Thursday, April 7, 2022

14th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  For Ukrainian refugees traveling from Poland to Germany, Henry Posner III ’77’s train awaits

C. Compton, March 25, “On March 12, 2022, Henry Posner III ’77 reported for work at 9 a.m. in his trademark bowtie. But on this day, the self-described railway worker donned a reflective safety vest and work boots as he prepared to make history. Just days earlier, a holding company with several railways owned by Posner, called RDC Deutschland, entered into a contract with the German government to help transport Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border into the country’s interior.

“Unbelievable, but here we are,” Posner wrote in the company’s internal newsletter. “History comes at you on short notice.”…” Read more  Hmmmm… Thank you Henry!!!  I can’t help but think that there must have been a “Henry Posner III” there to just provide some simple, kind help to my father (as a 13 year old) and his brother when they arrived at the Hungarian border in ~1915 as they fled whatever devastation in the Ukraine (or was it Poland then????) ; else, there would be no Hmmmm… s here.  Again, thank you so very much Henry for continuing the kindness!!! See ZoomCast 263 Alain


F. Fishkin, April 7, “Mobility takes on a different meaning for Ukrainian refugees.  Henry Posner II and his Railroad Development Corporation has been helping to transport many into Germany.   He joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for episode 263 of Smart Driving Cars.  That plus GM Cruise, Aurora, VW, Qualcomm & more.”


Technical support provided by:

   The SmartDrivingCars eLetter, Pod-Casts, Zoom-Casts and Zoom-inars are made possible in part by support from the Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO.   For more information:  Most funding is supplied by Princeton University’s Department of Operations Research & Financial Engineering and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE) research laboratory as part of its research dissemination initiative

  Which Cars Have Self-Driving Features for 2022?

F. Meier, April 4, “Vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that automate some tasks — braking, acceleration and steering in some situations — are more common at all price levels for 2022. They also are becoming more sophisticated, with some now making lane changes, allowing for brief hands-free driving and more….

While some tech, such as automatic emergency braking, works in the background, we are looking here at which model-year 2022 vehicles have these key active assistance systems (more detailed explanations are below the vehicle list)…”  Read more  Hmmmm…This is an extremely useful list. Now that all of these cars have intelligent cruise control, are State DoTs going to begin to encourage these cars to pace traffic to improve throughput and alleviate congestion?  Will NHTSA please require each of these cars to have some discrete indicator that will enable neighboring drivers to know that ADAS is setting the pace and separation and not a human driver. We’ll better anticipate what the cars around us are going to do.  Human driver behaviors are very different than ADAS driving behaviors.  Are the cars likely to drive a constant speed (ADAS) or at constant depression of the gas pedal (humans). The car’s speed profile will be very different; especially on the Pennsylvania turnpike which seems to nowhere be level.  Alain

  Barra shares her struggle to define GM’s purpose, says self-driving car goes on sale soon

J. LaReau, April 6, “…Every company needs to understand why they exist, Barra said.  “Our purpose at General Motors is to pioneer the innovations that move and connect people to what matters,” she said…

The Cruise Origin — the self-driving car that will be built at Factory ZERO, which straddles the Detroit-Hamtramck border — will be ready to put on the street in January 2023, she said.Those vehicles will be a robo taxi service. Barra said GM plans to also have by mid-decade personal autonomous vehicles “where the vehicle is responsible for the operation.” But she said they will be expensive….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  A shout out that the Cruise Origin, a Driverless car, will be ready in January.  Yea!  Hopefully Mary will deploy 100 of them throughout  Trenton city streets where they will definitely “…move and connect people to what matters…”  and provide a substantial improvement in their quality-of-life over how their current, enormously disadvantaged, mobility opportunities and lack of connection to almost everything that matters.  See ZoomCast 263 Alain

  What would free speech look like on Elon Musk’s Twitter?

R. Mitchell, April 4, “With his new purchase of a 9% stake in Twitter, Elon Musk isn’t just diversifying his investment portfolio. The Tesla chief executive is also deepening his entanglement with one of America’s foremost venues for public discourse — potentially hinting at future ambitions to influence the platform’s handling of free speech, content moderation and digital censorship….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  I applaud this one because our current communication systems may well be broken beyond repair and we desperately need something new. 

