12th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars
Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
Buyers, Sellers, Facilitators
May 17, 18
(In less than three weeks)
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Visit Landing Page for registration and sponsorship opportunities.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Waymo to Offer Phoenix Area Access to Self-Driving Cars
D. Streitfeld, Apr, 25, "…On Tuesday, the company was to announce the next phase of testing: putting ordinary people inside its Chrysler minivans and Lexuses….Only those who live in Chandler, Mesa, Tempe and Gilbert — roughly the southeastern Phoenix area — will be eligible for the program. And the cars, for that matter, will not take them anywhere else — no weekend jaunts to the Grand Canyon. Read More Hmmmm... Here we go! Very conservative, but the path ahead is clear. In 2013 they said that they were going to do this in 2017! This is the beginning of real commercialization. Congratulations! This is a major milestone. Alain
Nvidia adds 6 AI startups to its venture investment portfolio
D. Etherington, Apr 26, "When Nvidia makes investments in AI startups, it’s probably a good idea to sit up and take note: The GPU maker has essentially enabled modern AI in many ways, and so it’s probably seen the gamut of potential applications of its technology over the years, and should know better than most what’s likely to work out and what isn’t. Six new companies have garnered not only attention, but funding from Nvidia, via its GPU Ventures investment arm…." Read more Hmmmm... OK. Lots close to the vest. Alain
Sacramento leaders offer city streets as testing ground for driverless cars
T. Biziak, Apr 19, "Sacramento stepped up its push to become a national testing ground for driverless cars Wednesday, holding a private meeting downtown with automakers and technology company representatives, then calling a press conference to say Sacramento is hungry to be an robot car leader….Speaking afterward, Steinberg, Matsui and Ranadive said they solicited industry leaders’ advice on what steps the city should take to position itself, including what policies and regulations need to be created, what insurance and liability issues need to be addressed, and what technology needs to be in place to accommodate vehicle testing…." Read more Hmmmm... Exactly what we’ll be doing at the Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit May 17 & 18, … regulations, insurance, opportunities, challenges for communities such as Sacramento, Greenville, Beverly Hill, Columbus, NYC, Princeton, … Alain
Analog Devices and Renesas Electronics Collaborate on 77/79-GHz Automotive RADAR Technology to Improve ADAS Applications
Press Release, Apr 19, "…The new demonstrator combines two cutting-edge technologies that include the RH850/V1R-M microcontroller (MCU) from the Renesas autonomy Platform and ADI’s Drive360 advanced 28nm CMOS RF-to-bits technology. The seamless system-level operation of these two technologies will make driving safer by enabling earlier detection of smaller and faster moving objects at greater distances. It will also lower RADAR system integration efforts and reduce evaluation risks for automotive OEMs and Tier One suppliers…." Read more Hmmmm... OK. Another step to making Safe-driving Cars a reality and so affordable that insurance will pay for it. 🙂 Alain
GM Rightfully Dismisses Greenlight’s Financial Engineering Scheme
Maryann Keller, Apr 24, "…To solve the problem of GM’s low valuation despite its high dividend yield (~4.5%), Greenlight proposed that GM spin off “Dividend Shares” to trade separately from the common shares. These Dividend Shares would be entitled to the current dividend. The existing common shares (“Capital Appreciation Shares”) would participate in earnings above the dividend payout and thus in future growth. In doing so, the market will have to recognize the value of the Dividend Shares separately and accord these shares the appropriate value for the high yield and give credit to the Capital Appreciation Shares for future earnings growth. So now dividend investors could buy one set of shares, and value and growth investors the other set if GM adopted Greenlight’s stock scheme…. Financial engineering of the type envisioned by Greenlight really has no benefit for GM or its stockholders. A scheme to “unlock value” is dubious at best due to the nature of the business; it also ignores the fact that the common shares already value the company for both dividend risk and growth potential explained as follows. …" Read more Hmmmm... High yield because share price is low. Alain
