http://smartdrivingcar.com/Crashes-060316

Friday, June 3, 2016

It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead

M Richtel, May 22, " Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from crashes, collisions and other incidents caused by drivers.

Just don’t call them accidents anymore.

That is the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country. They are campaigning to change a 100-year-old mentality that they say trivializes the single most common cause of traffic incidents: human error.  “When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.  “In our society,” he added, “language can be everything.”

Almost all crashes stem from driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving and other risky activity. About 6 percent are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather and other factors…." Read more  Hmmm… I should have started the last issue of SDC with this article.  Mark is absolutely correct here. Language matters and it is NOT an accident.  it is a Total Poop Show!.  Alain

Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion

M. Isaac, June 1, "In its quest to build a global empire, Uber has turned to the Middle East for its biggest infusion of cash from a single investor.  Uber said on Wednesday that it had raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s main investment fund, in one of the largest-ever investments into a privately held start-up.

The money was part of the ride-hailing giant’s most recent financing round and continued to value Uber at $62.5 billion. The investment, which was months in the making, does not cash out any of Uber’s existing investors..

Uber said expanding its service may be a boon for Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not allowed to drive because of fatwas, or religious edicts, issued by conservative Muslim clerics that uphold a distinct segregation between the sexes…" Read more  Hmmm… Maybe not a high price to pay for on-demand mobility for the better half of the population.  Alain

NuTonomy raises $16M to make self-driving taxis a reality by 2018

J. Russell, May 24 "Another week, another story about a promising independent self-driving vehicle company. Last week, Otto came out of stealth to offer autonomous technology for trucks, and today MIT spinoff NuTonomy announced $16 million in funding to go after its ambitious goal of offering self-driving taxis within two years.

Cambridge, MA-based NuTonomy was founded by MIT PhDs graduates Karl Iagnemma (CEO) and Emilio Frazzoli (CTO) in 2013 and it is pioneering self-driving technology for cars — yes, the very kind of vehicle that Uber, Google, BMW, GM/Lyft, China’s Baidu and others are currently developing. Like Otto but unlike the aforementioned big names, NuTonomy retrofits existing cars with the technology to make them driverless.

The company announced a $3.6 million seed round in January, which included input from Ford chairman Bill Ford’s Fontinalis Partners fund, and today it revealed its $16 million Series A round. The new investment is led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from the Singapore Economic Development Board (via its EDBI investment arm), Ford’s fund and other existing backers including Signal Ventures and Samsung Ventures…" Read more Hmmm… Congratulations.  More progress!  Alain

Autonomous-Car Startup Zoox Seeks Up to $252 Million in Funding

E. Hunt, May 27, "Zoox Inc., a secretive autonomous-driving startup in Silicon Valley, is seeking to raise as much as $252 million in funding, according to a securities filing. If the fundraising is successful, the investment could give Zoox a valuation of more than $1 billion, according to an analysis by venture-capital research firm VC Experts…. Read more Hmmm… OK, go for it!  Alain

New research shows consumers uninformed, wary of new vehicle technology

J. White, June , "…Separately, a survey released Thursday in Britain found that 55 percent of 2,002 respondents said they were unlikely to want to be a passenger in a driverless car. The poll was conducted by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers/ICM Unlimited.

A separate study by University of Michigan researcher Michael Sivak earlier this week found similar wariness of driverless vehicle technology among U.S. residents, with more than half of respondents saying they’d rather drive themselves.

