonomousTaxis.  Bad news: Not able to Share Rides.  (This is really bad news because having the public oversight body focus Driverless serving single occupants thereby making even worse the fundamental problem of the personal auto is simply REALLY BAD!.  Their opportunity is to encourage ride-sharing whenever possible so as to alleviate  congestion and reduce energy and pollution.  C’mon CPUC!!  The fact that the rides are free is largely irrelevant at this time, except as, once again, a subsidy to the 1%ers who are a disproportionate element of the early adopters that are likely to hail this service.  Alain

Sunday, June 3,  2018

  SOFTBANK FLIPS THE VENTURE-CAPITAL SCRIPT AGAIN WITH GM DEA

  Waymo’s fleet of self-driving minivans is about to get 100 times bigger

A. Hawkins, May 31, "The size of Waymo’s fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans just got radically bigger. The Alphabet unit announced today that it struck a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), one of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, for an additional 62,000 minivans to be deployed as robot taxis." Hmmmm…. Wow!!  What is Waymo going to do with 60,000 more aTaxis on top of the 20,000 Jaguars they ordered a few months back???  I guess that they will send a couple thousand to NJ. .   Those 80,000 aTaxis will serve about 4 million person trips/day (~50 personTrips/aTaxi-day).  That’s about 0.5% of all personTrips greater than 0.5 miles in the USA on a typical day, roughly equal to the number of personTrips that Uber serves today in the US on a typical day today in the USA and is ~10% of the personTrips riding today’s conventional transit systems.  Wow!!!
Moreover, the two companies have also begun discussions about how to eventually sell self-driving cars to customers as personally owned vehicles…" Read more  Hmmmm…. What????  Waymo can’t be serious.  No way Waymo or anyone else is going to allow these vehicles to be in the hands of consumers.  The professional maintenance and adult supervision required by these vehicles today makes such a suggestion preposterous.  Moreover, this would be Uber’s biggest windfall, to be able to buy the best driverless car rather than having to make it themselves.  No way Waymo allows Uber this windfall.  The floor price for a goose that lays golden eggs is the investment required to purchase an annuity of golden eggs.  Not only is that a big number, Uber doesn’t have any secret sauce that can extract more value out of those eggs than Waymo can.  So, if Uber bids high enough to buy them, they’ll lose money.  This "rumor" deserves a super C’mon Man!!! Alain

Friday, May 25,  2018

PRELIMINARY REPORT: HIGHWAY: HWY18MH010 (Uber/Herzberg Crash)

KMay 24, "About 9:58 p.m., on Sunday, March 18, 2018, an Uber Technologies, Inc. test vehicle, based on a modified 2017 Volvo XC90 and operating with a self-driving system in computer control mode, struck a pedestrian on northbound Mill Avenue, in Tempe, Maricopa County, Arizona.

…The vehicle was factory equipped with several advanced driver assistance functions by Volvo Cars, the original manufacturer. The systems included a collision avoidance function with automatic emergency
braking, known as City Safety, as well as functions for detecting driver alertness and road sign information. All these Volvo functions are disabled when the test vehicle is operated in computer control…" Read more  Hmmmm…. Uber must believe that its systems are better at avoiding Collisions and Automated Emergency Braking than Volvo’s.  At least this gets Volvo "off the hook". 

"…According to data obtained from the self-driving system, the system first registered radar and LIDAR observations of the pedestrian about 6 seconds before impact, when the vehicle was traveling at 43 mph…" (= 63 feet/second)  So the system started "seeing an obstacle when it was 63 x 6 = 378 feet away… more than a football field, including end zones!   

"…As the vehicle and pedestrian paths converged, the self-driving system software classified the pedestrian as an unknown object, as a vehicle, and then as a bicycle with varying expectations of future travel path…" (NTSB: Please tell us precisely when it classified this "object’ as a vehicle and be explicit about the expected "future travel paths."  Forget the path, please just tell us the precise velocity vector that Uber’s system attached to the "object", then the "vehicle".  Why didn’t the the Uber system instruct the Volvo to begin to slow down (or speed up) to avoid a collision?  If these paths (or velocity vectors) were not accurate, then why weren’t they accurate?  Why was the object classified as a   "Vehicle" ??  When did it finally classify the object as a "bicycle"?  Why did it change classifications?  How often was the classification of this object done.  Please divulge the time and the outcome of each classification of this object.  In the tests that Uber has done, how often has the system mis-classified an object as a "pedestrian"when the object was actually an overpass, or an overhead sign or overhead branches/leaves that the car could safely pass under, or was nothing at all?? (Basically, what are the false alarm characteristics of Uber’s Self-driving sensor/software system as a function of vehicle speed and time-of-day?)  