Audio: Princeton Prof Alain Kornhauser about development of driverless cars
R. Kaminsky, Apr 26, "Interesting article which inspired the conversation:
https://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/23/driverless-cars-learning-from-grand-theft-auto/" Listen Hmmmm... OK Alain
What’s Apple’s Filings Say About Its Self-Driving Car Program
M. Harris, Apr 21, "… The documents do not specify the system Apple is working on, although it does not sound as ambitious as the fully driverless systems that rivals like Waymo and Zoox are building. One entry reads: “The development platform uses hardware and software to monitor surrounding objects and events. The development platform is capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task.”.." Read more Hmmmm... Especially look at The documents and read G. Merser’s comment. Alain
Amazon Might Be Planning to Use Driverless Cars for Delivery
L. Rao,,Apr 24, "…Operating fleets of driverless trucks to ship items bought from its marketplace could help lower costs for the company…" Read more Hmmmm... Of course they are. So much better than Drones, Game over. Alain
Bosch launches its automated driving initiative in China
Press Release, Apr 19, "…Bosch wants to change this and has signed a collaboration agreement with the Chinese internet group Baidu and the map providers AutoNavi and NavInfo. Together, the four partners are working on a solution that will let them use information collected by Bosch’s radar and video sensors in vehicles to generate and update maps. “Automated driving will not be possible without high-precision maps – not in China and not anywhere else in the world either,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander,…" Read more Hmmmm... OK. Sounds like a plan. Alain
Some other thoughts that deserve your attention
On the More Technical Side
Artur Filipowicz’17, Virtual Environments as Driving Schools for Deep Learning Vision-Based Sensors in Self-Driving Cars, April 2017
Nayan Bhat’17, DeepFollowing: Vision-Based Distance Estimation on Synthetically-Generated Driving Video using 3D Convolution, April 2017
Antigone Hope Valen’17, The ATaxi Revolution: Autonomous Vehicle Implementation and Ride-Sharing Optimization in the United States and China, April 2017
Keith Gladstone’17, The Search for the Sustainable Fleet: Driverless Taxi System Simulations , April 2017
Rebeca De La Espriella’17, Developing the Regulatory Environment for Autonomous Vehicles: Historical Lessons for the Socio-technical Transition, April 2017
Thomas P. Byrne ’17, Commercial Auto Insurance Risk Management Strategies, April 2017
Kara Kockelman, An Assessment of Autonomous Vehicles Traffic:Impacts and Infrastructure Needs , April 2017
Kara Kockelman,Appendices, Ensuring the Benefits of a Connected and Auto , April2017
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time
PennDOT Seeks Connected and Automated Vehicle Support Team
Posting, Apr 2017, "…PennDOT is seeking a diverse team with national and/or global experience in policy, planning, systems engineering and design, infrastructure and deployment, communications, and outreach support for connected and automated vehicles. ..’ Read more Hmmmm... PennDoT put a whole $2M on the table for this. Wow! How non-competitive is that for anyone that has "national and/or global experience in policy,…" They have no hope ( and might not even know it) ! 🙁 Alain
Self-driving cars should leave us all unsettled. Here’s why.
V. Wadhwa, Apr 24, "… The perfect metaphor for this uneasy feeling is the Google car. We welcome a better future, but we worry about the loss of control, of pieces of our identity, and most importantly of freedom. What are we yielding to technology? How can we decide whether technological innovation that alters our lives is worth the sacrifice?…" Read more Hmmmm... What??? ‘Loss of control’??? You never had any. This is just another silly ‘Sunday Supplement’. 🙁 Alain
Who’s Calling the Shots On Autonomous Vehicles?