The intensity of advertising is unbearable.  TV is nothing but commercials.  One can’t read an article in digital news without being constantly bombarded by pop-up ads.  One can’t do a search on Google without being bombarded by whomever won the auction for my search words.  One can’t watch a sporting event without the constant drum of gambling ads that promise that I’m a sure winner the first time I place a bet without also telling me that the more I bet the higher the probability that I’ll be a loser.  An upscale version of how they marketed drugs are on the corner… First one was always free.  All that followed ruined your life. 

Only the house wins and only if it doesn’t itself pick a side unless it’s put in the fix.  Whys doesn’t the FTC require some truth in all of that advertising and also require Alphabet to display to top of their search algorithm rather than the top of those that think that they can pick the most out of my pocket because I happened to asked Google to find something for me.  Someone needs to fix this mess.  Might as well see if Elon can do it. He can’t be worse than Mark.  Alain

  GM delivered only 457 electric vehicles last quarter, but it assures us more are coming

F. Lambert, April 1, “…Chevy Bolt EV/EUV: 358,  GMC Hummer EV Pickup: 99”    Read more  Hmmmm… So embarrassing.  The great news is that Hummers didn’t sell.  I was so happy when Hummers first disappeared and now thrilled that they didn’t even deliver 100 last quarter.   Please go away quietly…. or just go away. Alain

  Volkswagen plans to launch self-driving EV for a robotaxi and delivery fleet

M. Meran, April 5, “Volkswagen plans to launch a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for self-driving operations, including a robotaxi fleet, delivery services, and shuttles.

The design of the VW SPV will be significantly different from the ID. Buzz, which has been gaining popularity since the company unveiled it last month. The ID. Buzz comes in two variants: the microbus and the cargo van.

The ID. Buzz will be launched as a robotaxi in Hamburg by 2025. The head of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles — an independent VW brand responsible for developing and selling light commercial vehicles — Carsten Intra noted that VW wants to launch similar ID. Buzz robotaxi services in 50 other cities across Europe and North America….”   Read more  Hmmmm…  I hope I survive until 2025 to see it.   See ZoomCast 263 Alain

  Aurora Launches Autonomous Freight Pilot with Werner

R. Bellan, April 6, “Aurora Innovation is launching its third autonomous freight pilot in Texas. Starting this week, Aurora Driver-powered trucks will haul loads for Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics company, between Fort Worth and El Paso, Texas.

The startup is already hauling freight for Uber Freight customers and for FedEx, a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier. LTL freight refers to when an order shares a truck with other shippers’ orders. Werner will be Aurora’s first full-truckload (FTL) carrier customer, which means the truck will only carry one load and thus will be making longer, more dedicated hauls with fewer stops, allowing Aurora to flex its long-haul muscles. Like many AV trucking companies, Aurora is hoping to address long-haul freight first, in large part because they are the least desirable routes for human drivers.

“… ” Read more  Hmmmm… Very nice, but still with on-board human professional driver. See ZoomCast 263 Alain

  Qualcomm completes Arriver acquisition to bulk up software prowess in ADAS, self-driving vehicles

M. Freeman, April4, “Qualcomm wrapped up its acquisition of Veoneer’s advanced driver assistance/self-driving vehicle software arm on Monday, highlighting the San Diego company’s bid to become a key technology supplier to automakers as it diversifies beyond smartphones….


With this deal, Qualcomm isn’t aiming to deliver full-fledged driverless capabilities known as Level 4/Level 5 autonomy — at least not yet.

Instead, it is targeting Level 2+ and Level 3 autonomy. That means motorists remain behind the wheel but gain ADAS safety features and limited self-driving functionality.” Read more  Hmmmm… Yes, this is all about ADAS and NOT Driverless, which is a very different animal.  They are so different that one may be animal, the other is vegetable (and there is NOTHING in the middle…  no “Level 3” veggie-burger)  See ZoomCast 263 Alain

Making it Happen:  Trenton MOVES… a Framework for the Deployment of Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility

A. Kornhauser, Jan 11, 2022 TRB, ” A slide deck describing the framework fora phased deployment of high-quality mobility in Trenton New Jersey that is envisioned to have wherewithall to naturally scale beyond Trenton in a fashion that can be replicated the more than 100 communities across the US that have similar demographic and travel demand characteristics.”  Read more  Hmmmm… Go through the slides in presentation mode to take advantage of the animations. See ZoomCast 263 Alain

  4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit  It is over!!!  Now time to actually do something in the Trentons of this world.   

