http://smartdrivingcar.com/UltraPODS-012816

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

Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ at crossroads, team in hiring freeze, source says

S. Oliver "Apple has placed a hiring freeze on the team responsible for the company’s nascent automotive ambitions after executives became unhappy with the project’s direction and progress, AppleInsider has learned….The change was precipitated by a post-holiday progress review conducted by Apple design chief Jony Ive, according to a previously reliable source with knowledge of the team’s activities. Ive is said to have "expressed his displeasure" with the group’s headway… Read more   Hmmm…Is this only part of the bad news @ Apple: see next…also "Apple just registered the ‘Apple.Car’ web address"    Alain

Apple iPhone Sales Grow at Slowest Rate Ever

D. Wakabayashi, Jan 26. "Apple Inc. said iPhone sales grew at the slowest pace since its introduction in 2007 and forecast that revenue in the current quarter will decline for the first time in 13 years, signaling an end to its recent period of hypergrowth….Apple shares have fallen 16% since the end of October, closing Tuesday at $99.99… The slowdown in iPhone sales, which account for roughly two-thirds of Apple’s revenue, raises questions about Apple’s growth. Sales of the iPad have been declining for two years, and sales of Mac computers, a recent area of strength, fell in the most recent quarter…. Read more Hmmm…when it rains, it pours. The watch isn’t going to save this, they’d better get some productivity out of the 1,000 still working on the car.  Alain

Mobileye, Nvidia (and Others) Spar over Cars

J. Yoshida, Jan 11. "The field of autonomous driving technologies revealed its substantial expansion at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In the autonomous driving chip segment alone, aside from incumbents such as Nvidia, Mobileye, NXP and Texas Instruments, a host of new players — Ceva, an IP vendor, Intel and Qualcomm — are now also breaching the market. Car OEMs are welcoming these newcomers, observed Egil Juliussen, director of research, infotainment & ADAS at IHS Automotive, during CES. “The field has suddenly gotten a lot more crowded…

But it still remains unclear — to most of them — where all these technologies will eventually end up in autonomous car designs, let alone who will be the winners and losers in this battle..Nvidia with its “deep learning” pitch…"
Read more Hmmm…Love….Deep Learning!  Alain

CES 2016 Presentation

Jan 6, ""Sensing and Beyond: Towards Full Autonomous Driving", Presentation by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO, MobilEye"  See video  Hmmm…Worth watching.  Alain

CES 2016 Presentation

Jan 4, ""Accelerating the Race to Self-Driving Cars", Presentation by Jen-Hsun Huang, Co-Founder & CEO NVDIA"  See video  Hmmm…Worth watching.  See also "NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Car Computer Selected by Volvo on Journey Toward a Crash-Free Future" Alain

Driverless bus trial in Netherlands is first on public roads

Jan 25, An electric, driverless shuttle bus has taken to Dutch public roads on Thursday, rolling six passengers along a 200m stretch of road in the first trial of its kind worldwide.

The WePod, one of a fleet to be rolled out in coming years, took a few people on a short journey back and forth along the side of a lake in the central Dutch agricultural town of Wageningen.I think we’re going to see it within five years. That doesn’t mean 100 percent penetration; that just means market availability. But I actually think we’re going to see it within five years." Read more  See video Hmmm…A start, but "of its kind" is the key limiter in the phrase "first trial of its kind worldwide"  🙁   Alain

Ford testing driverless cars in snow

M. Martinez, Jan 11, "…“It’s one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather,” Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles, said in a statement. “It’s quite another to do so when the car’s sensors can’t see the road because it’s covered in snow. Weather isn’t perfect, and that’s why we’re testing autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions — for the roughly 70 percent of U.S. residents who live in snowy regions.”… Read more  Hmmm…Of course. Alain

