Friday, December 30, 2022

48th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter


   Automotive AI Is Making Both Cars and Drivers Better

M. Sena, Dec. 28, “ AUTOMOTIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AAI) is a term that has different meanings, depending upon who is using it. For some, it means completely removing the human from the driving task and turning over control of the vehicle to software and sensors. For others, the goal of AAI is to supplement and improve the human driver’s abilities in order to make driving safer, offer new and better services, and increase the effectiveness of transport management. The latter goal, improving the driving experience, has proven achievable with AI that accomplishes one or a limited set of objectives. The former goal, removing the human from the driving task, has proven to be devilishly difficult because the car needs to drive at least as well as a human.


AI that can approximate a human, that has the ability to understand and learn any intellectual task that a human can, is called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). It is also called ‘Strong AI’, with its six major branches: machine learning, neural networks, robotics, expert systems, fuzzy logic and natural language processing. AI that has proven to be excellent at accomplishing one goal at a time, like playing chess, or interpretring spoken commands or answering questions like APPLE’s SIRI, is called ‘Weak AI’.   ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. If Elon can call FSD “FSD”, then Michael can call AI “AI”. (Please at least read The Turing Test). Both are names that enormously over-state their realities.  FSD is not anywhere near Full anything and AI is nowhere near Intelligent.  Both do a few cute things in very narrow circumstances and neither can find their way out of a paper bag.  Alain

   SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 297 / PodCast297 w/ M! ichael Sena, Creator of The Dispatch

“F. Fishkin, Dec. 30, “AI, driver monitoring systems and safety are on top in Michael Sena’s latest issue of The Dispatcher. He joins Alain and Fred for that and much more on Tesla, Elon Musk, Aurora, a look at the year that was and a look ahead. Smart Driving Cars episode 297. 0:00 open 1:00 ChatGPT and AI 6:00 Alain’s take on AI 20:00 Elon Musk, FSD and more 22:00 Aurora’s Urmson sees driverless shakeout but not his own 30:40 Bosch is not giving up on internal combustion engines 32:50 Senator Manchin wants to block EV tax credit cheating 40:17 China and the global car market 46:30 Consumer Reports delivers ADAS guidelines to automakers 48:00 At end of 2022 a look at the progress and a look ahead”  732-928-4691

Technical support provided by:  a 501c3 dedicated to Safe & High-Quality Mobility for All.  Tax-deductible donations are most appreciated @ Support CARTS’ mission to provide safe & high-quality mobility for all


   Save the Date:  6th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit: 

Tuesday Evening, May 23 -> Thursday 5pm, May 25, 2023 

  Plagiarism using ChatGPT

D. Hicks,  Dec. 15, “Today, I turned in the first plagiarist I’ve caught using A.I. software to write her work, and I thought some people might be curious about the details.


The student used ChatGPT (, an advanced chatbot that produces human-like responses to user-generated prompts. Such prompts might range from “Explain the Krebs cycle” to (as in my case) “Write 500 words on Hume and the paradox of horror.”
This technology is about 3 weeks old.


ChatGPT responds in seconds with a response that looks like it was written by a human—moreover, a human with a good sense of grammar and an understanding of how essays should be structured. In my case, the first indicator that I was dealing with A.I. is that, despite the syntactic coherence of the essay, it made no sense. The essay confidently and thoroughly described Hume’s views on the paradox of horror in a way that were thoroughly wrong. It did say some true things about Hume, and it knew what the paradox of horror was, but it was just bullshitting after that. To someone who didn’t know what Hume would say about the paradox, it was perfectly readable—even compelling. To someone familiar with the material, it raised any number of flags. ChatGPT also sucks at citing, another flag. This is good news for upper-level courses in philosophy, where the material is pretty complex and obscure. But for freshman-level classes (to say nothing of assignments in other disciplines, where one might be asked to explain the dominant themes of Moby Dick, or the causes of the war in Ukraine—both prompts I tested), this is a game-changer. ..…”  Read more  Hmmmm… Only took about 3 weeks for something good to become a way to lie, cheat, steal &/or porn following in the footsteps of BitCoin, ChatRoulette,  VCRs, and so many others.  So sad.  Alain


   Big Tech Companies Join Linux in Effort to Kill Google Maps

K. Barr,  Dec. 15, “Some of Google’s biggest rivals are coming together in a kind of rogues gallery with the hopes of creating new open source services to knock Google Maps from its mapping throne.

