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Saturday, March 23, 2024


  12th edition of the 12th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter 


A logo for a car  Description automatically generated    Editor’s note….

Alain Kornhauser & Elizabeth Monroe,  March 23, “Near the top of last week’s issue of SmartDrivingCar.com/12.11-Alex_Roy-3/16/24 we reported on IIHS/HDLI’s Partial automation safeguard ratings with the “ …Read More  Hmmmm… Really good rating system; however, it could be much better if it started by insisting that the car have a really excellent emergency braking system augmented with an unintended acceleration over-ride. Alain …”


As will become apparent, we would like to extend that Hmmmm to read: Hmmmm… Really good rating system; however, it could be much better if it started by insisting that the car have a really excellent emergency braking system augmented with an unintended acceleration over-ride as well as an unintended gear-shift.  Alain & Elizabeth


Everything We Know About Angela Chao….

Staff, March 12,  “…TANGENT

Chao’s death reignited concerns around the gearshifts…” Read More  Hmmmm… This is about the only part of this article that isn’t purely focused on the most sensational click-bait.  To add ignorance to insult, it categorized the only substance as “TANGENT”.  C’mon Forbes!!! Is this really how we taught you to write @ Princeton?  I guess Malcom isn’t involved anymore and essentially all of the other reporting about this tragic incident simply echoed the same bot.

There isn’t, nor maybe never has been any, standardization of gear shifting, and gear shifting has always been, if not hard to implement (double clutch column shift, or where is reverse on my four on the floor?), not “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.”  The important point is: if the driver attempts to put the car into a car that is dangerous in that particular situation, the car should Not engage that gear.

What Tesla needs to do now is extend their unintended acceleration functionality to address unintended gear shifting and instantaneously and inexpensively over-the-air-update their cars with this additional safety feature.  As it is my understanding, in simplistic semantics, of what Tesla (and others) does/do with unintended acceleration: if the accelerator is depressed aggressively, the front facing image is inspected before a rapid acceleration command is sent to the drive motor(s)/throttle.  If the inspection of that image suggests that the road ahead is not clear for a rapid acceleration, the acceleration command is converted into a deceleration command to mitigate as best as possible a crash with the object detected ahead by the front facing camera.  If, instead all is clear ahead, then, and only then (I hope), is the driver’s action with the “gas” pedal implemented.


The same should be done with each gear shifting. If P->D, check the front camera.  If P->R. check the rear camera, check the rear camera.  I’m amazed that it doesn’t already have it.  Maybe all it needs to do is also make sure that there is an acceptable road surface in back before enabling the shift, or at least wait for the driver to take a deep breath and ask are you sure?  Are you really sure?? At that point then one’s libertarian setting kicks in as to does one ask again. 


The important point here is that such a patch can substantially reduce the likelihood of the reoccurrence of this tragedy. And that such a patch can be readily created.  And, for Tesla, can be inexpensively distributed to its existing customers.   


What is not at all easy is to determine the depth of water ahead (or behind). If you can’t see a hard bottom, don’t drive into it.  For one, you’ll float (for a while) , so you’ll go where the current will take you.  If you sink,  it will equalize the pressure on the door, so you’ll be able to open it. Don’t wait too long because it is your only shot to get out before you sink too far.  Alain


A book cover of a book  Description automatically generatedJust Published!!!  Go to Amazon.com… You can still be first on your block to have one J.


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 363 / PodCast 363 IIHS-Angela Chao, Tesla FSD beta V12.3

F. Fishkin, March 23, “Ready for a ride? Alain and Fred test out Tesla FSD beta V12.3. Plus more notes on the IIHS partial automation safeguard ratings, thoughts on the death and reporting on the death of Angela Chao, NVIDIA, Mobileye and more.

0:00 open

0:30 More notes on IIHS partial automation safeguard ratings..unintended acceleration and shifting

13:00 The death of Angela Chao and the reporting on it

21:40 Taking a ride with Tesla FSD V12.3

34:15 NVIDIA and Hippocratic AI using AI powered health care agents to outperform nurses at 9 dollars an hour

43:45 Waymo service begins in L.A.

46:55 VW with Mobileye reportedly ready to bring autonomous driving to large scale production

49:20 May Mobility on Fast Company most innovative companies in automotive list

52:54 Biden Administration new rule

59:45 6th Smart Driving Car Summit coming up at the end of May


  Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta v12 finally rolls out – get your minds blown

F. Lambert, March 16, “Tesla is finally starting to roll out Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta v12 to customers — another “mind-blowing” update, according to CEO Elon Musk.