"…At 1.3 seconds before impact, (impact speed was 39mph = 57.2 ft/sec) the self-driving system determined that an emergency braking maneuver was needed to mitigate a collision" (1.3 x 57.2 = 74.4 ft. which is about equal to the braking distance. So it still could have stopped short.

"…According to Uber, emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce (eradicate??) the potential for erratic vehicle behavior. …" NTSB:  Please describe/define potential  and erratic vehicle behavior   Also please uncover and divulge the design & decision process that Uber went through to decide that this risk (disabling the AEB) was worth the reward of eradicating " "erratic vehicle behavior".  This is fundamentally BAD design.  If the Uber system’s false alarm rate is so large that the best way to deal with false alarms is to turn off the AEB, then the system should never have been permitted on public roadways. 

"…The vehicle operator is relied on to intervene and take action. " Wow!  If Uber’s system fundamentally relies on a human to intervene, then Uber is nowhere near creating a Driverless vehicle.  Without its own Driverless vehicle Uber is past "Peak valuation".  

"…The system is not designed to alert the operator. " That may be the only good part of Uber’s design.  In a Driverless vehicle, there is no one to warn, so don’t waste your time.  If it is important enough to warn, then it is important enough for the automated system to start initiating things to do something about it.  Plus, the Driver may not know what to do anyway.  This is pretty much as I stated in PodCast 30 and the March 24 edition of SmartDrivingCar, See below.

Friday, May 18,  2018

 The Open Source Solution to Autonomous Safety #smartdrivingcar

K. Pyle, May 9, "Safety and, as importantly, the perception of safety could be the pin that pricks the expectations surrounding the autonomous vehicle future. Recognizing the importance of safety to the success of this still nascent industry, autonomous taxi start-up, Voyage, recently placed their testing and reporting procedures in an open source framework. …Oliver Cameron, Voyage Co-Founder and CEO, is excited to see participation and says, “We can’t wait to have all of these contributions from companies from around the world; contribute to build the actual standard in autonomous safety.”  Read more, Hmmmm…. See the video that was played at the Princeton SDC Summit which generated substantial positive discussion at the Summit. See also full length video. Alain

Thursday, May 10,  2018

  Uber Finds Deadly Accident Likely Caused By Software Set to Ignore Objects On Road 

 As the Number of Driverless Cars Increase, So Does the Need for Car Maker Transparency

R. Mitchell, Apr 30, "…A schism is developing in the driverless-car world — but not between fans and foes of robot cars.

Instead, on one side are driverless-car advocates who believe data transparency will lead to safer deployment of driverless vehicles and help alleviate public fears about the strange and disruptive new technology. On the other are some automobile and technology companies that, for good commercial reasons perhaps, prefer to keep their workings cloaked in mystery.

The lack of transparency about the workings of sensors, logic processors, mapping systems and other driverless technology, like the debate over robot-car regulation, could shape public perception of the nascent industry, said Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina.  "Essentially, [the public will be] looking to see whether these companies are trustworthy," he said…

In the Uber death, a video recorded by a dashboard camera — turned over to and released by Tempe, Ariz., police — showed the driverless-car system failed to brake for the pedestrian. It left open the question of whether the system sensors might have failed to notice the pedestrian at all.

Uber’s reaction was to apologize, then dip into some of its $15 billion in investment capital to pay the victim’s family in a legal settlement, thus avoiding a public trial.

Uber declined to make a company executive available to discuss data and transparency on the record, as did Waymo, Tesla and Lyft. Other companies — including Zoox, Nutonomy and General Motors, parent of Cruise Automation — agreed to talk.

Even driverless-car advocates are growing concerned about the silence from the industry’s major players. Grayson Brulte, a well-known consultant in the driverless industry, worries that recent polls have consistently shown the public is wary about driverless technology, while companies appear reluctant to engage with the public.  "They’re like Rapunzel up in the tower," he said. "They have to let down their hair and climb down."

Alain Kornhauser, who heads the driverless-vehicle program at Princeton University, said he believes that robot cars will improve safety, reduce driver stress, add productive time to the day and offer the elderly and disabled more independence. But the technology is far from perfect, he said, and some robot-induced deaths are inevitable.

Rather than wall off the lessons learned in fatalities such as the recent Uber and Tesla incidents, Kornhauser said, the companies should be sharing crash data with one another, with outside researchers and with the general public. And not just black-box data, but driverless-system data as well. That would make driverless cars safer and faster, he said.

"Uber should not gain a safety advantage over everyone else because they were involved in this crash," Kornhauser said. "All of the video, radar, lidar and logic trails in the seconds leading up to the crash should be released to the public.

