Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023

36th edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter 

Image removed by sender. Techstination: your destination for gadgets and gear   NHTSA says nearly half of all car seats incorrectly installed

F. Fishkin, Sept. 17, “….NHTSA says nearly half of all car seats to protect child safety are incorrectly installed.   Acting Administrator Ann Carlson says the agency is offering help during Child Passenger Safety Week.   How?   Carlson chats with Techstination’s Fred Fishkin…

4:17 Status of approval process for GM Cruise Origin vehicle without steering wheel or pedals.”   Read  more  Hmmmm…  Certainly car seats need to be correctly installed; however,  where Fred goes @ 4:17 into the interview is important for improving the quality of life of many, especially those who have been mostly left behind on the mobility spectrum. Response from NHTSA isn’t the most satisfying.  Alain


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 335 PodCast 335 w Ariel Wolf, Venable Autonomous & Connected Mobility

F. Fishkin,  Sept. 20, “How long will NHTSA take to approve the Cruise Origin exemption to build without a steering wheel or pedals? Fred Fishkin chats with the acting NHTSA administrator and co-host Alain Kornhauser and guest Ariel Wolf, who heads Venable’s Autonomous and Connected Mobility practice offer insights. Plus Cathie Wood, Tesla, SpaceX and more. 0:00 open

0:42 Ariel Wolf on Venable’s autonomous and mobility practice

2:37 Techstination interview excerpts with NHTSA acting administrator on Cruise Origin

4:02 discussion of the approval practice with Alain, Ariel and Fred

16:16 Cruise has announced wheel chair accessible version as well

27:17 SF Fire Chief statement that Cruise autonomous vehicle was not directly responsible for the death of a pedestrian

35:00 Cruise CEO says backlash has been sensationalized

41:36 Allegations against companies making mobility safer are concerning

49:40 Cathie Wood says when it comes to self driving taxis’s a winner take most market for Tesla

51:42 A go ahead for Cruise Origin could always be corrected if need be.

53:10 Legal changes needed and are being worked on

54:16 Rob Mauer at Tesla Daily had interview with Musk biographer Walter Isaacson”


Robotic Shuttle Van Drives Itself Around Newark Airport (VIDEOS)

E. Kiefer, Sept. 14, “At first glance, it almost reads like the setup to a joke: “Let’s put a robot in charge of driving a shuttle bus around Newark Airport.” But according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the experiment that’s been taking place at the airport for the past month is no laughing matter – in fact, it could be a glimpse into the future of the travel industry.

On Thursday, the Port Authority held a demonstration of its latest technological advancement: a driverless shuttle van.

The month-long experiment is being conducted in partnership with STV and Perrone Robotics. Here’s what to know about it, the Port Authority says:…


According to the Port Authority, it marked the first time an autonomous vehicle took to a public road in the state of New Jersey..…”   Read  more  Hmmmm…  Except:

it is not “the first” to drive itself on public roads with a backup attendant/driver in New Jersey (I did it (not well) 18 years ago, nVIDIA did it well 6 years ago (That’s Chenyi Chen’s head overseeing the driving (one of my PhD sons and, of course, I tried to get the PANYNJ & NJ Transit to experiment with this technology on the express buses using the XBL 28 years ago, but who is counting 😎)…
It is really nice that the PANYNJ is finally taking a serious look. They could do it for real, and it could be really valuable to them and deliver an attractive RoI. And would certainly help create a welcoming environment in NJ for this technology that would motivate those who can do this at scale to come and invest in New Jersey.
🎉  Alain


  Meet Ernie, China’s answer to ChatGPT

Business, Sept. 3, “Ernie bot has some controversial views on science. China’s leading artificial-intelligence (ai) chatbot, which was released to the public on August 31st, reckons that covid-19 originated among American vape users in July 2019; later that year the virus was spread to the Chinese city of Wuhan, via American lobsters. On matters of politics, by contrast, the chatbot is rather quiet. Ernie is confused by questions such as “Who is China’s president?” and will tell you the name of Xi Jinping’s mother, but not those of his siblings. It draws a blank if asked about the drawbacks of socialism. It often attempts to redirect sensitive conversations by saying: “Let’s talk about something else.”

Ernie’s reticence will come as no shock to Chinese users familiar with a heavily censored internet. They may be more surprised by the chatbot’s origins. For Ernie is the brainchild of Baidu, a Chinese tech giant that has for years been outshone by rivals. Now, thanks to ai, the company is staging a comeback. The extent to which it succeeds will say much about the prospects for the Chinese technology industry, which is squeezed on one side by America’s export controls and on the other by Mr Xi’s increasing authoritarianism.…”   Read  more  Hmmmm…  This highlights a challenge of the internet since its creation.  It desperately needs a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” .  In part, Googlesearch has implicitly achieved that sense of fairness and quality, if one can skip over the sponsored results that proliferate at the top of a search; however, one really doesn’t know the extent of the biases built into Google’s rankings.  

