http://smartdrivingcar.com/AEB-031716

Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

Press Release, Mar 17, NHTSA & IIHS "announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process…The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.. Watch NHTSA video on AEB  Download AEB video from IIHS Read more  Hmmmm…Fantastic!  Automakers leading with regulatory process staying out of the way.   Alain

Hands Off: The Future of Self-Driving Cars

Hearings, Mar 15, "…The hearing will explore advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and its anticipated benefits for Americans. Witnesses have been asked to testify on their continued efforts to develop automated vehicles, their views on the appropriate role of government in promoting innovation including removing unnecessary hurdles, and their strategy to grow consumer adoption of this new technology….Watch archived webcast attached to the page as well as read the majority and minority statements "  Read more Hmmmm…No where near enough discussion about the real impact on Commerce and Quality of Life.   Alain

Bus Passengers Deserve a Safe Ride

Editorial, Mar 14, "Buses are the only affordable way many Americans can travel between cities. That makes it urgent that the Obama administration do more to make sure passengers arrive safely…." Read more Hmmmm…. While this editorial is focuses on the inter-city bus industry the same and more is of concern with intra-city bus transit (and school buses).  Intra-city ….Buses are the only affordable way many Americans can travel … within cities. and these are unsafe.  A recent paper by J. Lutin et al reported that the US Bus Transit systems spent almost $500M settling liability claims resulting from accidents. When divided by the total US Bus Fleet size (not the number of buses involved in accidents) that translates into an annual liability exposure of $6,300. per bus!   That is a hard top-line cash expense that is paid by a heavily subsidized industry and allocated to each and every bus. (And the $6,300 doesn’t include expenses that are incurred but not reported to the Federal Transit Administration  (FTA) that likely double that liability.  And, not included are the societal economic (pain & suffering) costs associated with each crash.)  What is unfortunate is that automated collision avoidance technology exist today that could likely cut in half those crashes and their associated liability and economic cost.  Moreover, these technologies have RoIs that are less than 1/4 of a bus service life.  If such technologies were included in the specifications for the 1,000 buses that NJ Transit is about to buy, they would each end up printing money (~$3,150/bus/yr) for NJ Transit for 3/4 of their service lives (8-10 years; ~$30M for the new fleet.  that’s a substantial print run!).  Plus all of the deaths, injuries and human suffering associated with those avoided crashes would be captured for free.  But NO!! NJ transit doesn’t see it.  FTA doesn’t see it.  In fact 3 years ago FTA.  declined to fund a my University research proposal that would have prepared the Transit industry to adopt these safety features and print the money.  Yes, I am angry! 🙁   Since FTA refuses to lead, then Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)  and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) should be demanding these technologies to improve the workplace of bus drivers and the safety of those they serve.   Alain 

  Cities Should Start Testing Autonomous Transit: Planner   

B. Simpson, Mar. 12, "Cities should begin testing (SAE) Level 5 autonomous vehicles now in last mile/first mile transit applications to stay ahead of the coming changes brought by driverless technology, according to Grush Niles Associates, a transportation planning consultant.

Implementing Level 5 transit on an incremental, application-by-application basis will help it to expand and spread as demand grows,…
Grush calls his approach Transit Leap, where “public-use, robotic, shared-mobility applications” will encourage consumers to shift to transit and away from single-owner cars… Read more, See Also Getting past the hype Hmmmm…Sounds like a plan!!  Alain

A $20,000 Self-Driving Vehicle Hits the Road

J. Stoll, Mar 13, "As auto makers offer these option packages for as low as $1,800, they are being snapped up faster than electrified vehicles… The Obama administration has proposed spending $4 billion to accelerate autonomous-car technology during the next decade. For $20,440, you can get a Honda capable of driving itself pretty well on a highway today.