"If this reveals some of Uber’s intellectual property, so be it. If they want to protect their intellectual property, they shouldn’t crash on public roads." …"  Read more 

Hmmmm… Amen!  This article addresses what may well be the most important issue facing this industry.  Crashes will happen.  The industry has been holding its breath knowing that one, two, three, … deaths are coming.  Deaths are associated with every substantial technological advance in transportation.  Deaths occurred with cable cars, with electric traction, with steam trains, with airplanes, with conventional cars, with elevators, …, even with airbags… why do you have yellow stickers affixed to the passenger-side sun visor of your car.  That’s right… airbags kill children.  No one expected that.  But when it was "tripped over", then that event was made transparent to everyone.  Similarly, total transparency needs to be created.  Uber needs to release the data that shows that their system did, in fact "see" Elaine for four (4), or however many, seconds before the crash, but didn’t see her reliably enough to convince itself to apply the brakes.  The details of that decision logic and the uncertainty/stochastic characteristics of that decision process needs to be divulged.  Why wasn’t it sure enough that a collision with Elaine was imminent for it to apply the brakes?  It is totally disingenuous for Uber to claim that its system never saw Elaine (Uber hasn’t said that.  They’ve said nothing.  (They’d better not even try to say that. Their system is at least pretty good.  it was developed by competent individuals from CMU and other very good places.  It saw Elaine, it just didn’t see her well enough or it chose to disregard what it saw for whatever reason.  The nitty gritty details of those uncertainties MUST be divulged in all of their minute, gory and transparent details.  Once made then everyone else in the industry can look at their comparable processes/algorithms and fix them so that the next time an "Elaine" is "seen" she will not be disregarded.  It is these situations that deserve the most serious attention.  These are infinitely more important and more challenging than the "Trolley (navel contemplation) Problem".  

We will be addressing, with some of the best people in the world, this and other fundamentally important issues at the 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit    May 16 & 17.  Come join in and contribute to the conversations on these issues.  Russ Mitchell will be there. Bryant Walker-Smith will be there.  Grayson Brulte will be there. Raymond Martinez (Head of FMCSA) will be there.  Bernard Soriano (#2 @ CA DMV) will be there.  Nat Beuse (#2 @ NHTSA) will be there.  Oliver Cameron (CEO, Voyage) will weigh in,  Adam Jonas (#1 Auto Analyst, Morgan Stanley) will be there.  Fengmin Gong (Head, DiDi Research) will be there. Justin Erlich (Head AV Policy, Uber) will be there,  Sami Naim, (Manager, Public Policy, Lyft) will be there, Mike Jellen (President, Velodyne) will be there, Paul Brubaker (CEO ATI21) will be there, Matt Moore (SVP, Highway Loss Data Institute) will be there, Mike Scrudato (#1 AV Insurance guy, SVP, Munich Re) will be there, Ro Gupta (CEO Carmera) will be there. Insurance/risk assessment related: Ann Gergen (Exec. Dir. AGRIP), Jerry Spears ( Montana Association of Governments), Laura Kornhauser (President, Stratyfy), David Harmer, Head, Virginia transit Reliability Pool) plus many others will be there.  From the investment community: Sheldon, Sandler (CEO, Bel Air Partners) will be there.  And the list goes on…

Please come join in the discourse.  Click to register.  Alain

Thursday, April 26,  2018

 This startup’s CEO wants to open-source self-driving car safety testing

M. Harris, Apr 24, "… "I had to spend time after [the Uber crash] calming people down, telling folks at our deployments that it was an isolated incident," says Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron in an exclusive interview with Ars Technica. "But the truth is that everyone in the industry is reinventing the technology and safety processes themselves, which is incredibly dangerous. Open source means more eyes, more diversity, and more feedback.".

Starting today, Voyage will begin to share safety requirements, test scenarios, metrics, tools, and code that it has developed for its own Level 4 self-driving taxis. Five Voyage cars are currently deployed carrying passengers within two retirement communities in California and Florida…"  Read more  Hmmmm… This is a very positive step taken by Voyage’s Oliver Cameron to address the enormous safety aspects of this technology.  It isn’t obvious how everyone involved in this industry needs to work together to assemble the best "…safety requirements, test scenarios, metrics, tools, and code….".  There are serious concerns about collusion and protecting fundamentally valuable IP.  

