Friday, October 14, 2022

37th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  The Long Run to Autonomous Vehicles

K. Pyle, Oct. 13, “Autonomous vehicles (AV) provide the opportunity to correct government transportation failures is how the Brookings Institution’s Clifford Winston characterized the potential opportunity provided by autonomous vehicles. Winston spoke to the possible economic impact of autonomous vehicles in an online media briefing (YouTube video) that also included speakers from Princeton and the Reason Foundation who touched on the technology and the role of public policy and regulation. A lively question and answer period followed the briefing….”  Read more Hmmmm…  Ken, thank you.  Excellent.  Alain

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 287 /PodCast 287 Special Edition: The ABCs of Autonomous Vehicles: Technology, Economics and Policy

F. Fishkin, Oct. 12,  “A special webinar edition of Smart Driving Cars:  From the Reason Foundation , The Brookings Institution and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, welcome to the ABCs of Autonomous Vehicles: Technology, Economics and Policy.  Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser, Cliff Winston of Brookings and Marc Scribner of Reason and moderator Fred Fishkin.



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

  Removing Roadblocks for Others – Stephen Still

K. Pyle, Oct. 7, “Stephen Still’s memorial to Heyward Patterson at the 5th Annual SmartDrivingCars Summit provided a tragic example of why better mobility options are needed for the people in countless neighborhoods and regions of the U.S.

As background, Heyward Patterson was the so-called jitney driver providing rides to the grocery store for people in Buffalo without a car or the ability to drive a car. This was just one of the many volunteer roles that Deacon Patterson performed through his Church. As his cousin said,

He did the little, small things, which became the very big things. By taking people to the grocery store, by looking out for people who are getting a job, just giving the extra step to make sure that our people are good.”

Tragically, along with nine others, Patterson’s life was cut short last May while doing his essential volunteer work….” Read more Hmmmm… Excellent, read and watch video.  Alain

  Launching the Waymo Accessibility Network

Wamo One, Oct. 6. “Since our founding, Waymo has partnered with and listened to advocates for people with disabilities. As we continually improve our technology, we will strive to put individual passengers – with their diverse needs and experiences – at the center of our product to co-create the Waymo One ride-hailing service together.

Today, we’re launching the Waymo Accessibility Network to formalize and scale our longstanding collaboration with disability advocates. This will expand inclusion of their crucial voices and valuable perspectives as we work together to shape the future of transportation….”  Read more Hmmmm… Very good Waymo.  You’ve been in it for people with disabilities from the very beginning.  However, I’m surprised that there is no mention of association with groups focused on helping the economically challenged, public/affordable housing advocates or the mobility challenges of Arizona’s indigenous population.  Alain

  Despite warnings, many people treat partially automated vehicles as self-driving

Staff, Oct. 11, “Drivers who use partial automation on a regular basis often treat their vehicles as fully self-driving despite widespread warnings and numerous high-profile crash reports, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows.

Regular users of Cadillac Super Cruise, Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist and Tesla Autopilot said they were more likely to perform non-driving-related activities like eating or texting while using their partial automation systems than while driving unassisted. More worrying, 53 percent of Super Cruise users, 42 percent of Autopilot users and 12 percent of ProPILOT Assist users said that they were comfortable treating their vehicles as fully self-driving.

“The big-picture message here is that the early adopters of these systems still have a poor understanding of the technology’s limits,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “But we also see clear differences among the three owner populations. It’s possible that system design and marketing are adding to these misconceptions.”…” Read more Hmmmm…  Yes.  Alain

MIT Mobility Forum  Credit-based Congestion Pricing for Win-Win Traffic Solutions

Oct.21 @ noon EDT, Kara Kockelman, “Credit-based Congestion Pricing for Win-Win Traffic Solutions”.   Please register at Zoom beforehand. ” Read more  Hmmmm… An absolutely excellent lineup, every Friday, which started on Friday, Sept. 16th with Prof. Susan Handy’84, UC Davis.  Alain

How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails

R. Vartabedian, Oct. 9,  “Building the nation’s first bullet train, which would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, was always going to be a formidable technical challenge, pushing through the steep mountains and treacherous seismic faults of Southern California with a series of long tunnels and towering viaducts.

But the design for the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure project was never based on the easiest or most direct route. Instead, the train’s path out of Los Angeles was diverted across a second mountain range to the rapidly growing suburbs of the Mojave Desert — a route whose most salient advantage appeared to be that it ran through the district of a powerful Los Angeles county supervisor.