Honda Motor Co. is releasing automated safety features on its entry-level vehicle Civic LX sedan, a step that takes some of the most sophisticated technology on the market available and makes it accessible to significantly more buyers, including younger one…" Read more Hmmmm…. While "snapped up faster than electric vehicles" is not a very high bar, it is being achieved without any public sector (aka Washington) encouragement or incentives (we should be careful what we wish for) and the insurance industry has yet to weigh in.  The hockey stick is forming! Alain

WSP | PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF RELEASES PRIMER FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ON RESPONDING TO DRIVERLESS VEHICLES

Press release, Feb. 24, "…has released a guide for state, regional and local government officials in responding to the infrastructure and policy changes that the advent of driverless vehicles will require…he guide, titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies,” was researched and written by Lauren Isaac..“Driverless vehicles have the potential to change all aspects of mobility – from driver safety and insurance liability to car ownership and how Americans commute—and could disrupt both public and private transportation as we know it,” said Ms. Isaac. “Driverless vehicles will likely have a huge impact on our future; however, it is the government’s actions (now and in the future) that will determine how they are integrated into society and if the impacts are largely positive or negative. The intent of this guide is to outline the role of government in the integration of driverless vehicles in society and present the information that local and regional governments need to inform planning and decision-making, now and in the future.”… Read more, especially the actual report Hmmmm…I almost put this in "half baked" because, it seems to fundamentally believe: ".. the government’s actions that will determine…".  As with the conventional automobile at the beginning of the 20th century, this is a market/private sector play.  The economic forces and business cases are simply too strong (which aren’t even mentioned in the report).  This is not a Transit "welfare" play.   Once again it will be government trying to play catch-up following and supporting the industry as it did with the auto industry’s run-up to our current societal land-use situation. It will be business cases that will determine where we end up  between the Driverless Nightmare and Driverless Utopia.  I happen to think that this time the private sector forces end up much closer to Utopia 🙂 Alain

At SXSW, a Future Dedicated to Autonomous Vehicles

K. Pryor, Mar 14, "The future is here, and not surprisingly, it was all over SXSW Interactive. One of the biggest trends we saw at SXSW was conversations and exhibitions around autonomous vehicles. Now, we know that companies and researchers have been testing self-driving cars for a while, but it seems that we’re getting ever closer to the day when normal people like us will be able to buy them.

Over the five days of SXSW Interactive, there were eight sessions on autonomous vehicles and at least ten others that brought them into the conversation in some way.  Google’s Chris Urmson was also on hand to give insight as to what it was like to build the world’s first fully self-driving car.

A lot of the sessions on autonomous vehicles focused on how this technology will change us as a society. What will it mean when the majority of humans are riding around in cars that they don’t have to drive? How will this change how we work, interact with each other, and of course, travel? And most importantly, are we ready?

At a panel called “Autonomous Vehicles are Here. But Are We Ready?” they dove into the challenges that face consumers, policy makers and industry leaders as self-driving cars become more imminent. …Two panels, “Autonomous Vehicles and the American City” and “Autonomous Cars Will Make us Better Humans” talked about possible changes in urban infrastructure, homelessness, the environment, and communication…" Read more  Hmmmm…An the beat goes on. 🙂  Alain

Google Exec Explains Crash Caused By Autonomous Vehicle

Mar 12, "At the conference, Urmson explained that all of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been taught to move to the right-most lane when they plan to turn right, something all human drivers are also taught to do….the tech is fed through its fleet of autonomous cars through deep learning technology, enabling all the Google cars to share these tests and experiences from real-world driving situations. Read more  Hmmmm…Deep Learning is everywhere. 🙂  Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Google’s AI Wins Fifth And Final Game Against Go Genius Lee Sedol

C. Metz, Mar 13,"The win puts an exclamation point on a significant moment for artificial intelligence. … Lee Sedol could not climb back to finish within one win of his artificially intelligent rival. But he did lead Game Five in the early going, after a significant error by AlphaGo—an error that looked amateurish to the human eye. As the Google machine dug out of its hole in the second half of the contest, Game Five grew into the most exciting of the series, a game balanced on a knife edge, exceeding even the drama of Lee Sedol’s win in Game Four.

The Korean showed—in swashbuckling fashion—that humans still carry talents that no machine can duplicate. Yes, early in the five-game series, he struggled to deal with the pressure—a very human failing. But as the match continued, he adapted to what he saw from his opponent in previous games—something AlphaGo can’t yet do…

AI is flawed. But it is here.  Read more  Hmmmm.. It’s all over!! Alain 

Go Grandmaster Lee Sedol Grabs Consolation Win Against Google’s AI

C. Metz, Mar 13,"Korean Go grandmaster Lee Sedol has won his first game against AlphaGo, Google’s artificially intelligent computing system, after losing three straight in this week’s historic match. AlphaGo had already claimed victory in the best-of-five contest, a test of artificial intelligence closely watched in Asia and across the tech world….. Read more  Hmmmm…As background, see V. Mnih et al in Nature.  It’s all over.  In the end it will be these kinds of algorithms that will be the cognitive engines that drive cars safely.  Alain