  DRIVERLESS CARS AND THE FUTURE OF PARKING

C. Thompson, Jan 24 "…The deep irony is that cities rarely require developers to construct enough affordable housing, but they pass strict laws making sure vehicles can be adequately housed. "We don’t force [developers] to build the right number of bedrooms for people! We just force them to build the right number of bedrooms for cars," says Jeffrey Tumlin, …" Read more  Hmmm…Parking as we know it today has a bleak future.  For example: Airport Authorities must already be seeing the beginning of the end of those golden eggs.   Alain

  Insurers’ profiling will change as autonomous vehicles hit the road, says expert Allianz, Zurich and AXA unite to regulate UK driverless car insurance

P. Manson, Jan 28 "The shift from customer to car profiling is one of the likely outcomes of the shift to autonomous driving, a shift which could be just a few years away…This means that the sophistication, reliability and security of driverless car systems will become the most important considerations as autonomous driving takes off…." Read more    Hmmm…Of course.  In fact this should be taking place today with ADAS.   Alain

State looking to redevelop former Willow Run plant into testing site for autonomous vehicles

T. Perkins, Jan 19 "The state of Michigan is planning to purchase and redevelop the 332-acre former General Motors Willow Run Powertrain plant into a testing site for autonomous vehicles.

Gov. Rick Snyder made the announcement during his State of the State address Tuesday night. Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo also announced the plans Tuesday night during the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees’ regular meeting…" Read more Hmmmm…Gov. Snyder must not have presidential aspirations affording him time to re-purpose under performing assets and promote activities that can bring jobs to Michigan. Alain

Windsor wants to become test site for self-driving vehicles

Jan 22 "…Bringing self-driving vehicle testing to cities like Windsor, Ont. will take a concerted effort from all levels of government, say city officials.

Windsor is one of the latest Canadian cities vying to become a site for autonomous vehicle testing. Partnering with the region’s university and colleges, the city is making a pitch to Ford of Canada in a letter expected to be sent out next week…" Read more Hmmmm…Everybody want to do this.   Alain


Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Uber, Lyft put pressure on taxi companies Uber Is Making Sure Those Bad Driver Ratings Are Correct

K Rogers, Jan 26 "…On Tuesday, San Francisco’s largest taxi operator, Yellow Cab Cooperative, is scheduled to have its first bankruptcy hearing after the company filed for Chapter 11 protection Friday. The operator has been struggling with declining ridership and increased competition from the two big for-hire driver start-ups…At the core of the bankruptcy were pending lawsuits and a recent verdict of $8 million in court, Kaplan said. The company was not covered as it was "self-insured",…" Read more Hmmmm…Bankruptcy as a "self-insurance" strategy?  I guess it really wasn’t "self insured".   Alain

Uber Is Making Sure Those Bad Driver Ratings Are Correct State looking to redevelop former Willow Run plant into testing site for autonomous vehicles

J. Bhulyan, Jan 26 "For months, Uber has been using smartphone sensors to monitor its Houston drivers’ movements in an effort to verify rider feedback. The pilot program, which has been underway since November, relies on the GPS, accelerometers, and gyrometers built into today’s smartphones to monitor a vehicle’s speed as well as how often it stops and starts.
Uber says the program is a means of verifying the accuracy of poor ratings and complaints…" Read more Hmmmm…Of course.  Alain


On the More Technical Side

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

The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes

Special Investigation Report NTSB/SIR-15/01 PB2015-104098 , May 2015, "… P6: Ultimately, the NTSB’s investigation found that currently available forward collision avoidance technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles still show clear benefits that could reduce rear-end crash fatalities. However, more must be done to speed up deployment of these technologies in all vehicle types. As a result of these findings, the NTSB makes six new recommendations in this report in the following areas: …

p19: Con-way. Con-way performed an internal study to determine the extent to which a suite of safety technologies (forward CAS with AEB, ESC, and lane departure warning) installed on the truck-tractors in its fleet reduced the frequency of various types of crashes. This study collected data over a 30-month period on approximately 12,600 truck-tractors. Researchers compared the crash rate and frequency of engagement in risky driving behavior, such as driving at an unsafe speed, in truck-tractors equipped with the suite of safety systems to those truck-tractors without such systems. The results were uniformly positive: drivers operating truck-tractors equipped with the safety systems exhibited a decreased crash rate for different types of crashes, as well as a decline in risky driving behavior. For example, there was a 71 percent reduction in rear-end collisions and a 63 percent decline in unsafe following behaviors (see figure 4)…."  Read more  Hmmmm…Very important Conclusions and Recommendations starting on Page 36 and very important compilations in the Appendices. A must read front to back. Alain