…The average of the respondents’ guesses as to a plug-in hybrid’s driving range was 260.8 miles, less than half the actual range of most plug-in hybrids on the market…" Read more (Similar USA Today, and UofM Press Release) Hmmm…And as the lore reports… If Henry Ford would have conducted a survey he would have found that consumers wanted a faster horse.  What if these folks were asked: Do you ride driverless elevators? Would you prefer to drive your own elevator? Do you ride in automated people movers in airports?  Do you prefer using the steps instead of an escalator? Do you tolerate sharing a ride in an elevator? etc.  Alain

Let’s Use Self-Driving Cars to Fix America’s Busted Infrastructure

E. Blumenauer, May 20, "…Fleets of autonomous—and likely electric—driverless cars will contribute little in traditional transportation user fees like gas taxes, parking fees, and traffic fines, leaving governments facing ever bigger holes in infrastructure budgets. Without reliable revenue, policymakers from city councils to the halls of Congress will be unable to plan for and deliver transportation projects, construction of new infrastructure, and even basic maintenance…." Read more  Hmmm… What is quoted is TRUE!; however, the rest of article is very shallow and doesn’t begin to address this most challenging issue.  Alain

GCDC 2016 looks back on a successful event: Enthusiastic crowd at demonstrations of self-driving cars in Helmond
June 1, "…During the weekend of 28 and 29 May 2016 the city of Helmond was the centre of an international event in the field of cooperative driving: the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge. The GCDC 2016 is one of the highlights of the i-GAME project, a European research project, supported by the European Commission, in which the next step towards the cooperative automation of vehicles are taken…" Read more  Hmmm… Congratulations.  More progress!  Alain

Tesla customers have driven 100 million miles with Autopilot active

N. Statt, May 24 "Tesla says owners of its electric vehicles have driven 100 million miles using its autonomous Autopilot feature. Sterling Anderson, Tesla’s director of Autopilot programs, told a crowd at the EmTech Digital conference today in San Francisco that the data collected from those trips is what the team is using to develop, refine, and introduce more features in the future. The company has around 70,000 vehicles on the road capable of Autopilot, and those who enable it log 2.6 million miles a day. That far outpaces Google’s self-driving car program, which has driven more than 1.5 million miles throughout the history of the project…" Read more  Hmmm… This is about 35miles/Tesla-day, seems a little high even if all vehicles are used every day with Autopilot on all the time.  (I shouldn’t be so picky, even if they’ve exaggerated by a factor of 2, it is still an impressive amount of driving data that has been accumulated over what may well be much more diverse driving environment.)  It sure would be nice if Tesla would share the data with the research community. Alain

State unveils task force to guide driverless car technology

P. Gough, June 1, "…Senate Bill 1268, sponsored by state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Glenshaw, would amend the state laws to allow for testing of autonomous vehicles, require the testers to get $5 million in insurance and allow for fully self-driving vehicle testing. A memo with the bill mentions it is also being introduced to help with the Smart City Challenge funding…." Read more Hmmm… Congratulations.  More progress!  Alain

Michigan bills expand use of driverless cars beyond testing

D. Eggert, May 28, "…Under a newly introduced package of bipartisan bills that would update 2013 laws to allow for the operation of autonomous cars on public roads without anyone at the wheel, tight "platoons" of smart commercial trucks could travel in unison at coordinated speeds. Also, the Detroit Three — General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford — and other auto manufacturers would be authorized to run networks of on-demand self-driving vehicles…" Read more  Hmmm… Especially read the current state of the existing version Senate Bill No. 995.  Many interesting aspects, but why empower only auto manufacturers to operate  "networks of on-demand self-driving (driverless) vehicles".  It’s not clear that they’ll even be the ones manufacturing these vehicles.  Alain

Texas project uses autonomous vehicle technology for bus safety system

June 3,  "…Working in partnership with Texas A&M University Transportation Services, the Mobileye/Rosco Shield+ collision-avoidance system was installed on one university bus that traverses the heart of the campus, passing thousands of students daily. The system provides two types of warnings to the bus driver: a yellow light illuminates when a pedestrian or cyclist is detected within range of the bus, alerting the driver to proceed with caution; a red light illuminates and a buzzer sounds when a pedestrian or cyclist is very close to the bus, alerting the driver to stop to avoid a possible collision. The research team is currently assessing the system and developing the overall concept of operations plan for the test bed…." Read more Hmmm… This and what WSTIP is doing means progress without any FTA or US DoT involvement. They are still stuck in the V2V mud. Alain

