Sunday, March 19, 2023

11th edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  ITU 2023 Future Networked Car Symposium: Session 2: Using Automotive Artificial Intelligence to Improve Vehicle Safety, Services and Transport Management

M. Sena, March 11., “ …During the next 3 h our panel of experts will discuss the topic of automated automotive artificial intelligence which is artificial intelligence applied to vehicle safety services, and transport management. I guarantee you they will do a much better job than ChatGPT or I’ll personally refund your attendance fees.

The generally accepted definition of artificial intelligence or AI is the application of computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision making capabilities of the human mind….”Read  more  Hmmmm….. Must watch video of session 2,  Fantastic session, especially the very frank remarks by Prof. Missy Cummings. Also watch the other 3 sessions linked here  Alain


 SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 309 / PodCast 309 w/ Michael Sena, ITU 2023

  F. Fishkin,  March 19, “Following The Future Networked Car ITU Symposium, committee member and moderator Michael Sena joins Alain and Fred for episode 309 of Smart Driving Cars. And a National Disability Institute study on how autonomous mobility could help millions join the workforce. Plus GM Cruise, Gatik and Krogers, Baidu and more.

0:00 open

0:53 Princeton sports!

1:40 ITU Symposium

4:35 Chat GPT

6:00 Missy Cummings at ITU

9:38 Safety systems not interconnected

13:45 ITU Symposium takeaways

30:40 UN regulations & autonomous vehicles Cruise and more

40:29 National Disability Institute report

45:11 Krogers and Gatik test autonomous trucks in Texas

54:30 Baidu reported offering driverless rides in Beijing




  Envisioning Profitable Autonomous Transit Networks

Alain Kornhauser, Feb 17, “It has been almost 20 years since the DARPA “SmartDrivingCar” Challenges and 15 years since Google jumped in with the objective of providing demand-responsive automated mobility and we’re still “envisioning” as if this challenge is like that of achieving nuclear fusion… always “50 years away, but once we get there, then the return to society is absolutely non-trivial”. Presented is my perspective on automated mobility gained from a more than 50 year career largely focused on achieving safe, affordable, equitable, sustainable high-quality mobility for our towns and cities. Reviewed will be what was tried and why it failed; where we’ve been recently and why it has struggled; and where is it that we might be going and what are the challenges and chances of success….”   Read  more  Hmmmm….. Slides & Annotations   Lineup of the Spring 2023 series.   Alain


The case against transportation policy priority one being electrified personal cars

Robin Chase, March 17, “At the COP in Glasgow, in the Inflation Reduction Act (the US’s largest infrastructure commitment since Eisenhower), in wealth country subsidies, and in major philanthropic investments, the electrification of personal vehicles has been touted as the single most important way to address CO2 emissions in the transport sector. It’s not. I’ll do a scan of life cycle analyses, the implications for lithium supply, demographics of the planet, and the opportunity to multipurpose investments and then discuss better and more effective policy choices. Promoting quality car-independent lifestyles is paramount.”,  Read  more   Hmmmm…..  Very powerful!  (Slides & annotations to be posted)  Alain


   Economic Impacts of Removing Transportation Barriers to Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Through Autonomous Vehicle Adoption  

Staff, Dec. 30, 2022, “People with disabilities represent a large and underutilized component of the United States labor market. One critical barrier to competitive integrated employment and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities is a lack of accessible transportation options. This study combined a robust literature review, economic impact analysis and qualitative analysis to examine the how accessible, affordable and sustainable autonomous vehicles (AVs) could increase employment for people with disabilities and strengthen the broader economy….”  Read  more   Hmmmm…..  Absolutely!   We are currently evaluating the operational implications of our Trenton MOVES initiatives on the implications of enhanced mobility for people with special needs and developmental disabilities.  This is work in progress.  Opportunities in this mobility sector appear to be substantial.  More later.   Alain