However, as usual, everyone should be really careful when using FSD Beta. …” The Tesla v12 software update is introducing what Musk has been calling “end-to-end neural nets”. The biggest difference with previous FSD updates is that the vehicle’s controls are now be handled by neural nets rather than being coded by programmers.

It is being touted as the difference maker that should bring a lot of improvements. Musk again claimed, like he has with many FSD Beta updates before, it is “mind-blowing”…  Read More  Hmmmm… I had not experienced FSD and wanted to wait for v12.   Fred downloaded it, and he and his wife Lori gave me a ride from my office in Princeton to Bridgewater to pick up my Mercedes that had been serviced, which did not include any update to my distronic “Advanced Driver Assistance System” (no upgrade or maintenance was offered (nor available, I presume; else, I’m sure they would have gone for the upsell -and I would have bought)).  Amazing, Fred got his FSD updated for free. But I digress…


Wow!  From Sherrerd Hall to Bridgewater Open Road, only two disengagements.  One legitimate, where confusing lane markings likely cause human drivers to not realize that they are about to lose the right lane and need to merge left (NJ DoT Please re-stripe!) and the other because we were being harassed and tailgated by some jerk driving a Ford F-150 who was displeased because in stop & go traffic through Manville,  FSD had actually yielded to allow a car to cross in front of us from a driveway to our right and proceed in the other direction.  Imagine that, a courteous FSD.  When we proceeded without exceeding the 25 mph speed limit to catch up to the stop and go traffic ahead, the guy shot by us on the right shoulder.  This dangerous misbehavior caused Fred to disengage out of an abundance of caution.

Other than those two instances, perfect performance, door-to-door.  It even perfectly negotiated a very challenging crossover involving the merging of a two lane road to a one lane narrow bridge, where cars coming from the different directions need to negotiate who should go and when… with the added complication of a T intersection stop at the end of the narrow bridge.   Vehicles wanting to turn onto the bridge need to stop and let cars on the bridge clear in order to be able to take their turn to cross the single lane bridge.  Amazing, FSD just did it!  


Our recommendation in this instance is that there are other routes that the FSD should have taken.  It should have avoided this complication (which is difficult and dangerous even for human drivers to negotiate) and simply followed another route. We were driving around 4 pm, and I had actually asked Fred to intervene and not go this way because it is so tough.  I wouldn’t have gone this way.  I don’t need the aggravation. But since we were learning and could readily take over and negotiate the bridge manually, we decided to see what it could do.  Perfect!!  Although, if I were designing a MOVES-style network in this area, I would not include this road segment in the set of feasible road segments.  There is no need for the aggravation or risk since there are many ways to go.  (In our investigation of MOVES-style networks we have found that less than 20% of a community’s roads are all one needs to efficiently interconnect all kiosks.) 


Please watch ZoomCast 363 for excerpts of our ride with FSD, including the bridge segment.  I was shaking in my boots, and Fred was at the ready the entire ride, but I was impressed!  It is close, but no cigar yet.  You MUST continue to me most vigilant.  Tesla calls it FSD… It should for now be called PAoYD  (Pay Attention or You Die) Alain


  VW is ready to bring autonomous driving to large-scale production

M. Lewis, March 20, “ Christian Senger, a management board member at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles responsible for AD, said, “We are developing the first fully autonomous large-scale production vehicle, and Mobileye brings its digital driver on board. ..” Read More  Hmmmm… Perfect!!  This is really great news!! If it works, (will operated safely enough without a driver nor an attendant  within one of my MOVES-style ODDs), then I want to put in an order for the first 1,000 with options for 10,000 more.  Call me 609 980 1427 J  Alain


  The Real Reason for Driverless Vehicles – A Brief Book Review

K. Pyle, March 16, “The reason to implement driverless technology is to improve mobility for those with limited transportation options. In a nutshell, that is what authors, Alain Kornhauser and Michael Sena argue in their recently published book, The Real Case for Driverless Mobility

Sena and Kornhauser make the case that providers of driverless mobility should focus on those who cannot drive themselves, whether because of age, physical ability, legal restrictions, and/or income. This is somewhat counter to the traditional introduction of a new technology where the focus is on early adopters who are willing to pay a premium. ….” Read More  Hmmmm… Ken, thank you for the kind words.   Alain


  SpaceX Starship IFT-3 vs IFT-2 & IFT-1 Side by Side comparison

Spaceeee!, March 14, “SpaceX Starship Test Flights Side by side comparison in sync, all three launches on one screen (IFT-1, IFT-2, IFT-3). Credit: SpaceX ….” Read More  Hmmmm… Most interesting and informative.   Alain


SpaceX’s Frantic Push to Launch the Next Starship Mission is Nuts!