None the less, what is important is that it is in everyone’s best interest to have everyone be safe.  The Uber crash negatively affected everyone, even Waymo.   Everyone would be better off today, had Uber not crashed.  Similarly with the Tesla crashes.  They’ve also had a negative impact on everyone.  This is a market where the faster the better products are available in the marketplace, the larger the sum of benefits to society, and, arguably, the large the accumulated benefits to each individual contributor/producer.   That argues for everyone working together, aka sharing: "…safety requirements, test scenarios, metrics, tools, and code….".  Whether  "open-source" his the exact right mechanism for "optimal sharing" , or it is Standards Committees, or Regulations (heaven forbid), working together for Safety rather competing on Safety is absolutely necessary in this r/evolution.  Kudos to Oliver for this initiative.  Alain

Thursday, April 12,  2018

 The way we regulate self-driving cars is broken—here’s how to fix it

T. Lee, Apr 10,"…Federal car safety regulation has traditionally been based on a thick book of rules called the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These regulations, developed over decades, establish detailed performance requirements for every safety-related part of a car: brakes, tires, headlights, mirrors, airbags, and a lot more….

Federal regulations don’t say much about how companies develop and test cars before bringing them to market. … But that approach doesn’t work for driverless cars. Companies can do some testing of driverless cars on a closed course, but it’s impossible to reproduce a full range of real-world situations in a private facility. So at some point, carmakers need to put self-driving cars on public roads for testing purposes—before a manufacturer is able to clearly demonstrate that they’re safe. In effect, this makes the public involuntary participants in a dangerous research project.

But updating the FMVSS is neither necessary nor sufficient for effective regulation of driverless cars….  Read more  Hmmmm…What needs to be recognized is that Driverless cars (much more so than Safe- and Self-driving cars) are really a NEW MODE. They are in many ways closer to an elevator than a conventional car.  Sure they run on conventional roads and not vertical shafts and they can run into each other and have to deal with conventional drivers and "pedestrians". but they will not be owned nor operated by consumers, but fleet operators (think buildings) .  They will serve demand upon request to everyone and anyone, be shared when appropriate and convenient and don’t even have a driver’s seat, let alone the controls of a conventional car. Driverless cars are enormously different than conventional cars. 

Just as railroads and airplanes have their own safety legislation and regulatory administration tailored to their needs, so should Driverless cars.  The best way to approach regulation of Driverless is to start fresh by declaring them as a new mode.  Alain

Thursday, April 5,  2018

Waymo Isn’t Going to Slow Down Now

M. Bergen, "Apr 2, " Waymo, the self-driving car company started by Google, did nothing after an autonomous vehicle run by Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. It didn’t pull back on tests in the nearby suburb of Chandler, where passengers are already taking rides with no one behind the wheel. Its fleets elsewhere didn’t abandon public streets, a precautionary move made by Toyota.   For Krafcik, the crash video validated the philosophy Waymo had been following long before he joined, back when it was still part of Google: Never trust humans in cars….

Some onlookers question if Krafcik will be around to see Waymo’s alliances through. “You can’t meet John,” said Noble, the consultant, “and not think he’s someone that would have fun running a carmaker.”

For now, though, Krafcik looks to be having fun running a company that’s resolutely not making cars. On the convention floor in Las Vegas, he spotted a Ford Transit Wagon. It’s a hulking eight-seat model he worked on years ago that looks best suited for shuttling around a troop of Girl Scouts or a military platoon.

Krafcik leaped into the second row and turned to the nearest Ford employee: “Do you have a self-driving version?” The answer was no.  “Coming soon,” Krafcik said with a laugh."  Read more  Hmmmm… Wow, this is more info than has been put out by Google/Waymo in the previous 9 years combined.  Looks like Waymo has entered the market/sales phase of its metamorphosis.  By the way, who gets to benefit from the deployment of the 1st 20k  of the Jaguars.  Phoenix and Mountain View don’t have enough demand.  Is there going to be a competition a la the frenzy created by the "who wants the 2nd Amazon HQ”?   Alain

Saturday, March 31,  2018

The Most Important Self-Driving Car Announcement Yet

A. Madrigal, Mar 28, "On Tuesday, Waymo announced they’d purchase 20,000 sporty, electric self-driving vehicles from Jaguar for the company’s forthcoming ride-hailing service…. But the company embedded a much more significant milestone inside this supposed announcement about a fancy car. With orders now in for more than 20,000 of these vehicles and thousands of minivans that Chrysler announced earlier this year, Waymo will be capable of doing vast numbers of trips per day. They estimate that the Jaguar fleet alone will be capable of doing a million trips each day in 2020. …"   Read more  Hmmmm…Yup!! This is HUGE!  It will change the city and the key to making it so it doesn’t make thing worse is Ride-sharing.  If we ride-share we’ll reduce energy, pollution & GHG by more than 50% and provide high-quality, affordable mobility indiscriminately for all.  It becomes the new high-quality, low-cost mass transit.  If it’s kept/operated as another alternative for the 1%ers to be chauffeured alone, then the outcome is UGLY.  Ride-sharing is KEY!  Alain

Saturday, March 24,  2018

Experts say video of Uber’s self-driving car killing a pedestrian suggests its technology may have failed

R. Mitchell, Mar 22, "Police late Wednesday released a video that shows an Uber robot car running straight into a woman who was walking her bicycle across a highway in Tempe, Ariz. The woman was taken to a hospital, where she died Sunday night.