L. Bliss, Apr 25, "…Now is the time for cities to establish what they want from them. Where should AVs be allowed? How fast should they be able to drive? What neighborhoods will they serve? Whose jobs will they take? There aren’t any clear answers yet, but citizens, planners, law enforcement, and tech experts should get their priorities in line as these machines demand more space, more stuff, and more taxpayer dollars in order to operate. Just because the cars can drive themselves doesn’t mean cities should get taken for a ride…." Read more Hmmmm... I respectfully disagree with the premises that lead to this statement, We aren’t even to the ‘Henry Ford’ stage of this technological revolution. Do you believe that in 1900 any of the questions above could have been answered with respect to the automobile. We really aren’t any smarter now. Taken as a whole, the automobile has improved the quality of life for a larger percentage of the population. it certainly hasn’t been perfect. I doubt very much that things are better in the alternate universe in which the above questions were answered in an 1895 context. . Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
An urban designer explains why self-driving cars will only make life worse
C. Weller, Apr 27, "…As the urban designer relayed from this year’s TED conference, what autonomous vehicles offer in terms of convenience is far outweighed by their isolating effect on people’s daily lives…" Read more Hmmmm.. We all know that ‘Self-driving’ is bad and will make some of our lives worse, but Calthorpe didn’t go deep enough to ‘Driverless’ which we won’t own, we’ll ride-share and will be affordable by all. We don’t own elevators, we ride share (reluctantly some times but we grin and bear it, and we even prefer it when going down. Driverless, even if owned and managed by NJ Transit, will be our horizontal elevator of choice and will make our lives better. C’mon Man! Alain.
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
AV Policy Series
May 15, 2017
American Institute of Architects,
1735 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 17 & 18, 2017
Save the Date
Recent Highlights of:
Tuesday, April 17, 2017
Don’t Worry, Driverless Cars Are Learning From Grand Theft Auto
D. Hall, Apr 17, "In the race to the autonomous revolution, developers have realized there aren’t enough hours in a day to clock the real-world miles needed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Which is why Grand Theft Auto V is in the mix.
The blockbuster video game is one of the simulation platforms researchers and engineers increasingly rely on to test and train the machines being primed to take control of the family sedan. Companies from Ford Motor Co. to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo may boast about putting no-hands models on the market in three years, but there’s a lot still to learn about drilling algorithms in how to respond when, say, a mattress falls off a truck on the freeway….The idea isn’t that the highways and byways of the fictional city of Los Santos would ever be a substitute for bona fide asphalt. But the game “is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” said Alain Kornhauser…" Read More Hmmmm... Well…we have a slightly different view of history wrt to GTA5. The ‘Alain view’ is that Chenyi Chen*16 independently started investigating the use of virtual environments as a source of Image – Affordances data sets to use as the training sets in a ‘Direct Perception’ approach to creating a self-driving algorithm. Images of the road ahead are converted into the instantaneous geometry that is implied by those image. An optimal controller then determines the the steering, brake and throttle values to best drive the car. The critical element in that process are the Image – Affordances data sets which need to be pristine. Chenyi demonstrated in his PhD dissertation , summarized in the ICCV2015 paper, that by using the pristine Image – Affordances data sets from an open-source game TORCS one could have a virtual car drive a virtual race course without crashing. More importantly, when tested on images from real driving situations, the computed affordances were close to correct.
This encouraged us to look for more appropriate virtual environments. For many reasons, including: "wouldn’t it be amazing if ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ actually generated some positive ‘redeeming social value’ by contributing to the development of algorithms that actually made cars safer; saving grief, injuries and lives". Consequently, in the Fall of 2015, Artur Filipowicz’17 began to investigate using GTA5 to train Convolutional Neural Networks to perform some of the Direct Perception aspects of automated driving. With Jeremiah Liu, he continued his efforts in this direction last summer which were presented at TRB in January. Yesterday, he and Nyan Bhat’17 turned in their Senior Theses focused on this topic.