Introducing a New Map for Semi-Autonomous Cars

L. Bliss, June, 1, "…Mapbox, the firm that creates map software using mainly open-source data, announced Wednesday its official bid to build that map, with a new product called Mapbox Drive. It’s a map with the ability to direct a semi-autonomous vehicle with enough accuracy to make tight lane changes, and offer real-time traffic and road condition updates to the user.  It also marks a big entry into a new market for Mapbox, which has long been known for its fascinating geo-visualizations and suite of mobile app-making tools…" Read more  Hmmm… OK, let’s see what they produce.  Alain

Memorable Memorial Day for Self-Driving Vehicles    

B. Simpson, May 31 M. Harris, Jan 12, 2016 "…Self-driving car proponents in California and the Netherlands spent the Memorial Day weekend testing the technology, networking with other advocates, and working on the technology.  The first-ever Autonomous Vehicle Track Day self-driving car event was run at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, Calif.


The event attracted about 24 firms, university workshops, and start-ups in the autonomous vehicle space. Innovators including PolySync, Denso, Renovo Motors, Velodyne and Nvidia were set to go…." Read more Hmmm… Congratulations.  More progress!  Alain

Autonomous transport solutions open up a world of opportunities

Scania, May 26 "…“We’re working with what we call autonomous transport solutions, and self-driving vehicles are one of the tools at our disposal,” explains Tom Nyström, Senior Engineer at Scania. “It’s a complete system, handling logistics, the assignment of tasks to vehicles, and information sharing between vehicles and infrastructure. Each transport solution is individually tailored to the customer’s needs.”…  Read more (and the internal links) Hmmm… Commercial truck manufacturers are on-board (except they still are in denial that they have a fundamental safety problem and that the biggest near-term opportunity is to significantly address this denial) .  Alain

Self-driving truck acts like an animal

Chalmers U. of Tech., May 25, "…"We are trying to design a system that adapts to whatever happens, without pointing to specific situations — and this is something that even the simplest animals can usually do better than existing vehicle solutions."

The software, OpenDLV (which stands for driverless vehicle), is being developed as open source code and is freely available on the internet. Through this, Ola Benderius and his project group hope that other researchers around the world can join the project by running and developing the software in their own vehicles. OpenDLV is intended to serve as an academic platform for researchers in many different scientific disciplines, such as vehicle engineering, adaptive systems, computer science and engineering, perception, neurology, and biology, where they can exchange knowledge about how autonomous vehicles should be made to enable their safe, large-scale introduction into society…."  Read more Hmmm… Interesting. Alain

Isuzu, Hino joining forces on autonomous truck driving

May 27, "Isuzu Motors and Hino Motors will team up to develop a system that supports convoys of self-driving trucks, an innovation that is expected to address Japan’s chronic shortage of commercial drivers.  

The so-called intelligent transport system will incorporate data-sharing communication among all trucks in the caravan. Information from the lead vehicle’s accelerator and brakes is among the data that will guide the rear vehicles. The lead truck will be controlled by a human driver and the other rigs will maintain a constant distance between each other. The technology aims for completely driverless trailing vehicles down the road…" Read more Hmmm… Japan continues to try to play catch-up with Scania, Peloton, Volvo Truck, Daimler and others.    Alain

 


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention


 

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:

Audi humanizes piloted driving for latest autonomous testing

F. Cardamenis, May 17 "…The piloted Audi A7 concept has been tested alongside other road users and now is capable of adaptive driving, creating a more human driving resemblance…" Read more Hmmm…I thought the whole purpose of autonomous driving was to improve human driving, not resemble it.  Autonomous driving already does the the safe and efficient part of driving.  Does this mean that Audi is adding in the human craziness parts that Audi includes in its TV commercials which includes the disclaimer "conducted on a closed, non-public road" ?    Alain

New Technique Controls Autonomous Vehicles in Extreme Conditions

R. Robinson, May 23 "A Georgia Institute of Technology research team has devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The approach could help make self-driving cars of the future safer under hazardous road conditions…. assessed the new technology by racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph. The technique uses advanced algorithms and onboard computing, in concert with installed sensing devices, to increase vehicular stability while maintaining performance…." Read more Hmmm…This is good work; however, the central challenge of autonomous vehicles is to get everyone to where they are going safely and NOT do it in some sort of race or test of the handling limits of the vehicle.  While academically interesting, little else can be said for this.  Alain

Are Headlights on Cars a Thing of the Past?