The video, shot from the car, is sure to raise debate over who’s to blame for the accident.   In the video, the victim, Elaine Herzberg, 49, appears to be illegally jaywalking from a median strip across two lanes of traffic on a dark road. But she was more than halfway across the street when the car — traveling about 40 mph, according to police — hit her. The car did not appear to brake or take any other evasive action….

Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor and driverless specialist at the University of South Carolina, said: "Although this appalling video isn’t the full picture, it strongly suggests a failure by Uber’s automated driving system and a lack of due care by Uber’s driver as well as by the victim."…"  Read more  Hmmmm…  "…"What we now need is for the release of the radar and lidar data," Princeton’s Kornhauser said in an email. (Lidar is a sensing technology that uses light from a laser.) "Obviously, the video of the driver is extremely bad for Uber and probably implies that Uber should suspend all of its ‘self-driving’ efforts for a while if not for a very long while.

"The ‘self-driving’ systems are supposed to have ‘professional’ overseers who are really supposed to be paying attention during these ‘tests’. Apparently Uber didn’t make it clear in this case."

Kornhauser questioned the police description of a situation that would have been difficult to avoid. He said Uber should reveal what its collision-avoidance software was doing during the couple of seconds before impact.

"The front-facing video suggests that this person was crossing the lane at a slow speed and should have been noticed by the system in time to at least apply the brakes, if not stop the vehicle completely," he said. "While a human may not have been able to avoid this crash, a well-designed, well-working collision avoidance system should have at least begun to apply the brakes."…"
"  …  Again, my sincerest condolences to Elaine Herzberg’s family and friends.

The simple arithmetic is:  She crossed more than a lane and a half before being struck or more than 15 feet.  Average walking speed is about 4.6 ft/sec which means that she was "visible" on this stretch of road for more than 3 seconds.  Uber’s speed of 38 mph =  55.7 ft/sec means: Uber was 150 ft away when she began crossing the left-hand lane and could have been visible by an alert driver.  The car’s lidar and radar surely must have "seen" her beginning at about that time.   Car stopping distance including "thinking time used in The Highway Code" @ 38mph is 110 feet.  The driver should have been able to stop 40 feet short.  Any Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system should have been able to stop the car in little more than the stopping distance of 72 feet, half way to Elaine.  This simple arithmetic suggests that there may be a very fundamental fatal flaw in Uber’s AEB.

And the driver was not paying attention.  At 3 seconds prior to impact, Elaine was within a 12 degree field of view when she began to cross the left lane. While outside the fovea, this is well within a normal gaze had the operator been looking out the window. 

The released video is from a "dash cam" and is unlikely to be the video captured by Uber’s "Self-driving" system (or whatever Uber calls it).  That video may well be at a much higher resolution and frame rate.  Uber MUST release that video (not just the dash-cam video) as well as the radar and lidar data that was being used by their "Self-driving" system.  Uber was testing its system at the time of the crash and therefore MUST have been logging those data in case something went wrong.  Uber needs those recorded data in order to have a chance to learn what went wrong and fix it.  Something did go wrong, very wrong.  Uber and everyone else MUST also have the opportunity to learn from this tragedy.  So Uber MUST release all of the data.  Alain

Tuesday, March 20,  2018

Robot drivers may be safer than humans, but tech companies are way behind in proving it

Tuesday, March 13,  2018

Waymo shows off what it is like to ride in a truly driverless self-driving car

G. Kumparak, Mar 13, "…."  Read more  Hmmmm… This is REALLY big news.This marks the real beginning of on-demand mobility provided by vehicles without a driver or an attendant on-board, only the passengers and the vehicles used normal public roadways that operated in normal everyday manner and used by conventional cars and trucks.  Ng Waymo to their o police escorts, no warning signs, just normal everyday operating conditions.  Except for the one trip given to Steve Mahan in November 2015 in Austin Texas, this is the First time that it kind of mobility service has been delivered anywhere in the world.  Waymo has achieved 5 million vehicle miles of Self-driving (automated driving on normally operating public roadway; however, with a driver/attendant in the car ready to take over should the automated system begin to fail.  Many others including Uber, Lyft/Aptiv, GM/Cruise, nVIDIA, Apple, Tesla, Nissan and many others have also done many miles of Self-driving on normal roads but each an everyone had a driver/attendant in the vehicle ready to "save the day" should something go bad.  Nobody else anywhere in the world is doing what Waymo is now doing in Chandler AZ. Now that the first one has been done, any community that is similar to Chandler AZ can now think seriously about inviting Waymo to provide affordable on-demand mobility to everyone in their city.