Indeed, GTA5 is a rich virtual environment that begins to efficiently and effective address the data needs of Deep Learning approaches to safe driving. Alain
Monday, April 10, 2017
The Autonomous Vehicle Global Study
F. Bruneteau, Apr 2017 "….Yet, despite their potential to reduce accidents, these features have been mostly ignored by insurers so far and have had little effect on premiums (p9)…." Read more Hmmmm... This report is not free so I can’t link it but this statement suggests that it may be very worthwhile. Alain
Monday, April 3, 2017
Uber Crash Shows Human Traits in Self-Driving Software
M. Bergen, Mar 29, "… Uber Crash Shows Human Traits in Self-Driving Software…In a statement to police, Patrick Murphy, an Uber employee in the car, said the Volvo SUV was traveling 38 miles per hour, a notch below the speed limit. He said the traffic signal turned yellow as the Uber vehicle entered the intersection. He then saw the Honda turning left, but "there was no time to react as there was a blind spot" created by traffic. The Honda hit Uber’s car, pushing it into a traffic pole and causing it to turn on its side. …Eyewitness accounts can often be unreliable, and other witnesses in the police report did not say that the Uber car was at fault — something the police agreed with. Still, Torres’s account raises the question of whether Uber’s self-driving sensors spotted the light turning yellow and, if so, whether it decided it could safely continue through the intersection….Self-driving cars have more often been criticized for driving too cautiously, slowing or stopping when human drivers would be more aggressive. Autonomous vehicles operated by Waymo have been rear-ended due to such issues and the company has been working to make its system more human…" Read more Hmmmm... Read the whole article. In a very concise way it hits the major issues, one of which is the very sensitive subject of offensive v defensive driving. How should we tune driving behaviors? As I pointed out last week, it would be very helpful if Uber released all of the data that was captured in the seconds leading up to this crash so that everyone can as Mark wrote: "…Last year, after a Waymo car bumped into a bus, the company said it used the incident, and "thousands of variations on it," to refine its software. "This is a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving — we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements," it added…." Alain
Monday, March 20, 2017
Uber’s autonomous cars drove 20,354 miles and had to be taken over at every mile, according to documents
J. Bhuiyan, Mar 16, "Some of Uber’s self-driving cars aren’t driving as smoothly as the company hoped they would. Documents circulated throughout the company’s self-driving group, which Recode obtained, gives us a first look at the progress of the ride-hail company’s robot cars in Pennsylvania, Arizona and California.
The top line: Uber’s robot cars are steadily increasing the number of miles driven autonomously. But the figures on rider experience — defined as a combination of how many times drivers have to take over and how smoothly the car drives — are still showing little progress….
For example: During the week ending March 8, the 43 active cars on the road only drove an average of close to 0.8 miles before the safety driver had to take over for one reason or another…
The good news is the number of miles between these “critical” interventions has recently improved. Last week, the company’s cars drove an average of approximately 200 miles between those types of incidents that required a driver to take over…" Read more Hmmm… Waymo is so incredibly far ahead. Even with these statistics, it depends on when and where the miles were drive. It is relatively unchallenging in some places at some times, especially if you’ve experienced it many times before. Its all about being able to handle the unexpected to achieve Driverless. Uber accrues no substantive value until it reaches Driverless. Self-driving’s only value is as a way/process to achieve Driverless. Alain
Friday, March 10, 2017
Intel to Buy Mobileye, Maker of Sensors for Self-Driving Cars, for $15.3 Billion
M. Scott, Mar 13, "Intel agreed on Monday to buy Mobileye, an Israeli technology company that specializes in making sensors and cameras for autonomous cars, for $15.3 billion, as the global microchip giant tries to expand its reach in the fast-growing sector….As part of the deal, Intel said it would buy Mobileye’s outstanding shares at $63.54 a share, a 34 percent premium to Mobileye’s closing price on Friday….
Intel’s deal for Mobileye seems to be a recognition that chip-making rivals like Nvidia and Qualcomm have moved slightly ahead in the race to provide the computing power needed for autonomous cars… Intel said it would continue investing in the autonomous-driving industry, a sector that it said would be worth about $70 billion by 2030…" Read more Hmmm… The hits keep coming! Friday..the California Regs welcoming Driverless; Monday… this. Tomorrow… nVIDIA???? Alain
Robot cars — with no human driver — could hit California roads next year
R. Mitchell, Mar 10, "California is back on the map as a state that’s serious about welcoming driverless cars.Truly driverless cars — vehicles with no human behind the wheel, and perhaps no steering wheel at all — are headed toward California streets and highways starting in 2018…
The regulations lay out “a clear path for future deployment of autonomous vehicles” in California, said Bernard Soriano, deputy director at the Department of Motor Vehicles…." Read moreHmmm… Congratulations Bernard! This is fantastic news on the road to providing high-quality mobility for all. It squarely addresses the fundamental need to efficiently re-position vehicles so that they can get to even those who can’t drive. This is a real turning point for automated vehicles from self-driving toys for the 1% to affordable, environmentally friendly mobility for everyone. Alain
Friday, March 3, 2017
Buffett has an interesting theory about why self-driving cars will hurt the insurance industry
E. Gurdus, Feb 27, "The self-driving car business could become a major threat to insurance companies when the technology hits the market, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC’s "Squawk Box" on Monday.