Ruderman Family Foundation Home Page     Self-Driving Cars: The Impact on People with Disabilities

Staff, Jan 2017, “Self-driving cars have almost become a staple of everyday conversation. You hear about them on the radio, read about them in the newspapers, and you see them on TV, and not just in sci-fi movies. So as this technology becomes more common-place, it’s important to recognize that what we may term a self-driving car these days is strictly speaking, not one. While more and more cars have self-driving features installed—like highly advanced auto-pilot modes—the day when our car comes to get us from the airport all by itself is still far off in the future…. “  Read  more   Hmmmm…..  A 6 year old study on the topic. Mobility opportunities for this sector of our society are abysmal compared to what those of us that can operate and afford a personal automobile.  The 24/7 demand responsive Level of Service and affordability opportunity of a well-designed Trenton MOVES  can substantially ”level the mobility playing field”  with respect to these two most important mobility attributes for this sector of our society..  Also, to paraphrase the comment made by Robin Chase during last Friday’s MIT Mobility Forum:  At any instant of time 50% of Americans have no access to mobility father than they can walk or bum a ride.  Alain


Cruise says it doesn’t need a greenlight from federal highway regulators to test its autonomous Origin shuttle on Texas roads

A. Guzman, March 17, “Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt traveled from San Francisco to Austin for South by Southwest this week eager to share updates on the driverless car company backed by General Motors. Among the items on Vogt’s brag list: Its fleet of robotaxis recently surpassed the one million miles driven mark, and, one year after deploying two autonomous cars without safety drivers behind the steering wheel, Cruise now has roughly 160 completely driver-free vehicles navigating public roads.


But Vogt’s biggest news involved the 6-passenger Origin shuttle, which has no steering wheel, brakes or other human controls on board. Cruise will begin testing the Origin on public roads in Austin within weeks, Vogt said.  This appears to have been news not only to the attendees of SXSW, but to federal regulators, who have been scrutinizing Cruise’s plans to deploy the futuristic-looking vehicle.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has “reached out” to GM to discuss Cruise’s announcement, a spokesperson told Fortune….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  If Cruise can test its Origin Shuttle on Texas Roads, it may also be able to test it on Trenton, NJ roads.  Hopefully they’ll discuss that opportunity with us.  We believe we have repeat customers for the safe, affordable  high-quality mobility that Origin could provide throughout the Trenton MOVES Operational Design Domain.  Alain


  Kroger set to use self-driving trucks for deliveries

Staff, March 18, “Self-driving trucks will soon start making deliveries at some Kroger stores in the Dallas area, the company announced.  Kroger has partnered with Gatik to use its midsize trucks to carry goods between a Kroger fulfillment center and the nation’s largest grocer’s stores, the companies said Wednesday.


The Gatik trucks, with a safety driver initially, will make repeated delivery runs multiple times a day, seven days a week for Kroger. The routes include semi-urban and highway driving at up to 70 miles per hour. The routes average 60 miles per round trip….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  We await the news “… without a safety driver…”.  That news will make it  “1st in the world”.  Alain


Baidu (BIDU) robotaxis offering fully-driverless rides continue to take over China

S. Doll, March 17, “ Apollo Go, tech company Baidu’s robotaxi service, has received a permit to offer fully-driverless rides in Beijing, expanding its autonomous ride-hailing service to three major cities in China. Following the awarded permit, Baidu is now the first company in the entire world to offer fully-driverless rides to the over 21 million residents in China’s capital city. …


Baidu announced its awarded robotaxi permit for Beijing in a press release today, sharing services will begin with the deployment 10 fully-driverless vehicles in the city’s Yizhuang Economic Development Zone.   The tech company states that Apollo Go is already providing an average of over 20 rides per EV, per day in that zone, which is higher than the average daily rides for traditional ride-hailing services….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  20 rides (personTrips???) per day per EV is not very productive.  That is less than one ride per hour or 2 rides per hour if operations is limited to 12 hours per day.  For a city with “… 21 million residents…” this Operational Design Domain (ODD) doesn’t seem to be one for which affordable, high-quality, demand-responsive mobility is highly desirelable.  What are the important attributes of this ODD?. Why deploy there?      Alain