We’ve now evolved to some “black box” that’s been trained on who knows what data set. The opportunity to bias such a black box is so inviting that it instantly becomes the ultimate propaganda machine.  Rather than inundating you with repeated slogans as per 1984, that you can largely ignore, it instantly “intelligently” responds with the best biased answer to any question your mind is seeking to have answered.  That really has to be the ultimate propaganda machine… respond with the best answer that best serves the propagandist’s objective at the time when one mind is most yearning for an answer. Brainwashing has become infinitely easier!  Wow!  This is playing with fire.  Alain


Image removed by sender.  The REAL Story of Elon Musk with Walter Isaacson

R. Mauer, Sept 15, ” Walter Isaacson joins Rob Maurer to discuss the biography of Elon Musk
Link to book: 0:00 Intro 0:40 Shadowing Elon Musk 2:50 Perception of Elon 4:00 Elon & Engineering 4:45 Elon on Cybertruck 5:30 The Algorithm 6:15 Full Self-Driving 7:45 FSD 12 9:23 Optimus 10:23 Time Management 12:11 Standout Moments 15:30 The Storm 16:55 Elon’s Next Endeavor 20:45 Is Elon a Good Person? 24:07 Elon’s Management Style 25:59 Progress vs. Comfort 30:46 Elon’s Trajectory 33:07 $25,000 Car 35:45 Closing Thoughtss  Read  more  Hmmmm…. Most interesting.  A must read. I am such a fan boy! 😁 Alain


   ARK CEO Cathie Wood on self-driving taxis: It’s a ‘winner take most’ market for Tesla 

Fast Money Sept. 18, “Cathie Wood, ARK Invest CEO, joins ‘Fast Money’ to talk Tesla, her investing playbook, autonomous vehicles and much more.”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Yup!  Watch the video.  Essentially the same thing that she said at the recently completed Florida AV Conference. Alain


   Cruise: The Future is Here Now | The Road to Autonomy

G. Brulte, Sept. 19, ” Gil West, Chief Operating Officer, Cruise joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss how Cruise is scaling operations across the world. The conversation begins with Gil discussing GM’s revenue target for Cruise of $1 billion in revenue by 2025. We are on target. – Gil West Cruise is on target to hit their revenue goal because they are scaling. Currently Cruise has operations in 15 cities in 10 states. As Cruise scales, they are creating a flywheel effect that continuously improves their operations. We are creating a flywheel effect as we go to market and scale. – Gil West…

 Chapters: 0:00 The Road to Autonomy Index 0:55 Introduction 1:17 Cruise $1 Billion 2025 Revenue Target Reaffirmed 2:45 Scaling Cruise and Maintaining the Experience 9:13 Expansion into New Cities 22:41 Pick-up Times 24:37 Future Cruise Experiences 29:54 Cruise Origin 35:53 Operating a Profitable Business 39:22 Future of Cruise.”  Read  more  Hmmmm…. Grayson… excellent!  Alain



File:New York                Times logo variation.jpg - Wikimedia Commons   The Big City Where Housing Is Still Affordable 


B. Applebaum, Sept 11, ” Yuta Yamasaki and his wife moved from southern Japan to Tokyo a decade ago because job prospects were better in the big city. They now have three sons — ages 10, 8 and 6 — and they are looking for a larger place to live. But Mr. Yamasaki, who runs a gelato shop, and his wife, a child-care worker, aren’t planning to move far. They are confident they can find an affordable three-bedroom apartment in their own neighborhood.


As housing prices have soared in major cities across the United States and throughout much of the developed world, it has become normal for people to move away from the places with the strongest economies and best jobs because those places are unaffordable. Prosperous cities increasingly operate like private clubs, auctioning off a limited number of homes to the highest bidders.


Tokyo is different.


In the past half century, by investing in transit and allowing development, the city has added more housing units than the total number of units in New York City. It has remained affordable by becoming the world’s largest city. It has become the world’s largest city by remaining affordable.?” What do you think, hero or villain?”  Read  more  Hmmmm….   Interesting.  Can MOVES-style, autonomousTaxi (aTaxi) mobility re-level that playing field? Can the size of cities increase so as to level out the land costs and thus affordability?   Maybe! We argue that the affordability and high quality of  aTaxis will transform “affordable housing” into “affordable LIVING” by making land that has poor accessibility more accessible without the cost and the ability to own a car.  Also look at No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870–2012  Alain


   What if public transit was like Uber? A small city ended its bus service to find out

J. McMurray,  Sept 16, “When a small city abruptly parked all its buses to launch a publicly subsidized van service offering $1.50 trips anywhere in town, only one of its bus drivers — a big-city transplant — went along for the ride.