M. House,  March 23, “It has been over a week since Starship’s Flight Test 3 and since then we’ve had loads of opportunity to analyze more of that groundbreaking flight. What about flight test 4 coming up though? Yes, I’ve already got updates on that as we watch SpaceX rip back into action to prepare for all of that madness. ….” Read More  Hmmmm… Excellent post-flight update and much more.   Alain


 Nvidia announces AI-powered health care ‘agents’ that outperform nurses — and cost $9 an hour

B. Dumas,  March 21, “High-powered chipmaker Nvidia has teamed up with artificial intelligence health care company Hippocratic AI to develop generative AI “agents” that not only outperform human nurses on video calls but cost a lot less per hour.

The two companies on Thursday announced their collaboration to build “empathetic health care agents” powered by Nvidia and trained on Hippocratic’s health care-focused large language model (LLM) that are better able to form a human connection with patients through “super-low latency conversational reactions.”…

“Voice-based digital agents powered by generative AI can usher in an age of abundance in health care, but only if the technology responds to patients as a human would,” Kimberly Powell, Nvidia’s vice president of health care, said.

The generative AI-powered bots also cost a fraction of the hourly rate for nurses.

Hippocratic’s website shows its agents cost $9 an hour to operate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly pay for nurses was $39.05 as of 2022.  ….” Read More  Hmmmm… Interesting. An industry that doesn’t mind acknowledging that affordability is an important attribute. I can’t wait until the RoboTaxi world states that it costs them less than 80% of what it would cost XYZ Transit to give a ride that is now where near as good.  Alain


 A logo with blue and green colors  Description automatically generated  Where you can go

Staff, March 18, “Waymo One currently operates 24/7 across 63 square miles of LA. From Santa Monica to Downtown, let the Waymo Driver take the wheel.” …”  Read More  Hmmmm… Nice.  But I would have preferred “From Watts to DTLA.”  I guess we’re coming at this from different points of view.  Alain


  Aurora’s driverless trucks show they are for real

Alan Adler, March 15, “After numerous rides in autonomous trucks monitored by safety drivers in case of a mishap, I found it almost surreal to climb into Aurora Innovation’s Class 8 driverless truck, buckle up, hear the engine rumble to life and the air brakes disengage, and feel the truck move under its own power — with no one in the driver’s seat.

While two of three Americans still fear autonomous vehicles, according to AAA’s latest survey released Thursday, my three-quarter-mile ride around an Aurora test facility southeast of Pittsburgh was in no way frightening. It was exhilarating. 

I kept my iPhone camera trained on the steering wheel. It moved without prompts. Brakes slowed the tractor and empty 53-foot trailer into turns. The throttle engaged seamlessly, accelerating out of them. 

Passenger cars and trucks pulled alongside and passed the truck, simulating real-world traffic. The Aurora Driver’s “big brain,” as Veer Nairyani, director of Aurora Driver, called it, anticipated their approach. Its 25 sensors calculated their moves and the truck’s reaction in nanoseconds….” Read More  Hmmmm… Congratulations Veer, Lia and Chris on your recent driverless “proof-of-concept” demonstrations and your presence at nVIDIA GTC.  Alain


May Mobility recognized on Fast Company’s 2024 list of the Most Innovative Companies

Press Release, March 19,  “May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the Automotive category. This recognition comes in light of May Mobility’s efforts to revolutionize the autonomous vehicle industry with its differentiated business-to-government (B2G) and business-to-business (B2B) go-to-market strategy and its Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) technology.”” Read More  Hmmmm…  Congratulations!  Well deserved.  Alain


Biden Administration Announces Rule Aimed at Expanding Electric Vehicle

C. Davenport, March 20 “The Biden administration on Wednesday issued one of the most significant climate regulations in the nation’s history, a rule designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States are all-electric or hybrids by 2032.