The CEO of GM’s Cruise thinks driverless cars will rule the road in 5 years: ‘Humans are so bad at driving

P. Wahba, March 16, “Autonomous vehicles hold a lot of promise, removing one of the biggest daily time sucks for millions of Americans and reducing human error in driving. But even as manufacturers rush to perfect the software, recent headlines about crashes involving self-driving vehicles may give potential riders, and certain lawmakers, pause.


A March poll from the American Automobile Association found that 68% of Americas fear riding in an autonomous vehicle, up from 55% in 2022.


Still, Kyle Vogt, the CEO of General Motors’s driverless car maker Cruise, aims to have a fleet of at least 1 million robo-taxis on U.S. roads by 2030 and in markets like Japan and Dubai. He says their wide adoption is inevitable because of how much time Americans will save, the environmental and safety benefits, and changing attitudes toward car ownership. “One of the greatest shifts that will occur in our lifetimes is going from driving to being driven,” he tells Fortune. … “  Read  more  Hmmmm….. I love the vision, and hopefully at least 100,000 of those Origins will be on New Jersey streets by 2030.


From my perspective, New Jersey is the world’s best market opportunity for a robo-taxi business.  We have the right density (not too space, not too dense), reasonably flat, reasonably good streets, reasonably good weather (not too hot, not too cold, little snow, really good ~350 days a year), great rail system to feed for longer trips (especially to Manhattan. Philly, Newark International Airport), a Total Addressable Market of more than 30 million person trips per day ( a third of which could be very efficiently served by that fleet of 100,000 Origins). 


Base profits (fare-cost) from the operation of the NJ Origin fleet can readily be greater than $10M/day (~ 300 days/year); $3B/year (every year); valuation $30B and that’s just the NJ personRides business.  Do Japan and/or Dubai look better than that??   Alain


  Highways are getting deadlier, with fatalities up 22%. Our smartphone addiction is a big reason why

R. Mitchell, March 14, “ Highway fatalities are on the rise again — 46,000 in the U.S. in 2022, up 22%, according to numbers released last week. How many of those deaths involved distracted driving?


“It’s much bigger than the data show,” said Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Data collection methods are so riddled with problems, he said, that reliable estimates are difficult if not impossible.

But if those methods aren’t improved, and soon, Landsberg said, the carnage induced by unsafe use of cellphones and other forms or distracted driving will continue.


“This is an epidemic,” he said. And it’s not just deaths. “Everybody talks about fatalities, but there are hundreds of thousands or more life-altering injuries — broken limbs, brain injuries, horrible burns. This doesn’t have to happen. These crashes are not accidents. They are completely preventable.”…” Read  more  Hmmmm…..  It is not only mis-behaving in driving (texting, speeding, tailgating, drinking) but as Robin Chase pointed out, people aren’t wearing seat belts!.  . Alain


Tesla Doubles Down on Giga Berlin, Tops Charging Satisfaction

R. Maurer, March 16, ” Tesla files expansion plans for Giga Berlin Banks back First Republic Clarification on prior episode Tesla tops JD Power home charging survey Polestar teases EV update Starship update”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  Another tough week. Alain



MIT Mobility Forum: Spring 2023

Fridays 12:00-13:00 Boston Time Open to the public


Hosted by Prof. Jinhua Zhao

  Save the Date: 

6th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:

Monday Evening, May 22 -> Wednesday 5pm, May 24, 2023


TRB Automated Transportation Symposium

San Francisco, CA, July 9-13


Bridging Transportation Researchers (BTR) Conference

Paper Submission deadline: April 30

August. 9 & 10

On-line Conference