E. Griffith, June 24, "…Also, he’s hit the decoy plenty of times. In 2012 he even did it in front of Ford’s board of directors. Back then the idea of self-driving cars looked, to Ford’s leadership, like a frivolous Silicon Valley moonshot. Four years later things have dramatically changed. Today Ford’s vehicle lineup features more than 30 options for semiautonomous features, including the automatic brakes I tested, and the company is aggressively working on cars that fully drive themselves. By year-end the company expects to have the largest fleet of autonomous test vehicles of any automaker.
Ford is not alone. The entire automotive industry is in the midst of a radical transformation that is reshaping the very definition of what it means to be a car company. There is hype, hope, fear, and insecurity—and at the center of it all is the self-driving car. Thanks to cheap sensors, powerful machine-learning technology, and a kick in the butt from the likes of Google and Tesla Motors , driverless vehicles are becoming a sooner-than-you-think reality…." Read more Hmmm…A very good summary of where the industry stands with respect to Self-driving; however, it really doesn’t address Driverless, (autonomousTaxi (aTaxi) shared-ride on-demand transit). It makes no mention of the low-speed Easy Mile, 2GetThere, CityMobil2 approaches. Fortune is still seeing a personal car future and not a Mobility-on-Demand future. That would be way too disruptive. See also the intro video Alain
J. Peltz, June 20, "…Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Corp. owns Geico insurance, told an automotive forum last year that “we would not be throwing a party at our insurance business” when self-driving cars arrive, even though that day remained “a long ways off.”.…" Read more Hmmm…I simply don’t understand insurance. Is all of this talk just propaganda to ensure astronomical profits by the first movers??! Alain
Jun 23, "Policy Roundtable — ‘‘The Road Ahead: Developing Policies to Make Connected & Automated Vehicles a Reality’’ See Video Hmmm…Interesting, but still way too focused on Connected rather than Automated and still focused on moving vehicles instead of moving people. While Congressman Lipinski mentions that "good paint" is an important infrastructure need he quickly diverts to championing "Connected". Big Brother continues to want to control all of this autonomy. Oh well… Listen on. Alain
D. Zuby, June 22, Read more Hmmm….PowerPoint presentation at I-95 Corridor Coalition AV Conference that presents the actual performance to date of automated collision avoidance systems. It is really depressing how poorly the first round of automated crash avoidance systems actually worked (They didn’t). It also properly projects how long it will take for these systems to penetrate the market if they follow the adoption curve of Electronic Stability Control ….Unless something else happens…aftermarket participation, safety finally selling, Silicon Valley really jumping in, ???? (Notice I didn’t add Government/PublicSector doing something). My presentation @ I-95CC AV Conf Presentation by Jerome Lutin Alain
B. Howard, June 14, "…Pilot Assist takes over driving chores and keeps the S90 aligned in the center of the lane, while tracking the speed of the vehicle in front to maintain a safe following distance. There’s virtually no interstate with a curve too sharp for Pilot Assist to handle. ..you could override Pilot Assist, but it took some effort. It worked well from speeds all the way up to the 80 mph limit down to a stop, then back up to speed. The X90 tracked very close to the middle of the road; once in a while it veered a foot or two off center, then returned. It handled the gentle curves of limited access roads well. It won’t pull out and pass slower cars…."Read more Hmmm…A contender to Tesla’s AutoPilot??? Also see video: Watching my Volvo XC90 drive itself, by F. Azad from last August. Alain
B. Allenby, June 22 "…"“Cars have long been symbols for personal freedom. With the open road before you you can go anywhere—from behind the wheel you really take control of your destiny. In this regard, cars are empowering. Ownership means that you have the means to be independently mobile, that you own not just a vehicle but choice as well.” You’re not buying two tons of material; you’re buying the open road. That’s why getting your driver’s license used to be the critical rite of passage for any adolescent American male.
But here the operative phrase is “used to be.”.." Read more Hmmm…Interesting perspective. Alain
Some other thoughts that deserve your attention
J. Donovan, June 23, "With the Columbus Dispatch (and many possible runner-up cities) reporting two days ago that Columbus was the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, official word was silent until this afternoon.
Today in Columbus, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx officially recognized and announced — to a full house at the Douglas Community Center in the neighborhood of Linden — that the city is indeed the winner and will reap the benefits of victory; a $40 million grant from the DOT, $10 from Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc., plus $90 million in local matching contributions.