The dogleg through the desert was only one of several times over the years when the project fell victim to political forces that have added billions of dollars in costs and called into question whether the project can ever be finished……”  Read more Hmmmm…  See also by Reason Foundation’s M. Welch “We Told You Why and How California’s High-Speed Rail Wouldn’t Work. You Chose Not To Listen” .  Thank goodness Driverless cars & trucks don’t need any infrastructure! 🙂 Alain

  A tweet launched an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot software

M. McFarland, Oct. 12, “Green, an influential Twitter account with a track record of revealing insights about Tesla from software analysis, made an observation about some of the company’s latest software that has piqued the interest of a European car safety organization.

Green tweeted that Tesla recently added the name of an Australian and Asian vehicle testing ground to its software. There are other vehicle testing grounds also listed in the code, he said, located in Europe, China and Korea. Important tests that benchmark vehicle safety happen at these sites, which have government and industry support. This curious inclusion of testing ground names in the code, Green suggests, could indicate that Tesla vehicles are designed to perform differently in testing grounds. That could undermine the quality of test results.

Now Euro NCAP, Europe’s government-backed organization that evaluates vehicle safety, is investigating Tesla following this suggestion.

So far regulators have found no evidence of any wrongdoing, Euro NCAP program director Aled Williams told CNN Business in an email last week. (NCAP stands for new car assessment program.) The agency performs tests and assigns new vehicles a safety rating from zero to five stars. It’s highly respected in Europe.

“The integrity of its star-rating scheme is of utmost importance to Euro NCAP and we will continue to do all we can to ensure the rating reflects the safety which consumers can expect from their vehicles,” Williams said. “So far, Euro NCAP’s investigations have not revealed any evidence of an attempt to ‘cheat’ the tests by Tesla.”…” Read more Hmmmm…  Great. Alain

  Tesla slips, but still owns two-thirds of the US EV market

F. Lambert, Oct 6, “Tesla’s market shares slip in the US, but the automaker still owns two-thirds of the rapidly growing market.

For years now, Tesla has dominated the electric auto market in its home country. It is expected that Tesla’s hold on the market will erode as more EV options hit and help grow the US market, but for now, the US EV market is still extremely dependent on Tesla’s production and deliveries.

For the entire year of 2020, Tesla vehicles accounted for 79% of new electric vehicles registered in the United States. In 2021, that number went down to 69.95%, but that’s still impressive with EV delivery volumes significantly increasing throughout the year along with Tesla’s prices…. ” Read more  Hmmmm… Hmmmm… Remains impressive.  Alain

Gatik Goes Driverless In Canada For Grocery Giant Loblaws

E. Garsten, Oct. 5, “…Narang pointed out the company also worked closely with the Ontario government to win the proper approvals to operate driverless over provincial roadways….” Read more Hmmmm…  Ontario’s “Driverless testing conditions” requires “…  have signs on the automated vehicle clearly showing that the vehicle is a driverless automated vehicle being tested.…”.  The truck shown in the article does not have such a sign.  Why? 

While there may not be anyone “behind the wheel”, the article does not explicitly state there there is no one inside the cab.  Why wasn’t that stated explicitly? Alain

The Dreadful Toll of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions — and What We Can Do About It

M. Skroch, Oct. 4, “Most people might be surprised to learn that the combined distance of paved roads in the United States could encircle the Earth more than 160 times. While these roads and highways make up critical infrastructure, there are significant downsides to all that asphalt and concrete, including wildlife-vehicle collisions. These accidents lead to some 200 human deaths and 26,000 injuries each year, resulting in more than $8 billion in property damage, health-care costs and lost workdays, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Collisions are, of course, a losing scenario for wildlife as well, and not just because of the immediate toll they take on animals’ lives. In Wyoming, for example, the mule deer population, which supports more than $300 million in annual hunting-related spending in the state, has decreased by 40 percent since 2000, due in large part to habitat fragmentation caused by roads and development. But there is good news: Recent advances in science and policy have given us the tools to help solve this problem, starting with an understanding of how and where wildlife move…” Read more Hmmmm…   I’ve “killed” 7 deer in my life yet have never gone hunting.  All “unavoidable” car strikes on local roads New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Otherwise, I’ve been very lucy to have only one minor “my fault” crash and a couple “other guy’s fault” minor fender benders.   I and the deer population could really use some help here. I’m clueless. Alain