On the More Technical Side

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

 


Recompiled Old News & Smiles:



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

European Truck Platooning Challenge

Mar 2016, "During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands will initiate a European Truck Platooning Challenge. This will involve various brands of automated trucks driving in columns (platooning), on public roads from several European cities to the Netherlands. Main European ITS corridors could be used like the Nordic Way and Rotterdam-Frankfurt-Vienna. The aim of the Challenge is to bring platooning one step closer to implementation, indeed we believe that truck platooning can become a reality in Europe in the near future…"Read more Hmmmm…The biggest challenge will be to find at the same time two trucks so equipped headed in the same direction at the same location.  There are essentially no stretches of European motorways where trucks take up a significant enough portion of the available lane capacity that having them a few meters closer would make any difference. It would be better to expend the effort on getting all trucks to have intelligent cruise control and automated collision avoidance systems and leave the platooning for later.  It is not the low hanging fruit. Alain

  Raleigh envisions self-driving pods, buses around NC State

Raleigh Report, Feb. 15, "N.C. State University students could hop in automated pods – think “Jetsons”-like, futuristic-looking golf carts – that would take them between Central and Centennial Campus.
Anyone who lives or works on Avent Ferry Road could ride driver-less buses that use dedicated lanes, bypassing other traffic along the corridor…." Read more Hmmmm…Why do the driver-less buses need dedicated lanes???  It would have been nice if they would have envisioned futuristic-looking golf carts as the driver-less buses running frequently sharing both the Raleigh streets as well as some dedicated guideway in places where that dedicated guideway was necessary to augment the existing roadways.  Essentially everyone in Raleigh could then be served by such a mobility system.   Alain


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

 

Calendar of Upcoming Events:


The Business of Autonomous Vehicles
March 22-23, 2016
Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Francisco Airport
http://driverlessmarket.com/


Workshop on Automated Vehicle Policy and Regulation:

A State Perspective

The National Transportation Center, University of Maryland

May 18, 2016
Preliminary Program


Recent Highlights of:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion

D. Patrick Mar 11,"General Motors  GM 1.43%  this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation that the deal is valued at “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.

Talks between the two companies originally related to a strategic investment by GM in Cruise, which was planning to raise a new round of venture capital funding. But that quickly morphed into an acquisition discussion with the entire agreement getting hashed out in less than six weeks. Read more Hmmmm…That sets the bar.  Reminiscent of AOL paying $1.1B for MapQuest resulting in NavTeq getting $8.1B from Nokia followed by Here getting $3B from MB et alDeja vu all over again!  Very interesting  🙂  Alain

Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit

A. Robertson, Feb 10 , Feb. "…Half a century after its heyday, the Alden StaRRcar clearly wasn’t made for its world. It looks like a white flatiron with wheels or a sleek, plastic bullet, dwarfed by the regal sedans of 1960s Detroit. It belongs in one of Buckminster Fuller’s domed cities, a vehicle for traveling under the geodesics of a bubble-topped Manhattan. Its future wasn’t one of highways, but of narrow cement tracks looping gracefully between city and suburb, connecting increasingly alienated parts of the American landscape…

Once considered a key to solving urban blight, the StaRRcar was part of a public transit revolution that never was — but one that would help launch one of the weirdest and most politicized public infrastructure experiments of the 20th century. It’s an old idea that today, in an age of self-driving cars, seems by turns impractically retro and remarkably prescient…

PRT’s invention is attributed to a transportation expert named Donn Fichter, but the central idea was conceived, remixed, and adapted by many in the 1950s and 1960s. While the details varied, the prototypical PRT system was a network of narrow guideways populated by small passenger pods. When commuters arrived, they would hit a button to select a destination, calling one of the pods like a taxi. Then, instead of running on a set line, the pod would use guideways like a freeway system, routing around stations in order to take passengers directly to their final stop.

The system was designed to be everything that existing public transportation wasn’t. Pods would carry only as many people as an average car, guaranteeing a nearly private ride. Riders wouldn’t need to follow a timetable or wait for other people to enter and exit the system. Because the pods would only be dispatched on demand, cities could run service to many low-traffic areas without worrying about waste. There were no drivers to train or pay, and the pods could run quietly on electrical power instead of with fossil fuels…

Multiple plans for personal rapid transit fell through, whether because of budget problems, logistical issues, or political power struggles….