Plans for the grants will include:..13,000 busses and cars to be connected with vehicle-to-vehicle communications…" Read more Hmmm…Total shock that Columbus won, but now it makes perfect sense…This is DoT’s last gasp at keeping V2V alive. Great!!??? Oh well the $40M from DoT is really chump change that will barely pay the overhead associated with the DoT involvement. Austin, Pgh, SF, Portland… This is actually good news for you. (Also it is easy to "grow fast" when the denominator is close to zero.) Alain
J. Bhuiyan, June 18, "…The company conducted its own survey of its riders who typically commute along this route and found that 88 percent of riders were willing to carpool and 89 percent of car owners would be willing to pick up other people on their way to and from work…" Read more Hmmm…Some insight that ride-sharing is attractive. Alain
Recompiled Old News & Smiles:
Feb 2016, See video Hmmm…Excellent video of a low-speed driverless demonstration. Alain
T. Burch, Apr 24 See Video. Hmmm…A really good video of the use of AutoPilot on a wide variety of roads. Alain
D. Muoio, Apr 18, "Those who purchased the Model S or Model X after 2014 have gotten to experience Tesla’s hardware Autopilot, which includes safety features like automatic braking, lane switching and blind spot warnings. But in January, the company rolled out some sweet convenience features, like self-parallel parking and the ability to summon your car. To get those convenience features, Tesla owners have to drop $2,500. But Tesla is now offering owners the ability to test the feature for an entire month before committing to purchasing it. The reason Tesla can offer a trial is because the convenience features can get pushed through via a software update, meaning Tesla owners can turn it on or off at anytime….Read more Hmmm…It costs them ZERO to offer this. See the video: We put Tesla’s Autopilot to the ultimate test in the most stressful driving city in America. Alain
M. Simari, Feb 2016, "…Using a 50-mile mix of freeway stretches, rural two-lanes, and city streets, we tabulated exactly how many guidance interruptions were caused by broken lane marks, inconsistent pavement patches, intersections, and exit and entrance ramps. We also noted when a car lost the lane-keeping sense for no apparent reason. Then we ranked the four contenders according to the number of control lapses each test car experienced…" Read more Hmmm…Excellent comparison of the best of what can be bought today. Alain
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time:
J-F. Bonnefon, et al. June 24, "…Although these scenarios appear unlikely, even low-probability events are bound to occur with millions of AVs on the road. Moreover, even if these situations were never to arise, AV programming must still include decision rules about what to do in such hypothetical situations. Thus, these types of decisions need be made well before AVs become a global commodity…." Read more Hmmm…At least the authors realize that that this issue is totally irrelevant by relying on premises such as: "even low-probability events are bound to occur" and "AV programming has to consider situations that are never to arise". Maybe this is why noting ever happens in Washington … no problem killing 100 people per day on the nation’s roads Let’s contemplate our "never arise" navel.
Agreed, nothing has absolute zero probability, or certainty (except death and taxes 🙂 , also no two outcomes have exactly the same moral values (if they are even measurable and by whose edict at what time). Finally, the issue isn’t even well-posed in that situations are not created instantaneously but evolve in time so that prudent AV programming should better be focused on not allowing the vehicle to evolve into a situation in which there is even one person at risk, let alone find itself between "a rock and a hard place". Finally, the authors don’t reference any of the work by Chris Gerdes and P. Lin on this topic. Do NOT watch Science’s dumbed-down video Has Science Mag. gone the way of the History Channel??? Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
J. Markoff, June 23 "…A new research study, however, indicates that what people really want to ride in is an autonomous vehicle that puts its passengers first. If its machine brain has to choose between slamming into a wall or running someone over, well, sorry, pedestrian.
In this week’s Science magazine (Hmmm…See above in Half-Baked), a group of computer scientists and psychologists explain how they conducted six online surveys of United States residents last year between June and November that asked people how they believed autonomous vehicles should behave…"Read more Hmmm…When is the NYT going to get back to printing "All the News that’s fit to print"? This is NOT news, the philosophical argument is ancient and the Science article isn’t even a particularly good or new (unless you are really keen on a thimble full of on-line surveys. C’mon Man! Alain
Reuters, June 21, "Moscow has signed an agreement with Los Angeles-based company Hyperloop One to explore building a futuristic, high-speed transportation system known as a Hyperloop in the Russian capital.
A Hyperloop involves using magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the floating pods can shuttle people and cargo at speeds of up to 750 mph (1,200 kph)…." Read more Hmmm…Next the North Koreans will jump in and we’ll have a real "Hyperloop Race". C’mon Man! Alain
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
Thursday, June 30, 2016,
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (UTC-5:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Recent Highlights of:
J. DeAngelis, June 15, "…autonomous vehicles (AVs) also stand to disrupt the norms of both transportation and land use planning. According to a new report from the Florida State University Department of Urban & Regional Planning titled Envisioning Florida’s Future: Transportation and Land Use in an Automated Vehicle World, AVs may exert as great an influence on the built environment as the mass production of the automobile did in the early to middle 20th century.
Parking minimums, street design, rights of way, development demand, signage and signalization, building siting and design, access management, and their accompanying norms and standards have the potential to change dramatically over the next 40-50 years.a…" Read more Hmmm…. Land-use implications are THE big unknowns. See report next. Alain
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities
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
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 al. Deja vu all over again! Very interesting 🙂 Alain
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
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
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
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
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
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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