Milton Barnes used to oversee packed subway stations in Washington, D.C., a far cry from the sparsely filled buses he drove after moving to Wilson, North Carolina, to care for his elderly parents. Although transit ridership plummeted almost everywhere due to the pandemic, it has been surging in Wilson since its September 2020 switch from a fixed-route system to an on-demand one powered by a smartphone app.

“All day long I’m picking up people and dropping them off,” Barnes, 59, the only driver to work under both systems, said while driving his van on a typically busy morning. “When you’ve got door-to-door, corner-to-corner service, it’s going to be more popular.”….”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Postulate:   It would be very expensive. 

  •     If its fare is not subsidized, then it is too expensive to serve those who aren’t using it today; else, they would be using it,  so it is useless,
  •     if its fare is subsidized so that it is the present fare of transit, then “everyone” will want to use it, and the subsidy will end up being greater than the subsidy of the current transit system; thus, it is very expensive.

Conclusion:  it is very expensive!  Q.E.D.



Image removed by sender. GM Authority  Cruise AV Not Directly Responsible For Death Of San Francisco Pedestrian


J. Lopez, Sept. 15, “Earlier this month, GM’s autonomous vehicle technology division, Cruise, faced criticism after an internal San Francisco Fire Department report was published indicating that a Cruise AV had delayed an ambulance from transporting a patient to the hospital, contributing to the patient’s eventual death. Now, new details have come to light, including clarification on the extent to which Cruise AVs have been blamed for the death of the pedestrian. Cruise continues to deny that its autonomous vehicles blocked the ambulance from transporting the victim…


Now, the SF fire chief has issued a joint statement with the SF Municipal Transportation Agency stating that the report “reflects the subjective experience of an individual first responder who submitted an internal report to the fire department,” adding that the report “does not reflect a judgement of the fire department or the fire chief.”

“The San Francisco Fire Chief has not attributed this pedestrian death to Cruise AVs,” the statement says.…”  Read  more  Hmmmm…. Great that the record has been corrected and set straight; although, it is not unreasonable to have the fire chief do more, because these false alegations have done lasting harm that deserves to be corrected/compensated.  Alain


  Cruise CEO says backlash to driverless cars is ‘sensationalized’ 

T. Thandni, Sept. 7, “Residents and city officials here are increasingly fed up with the self-driving cars that have blanketed the city, as they run into issues from getting stuck in wet concrete to colliding with a firetruck.

But in an interview with The Washington Post, the CEO of the driverless car company Cruise said much of the angst should just be chalked up to anti-robot bias.

“Anything that we do differently than humans is being sensationalized,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said.

Cruise’s driverless vehicles — part of a mass experiment on San Francisco’s streets that has drawn mixed results and some protests from city leaders — have recently been dinged by state regulators, who opened an investigation last month into a spate of “concerning incidents involving Cruise vehicles in San Francisco.” …


But, he said, it is time for the public to eliminate the “double standard” that it has for human drivers and driverless cars, saying that more “mundane” issues — like stopping short in traffic or veering into a bike lane — wouldn’t catch any attention if it was a human driver, but would cause a firestorm if it was a driverless car.

“If I videotaped every single intersection, you see people blowing red lights rolling through stop signs and speeding,” he said. “We’re surrounded by these hazards.”…”  Read  more  Hmmmm… It is great that Kyle is fighting back! None of this is easy.  🙁  Alain


  Top 10 autonomous vehicle companies

M. Law, Sept. 13, “Technology Magazine looks at the leading innovative players in the autonomous vehicle industry that are shaping the future of transportation”…”   Read  more  Hmmmm… Amazing… of the attributes that must have gone into their definition as “Top”, improving quality-of-life is 3rd!, not first??  No wonder they got those rankings.  Since my definition of “Top” would differ substantially, my rankings would likely differ.  Alain



IATR 2023 36th Annual Conference

Scottsdale, AZ

Sept. 27 -> 30, 2023


Image removed by sender. 2023 Infrastructure Workshop

7th Workshop on AAM Infrastructure

Sept. 26-28, 2023 

Cape May, New Jersey


San Jose, CA

Nov. 30 -> Dec. 1, 2023