And as in the ‘60s, we’re talking about whether self-driving vehicles could spell the end of private cars…." Read more  Hmmmm…A must read.  Pretty much as I remember it.  I lived much of it, including designing 10,000 station, 10,000 mile PRT networks that could serve all of New Jersey’s needs for personal mobility.  The good news was that the area-wide systems would provide great mobility for all.  The bad news: No viable way to start.  The best starting places could each be readily served by conventional systems with no technology risk.  Without a place to start, PRT never got a chance to flourish in the vast areas that are un-servable by conventional technology.  Moreover, PRT needed the diversion of public sector capital funds that weres already in the back pocket of those pedaling the conventional technologies. Consequently, the personal auto has reigned on.

Today is different. With PRT, even the first vehicle needed a couple of stations and interconnecting guideway (and all of the discussion and heartache was about the location and cost of those initial stations and guideway).  With autonomous taxis sharing existing roads, one can begin with a single vehicle capable of serving many existing places without needing to pay-for/justify any infrastructure.   That is today’s fundamental opportunity, in contrast to PRT’s monumental infrastructure burden even for one vehicle.  That’s why aTaxis are destined to finally deliver PRT’s utopian mobility to all and substantially transform our cities and suburbs. Alain

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vancouver councillor wants city to prepare for driverless cars  T. Fletcher, Feb 18 "Driverless cars might seem like a futuristic dream, but a city councillor doesn’t want Vancouver to take a hands-off approach to the emerging technology.  Coun. Geoff Meggs is steering a motion slated for next Tuesday’s council meeting asking city staff to look into the impact of self-driving vehicles and how to maximize the benefits of the technology for Vancouver and the city’s economy.

Although the city’s transportation 2040 plan, which outlines a strategy for how people and goods will move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years, was adopted only four years ago, Meggs said it fails to address driverless technology….  “It may be a powerful tool or there may be problems with it, but at the moment, it’s an empty category in a lot of our thinking,” Meggs told Metro. “We don’t want our (transportation) plan, which we just did, to be obsolete before it even starts.”…"  Read more Hmmmm…Yup!  Obviously, "obsolescence before ribbon cutting" is something all cities should try to avoid.  Alain

Thursday, February 18, 2016

  Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percent in 50 Years

Press Release Feb 16 "With continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated 3.5% increase in motor-vehicle mileage, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2015 totaled 38,300, up 8% from 2014.

The 2015 estimate is provisional and may be revised when more data are available. The total for 2015 was up 8% from the 2013 figure. The annual total for 2014 was 35,398, a less than 0.5% increase from 2013. The 2013 figure was 3% lower than 2012. The estimated annual population death rate is 11.87 deaths per 100,000 population, an increase of 7% from the 2014 rate. The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.22 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, an increase of 5% from the 2014 rate. Read more Hmmmm…This is REALLY BAD news.  Come on insurance. This is costing you money!  Accident rates going up means that your actuarials are behind, your regulated pricing lags and you are losing money.  To get ahead of your actuarials, you MUST incentivize the adoption of automated collision avoidance systems.  You’ll then do very well, thank you AND help society.  Alain

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2017

Feb. 9, "…(3) Accelerate the integration of autonomous vehicles, low-carbon technologies, and intelligent transportation systems into our infrastructure….

  • Providing almost $400 million on average per year in funding over the next 10 years for the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Investments would help develop connected infrastructure and smart sensors that can communicate with autonomous vehicles, support R&D to ensure these vehicles are safe and road ready, and expand at-scale deployment projects to provide “proving grounds” for autonomous self-driving and connected vehicles in urban and highway settings.