Be sure to see the video.  Congratulations Waymo!!!!! Alain

Wednesday, February 28,  2018

California to allow testing of self-driving cars without a driver present

D. Etherington, Feb 27,  "California’s Department of Motor Vehicles established new rules announced Monday that will allow tech companies and others working on driverless vehicle systems to begin trialling their cars without a safety driver at the wheel. The new rules go into effect starting April 2 …" Read more  Hmmmm… Even though we have been expecting this, it is a major hurdle for it to actually have occurred.  How long after April 2 will Waymo take to begin this type of testing.  Again this is only testing and deployment, but NOT commercial service, which may happen first in Arizona, but it is a major step in this r-evolution.  Commercial services are regulated by other agencies in California, not CA DMV.  It is those other agencies that will need to grant/award the licenses for the various commercial operations where these driverless vehicles would be used.  This regulation allows properly licensed commercial operations using CA DMV certified driverless vehicles to have those vehicles use California public roadways in delivering the otherwise licensed commercial activity. Note: CA DMV does not license the commercial transport of people or goods.  That is the purview of other CA regulatory agencies.  Alain  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Broadening Understanding of the Interplay Between Public Transit, Shared Mobility, and Personal Automobiles

Friday, February 16, 2018

Billionaire Bets On a World Without Car Crashes

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Waymo strikes a deal to buy ‘thousands’ more self-driving minivans from Fiat Chrysler

Andrew Hawkins, Jan 30, “Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has reached a deal with one of Detroit’s Big Three automakers to dramatically expand its fleet of autonomous vehicles. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced today that it would supply “thousands” of additional Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Waymo, with the first deliveries starting at the end of 2018.

Waymo currently has 600 of FCA’s minivans in its fleet, some of which are used to shuttle real people around for its Early Rider program in Arizona. The first 100 were delivered when the partnership was announced in May 2016, and an additional 500 were delivered in 2017. The minivans are plug-in hybrid variants with Waymo’s self-driving hardware and software built in. The companies co-staff a facility in Michigan, near FCA’s US headquarters, to engineer the vehicles. The company also owns a fleet of self-driving Lexus RX SUVs that is has been phasing out in favor of the new minivans. (The cute “Firefly” prototypes were also phased out last year.)…” Read more  Hmmmm… We’ve all been wondering”  Who’s going to make the cars?  How will that evolve?Will they magically appear???

Well….Looks like it is FCA for now. We’ve gone from a handful 5 years ago, 2 years ago added 100, added 500 last year, “thousands” this/next year, …  Beginning to look like exponential growth! (A Bit Coin Bubble??)   What is also most interesting: no parallel announcement that Waymo was hiring “thousands of attendants” to ride around as "drivers" in these “thousands of minivans”.  Guess what that means… The Kornhauser Scale is going to start really going up!!! J 

While ultimately they’ll need about 35 million of these to provide affordable mobility to all in the US, this is a real start at making this into a business as opposed to an NSF-style study that collects dust on a shelf or, worse yet, a digital manuscript that is never downloaded by anyone outside a "group of three". This is a major announcement!  

From Stan Young: It will be interesting to watch.  It probably has the OEMs, Uber and Lyft scared out of their wits.  Based on any objective comparison of accomplishment with automated vehicles, there is not a close second to Waymo, despite all the claims to the contrary by trade rags – and the competition knows it.   Still a huge unknown concerning the ‘social side’ of riding in an un-attended vehicle, but we will likely get over it like we did with elevators.   ‘Thousands’ of vehicles if deployed in one city will put it on scale of Uber and Lyft – an interesting study when/if it comes to that.

…An issue is:  where will Waymo choose to deploy (and for Waymo, the word "deploy" is the right word…  they make the decision where to place these, in some sense take it or leave it… as opposed to waiting for people to show up at a dealership to buy or have it stay on the lot or have some governmental agency thinking that it actually has a role/power/where-with-all to “deploy”) where, when and how many.  They could "flood/concentrate" on Chandler/Phoenix/Tuscon  area with scale to be really relevant and  substantively demonstrate the evolution of mobility, or they could sprinkle them out nationwide and remain irrelevant everywhere.  I like the "flood/concentrate" approach in a state (Arizona) where they seem to be truly welcomed and whose climate, topography and road network are "easy".  More importantly it would demonstrate the viability/challenges of the at-scale approach.  From our simulations we uncovered that at-scale, one might need to be managing as many as 20,000 aTaxis in a 2.5×2.5 mile area  (the extreme in Manhattan, which may be the last place that you want to try this) but it can be large. We’ll drill down in our data and take a look at Chandler/Phoenix and report back as to what we think it would take to provide mobility for all.  Alain