On Thursday, the nonprofit Linux Foundation announced its own open project that’s meant to collate new map projects through available datasets. And several other major companies have come out of the woodwork to support it in what seems like a bid to finally end Google’s domineering geolocation reign. Those companies include Meta, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and none other than Dutch geolocation company TomTom.. …”  Read more  Hmmmm… . Location services and digital maps have been fundamentally important since at least 1979 when I co-founded ALK Technologies and created ALK Maps and the Princeton Transportation Network Model and Graphical Information System (PTM/GIS).  Nice to see geolocation still flourishing. 🙂 Alain


  N.J. Turnpike agrees to pay billions to help fund the Gateway Tunnel

L. Higgs, Dec. 21, “ New Jersey Turnpike Authority commissioners approved a landmark funding agreement Tuesday to make billions of dollars in annual loan payments to help finance New Jersey’s share of the Gateway Hudson River rail tunnel project.

Under the unanimously approved agreement, the state treasurer will make an annual $124 million loan payment on behalf of the state for its share of the $16 billion project to build two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River and to rehabilitate the existing 112-year-old tunnels.

In July, New York and New Jersey agreed to each pick up 25% of the cost. New Jersey officials plan to apply for low interest, long term federal railroad loans to finance the state’s share. Turnpike funds would be used to make monthly payments on the loan. Those payments are estimated to start in 2033.

There are also plans for 50% of the tunnel cost to be paid through federal grants, but that money has not been awarded yet.

The agreement also calls for the Turnpike Authority to contribute an additional $1.66 million monthly starting next year for the Gateway Development Commission budget. The newly-formed commission overseeing the tunnel project approved its first $58 million operating and capital budget on Dec.14. ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Great that the Tunnel is going forward and NJ can now also focus on MOVES-style mobility initiatives.  Alain


  Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is blamed for eight-car pileup in California

U. Shakir, Dec. 22, “…In the report, the driver of the Tesla blamed the automaker’s Full Self-Driving software that allegedly malfunctioned and caused a sudden slowdown. The Thanksgiving incident left nine people with minor injuries, including one child that was hospitalized..…”  Read more  Hmmmm… Sounds like another “dog  ate my homework excuse”.  Every owner/user of FSD knows that FSD is a Beta version (doesn’t really work) , that they must remain attentive during its use and that if anything bad happens, it is on them.   Alain


CR Delivers Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Guidelines to Automakers

M. Monticello, Dec. 13, “In an effort to decrease confusion about advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and increase their use, Consumer Reports today provided detailed guidelines to automakers to help them design more user-friendly controls and displays. 

The ADAS features found on many of today’s new vehicles—including adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane centering assistance (LCA), lane departure warning (LDW), and lane keeping assistance (LKA)—can help make driving easier and safer. But CR has found that consumers are often confused about what the various systems are capable of doing, as well as what all the different displays and alerts inside the car are trying to tell the driver. That confusion can lead to drivers disabling the systems and, consequently, losing whatever safety benefits and convenience they provide.  ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Excellent recommendations here. Alain


U.S. manufacturing orders from China down 40% in unrelenting demand collapse

J. DiNapoli, Dec. 4 ”U.S. logistic managers are bracing for delays in the delivery of goods from China in early January as a result of canceled sailings of container ships and rollovers of exports by ocean carriers.

Carriers have been executing on an active capacity management strategy by announcing more blank sailings and suspending services to balance supply with demand. “The unrelenting decline in container freight rates from Asia, caused by a collapse in demand, is compelling ocean carriers to blank more sailings than ever before as vessel utilization hits new lows,” said Joe Monaghan, CEO of Worldwide Logistics Group.