Read more Hmmmm…major victory…not only: "…for autonomous self-driving…", bit also stated before: "… and connected…".     Alain

Thursday, January 28, 2016

London’s first driverless cars revealed

The consortium behind the trial has decided to adapt electric passenger shuttles that are currently in service at Heathrow Airport for use in Greenwich.  Unlike the Heathrow pods, they will not need dedicated tracks.
The Greenwich trial is one of four in the UK to test driverless technology and public reaction to it…"This vehicle has millions of miles under its belt and now we have to take it outside of the track and modify it for use on pavements," he added.  The so-called UltraPODs currently in service at Heathrow carry passengers between the car park and Terminal 5. In the five years they have been in use, they have carried 1.5 million passengers and traveled three million kilometers (1.8 million miles)…."   Read more   Hmmm…Wow!! … PRT evolving to be autonomousTaxis!  Wow!!!  🙂    Alain

Thursday, January 14, 2016

 Obama’s $4 Billion Plan for Self-Driving Cars Will Make Google Very Happy

M. Bergen, Jan 14 "The Obama Administration has seen the self-driving future, and it’s jumping aboard.  At the Detroit auto show on Thursday morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will unveil a plan to develop a national blueprint for autonomous driving technology within the next six months.  He will also announce that President Obama is planning to insert $4 billion into the 2017 budget for a 10-year plan to support and “accelerate” vehicle automation projects.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. …But here’s the part of Foxx’s talk that really matters for Google: These national rules will allow fully driverless cars..." Read More  Hmmm… A few months ago it was $42M for Connected Vehicles. Today it is 100x for automated vehicles! Finally Secretary Foxx.."YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT" (Blue Brothers)  Yea!!!!!   🙂 Alain

Sunday, January 3, 2016

 Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self-Driving Cars

J. Hyde & S. Carty, Dec. 21 "Google and Ford will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology, a huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing, …According to three sources familiar with the plans, the partnership is set to be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California….

Google already has several links to Ford; the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford, including a stint as head of truck engineering, and several other ex-Ford employees work in the unit as well. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.

And Ford executives have been clear for years that the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Ford CEO Mark Fields has repeatedly said Ford was thinking of itself “as a mobility company,” and what that would mean for its business" Read more  Hmmm…Not surprising and not exclusive. 🙂 Alain

Sunday, December 19, 2015

Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars

Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1.  Hmmm … Watch Video  especially at the 13:12 mark.  Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above!  Also see his TipRanks.  Alain


This list is maintained by Alain Kornhauser and hosted by the Princeton University LISTSERV.

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Go Grandmaster Lee Sedol Grabs Consolation Win Against Google’s AI

C. Metz, Mar 13,"Korean Go grandmaster Lee Sedol has won his first game against AlphaGo, Google’s artificially intelligent computing system, after losing three straight in this week’s historic match. AlphaGo had already claimed victory in the best-of-five contest, a test of artificial intelligence closely watched in Asia and across the tech world….. Read more  Hmmmm…As background, see V. Mnih et al in Nature.  It’s all over.  In the end it will be these kinds of algorithms that will be the cognitive engines that drive cars safely.  Alain


On the More Technical Side

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

 


Recompiled Old News & Smiles:



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

European Truck Platooning Challenge

Mar 2016, "During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands will initiate a European Truck Platooning Challenge. This will involve various brands of automated trucks driving in columns (platooning), on public roads from several European cities to the Netherlands. Main European ITS corridors could be used like the Nordic Way and Rotterdam-Frankfurt-Vienna. The aim of the Challenge is to bring platooning one step closer to implementation, indeed we believe that truck platooning can become a reality in Europe in the near future…"Read more Hmmmm…The biggest challenge will be to find at the same time two trucks so equipped headed in the same direction at the same location.  There are essentially no stretches of European motorways where trucks take up a significant enough portion of the available lane capacity that having them a few meters closer would make any difference. It would be better to expend the effort on getting all trucks to have intelligent cruise control and automated collision avoidance systems and leave the platooning for later.  It is not the low hanging fruit. Alain

  Raleigh envisions self-driving pods, buses around NC State

Raleigh Report, Feb. 15, "N.C. State University students could hop in automated pods – think “Jetsons”-like, futuristic-looking golf carts – that would take them between Central and Centennial Campus.
Anyone who lives or works on Avent Ferry Road could ride driver-less buses that use dedicated lanes, bypassing other traffic along the corridor…." Read more Hmmmm…Why do the driver-less buses need dedicated lanes???  It would have been nice if they would have envisioned futuristic-looking golf carts as the driver-less buses running frequently sharing both the Raleigh streets as well as some dedicated guideway in places where that dedicated guideway was necessary to augment the existing roadways.  Essentially everyone in Raleigh could then be served by such a mobility system.   Alain


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

 

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

part125.00010704.07060902@princeton.edu”>
The Business of Autonomous Vehicles
March 22-23, 2016
Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Francisco Airport
http://driverlessmarket.com/


Workshop on Automated Vehicle Policy and Regulation:

A State Perspective

The National Transportation Center, University of Maryland

May 18, 2016
Preliminary Program


Recent Highlights of:

part131.06030302.06040900@princeton.edu”>

Saturday, March 12, 2016

part133.07090402.09090706@princeton.edu”>GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion

D. Patrick Mar 11,"General Motors  GM 1.43%  this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation that the deal is valued at “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.