Monday, January 29, 2018

Didi Chuxing looks beyond ride-hailing to help Chinese cities tackle transport challenge

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Say hello to Waymo

Jan. 9, T. Papandreou & E. Casson. "… Waymo driverless service…"  Read more Hmmmm…  Tim and Ellie made presentation at the Transportation Research Board’s  Vehicle-Highway Automation (AHB30) Committee meeting on Tuesday in which they gave an update on Waymo’s progress to launch "Waymo’s driverless service" (slide 11), an app-based ride hailing service to the general public in a geo-fenced area of Arizona.  To date Waymo has been testing such a service using volunteer riders in their driverless vehicles in various areas around the country (slide 7): however, to date, except for one ride given to Steve Mahan in Austin, TX, rides on normally operating public streets have always had  trained Waymo-authorized personnel (an attendant) in the vehicle capable to intervene in the driving of the vehicle should the need arise.  Since October, in Arizona, those personnel no longer sit behind the wheel, but are in the back seat so that Waymo can observe the response of the volunteer riders to riding in a vehicle on normal public streets under normal conditions without anyone in the front seats of the vehicle. 

Tim said, without providing a specific date, that Waymo will soon launch "Waymo’s driverless service" providing mobility to the general public on public roads in a geo-fenced area of Arizona.  I asked Tim "Will that service be offered with vehicles that have an attendant in the vehicle?".  Tim’s answer was "No!".  I asked a follow-up question: "Will these vehicle’s have telemetry capabilities that enable these vehicles to be closely monitored from a "situation room" or "control center" that would enable remote operation of the vehicle, should the need arise?".  Tim’s answer was  "No!".  Another questioner asked if the geo-fenced area included special "connected vehicle" road infrastructure improvement that Waymo’s system will be relying on?"  Tim’s answer was "No!".

While the definition of "soon" was not given, I’ve taken this as a really big pronouncement that Waymo is actually going to go to launch commercially-viable on-demand mobility to the general public on conventional public roads.  This is really big news because this is finally going to enable us to begin to evolve on the "Kornhauser Scale" ( log of (world-wide VMT of Driverless (VMT-D) vehicles without a human attendant/driver on board accumulated while providing mobility to the general public on conventional roadways).  So far we are beyond the "undefined value" associated with VMT-D = 0 and are at KS = 1 only by virtue of the one Steve Mahan ride in Austin).  🙂 Alain

Saturday, December 2, 2017

  Personal Sedan Sales in Jeopardy as U.S. Auto Market Transitions to “Islands” of Autonomous Mobility: KPMG Research

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Volvo to supply Uber with up to 24,000 self-driving SUVs for taxi fleet

Friday, November 17, 2017

THE TECH & DESIGN ISSUE: LIFE AFTER DRIVING

Friday, November 10, 2017

Waymo will now put self-driving vans on public roads with nobody at the wheel

AP, Nov. 7, 2017 "Waymo, the self-driving car company created by Google, is pulling the human backup driver from behind the steering wheel and will test vehicles on public roads with only an employee in the back seat.

The company’s move — which started Oct. 19 with an automated Chrysler Pacifica minivan in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Ariz. — is a major step toward vehicles driving themselves on public roads without human backup drivers. …" Read more Hmmmm…  Not to be too critical, but Waymo is still just ‘Self-driving’ .  While they moved the ‘engineer’ with the ability to ‘take over and drive the vehicle’ from behind the wheel to the back seat, this is just a step along the broad ‘Self-driving’ continuum which is a vehicle that, under certain circumstance, can drive itself, but does that only if there is a person ready and able to take over if the unexpected appears. 

The big-leap/major-step will come when Waymo removes the ‘engineer’ entirely from the vehicle and it is human-less when it arrives to pick up a passenger and drives away human-less after the last passenger(s) disembark.  That enormous leap-of-faith in the technology will mark Waymo’s inception of the Driverless Era. (or what Waymo prefers to call ‘Fully Self-driving’ era.) 

Just to be clear, when that time comes, I’m sure that Waymo will have telemetry throughout that Driverless vehicle and there will be a room full of engineers in Waymo’sSituation Room‘ ready to take over the driving should the need arise.  However,  until that time, Waymo is just like all the other wanabes, they are just ‘Self-driving’ without the ‘Fully’.