If autonomous vehicles prove to be safer than regular cars, insurance costs will plummet, and by the time roads are filled with self-driving cars insurers like Geico will have taken a serious hit, Buffett said…
"If I had to take the over and under [bet] ten years from now on whether 10 percent of the cars on the road would be self-driving, I would take the under, but I could very easily be wrong," he said…." Read more Hmmm…Really shouldn’t go against Buffet; however, he’s going to be smiling all the way to the bank. I just don’t see how the premise implies Geico takes a serious hit. I tell everyone that I don’t understand insurance. I guess I just don’t understand insurance. 🙁
I suspect that by cars he means cars + light trucks for which there are about 250M currently registered in the US with 38% being greater than 10 years old. Assuming these basic numbers remain roughly constant: of the 155M vehicles sold in the next 10 years, 25M or 16% would need to be ‘Self-driving’. Since we are starting from a zero base with zero production, we are going to need to be upwards of a 30% adoption rate in the 10th year in order to have populated 16% of the fleet through that year. So, I agree with Warren wrt ‘Self-driving‘": "I would take the under, but I could very easily be wrong" Wrt ‘Safe-driving, I would take the over, because the early numbers are attainable, especially if Insurance comes on board. Wrt ‘Diverless‘: No way unless they are manufactured by a non-traditional entity that is totally disruptive in years 8, 9 and 10. Alain
Friday, February 24, 2017
Alphabet’s Waymo Alleges Uber Stole Self-Driving Secrets
M. Bergen, Feb 23, "It took Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo seven years to design and build a laser-scanning system to guide its self-driving cars. Uber Technologies Inc. allegedly did it in nine months.
Waymo claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that was possible because a former employee stole the designs and technology and started a new company….Anthony Levandowski, a former manager at Waymo, in December 2015 downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary and confidential files, including the lidar circuit board designs, according to the complaint. He also allegedly created a domain name for his new company and confided in some of his Waymo colleagues of plans to “replicate” its technology for a competitor…." Read more Hmmm…This is very serious. So unfortunate. 🙁 Alain
Friday, February 17, 2017
Motor Vehicle Deaths in 2016 Estimated to be Highest in Nine Years
Press release, Feb. 15, "NSC offers insight into what drivers are doing and calls for immediate implementation of proven, life-saving measures…
With the upward trend showing no sign of subsiding, NSC is calling for immediate implementation of life-saving measures that would set the nation on a road to zero deaths:…" Read more Hmmm…"Automated Collision Avoidance" or anything having to do with ‘Safe-driving Cars‘ is not mentioned anywhere in the Press Release. One of us is missing something very fundamental here!! So depressing!! 🙁 Alain
Friday, January 27, 2017
Serving the Nation’s Personal Mobility Needs with the Casual Sharing of autonomousTaxis & Today’s Urban Rail, Amtrak and Air Transport Systems
A. Kornhauser, Jan 14, "Orf467F16 Final Project Symposium quantifying implications of such a Nation-wide mobility system on Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO), energy, environment and congestion, including estimates of fleet size, needed empty vehicle repositioning, and ridership implications on existing rail transit systems (west, east, NYC) and Amtrak of a system that would efficiently and effectively perform their ‘1st mile’/’last-mile’ mobility needs. Read more Hmmm… Now linked are 1st Drafts of the chapters and the powerPoint summaries of these elements. Final Report should be available by early February. The major finding is, nationwide there exists sufficient casual ridesharing potential that a well–managed Nationwide Fleet of about 30M aTaxis (in conjunction with the existing air, Amtrak and Urban fixed-rail systems) could serve the vehicular mobility needs of the whole nation with VMT 40% less than today’s automobiles while providing a Level-of-Service (LoS) largely equivalent and in many ways superior than is delivered by the personal automobile today. Also interesting are the findings as to the substantial increased patronage opportunities available to Amtrak and each of the fixed rail transit systems around the country because the aTaxis solve the ‘1st and last mile’ problem. While all of this is extremely good news, the challenging news is that since all of these fixed rail systems currently lose money on each passenger served, the additional patronage would likely mean that they’ll lose even more money in the future. 🙁 Alain