The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes

Jan 2016, "…analyzed one day of hypothetical aTaxi trips (total of 11,481,856 aTaxi vehicle trips serving 30,111,032 person trips) in NJ that were created based on US Census data, and other data sources that describe the types of people traveling in NJ and the number and types of trips they take on a “typical weekday”. …."  Read more  Hmmmm…Amazing the extent of the spatial non-symmetry introduced and vehicle management challenges introduced by a spectrum of vehicles.  A work/analysis in progress. Alain  

Effectiveness of Forward Collision Warning Systems with and without Autonomous Emergency Braking in Reducing Police-Reported Crash Rates

J. Cicchino, Jan 2016 "Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of forward collision warning (FCW) and autonomous
emergency braking (AEB) in reducing front-to-rear crashes and injuries. Methods: Poisson regression was used to compare rates of police-reported crash involvements per insured vehicle year in 27 U.S. states during 2010-2014 between passenger vehicle models with FCW alone or with AEB and the same models where the optional systems were not purchased, controlling for other collision avoidance systems on the vehicle and other factors affecting crash risk. Results: FCW alone and FCW with AEB reduced rear-end striking crash involvement rates by 23% and 39%, respectively. FCW with AEB reduced rates of rear-end striking crash involvements with injuries by 42% and rates of rear-end striking crash involvements with third-party injuries by 44%, but reductions with FCW alone were not statistically significant (6% and 4%, respectively). Additionally, FCW alone and with AEB reduced involvement rates in all crashes by 12% and 6%, respectively; multi-vehicle crashes by 11% and 5%, respectively; injury crashes by 15% and 2%, respectively; and third-party injury crashes by 6% and 9%, respectively. Of these, only reductions in all, multi-vehicle, and injury crashes for FCW alone were significant…. Read more Hmmmm…Evidence continues to mount as to the safety effectiveness of automation. Another must read. Summary presentation in "CRASHES AVOIDED". Alain

 


Recompiled Old News & Smiles:

Driving Sideways

A. Arieff, July 23, 2013, "The driverless car, like other utopian pursuits, seems always to be just out of reach.

The new car will be all glass — en

Read more  Hmmmm…Still worth reading again.  Alain

A New Player Is Entering The Driverless Car Race

J. Chew, Jan  26, "The online search company is talking to city authorities in China, and has designs on launching autonomous cars in 10 Chinese cities within three years, reported Bloomberg. .."  Read more (Bloomberg)  Hmmmm..The reason to look at the Fortune is the Ralph Nader’55 video.  The good news is that he is only skeptical about autonomous cars and hasn’t tagged them as "unsafe@ any speed"  🙂 .  Alain


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

ITS America applauds US DOT decision to accelerate automated and connected vehicle projects

Jan 15, "The Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s (ITS America) President and CEO Regina Hopper has applauded the announcement by US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that the Obama Administration has proposed US$4 billion over 10 years for automated and connected vehicle pilot projects that accelerate vehicle safety technologies. …"  Read more  Hmmmm…At least the announcement has had the positive impact of having ITS America change its rhetoric by revering to all of this as "automated and connected.." and possibly begin to pay some respect to automation.  Unfortunately, if you do "read more" you’ll find that Hopper and ITS International doesn’t really get it because they see Foxx’s announcement as a means to have the public sector deploy V2V and V2I and test connected corridors… a sure way for Washington to remain totally irrelevant and clueless.  Hopefully, some/most/all of the $4B will be focused on advancing automation of individual vehicles rather wasted on a fundamentally flawed V2V vision; else, just don’t do anything.  Alain

Allianz, Zurich and AXA unite to regulate UK driverless car insurance

J. Lima, Jan 19 "As the UK takes a leading role in the autonomous and driverless car race, some of the largest insurance companies in the country have come together to tackle the changes needed to ensure cars are safe and comply with regulations.