The reason why ‘remote emergency driving’ is ‘Driverless’ is because it scales.  By that I mean that it takes the provision of horizontal mobility on our public streets from needing at least one human per vehicle to needing less than one human per vehicle.  Initially the remote driver will monitor one car.  Before you know it that person will be monitoring two, four, eight, … vehicles and truly Driverless with zero remote human oversee-ers will be approached asymptotically.  But just like the old saw between the engineer and the mathematician: engineer and mathematician were sitting on a bench recalling their youth… Engineer said "Long ago, I was sitting on this very bench with my girl.  We wanted to kiss but we were too far apart.  So we agreed to move towards each other by halving the distance between us on each move.  The mathematician blared " You’re so stupid!  If you did that, you never came together!"  The engineer just smiled: "we got close enough!".  Alain

Saturday, November 4, 2017

APNewsBreak: Gov’t won’t pursue talking car mandate

Friday, October 27 , 2017

Strategic Plan for FY 2018 -2022

Sunday, October 15 , 2017

Proposed Driverless Testing and Deployment Regulations – Released October 11, 2017

 Rulemaking Actions, Oct 1The following 3 PDFs are important:
1. Autonomous Vehicles Notice of Modification (PDF)  Act

2. Autonomous Vehicles Statement of Reasons (PDF)  Act

3. Autonomous Vehicles 15 Day Express Terms (PDF)   Act  Hmmmm..This is all about Driverless!  Thank you California, and especially Dr. Bernard Soriano, for leading this noble effort and for continuing to distinguish this technology from Self-driving and all of the various other names seemingly meant to confuse.  Alain

Friday, October 6 , 2017

FHWA Awards $4 Million Grant to South Carolina’s Greenville County for Automated Taxi Shuttles

Friday, September 1, 2017

Automated Vehicles: Are We Moving Too Fast or Too Slow?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Inside Waymo’s Secret World for Training Self-Driving Cars

Monday, August 21, 2017

Driverless-Car Outlook Shifts as Intel Takes Over Mobileye

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cadillac’s Super Cruise ‘autopilot’ is ready for the expressway

Sunday, June 25, 2017

NTSB Opens Docket on Tesla Crash

The docket material is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xNvaE" Read more  Hmmmm… A few comments…
1.  Since lateral control (swerving) couldn’t have avoided this crash (the truck is almost 70 ft long (6 lanes wide) stretching broadside across the highway) , it doesn’t matter if Josh Brown ever had his hands on the steering wheel. That’s totally irrelevant. 
2.  Why didn’t autobrake kick in when the tractor part of the tractor-trailer passed in front of the Tesla?
3.  How fast was the truck going when it cut off the Tesla.  I couldn’t find the answer in 500 pages.   
4.  With sight distances of greater than 1,000 feet, why didn’t the truck driver see the Tesla?  Was it the drugs?
5.  This intersection invites "left-turn run-throughs" (no stop or yield and a 53 foot median and turn lane need to be crossed before one slips through a gap in two traffic lanes.  So you certainly roll into it, (plenty of room to stop if you see something coming) and if you don’t see anything, you hit it.  If you’re in the Tesla, you think you’ve been clearly seem, you expect the truck to stop, it doesn’t, you can’t believe it, BAM!  All in probably a second or so.
6.  The head injury description (Table 1 p2 of 3) certainly suggests that Joshua Brown was seated upright facing forward at impact.  The bilateral lacerations on the lower arm from the elbow to the wrist may indicate that he saw it coming in the last second and raised his arms in an attempt to protect his head.   The evidence reported doesn’t seem to suggest he saw this early enough to bend toward the passenger seat and try to pass underneath. 
7.  About 40 feet of tractor and trailer passed directly in front of the Tesla prior to impact.   Depending on how fast the truck was traveling, that takes some time.  Has NTSB run Virtual Reality simulations of various truck turn trajectories and analyzed what the truck driver and the Tesla driver could/should have seen?  Seems like a relatively simple thing to do.  We know what the Tesla was doing prior to the crash (going 74 mph straight down the road.) and we know where it hit the truck.  How fast the truck was traveling doesn’t seem to be known.
8. Why wasn’t there any video captured from the Tesla.  Didn’t that version of the MobilEye system store the video; I guess not, 🙁 
Anyway, lots to read in the 500 pages, but there is also a lot missing.  I’m not linking the many articles reporting on this because I disagree with many of their interpretations of the facts reported by NTSB.   Please reach your own conclusions.   Alain

Monday, June 19, 2017

Amazon Deal for Whole Foods Starts a Supermarket War

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rethinking Mobility: The ‘pay-as-you-go’ ca: Ride hailing, just the start

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

imap:<a href=//alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.5&filename=lmjdiniodjkflpia.png”>Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

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

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2017

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

imap:<a href=//alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.36&filename=ajafjpkfaclhelpc.png”>Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving

announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

Sunday, December 19, 2015

imap:<a href=//alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.38&filename=ccalfjfhllohpdpa.png”>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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