Talks between the two companies originally related to a strategic investment by GM in Cruise, which was planning to raise a new round of venture capital funding. But that quickly morphed into an acquisition discussion with the entire agreement getting hashed out in less than six weeks. Read more Hmmmm…That sets the bar.  Reminiscent of AOL paying $1.1B for MapQuest resulting in NavTeq getting $8.1B from Nokia followed by Here getting $3B from MB et alDeja vu all over again!  Very interesting  🙂  Alain

Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit

A. Robertson, Feb 10 , Feb. "…Half a century after its heyday, the Alden StaRRcar clearly wasn’t made for its world. It looks like a white flatiron with wheels or a sleek, plastic bullet, dwarfed by the regal sedans of 1960s Detroit. It belongs in one of Buckminster Fuller’s domed cities, a vehicle for traveling under the geodesics of a bubble-topped Manhattan. Its future wasn’t one of highways, but of narrow cement tracks looping gracefully between city and suburb, connecting increasingly alienated parts of the American landscape…

Once considered a key to solving urban blight, the StaRRcar was part of a public transit revolution that never was — but one that would help launch one of the weirdest and most politicized public infrastructure experiments of the 20th century. It’s an old idea that today, in an age of self-driving cars, seems by turns impractically retro and remarkably prescient…

PRT’s invention is attributed to a transportation expert named Donn Fichter, but the central idea was conceived, remixed, and adapted by many in the 1950s and 1960s. While the details varied, the prototypical PRT system was a network of narrow guideways populated by small passenger pods. When commuters arrived, they would hit a button to select a destination, calling one of the pods like a taxi. Then, instead of running on a set line, the pod would use guideways like a freeway system, routing around stations in order to take passengers directly to their final stop.

The system was designed to be everything that existing public transportation wasn’t. Pods would carry only as many people as an average car, guaranteeing a nearly private ride. Riders wouldn’t need to follow a timetable or wait for other people to enter and exit the system. Because the pods would only be dispatched on demand, cities could run service to many low-traffic areas without worrying about waste. There were no drivers to train or pay, and the pods could run quietly on electrical power instead of with fossil fuels…

Multiple plans for personal rapid transit fell through, whether because of budget problems, logistical issues, or political power struggles….

And as in the ‘60s, we’re talking about whether self-driving vehicles could spell the end of private cars…." Read more  Hmmmm…A must read.  Pretty much as I remember it.  I lived much of it, including designing 10,000 station, 10,000 mile PRT networks that could serve all of New Jersey’s needs for personal mobility.  The good news was that the area-wide systems would provide great mobility for all.  The bad news: No viable way to start.  The best starting places could each be readily served by conventional systems with no technology risk.  Without a place to start, PRT never got a chance to flourish in the vast areas that are un-servable by conventional technology.  Moreover, PRT needed the diversion of public sector capital funds that weres already in the back pocket of those pedaling the conventional technologies. Consequently, the personal auto has reigned on.

Today is different. With PRT, even the first vehicle needed a couple of stations and interconnecting guideway (and all of the discussion and heartache was about the location and cost of those initial stations and guideway).  With autonomous taxis sharing existing roads, one can begin with a single vehicle capable of serving many existing places without needing to pay-for/justify any infrastructure.   That is today’s fundamental opportunity, in contrast to PRT’s monumental infrastructure burden even for one vehicle.  That’s why aTaxis are destined to finally deliver PRT’s utopian mobility to all and substantially transform our cities and suburbs. Alain

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vancouver councillor wants city to prepare for driverless cars  T. Fletcher, Feb 18 "Driverless cars might seem like a futuristic dream, but a city councillor doesn’t want Vancouver to take a hands-off approach to the emerging technology.  Coun. Geoff Meggs is steering a motion slated for next Tuesday’s council meeting asking city staff to look into the impact of self-driving vehicles and how to maximize the benefits of the technology for Vancouver and the city’s economy.