Friday, January 20, 2017
Fiscal Year 2016 SRD Program Grant Selections
Public Announcement, Jan 22: "Pierce Transit will receive $1,664,894 to deploy buses equipped with collision avoidance warning systems or automatic braking features. The objective of this project is to deploy and demonstrate collision avoidance technology in partnership with the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), a collaborative organization of 25 Washington public transit agencies that combine their resources to provide and purchase insurance coverage, manage claims and litigation, and receive risk management and training. Pierce Transit will work with WSTIP to accurately determine the business case for investing in these technologies." Read moreHmmm… Finally!! More than 3 years since Lou Sanders of APTA, Jerome Lutin and I first proposed to FTA to do such a thing for the benefit of the entire bus transit industry (which FTA deemed as non-worthy) the FTA has finally turned around and jumped on-board. The unfortunate news: we lost 3 years. The fortunate news: the process of substantially reducing bus crashes is finally underway thanks to the hard work in the interim by Jerome Lutin and Jerry Spears (formerly of WSTIP). This and the good news below from Tesla may finally enlighten the insurance industry to play a leadership role in the market adoption of SafeDrivingCars/Buses/Trucks. Congratulations Jerome & Jerry! Alain
ODI (Office of Defects Investigation) Findings on Tesla AEB & AutoPilot
(Above link should work) Jan 19, "… Summary: … NHTSA’s examination did not identify any defects in the design or performance of the AEB or Autopilot systems of the subject vehicles nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed. AEB systems used in the automotive industry through MY 2016 are rear-end collision avoidance technologies that are not designed to reliably perform in all crash modes, including crossing path collisions. The Autopilot system is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that requires the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes. Tesla’s design included a hands-on the steering wheel system for monitoring driver engagement…
… ODI analyzed data from crashes of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles involving airbag deployments that occurred while operating in, or within 15 seconds of transitioning from, Autopilot mode. Some crashes involved impacts from other vehicles striking the Tesla from various directions with little to no warning to the Tesla driver. Other crashes involved scenarios known to be outside of the state-of-technology for current-generation Level 1 or 2 systems, such as cut-ins, cut-outs and crossing path collisions….
…The Florida fatal crash appears to have involved a period of extended distraction (at least 7 seconds)…" .Hmmm… nothing else is written about this nor is a basis given for the ‘at least 7 seconds’. Possibly the most important information revealed in this summary is Figure 11, p11: "… Figure 11 shows the rates calculated by ODI for airbag deployment crashes in the subject Tesla vehicles before and after Autosteer installation. The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation…
…A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed. " Read more Hmmm… WOW!!! . Every word of this Finding is worth reading. It basically exonerates Tesla, states that AEBs (Automated Emergency Braking) systems don’t really work and aren’t designed to work in some scenarios (straight crossing path (SCP) and left turn across path (LTAP), see p 2,3). …which suggests, to me, that DoT/NHTSA should be placing substantial efforts on making these systems really work in more scenarios. And… there is the solid data that ‘AutoSteer" reduced Tesla crashes by almost 40%!!! WOW!! Will Insurance now finally get on-board and lead? Alai
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation
B. Grush, Oct. 2016, "Two contradictory stories about our transportation infrastructure are currently in circulation. One is that Ontario’s aging, inadequate and congested infrastructure is perennially unable to catch up with a growing and sprawling GTHA. The other is that vehicle automation will soon dramatically multiply current road capacity by enabling narrower lanes, shorter headways and coordinated streams of connected vehicles to pass through intersections without traffic signals to impede flow.