  Making Driverless Happen: The Road Forward (Updated)

K. Pyle, April 18, 2021, “It’s time to hit the start button,” is Fred Fishkin’s succinct way of summarizing the next steps in the Smart Driving Car journey. Fiskin, along with the LA Times’ Russ Mitchell co-produced the final session of the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit, Making It Happen: Part 2. This 16th and final session in this multi-month online conference not only provided a summary of the thought-provoking speakers, but also provided food for thought on a way forward to bring mobility to “the Trentons of the World.”

Setting the stage for this final session, Michael Sena provided highlights of the Smart Driving Car journey that started in late December 2020.  Safety, high-quality, and affordable mobility, particularly for those who do not have many options, was a common theme to the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit. As Princeton Professor Kornhauser, the conference organizer put it,…..” Read more  Hmmmm…. We had another excellent Session.  Thank you for the summary, Ken!  Alain


Ken Pyle‘s Session Summaries of 4th Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:
15th Session    Making it Happen – Part One: Elected Officials’ Role in Creating a Welcoming Environment in the Trentons of this World

14th Session    What Will Power Safely-driven Cars

13th Session    Improving the Moving of Goods

12th Session    3/18/21 Human-centered Design of Safe and Affordable Driverless Mobility

11th Session    3/11/21  Incentivizing Through Regulation

10th Session    3/04/21  Incentivizing Through Insurance

9th Session    2/25/21  Can Level 3 be Delivered?

8th Session    2/18/21  Who Will Build, Sell and Maintain Driverless Cars?

    Michael Sena’s SlidesGlenn Mercer Slides

7th Session    2/11/21  Finally Doing It
6th Session    2/ 4/21   Safe Enough in the Operational Design Domain
5th Session    1/28/21   At the Tipping Point
4th Session    1/21/21  Why Customers are Buying Them

3rd Session    1/14/21  The SmartDrivingCars We Can Buy Today
2nd Session   1/ 7/21  A Look into the Future
1st Session: 12/17/20  Setting the Stage

Kornhauser & He, April 2021 “Making it Happen:  A Proposal for Providing Affordable, High-quality, On-demand Mobility for All in the “Trentons” of this World” 

Orf467F20_FinalReport “Analyzing Ride-Share Potential and Empty Repositioning Requirements of a Nationwide aTaxi System

Kornhauser & He, March 2021 AV 101 + Trenton Affordable HQ Mobility Initiative


Staff, Dec 6, “The New Jersey Department of Transportation (“NJDOT”), an instrumentality of the State of New Jersey, has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (“RFEI”) to identify experienced firms capable of introducing a safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, and efficient on-demand automated vehicle mobility systems in and beyond Trenton, NJ.
NJDOT is soliciting written expressions of interest from qualified and experienced vendors to gain valuable insight from the private industry regarding the goals set forth in the Trenton MOVES (Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System) potential project and assess its viability.  If and when NJDOT elects to proceed with a potential project, NJDOT may issue formal
Request(s) for Qualifications or Proposals.

The RFEI is available to be downloaded at…”


Staff, March 2, “…” Read more  Hmmmm… Links to the 20 responses to NJ DoT’s Trenton MOVES RfEI.  Lots of very encouraging and enthusiastic respondents.  Thanks to NJ DoT for making the replies available to the public at large on a very timely basis allowing everyone to learn a lot and showing that there is broad and competent interest in deploying Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility throughout Trenton and beyond.  Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit 


Thursday (evening), June 2, Welcome Reception @ Alain’s home (Registration required)

Friday, June 3, Equitable Mobility Innovation Forum @ Princeton University (Registration required)

June 4, Equitable Mobility Festival @ Mayor Donnely Homes, Trenton, NJ (Open to All)

Live in Person

On the More Technical Side

K. Lockean’s AV Research Group at U of Texas

These editions are sponsored by the SmartETFs Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO. For more information head to provides technical support

 SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 262/ PodCast 262 w/ Michael Sena

F. Fishkin, March 30, The latest from the Symposium on the Future Networked Car,  the UK investigates laws for driverless cars, cars….politics and Russia, Tesla and some big news from Waymo.   The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for Smart Driving Cars episode 262.”