Although the city’s transportation 2040 plan, which outlines a strategy for how people and goods will move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years, was adopted only four years ago, Meggs said it fails to address driverless technology….  “It may be a powerful tool or there may be problems with it, but at the moment, it’s an empty category in a lot of our thinking,” Meggs told Metro. “We don’t want our (transportation) plan, which we just did, to be obsolete before it even starts.”…"  Read more Hmmmm…Yup!  Obviously, "obsolescence before ribbon cutting" is something all cities should try to avoid.  Alain

Thursday, February 18, 2016

  Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percent in 50 Years

Press Release Feb 16 "With continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated 3.5% increase in motor-vehicle mileage, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2015 totaled 38,300, up 8% from 2014.

The 2015 estimate is provisional and may be revised when more data are available. The total for 2015 was up 8% from the 2013 figure. The annual total for 2014 was 35,398, a less than 0.5% increase from 2013. The 2013 figure was 3% lower than 2012. The estimated annual population death rate is 11.87 deaths per 100,000 population, an increase of 7% from the 2014 rate. The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.22 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, an increase of 5% from the 2014 rate. Read more Hmmmm…This is REALLY BAD news.  Come on insurance. This is costing you money!  Accident rates going up means that your actuarials are behind, your regulated pricing lags and you are losing money.  To get ahead of your actuarials, you MUST incentivize the adoption of automated collision avoidance systems.  You’ll then do very well, thank you AND help society.  Alain

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2017

Feb. 9, "…(3) Accelerate the integration of autonomous vehicles, low-carbon technologies, and intelligent transportation systems into our infrastructure….

  • Providing almost $400 million on average per year in funding over the next 10 years for the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Investments would help develop connected infrastructure and smart sensors that can communicate with autonomous vehicles, support R&D to ensure these vehicles are safe and road ready, and expand at-scale deployment projects to provide “proving grounds” for autonomous self-driving and connected vehicles in urban and highway settings.

Read more Hmmmm…major victory…not only: "…for autonomous self-driving…", bit also stated before: "… and connected…".     Alain

Thursday, January 28, 2016

London’s first driverless cars revealed

The consortium behind the trial has decided to adapt electric passenger shuttles that are currently in service at Heathrow Airport for use in Greenwich.  Unlike the Heathrow pods, they will not need dedicated tracks.
The Greenwich trial is one of four in the UK to test driverless technology and public reaction to it…"This vehicle has millions of miles under its belt and now we have to take it outside of the track and modify it for use on pavements," he added.  The so-called UltraPODs currently in service at Heathrow carry passengers between the car park and Terminal 5. In the five years they have been in use, they have carried 1.5 million passengers and traveled three million kilometers (1.8 million miles)…."   Read more   Hmmm…Wow!! … PRT evolving to be autonomousTaxis!  Wow!!!  🙂    Alain

Thursday, January 14, 2016

 Obama’s $4 Billion Plan for Self-Driving Cars Will Make Google Very Happy

M. Bergen, Jan 14 "The Obama Administration has seen the self-driving future, and it’s jumping aboard.  At the Detroit auto show on Thursday morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will unveil a plan to develop a national blueprint for autonomous driving technology within the next six months.  He will also announce that President Obama is planning to insert $4 billion into the 2017 budget for a 10-year plan to support and “accelerate” vehicle automation projects.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. …But here’s the part of Foxx’s talk that really matters for Google: These national rules will allow fully driverless cars..." Read More  Hmmm… A few months ago it was $42M for Connected Vehicles. Today it is 100x for automated vehicles! Finally Secretary Foxx.."YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT" (Blue Brothers)  Yea!!!!!   🙂 Alain

Sunday, January 3, 2016

 Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self-Driving Cars

J. Hyde & S. Carty, Dec. 21 "Google and Ford will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology, a huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing, …According to three sources familiar with the plans, the partnership is set to be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California….

Google already has several links to Ford; the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford, including a stint as head of truck engineering, and several other ex-Ford employees work in the unit as well. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.

And Ford executives have been clear for years that the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Ford CEO Mark Fields has repeatedly said Ford was thinking of itself “as a mobility company,” and what that would mean for its business" Read more  Hmmm…Not surprising and not exclusive. 🙂 Alain

Sunday, December 19, 2015

part165.00050502.02080408@princeton.edu”>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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