May 23 "… But do driverless vehicles really need to function in complete darkness? Read more Hmmm…Actually, dont’ bother.  The answer is NO!! and this is just a sunday supplement promoting Lidar.  On this one, I agree with Elon.  Alain

Autonomous Vehicles Traveling in Convoys Will Run Into This Inevitable Tradeoff 

A. Nordrum, May 24 "Autonomous driving experts practically salivate over the vision of cars forming neat little convoys that travel at a constant speed down a highway. And for good reason: These synchronized fleets could reduce traffic fatalities, free up room on the road for additional vehicles, and help everyone get to their destinations faster…." Read more Hmmm…Actually, we don’t!   So in case you needed another reason why "Marxist-styled centralized management of V2V platooning" is a bad idea (except on the south-bound French Autoroutes on July 31) then read on!   Alain

 


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


Calendar of Upcoming Events:


Connected & Automated Vehicle Conference
What States Need to Know
June 21 &22, 2016
Maritime Institute (near BWI), Lincoln Heights, MD
http://i95coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/I95CCCAVConferencePacketREV4-15-16.pdf?dd650d


Recent Highlights of:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Derailment of Amtrak passenger train 188, Philadelphia, PA, May 12, 2015 NTSB/ DCA15MR010

Public meeting of May 17 "… Executive Summary…This report addresses the following safety issues:

  • Crewmember situational awareness and management of multiple tasks.
  • Positive train control. In the accident area, positive train control had not yet been implemented at the time of the accident, but it has since been implemented.  The NTSB found that the accident could have been avoided if positive train control or another control system had been in place to enforce the permanent  speed restriction of 50 mph at the Franklin Junction curve.
  •   Read more 

Hmmm… Kudos to NTSB for finding "the accident could have been avoided if positive train control or another control system had been in place to enforce..."

HOWEVER, given that PCT was mandated by Congress in 2008 with a deadline of December 15, 2015 and that 6 months before the deadline PTC had NOT been implemented on Amtrak’s highest volume segment (PHL-NYC) is so unacceptable that this deserved to have been their #1 bullet.  NOT some poor train engineer that was simply trying to do a job made enormously more dangerous and stressful because Amtrak management failed to implement in a timely manner what had been mandated by its "sugar daddy"!!  So the NTSB "threw" the engineer "under the bus" and essentially all of the news reports pointed to the engineer rather than Amtrak’s senior (mis)management (The Atlantic, NBC, Washington Post, WSJ, NYT etc.  Why didn’t the NYT do a long story on why Amtrak management didn’t install PTC in a timely manner???) 

My point here is larger in that this same issue exists in the rest of the transit industry where crash-avoidance technology exists today that can substantially reduce collisions and do so while printing money for the transit industry.  Dr. Jerome Lutin and I have pointed out to deaf ears that automated collision avoidance systems exist today for buses whose costs are substantially less than the net present value of the liability that these buses can be expected to impose on society.  This is about the cash that a hopelessly bankrupt transit industry has to pay out because it isn’t installing existing crash avoidance technology that is available today.  On top of that cash are all of the societal benefits associated with eliminating collisions. There is no rush (not even a faint heart-beat) by the industry to do this. FTA is totally asleep, yet bus drivers continue to be placed in some of the most stressful and unsafe working conditions without the help that such technologies can deliver.  I can’t be more blunt… The major cause of accidents in the transit industry is the fact that the management of the transit industry is not installing in its fleets existing and available automated collision avoidance systems.  What is even more derelict is that new bus procurement don’t include such provisions either.  When is the finger going to finally be pointed towards "Management" and the FTA instead of the poor bus driver or train engineer? NTSB is getting close by at least  putting  it 2nd, but if the public is to become aware, it will need to rise to the top bullet.  Alain  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving

Chenyi Chen PhD Dissertation , "…the key part of the thesis, a direct perception approach is proposed to drive a car in a highway environment. In this approach, an input image is mapped to a small number of key perception indicators that directly relate to the affordance of a road/traffic state for driving….."  Read more  Hmmm..FPO 10:00am, May 16 , 120 Sherrerd Hall, Establishing a foundation for image-based autonomous driving using DeepLearning Neural Networks trained in virtual environments. Very promising. Alain 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

 Beverly Hills to Develop Autonomous Vehicles

M. Walker April 15, "The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously this week to adopt a resolution to develop driverless vehicles that will provide public transportation throughout the city.

The program is part of Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch’s plan for a municipally owned fleet of autonomous vehicles that would function as an on-demand car shuttle service to and from any address in the city. .." Read more  Hmmm…Communities all around the nation should follow what BH, Austin and a few other communities are doing.  There is an opportunity to begin on-demand shared-ride "21st Century Public Transit" mobility using volunteer drivers to initiate and thoroughly demonstrate this low-cost mobility in preparation for a massive roll-out that can take place once driverless cars can extend/replace the volunteer drivers. Staff report on the matter; another article; landing page for the program.  Alain

Saturday, April 23, 2016

  N.J. superintendent killed while jogging was struck by student late for trip

K. Shea, April 19, "…The Robbinsville High School student who was driving the car that struck and killed the district’s superintendent Tuesday morning was late for a school trip when the crash occurred, according to two sources involved in the investigation.…" Read more Hmmm…Most tragic in so many dimensions!!!  HOWEVER, it was NOT the student that STRUCK the Superintendent, it was the CAR.  AND the CAR needs to start being held responsible for ALLOWING such tragedies to ruin so many lives.  It is very likely that this tragedy could have been averted had the car been equipped with an automated collision avoidance system and/or lane-keeping system.  Given the availability of these "tragedy avoidance systems", we should all be asking why this CAR wasn’t equipped with such a system and why all cars aren’t so equipped.  Certainly innocent runners and dogs need to be asking such questions.  So too, that young lady’s car insurance company; it must be muttering: "shouda bought her that upgrade".  What about the car companies themselves who are largely just sitting on the technology or the dealerships that don’t feel compelled to espouse the benefits of such technology while pushing more "horsepower" and "Corinthian Leather" (and worse yet: "AooleCarXYZ" that distracts drivers).  We all know that Washington is broken.  Them staying out of the way is probably best (although aggressively applying better human-visible paint/laneMarkings and human-readable signs would go a long way to helping both attentive drivers and automated lane-keeping systems).  Everyone else has  fundamental self-interest at stake and each needs to stop pointing the finger to the frail human driver.  We have the technology and the the self-interest to make mobility substantially safer.  Let’s really get on with it.  It’s time!   Alain

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Automated Vehicle Operational Guidance Public Meeting

April 8,"At this meeting, NHTSA sought input on planned operational guidelines for the safe deployment of automated vehicles (AV). Of high importance to the agency is information on the roadway scenarios and operational environments that highly automated vehicles will need to address, and the associated design and evaluation processes and methods needed to ensure that AV systems are able to detect and appropriately react to these scenarios"  Read more  Hmmm…Watch testimony  , especially: testimony of Dr. Jerome Lutin.   Alain 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities

March 23 Hmmm… Watch the video of the Committee Meeting.  The testimony is Excellent and very compelling! Also see Self-Driving Minnesota Alain

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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

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 IIHSRead more  Hmmmm…Fantastic!  Automakers leading with regulatory process staying out of the way.   Alain

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 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 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


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