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 261/ PodCast 261 w/ Sven Beiker & Dick Mudge

F. Fishkin, March 25, “Where autonomous mobility vehicles operate matters.  But why does too.  And Mercedes takes a leap.    That and more as Sven Beiker of Silicon Valley Mobility and Dick Mudge of Compass Transportation join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 261 of Smart Driving Cars.”

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 260/ PodCast 260

F. Fishkin, March 21, “Apple reportedly has dissolved its car team and why is Alain now eating at McDonald’s?  Episode 260 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin has that plus GM, Cruise, Tesla, Aurora, Polestar and more.”-

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 259/ PodCast 259 w/ Mo ElShenawy, EVP of Engineering, Cruise

F. Fishkin, March 9, “Cruise, with GM and Honda as operating partners, has gone truly driverless in San Francisco and is seeking permission to eliminate steering wheels in the Cruise Origin.  EVP of Engineering Mo ElShenawy joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for a special edition of Smart Driving Cars.

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 258/ PodCast 258 w/ Michael Sena, Publisher, The Dispatcher

F. Fishkin, March 3, “How will electric vehicle charging stations make money?  The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena poses that question and many more on episode 258 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin.  Plus Ford creates a distinct EV car business, an update on NJ progress and more.   Tune in and subscribe….”

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 257/ PodCast 257 w/ Ciff Winston, Brookings Institute  & Marc Scribner,  Reason Foundation

F. Fishkin, Feb. 25, “So what about these reports and opinion pieces casting doubt on the future of autonomous mobility?  The Brookings Institution’s Cliff Winston and Reason Foundation’s Marc Scribner join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin to slice and dice.  Plus GM Cruise, VW and more..”

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 256 / PodCast 256  w/ Danny Shapiro, VP Automotive, NVIDIA

F. Fishkin, Feb. 18, ” With Jaguar Land Rover signing on to partner with NVIDIA for advanced driver assistance and autonomous capabilities in all of their vehicles starting in 2025,  what will the collaboration mean?   NVIDIA’s VP for Automotive Danny Shapiro joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the latest on Waymo, VW, Trenton and more.”

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 255 / PodCast 255  w/Brad Templeton

F. Fishkin, Feb. 11, ” The engaging debate over disengagements. In episode 255 of Smart Driving Cars, Sr. Transportation Contributor Brad Templeton engages with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser over the path to the future of autonomous mobility.   The latest data on disengagements from companies testing self driving vehicles in California,  Tesla, Cruise, Waymo and New Jersey begins funding Trenton MOVES…are part of the spirited discussion with co-host Fred Fishkin.”

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 254, Zoom-Cast Episode 254 w/Alex Roy,

F. Fishkin,Feb 4, “Why Self Driving Isn’t a Race, It’s a Game.  That’s what Alex Roy, Director of Special Projects at Argo AI writes at joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest Smart Driving Cars for a wide ranging discussion on that plus the latest on Trenton Moves, FreightWaves, Tesla,  Waymo, Cruise, Toyota and more .”

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 253, Zoom-Cast Episode 253 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher

F. Fishkin, Jan. 27, “The Federal Trade Commission looks to level the tech playing field…but “The Dispatcher” publisher Michael Sena has some words of warning.   He joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for that plus Tesla, Waymo and more on Episode 253 of Smart Driving Cars..”

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 252, Zoom-Cast Episode 252 /Michael Krauss, Prof. of Law Emeritus & Alexandra Mueller, IIHS

F. Fishkin, Jan. 20, ” The IIHS has announced it will rate vehicle partial automation systems.   Spearheading is research scientist Alexandra Mueller who joins us. And Professor Emeritus Michael Krauss from the George Mason University School of Law on the manslaughter charges leveled in a Tesla autopilot case in California.   Episode 252 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. “

SmartDrivingCars  Zoom-Cast Episode 251 /A. Kornhauser: Making it Happen:  Trenton MOVES… a Framework for…

F. Fishkin, Jan. 15, ” In this special edition of Smart Driving Cars, Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and his presentation: Making it Happen: Trenton Moves-a framework for the deployment of safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high quality transportation.      The focus is on providing autonomous mobility in a place where there is real need.  A first.   Join the effort.”

Link to 250 previous SDC PodCasts & ZoomCasts