In total, 11 companies have entered into a joint venture to represent the insurance industry while the central government makes its decisions on how to deploy driverless car technology on British roads.

The alliance, led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research (TR), has been formed to consider issues relating to automated driving on UK roads, particularly concerning insurance and liability….." Read more    Hmmm…UK insurance companies are "uniting" to regulate themselves in the UK!?  Now that’s "a great country!"   Alain

Savari Fuels Up With $8 Million to Propel Self-Driving Cars

Jan 27, "Dozens of start-ups are working on automating vehicles–military equipment, farm equipment and the biggest prize of all, cars. But cars won’t be driving themselves unless certain key technologies are in place.

One of them is the ability for cars to communicate with their surroundings and with each other as they drive themselves down the road…"  Read more  Hmmmm…Simply NOT TRUE!  Alain


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

Ces 2016 : Toyota Demoes Autonomous Driving Using Deep Learning

Jan 8, "…No meaning is given to sensor data or output information in advance. On the other hand, when the vehicle crashes into an obstacle, a penalty is given for reinforcement learning. As the vehicle keeps learning,.."  Read more  Hmmmm…reinforced learning through crashing!?!?!  You’ve got to be kidding! What will we do if we outlaw the corporal punishment of Deep Learning Cars? Will they learn???. C’mon Man!  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:


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


Recent Highlights of:

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

FAST Act: 2015 Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Overview prepared by Dr. Shawn Kimmel, Dec 2, "The FAST Act, passed on Friday 12/4/15, is
a 5 year surface transportation reauthorization bill, which is the first reauthorization lasting more than 2 years since 2005 (MAP-21 was only 2 years). This bill represents a compromise between the Senate DRIVE Act and House STRR Act.  The funding for the bill is about 77% from gas tax and 23% from other temporary funding sources. This bill contains many research provisions outlined in this document… Read more 

Hmmmm… A excellent summary; however, Shawn was being very kind by stating that the bill contains "many" research provisions.  I’d characterize it as containing "less than minimal" research provisions.  Especially in the light of the enormous transformation that is occurring in surface transportation.  I comment below in the C’Mon Man! section that the Congress has "not gotten the memo".  Think of it, this is a "5 year" act basically extends the status quo in surface transportation.  This ensures that Washington will neither be leading nor even having an opportunity to play a part in this rapidly changing sector.  It doesn’t even recognize that FTA could help the transit Industry "print money" by investing in the development of Automated Collision Avoidance Systems for buses.  These have a RoI of less than 2 years through their reduced liability exposure as well as save lives.  Plus they’ll "print money" for their remaining service life helping to off-set the industry’s staggering need for subsidy.  

I guess that it is good that Washington has solidified its hold on the highway (concrete and paint) portion of surface mobility and is leaving the vehicles to the private/consumer sector.  What a shame that the bill didn’t include more of what was contained in Congressman Lipinsky’s Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity (TRIP) Act.  Alain

Friday, October 02, 2015

"60 Minutes" test-rides Mercedes-Benz self-driving car

Oct 2 "As Google’s driverless cars have logged more then a million miles in the past six years, the rest of the auto industry is racing to keep up. Computer scientist Ralf Herrtwich hits the road with "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker to demonstrate Mercedes-Benz’s most advanced self-driving prototype. Watch the full story Sunday on "60 Minutes."  Watch video and watch 60 minutes on Sunday Oct 4. This is really becoming mainstream.  Congratulations Ralf! Alain

Friday, August 28, 2015

Truck Safety Out of the Box from Autonobox

B Simpson, July 19, 2015 "The premise is promising. Develop and market a plug-and-play, forward-avoidance braking system for the heavy vehicle market that can be installed quickly, upgraded regularly, and even transferred from vehicle to vehicle if necessary.