U.S. manufacturing orders in China are down 40 percent, according to the latest CNBC Supply Chain Heat Map data. As a result of the decrease in orders, Worldwide Logistics tells CNBC it is expecting Chinese factories to shut down two weeks earlier than usual for the Chinese Lunar New Year — Chinese New Year’s Eve falls on Jan. 21 next year. The seven days after the holiday are considered a national holiday. …”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Ships arriving in December are too late to be useful to serve holiday demands; however, the expectation must be that demand for goods is really going to be slow in Q1- 2023. Alain


Big EV Credit Updates, Tesla Production Estimates, Leaked Musk Email

R. Maurer, Dec. 29, “ IRS and Treasury Department issue updates on US EV credits
Leaked Elon Musk email to Tesla employees before quarter end
Alex Potter reiterates TSLA price target
Production and delivery estimates for Q4
Tesla recaps 2022 progress ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Interesting.   Alain


  Port of New York and New Jersey Remains US’ Top Container Port

E. Haun, , Dec. 28, ”The Port of New York and New Jersey has held onto the title as the United States’ busiest container port for a fourth consecutive month.

In recent months, U.S. East Coast ports have reported elevated container volumes as trade diverts from the U.S. West Coast where shippers have been hindered by labor disputes and logistics bottlenecks.

The Port of New York and New Jersey, which surpassed the Port Los Angeles as the nation’s busiest in August, said it moved 723,069 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in November 2022, an increase of 20.6% compared to November 2019. …”  Read  more  Hmmmm… This is a substantial shift in global logistics and world trade. Not only is it a shift geographically, and the gross volume is down substantially. Alain


Union Pacific proposes pilot program to have just 1 person operating trains

J. DiNapoli, Dec. 16, ”Union Pacific, the Omaha, Nebraska-based rail giant, revealed a proposed pilot program on Tuesday to “redeploy” train conductors to grounds-based positions.

The announcement comes amid hearings at the Federal Rail Administration about a proposed rule that would require railroads to have at least two crew members in the cab of a locomotive. Freight trains are typically operated by two employees: a conductor and an engineer.

Class I railroads, which dominate the $80 billion freight rail industry, have pushed for years to eliminate the in-cab conductor role. They say much of the conductor job has been largely automated out as most rail in the United States operate under a bundle of technologies called positive train control, which automatically prevents train collisions. Trains largely only need engineers to operate, according to railroads.

However, unions and rail employees disagree that automation has made the role of rail conductor redundant. They also say that having only one person in the cab of a freight train would make the job more unsafe. It could also threaten communities through which railroads traverse. …”  Read  more  Hmmmm… This is some progress towards  engineerless railroads. Since the engineers rarely respond to things other than cab signals, they could easily be taken out of that loop and be available to be “redeployed” to ground-based positions as remote oversee-ers of line haul operation, as rapid responders in emergency situations and/or as terminal operations support that would allow them to live at home with short commutes like most employees.  Win-win! Alain


The US Parking Report – Best & Worst US Cities

Zutobi, , Dec. 1, “… We have ranked each city on 8 important factors ranging from car park amenities to customer reviews and the ever-important pricing. A full list of factors included in the ranking can be found in the methodology. Cities were ranked based on a normalized score calculated by combining their scores on each of our 8 factors.  ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Somewhat interesting; however, the issue of parking is more about neighborhoods (very local) rather than cities. Alain

  How TikTok Became a Diplomatic Crisis

A. Palmer, Dec. 20, “ On March 10, two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House convened a Zoom call with 30 prominent TikTok creators. Jen Psaki, then the White House press secretary, and members of the National Security Council staff briefed the creators, who together had tens of millions of followers, on the latest news from the conflict and the White House’s goals and priorities. The meeting followed a similar effort the previous summer, in which the White House recruited dozens of TikTokers to help encourage young people to get vaccinated against Covid.

The app had only become more popular in the intervening months. “We recognize this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest,” the White House director of digital strategy, Rob Flaherty, told the assembled group. “So we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source.” Yet at the same time, the Biden administration was more than a year into negotiations with ByteDance, the Chinese company that created and owns TikTok, about national security concerns surrounding the app. In fact, the White House staff members who organized and briefed the TikTok creators were barred from downloading the app on their work phones.”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Amazing propaganda machine.  Alain