http://smartdrivingcar.com/NHTSA-PublicMeeting-040916

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 

GTC 2016 Opening Keynote with Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA

Apr 6, "NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows a demo of a self-driving car platform, called DaveNet, that uses deep learning to teach a car how to drive, at the GPU Technology Conference. He announces the world’s first autonomous car race, Roborace, using NVIDIA DRIVE PX to power self-driving race cars."   Watch Video Hmmm… 2 hours but well worth watching, especially about 1:49:00 and 2:00:00  (although I have some minor reservations, of course I do.) Alain

Elon Musk visits Mobileye in Israel

D. Ben-Gedalyahu Mar 29, "…The system Mobileye is developing for Tesla is the first of its kind in the world, and it combines several advanced technologies that enable the vehicle to identify its environment, avoid obstacles, and move without driver intervention. Among the technologies are a system called DNN (digital neural network), which enables the vehicle to "learn" by gathering data on the move, and even to identify different kinds of road surface; free-space, which enables the automatic vehicle’s systems to identify areas without defined objects such as hard shoulders of roads, sidewalks, and so on, and avoid collisions and deviations from the road; a "holistic path prediction", which enables a vehicle to select the correct path – on an open road, for example – even when there are no visual hints in the environment; and a sign identification system that can identify over 1,000 signs and road markings in use around the world…" Read more Hmmm… Of course. Alain

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Developing Next-Gen Autopilot With Team Of Chipmakers

P. Arruda, Apr 8, ".During 4QFY15 earnings call, when Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas asked if Tesla is designing its own silicon, Mr. Musk refused to comment. This leaves open the possibility that the company could eventually develop its own chip…." Read more  Hmmm… Of course!! Alain

  Tesla already lowering Model 3 expectations for two key features

Y. Heisler, Apr 8, "Following last week’s unveiling of the Model 3, Tesla is riding pretty high right now. And with good reason: The company managed to convince more than 325,000 buyers to put down $1,000 for a car that they likely won’t receive until 2018 at the earliest. Of course, the big question mark hovering over the company now is whether or not they can actually handle that level of production…

In another example, the first incarnation of the Model 3 webpage said that the car will feature “Autopilot Safety Features.” Now it simply reads that the Model 3 will come with “Autopilot Hardware”, seemingly implying that users will have to pay extra to get Autopilot safety features turned on.."Read more  Hmmm… By 2018 the AutoPilot safety features will be so inexpensive, this won’t be the issue.  Alain!!

Volvo Cars plans to launch China’s most advanced autonomous driving experiment

Press Release, Apr 7, "Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, plans to launch China’s most advanced autonomous driving experiment in which local drivers will test autonomous driving cars on public roads in everyday driving conditions.
 
Volvo expects the experiment to involve up to 100 cars and will in coming months begin negotiations with interested cities in China to see which is able to provide the necessary permissions, regulations and infrastructure to allow the experiment to go ahead…."Read more  Hmmm… Of course!! Alain

South Australia approves on-road driverless car trials

A. Barbaschow, Mar 31, "The South Australian government has on Thursday approved on-road trials of driverless cars on the state’s roads…."South Australia is now positioned to become a key player in this emerging industry and by leading the charge, we are opening up countless new opportunities for our businesses and our economy."…" Read more  Hmmm… The more the merrier. Alain

American Cities Are Nowhere Near Ready for Self-Driving Cars

E. Adams, Apr 6, "…“We’re looking at the broader urban effects—and urban opportunities—of this technology,” says Illinois Tech architect Marshall Brown, one of the team members in the Chicago school’s Driverless Cities Project. “It’s in the news a lot, but nobody’s been discussing what it will actually do to cities.”   Just six percent of long-range transportation plans in major US cities are factoring the impact of autonomous cars, according to a report released in the fall by the National League of Cities. That’s a bad sign. “Even though driverless cars may be shoehorned to fit the traditional urban environment in the short term, it won’t be a long-term solution for maximizing potential benefits,” says Lili Du, an assistant professor of transportation engineering at Illinois Tech…."Read more  Hmmm… Look at the National League of Cities Report on City of the Future Alain