The Autonobox System essentially is a second braking system for heavy-duty vehicles that addresses the long-standing problem of brakes that overheat after intense use like a panic-stop or sustained use while going downhill…. Read more  Hmmm…A viable after-market retro-fit opportunity.  Alain

Monday, July 27, 2015

Center for Automated Road Transportation Safety @ Fort Monmouth is Launched

Monday, July 20, 2015 – "After more than three (3) years of planning and several major meetings the substantive launch the Center for Automated Road Transportation Safety @ Fort Monmouth (CARTS@FM) occurred this week with the establishment of the not-for-profit. (501(c) (6)), New Jersey Corporation.  The mission of this Center is to substantially improve safety on our existing conventional roadway infrastructure through the use of inexpensive automated collision avoidance systems installed on individual vehicles operating harmoniously with conventional vehicles throughout most, if not all, existing roadways.   The scope of CARTS’s mission is across all modes that utilize the nation’s conventional road system: trucks, buses and cars. .." Read more

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rep. Lipinski Introduces Future Transportation Research and Innovation Act

I. Sancken 03/29/15, "Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has introduced H.R. 2886, the Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity (TRIP) Act, to support innovative technologies that have the potential to fundamentally alter mobility in America and beyond.

"Surface transportation used to be rather staid and unimaginative, but today the very concept of ‘mobility’ is being reinvented through research, innovation, and entrepreneurship," said Rep. Lipinski. "Rapidly advancing automation, connectivity, and information technologies are creating incredible opportunities for transportation innovation. We need to develop innovative ways to improve safety, ease congestion, improve personal mobility, and cut energy use…"  Read more  Hmmm… Excellent!  Alain

Friday, May 29, 2015

John F. Nash Jr., Math Genius Defined by a ‘Beautiful Mind,’ Dies at 86

E. Goodmay, May 24 "…Dr. Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike in Monroe Township around 4:30 p.m. when the driver lost control while veering from the left lane to the right and hit a guardrail and another car, Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police said.

The couple were ejected from the cab and pronounced dead at the scene. The State Police said it appeared that they had not been wearing seatbelts…. Read more
See also: John, Alicia Nash Remembered After Fatal Crash
A Beautiful Mind Mathematician John Nash and His Wife Killed in N.J. Car Crash ;

Hmmm… So tragic!!! What a crying shame!!! So preventable!!! We will miss them 🙁

Unfortunately, the NYT and others tried but missed the fundamental point by following up with "Deaths of Math Genius John F. Nash Jr. and Wife Show Need to Use Seatbelts in Back, Experts Say ".  Why do we so easily put up with crashes in the first place?  It is as if it is OK to go around crashing, just put on a seat belt.   Technology is available to avoid crashes, but there isn’t sufficient public policy focus on avoiding crashes to accelerate its adoption and enhancement.

The fundamental problem was that the taxi was not equipped with available automated stability control, lane keeping and collision avoidance systems.  This was not an accident, it was a failed public safety policy that refuses to move beyond crash mitigation and its challenged “V2x” initiatives to embrace forthright automated crash avoidance. 

Moreover, there is a failed Taxi regulatory structure that doesn’t even hint that taxis should have electronic stability control, automated lane keeping and collision avoidance.  What is the purpose of taxi regulation, to keep “Ubers” out of business? 

It is time for the nation’s transportation policy to focus intelligence/automation on the vehicle in support of the driver.  Hopefully Congress will restructure the pending transportation legislation to focus automated vehicle technologies that actively assist drivers when they make driving mistakes.  We are not perfect.  We deserve a public safety policy that is more mindful of our imperfections. Policy that isn’t aimed at just warning and scolding us but actively takes over and does the right thing.  We, not the infrastructure, are the cause of most of the the highway carnage.  It is the driver who needs help and our public policy should focus on delivering that help.      Alain


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