http://smartdrivingcar.com/MN-Disabilities-0325116

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 

Self-Driving Vehicle Pilot Project Moves Forward in MN Senate

Mar 24, "A demonstration project to see if self-driving vehicles could be used on Minnesota roads by people with disabilities — that’s the focus of a bill that’s moving forward in the Minnesota Senate:

Joan Willshire with the Minnesota State Council on Disability told lawmakers self-driving cars have great potential to advance social inclusion for Minnesotans with disabilities, including those with visual impairment… Read more  Hmmm… Watch the hearing linked above.  Excellent testimony. Alain 

  Daimler videos promote platooning

Mar 22,"Daimler Trucks has posted a series of new videos promoting its Highway Pilot Connect system, with three freight trucks platooning and running on the autobahn near Dusseldorf…."  Read more See Video Hmmm… Progress in Europe where truck Automated Emergency Braking is Mandatory. See also Peloton’s Platooning video.  Alain  

Driverless Bus System Showcases Future of Public Transit

P. Sisson, Mar 17, "…After two months of test runs down a 200-meter stretch of public road, the system will start transporting human passengers in May. Designed, tested, approved, and road-ready in a little less than two years, the WEpods system, which cost the local government 3.4 million Euros ($3.8 million) for a pair of autonomous vehicles, seems like a deal. According to Bakker, the government-funded technology will be designed as an open-source project, meaning it will be available for other companies and municipalities to adapt and utilize (Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Brussels have already expressed interest)…. Read morHmmm… Many localities should be looking at this near-term opportunity.  Alain 

Domino’s Is Launching A Self-Driving Pizza Delivery Robot. No Really

 C. Jager, Mar 18, "The future is pizza. Last night, Domino’s Australia unveiled DRU — the world’s first commercial autonomous delivery vehicle. This isn’t a fictional marketing campaign; it’s a bona fide robot that can do everything from navigate fences to talk to customers. We were given a sneak peak of the first prototype in Brisbane, which will be the testing ground for this cutting-edge delivery system. Here’s everything you need to know!… Read more Hmmm… I didn’t put this in Half-Baked because, while it might it might not be real, it could be real, especially in a gated community operating along side of the above driverless bus system.  There is a lot to be said about rolling out Level 4 for local goods movement prior, or certainly in conjunction with, Level 4 moving people. See also: The end of the courier? Self-driving ‘ground drones’ are heading to London to make deliveries across the capital. Alain

Review of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards(FMVSS) for Automated Vehicles

A. Kim, March ’16, "The purpose of this work is to identify instances where the existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards may pose challenges to the introduction of automated vehicles. It identifies standards requiring further review – both to ensure that existing regulations do not unduly stifle innovation and to help ensure that automated vehicles perform their functions safely. The Volpe team conducted two reviews of the FMVSS: a driver reference scan to identify which standards include an explicit or implicit reference to a human driver and an automated vehicle concepts scan to identify which standards could pose a challenge for a wide range of automated vehicle capabilities and concepts. In summary, the review revealed that there are few barriers for automated vehicles to comply with FMVSS, as long as the vehicle does not significantly diverge from a conventional vehicle design. Yet, automated vehicles that begin to push the boundaries of conventional design (e.g., alternative cabin layouts, omission of manual controls) would be constrained by the current FMVSS or may not fully meet the objectives of the FMVSS…" Read more  Hmmm… Well worth reading and quite appropriate when dealing with NHTSA Levels 1 through 3; however, Maybe we should start thinking of Level 4 to be an entirely new mode.  Bicycles, motorcycles, horse-drawn carriages and even pedestrians currently share (some) of our roadway infrastructure with conventional motor vehicles yet are not held to FMVSS such as "having a steering wheel" (although they do each have "manual controls", which in Level 4 could could be a "game pad" that is stored away in the "glove compartment" or behind a "break the glass in emergency" compartment.  I can’t imagine anyone designing an automated vehicle that doesn’t allow it to be human controlled in repair/maintenance situations. Alain

U.S. DOT to host public meetings on safe operation of automated vehicles

G. Trowbridge, Mar 11, "The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will hold a pair of public meetings this spring to gather input as it develops guidelines for the safe deployment of automated safety technology. The meetings, to be held in Washington, D.C., and California, will gather information on a series of issues related to safe operation of automated vehicles as part of NHTSA’s efforts to provide manufacturers with operational guidance….NHTSA will hold its first public meeting on April 8 at USDOT Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Details on date and location of the second meeting in California, as well as how members of the public can participate, will be published soon. Read more  Hmmm… Save the Date: April 8. Alain 

Willow Run driverless car test site names CEO, board

M. Martinez , Mar 18, "The site where Rosie the Riveters once assembled B-24 Liberators for the Allies during World War II will soon become a test site for the future of transportation.

State leaders on Friday announced the appointment of a CEO and board of directors for The American Center for Mobility, a proposed 335-acre driverless car proving grounds at the former Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti. John Maddox, who serves as assistant director of a group that runs the state’s other driverless car test site, MCity, was named CEO…"Read more  Hmmm… Congratulations John!! Alain 


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

FBI warns automakers, owners about vehicle hacking risks

Reuters, Mar 17,"The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin Thursday warning that motor vehicles are "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking.

"The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles," the agencies said in the bulletin.  In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV recalled 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software after a magazine report raised concerns about hacking, the first action of its kind for the auto industry…." Read more Hmmm… This is a problem. Alain

After a year, Carnegie Mellon and Uber research initiative is stalled

Reuters, Mar 21,"More than a year after Uber announced a research pact with Carnegie Mellon University – and then hired away four of the institution’s faculty and 36 researchers and technicians – the ride-hailing company and university have not collaborated on a single project, according to CMU faculty and administrators….." Read more Hmmm… Hmmm???. 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:


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


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Public Meeting on Safe Operation of Automated Vehicles

April 8
Washington DC


  

http://www.autonomoustrucksevent.com/agenda-mc


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:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Uber seeking to buy self-driving cars: source

Reuters, Mar 19, "Ride-hailing service Uber [UBER.UL] has sounded out car companies about placing a large order for self-driving cars, an auto industry source said on Friday.  "They wanted autonomous cars," the source, who declined to be named, said. "It seemed like they were shopping around."  Loss-making Uber would make drastic savings on its biggest cost — drivers — if it were able to incorporate self-driving cars into its fleet….Earlier on Friday, Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Uber had placed an order for at least 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, citing sources at both companies….

The top-flight limousine, around 100,000 of which Mercedes-Benz sold last year, does not yet have fully autonomous driving functionality.."  Read more  Hmmmm…Uber has the current valuation to place the order; however, they aren’t the only ones that will want to place an advance order for such a fleet.  Lyft will want to, Enterprise-Rent -A-Car (remember, they "pick you up" (while incurring an enormous labor expense) and all of the AlainkAutonomousTaxi companies that see the economic opportunity of providing on-demand mobility without incurring labor cost.  It will be interesting to watch the bidding war for these driverless vehicles.   All of this will be going on while Alphabet gobbles up the market with its own vehicle that it keeps for itself.  Advertisers are already in the back seat of conventional cabs.  While that revenue isn’t enough to pay for the driver, it is likely to substantially offset aTaxi’s operating and capitalization costs. What’s Alphabet’s other business?? 🙂  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 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


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