Dutch business community welcomes truck platoons

Press Release, Apr 6, "Today minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) welcomed six columns of trucks at Maasvlakte II, which had driven from a number of European cities to Rotterdam over the past several days….This is good news for traffic flows and speeds up deliveries. Truck platooning can realise up to ten per cent fuel savings. As well as reducing CO2 emissions, this can also mean a significant savings for businesses… " Read more  Hmmm… I still don’t get it.  Even though those 6 trucks were going to the same place, intending to arrive at the same time, because they came from 6 different locations, the likelihood that they were traveling in the same direction, on the same stretch of road, at about the same time, such that they could platoon for more than a photo-op is: slim2none.  Of course, if all trucks had this capability the likelihood would improve to above slim.  But, even then, enough to mean "a significant savings for businesses"???  Seems like a heroic definition of "significant".  I still contend that pushing platooning at such an early stage when we haven’t even begun to promote and to capture the benefits of the underlying intelligent cruise control.  ( … let alone un-intelligent cruise control. I’m not aware that there is even one road sign anywhere in the world along any highway that encourages the use of cruise control. Someone please correct me here if I’m wrong.)  Unfortunately platooning is the "Great White Hope" of the V2V community .  All it is going to do now is freak out average drivers before they’ve had a chance to get accustomed to their own Level2/Level3 driving.  Today’s infinitesimal benefits don’t come close to overshadowing the potential negative perceptions.  Once the intelligent automated driving functions are proven and substantial adoption begins, platooning can begin to have a hope of generating net benefits.  At that time its addition will be technologically and economically trivial.  Today it is a substantive liability.  Alain     

China’s Companies Poised to Take Leap in Developing a Driverless Car

J. Markoff, Apr 3, "….But enormous traffic jams in China’s largest cities can make driving a less-than-romantic experience. Why not let a machine built with artificial intelligence inside do the work for you?…" Read more  Hmmm… Not the best article.  I should up my standards.  Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Start-Stop Technology Is Spreading (Like It or Not)

E. Taub, Apt 7. "… The system saves fuel and reduces emissions by cutting the engine when the car comes to a full stop and restarting when the foot is taken off the brake.  One of the first things Dr. Tao does after starting the engine: He turns off the feature.  The problem, Dr. Tao says, is that the stopping and restarting is rather intrusive. “You actually feel it restarting,” he said. “In terrible stop-and-go traffic this thing comes on and off constantly. In 20 minutes you can have 50 stop-and-start cycles. It can drive you totally insane.”

Mercedes defends its technology, known as ECO Start/Stop, calling it “one of the most seamless systems,” according to Christian Bokich, a company spokesman. “Customers with any concerns always have the option of defeating the system each time they enter and start the vehicle.” …

For the technology to work for consumers, the experience needs to be seamless, manufacturers say.  “Restarts must be fast, smooth, with no noise and little vibration,” said Ulrich Muehleisen,…" Read more  Hmmm… If the system MUST BE…, why is it put into cars when it isn’t and if it is, don’t include the turn off mechanism that allows the Drs of this world to so self important. (However, if you often experience 50 start-stop cycles in 20 minutes you should be turning off the problems that got you there.) Alain

SpaceX Just Stuck a Historic Landing. So What Now?

N. Stockton, Apr 8, "TODAY IN SPACE history, a rocket went to space. No big. But then it came back down and landed on a drone barge in the middle of the ocean.

The rocket was a Falcon 9, built by SpaceX, Elon Musk‘s commercial spaceflight company. On its own, the retropropulsion landing is a major technological accomplishment. But it means even more as a step toward reliably getting humans off of Earth—maybe even permanently. “In order for us to really open up access to space,” Musk said in a press conference shortly after the landing, “we need to achieve full and rapid reusability.”…
But the challenges will continue even once SpaceX nails reusability of the Falcon 9. SpaceX’s other rocket, the Falcon Heavy, is designed to deliver spacecraft to high, geosynchronous orbit. That means simultaneously landing three separate boosters coming down way hotter, and faster. “The thing about high velocity landings is not just the wind, but the heat,” Musk said. “Peak heating grows as the cube of velocity, so your rockets really want to melt.”…Read more  Hmmm… See video. and this one.  This is really impressive!! Alain

Friend or foe… or both?

Y. Gautam, Jan 2016,"…There is synergy between AV and CV – CV brings additional and incremental benefits to AVs…." Read more Hmmm… Nice concise way to put it. 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:

THE MOST ADVANCED SELF-DRIVING CARS YOU CAN BUY TODAY
J. Bablansky. Apr 2016, "From Acura to Volvo, more and more car companies are getting into the game of self-driving tech, and it’s now easier — and more affordable — than ever to buy a car that basically drives itself…" Read more  Hmmm… They are rated 1 through 6 and Tesla is 6 and the S-class is 5, I guess higher is better, but then why is Subaru 1 and Infinity is listed when the tech costs $8,700???  Half-baked!.   Alain


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


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

  

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:

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

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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