Nearly three years in the making, the new tailpipe pollution limits from the Environmental Protection Agency would transform the American automobile market. A record 1.2 million electric vehicles rolled off dealers’ lots last year, but they made up just 7.6 percent of total U.S. car sales, far from the 56 percent target under the new regulation. An additional 16 percent of new cars sold would be hybrids….

The rule increasingly limits the amount of pollution allowed from tailpipes over time so that, by 2032, more than half the new cars sold in the United States would most likely be zero-emissions vehicles in order for carmakers to meet the standards.  …”  Read More   Hmmmm… That’s somewhat aggressive.  Only 8 years from now.  But only “new cars sold”.  One might creatively game the word “new cars sold” (how about re-built cars, where do they fit in?) or ??? Hopefully we won’t clear this hurdle by selling only a very few new cars.  L  Alain


Lenovo Vehicle Computing and WeRide Forge a Strategic Partnership, using NVIDIA DRIVE Thor Platform to Accelerate Autonomous Driving

Press Release, March 19,  “Lenovo Vehicle Computing and WeRide recently formed a strategic partnership to create Level 4 autonomous driving solutions for commercial applications.

The cutting-edge intelligent-driving solution developed by Lenovo Vehicle Computing and WeRide is based on Lenovo’s recently unveiled autonomous driving domain controller, AD1, built on the NVIDIA DRIVE Thor platform featuring the new Blackwell architecture designed for transformer and generative AI workloads. The system is trained on NVIDIA’s state-of-the-art data center AI solutions.


Rishi Dhall, Vice President of Automotive at NVIDIA, said, “The performance and architecture of the NVIDIA DRIVE Thor intelligent-driving platform, leveraging our new Blackwell architecture for generative AI, will enable Lenovo Vehicle Computing and WeRide to build and deploy safe and reliable autonomous vehicles.”” Read More  Hmmmm…  Interesting.  It would be nice to figure out a way to securely enable this opportunity to become viable here in the USA.  I have a Lenovo Laptop.  Alain


6th Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summit May 29 -> 31, 2024, Princeton NJ   6th  SmartDrivingCars Summit

Alain Kornhauser, March 8, “We promise civil and lively discussions as to how to improve the Quality-of-Life (QoL) for many while disrupting the QoL to as few as possible.  Focus will be on the business aspects…

Giving Oneself a Ride

  • Latest on ADAS Safety, Functionality, Regulation and potential Collaboration (given anti-trust relaxation), consumer value    

Getting a Driverless Ride

  • By people and goods using public roads
    • “Proof-of-Concept” (Safety Update and Last “50 feet” delivery concepts )
    • “Proof-of-Market” (Arizona, California, Texas, …  rural & beyond)
    • “Proof-of-Politics/Sociology” (Regulation + Opportunities for Collaboration on Safety (given anti-trust relaxation.))
  • By people and goods on private property.
    • “Proof-of-Concept” (Safety Update)
    • “Proof-of-Market” ( Return-on-Investment (RoI) focus on: Private “ways”, Manufacturing, Ports, Terminals, Warehouses, Mining, Farms)
    • “Proof-of-Politics/CorporateGovernance” (OSHA, Unions )


  • MOVES – Style Deployments “anywhere”.  (See Example)
  • Design, Analysis, Simulation, Animation & Business Case

….” Read More  Hmmmm… Please pencil in the dates. We are to make publish the sponsorship and registration pages.  Given the success that we’ve had with the past Summits and the quality of the program that we’ve been able to assemble to date, we fully expect to be sold out. Some sponsorship opportunities remain available. If interested, please simply contact me via email for ‘right-of-first refusal” penciled-in commitments”. Hope you’ll be able to join in with us. Alain



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6th  SmartDrivingCar



May 29 (evening) -> May 31, 2024

Princeton, NJ

Save The Date!!

Preliminary Program


We promise civil and lively discussions as to how to improve the quality-of-life (QoL) for many while disrupting that quality to as few as possible.


Giving oneself a Ride:

Latest on ADAS Safety & Functionality

Getting a Ride:

Latest on Driverless

“Proof-of-Concept” (Safety Update),

Proof-of-Market” (Arizona, California & beyond)  & 



MOVES – Style Deployments “anywhere”
Design, Analysis, Simulation, Animation & Business Case