Since the premature forecast of peak car in 2008 and now the hype surrounding the automated vehicle, we are often told that we have enough road capacity; that shared robotic taxis will optimize our trips, reduce congestion, and largely eliminate the need for parking. This advice implies we need wait only a few short years to experience relief from our current infrastructure problems given by decades of under-investment in transportation infrastructure.
This is wishful thinking. Vehicle automation will give rise to two different emerging markets: semi-automated vehicles for household consumption and fully automated vehicles for public service such as robo-taxi and robo-transit. These two vehicle types will develop in parallel to serve different social markets. They will compete for both riders and infrastructure. The purpose of this report is to look at why and how government agencies and public interest groups can and should influence the preferred types and deployment of automated vehicles and the implication of related factors for planning…" Read more Hmmm…Bravo! The Key Findings & Recommendations are excellent. This is an excellent report (but it largely misses goods movement.) Especially 5.1 (read ‘semi-autonomous’ as ‘Self-driving’ and ‘full-automation’ as ‘Driverless’. My view: Driverless may well be at the heals of Self-driving because it is a business play rather than a consumer play. Driverless will be ordered by the hundreds or thousands rather than individually.) and, of course Ch 10: Ownership (the business model) is more important than technology. Alain
Friday, September 23, 2016
Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution In Roadway Safety
September 2016, "Executive Summary…For DOT, the excitement around highly automated vehicles (HAVs) starts with safety. (p5)
…The development of advanced automated vehicle safety technologies, including fully self-driving cars, may prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago. (p5)
…The benefits don’t stop with safety. Innovations have the potential to transform personal mobility and open doors to people and communities. (p5)
…The remarkable speed with which increasingly complex HAVs are evolving challenges DOT to take new approaches that ensure these technologies are safely introduced (i.e., do not introduce significant new safety risks), provide safety benefits today, and achieve their full safety potential in the future. (p6) Hmmm…Fantastic statements and I appreciate that the fundamental basis and motivator is SAFETY. We all have recognized safety as a necessary condition that must be satisfied if this technology is to be successful. (unfortunately it is not a sufficient condition, (in a pure math context)). This policy statement appropriately reaffirms this necessary condition. Alain
"…we divide the task of facilitating the safe introduction and deployment (…defines “deployment” as the operation of an HAV by members of the public who are not the employees or agents of the designer, developer, or manufacturer of that HAV.) of HAVs into four sections:(p6) Hmmm…Perfect! Alain
"…1. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p6)…" Hmmm… 15 Points, more later. Alain
"…2. Model State Policy (p7) The Model State Policy confirms that States retain their traditional responsibilities…but… The shared objective is to ensure the establishment of a consistent national framework rather than a patchwork of incompatible laws…" Hmmm… Well done. Alain
"…3. NHTSA Current Regulatory Tools (p7) … This document provides instructions, practical guidance, and assistance to entities seeking to employ those tools. Furthermore, NHTSA has streamlined its review process and is committing to…" Hmmm… Excellent. Alain
"…4. New Tools and Authorities (p7)…The speed with which HAVs are advancing, combined with the complexity and novelty of these innovations, threatens to outpace the Agency’s conventional regulatory processes and capabilities. This challenge requires DOT to examine whether the way DOT has addressed safety for the last 50 years should be expanded to realize the safety potential of automated vehicles over the next 50 years. Therefore, this section identifies potential new tools, authorities and regulatory structures that could aid the safe and appropriately expeditious deployment of new technologies by enabling the Agency to be more nimble and flexible (p8)…" Hmmm… Yes. Alain
"…Note on “Levels of Automation” There are multiple definitions for various levels of automation and for some time there has been need for standardization to aid clarity and consistency. Therefore, this Policy adopts the SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. ) Hmmm… I’m not sure this adds clarity because it does not deal directly with the difference between self-driving and driverless. While it might be implied in level 4 and level 5 that these vehicles can proceed with no one in the vehicle, it is not stated explicitly. That is unfortunate, because driverless freight delivery can’t be done without "driverless"; neither can mobility-on-demand be offered to the young, old, blind, inebriated, …without "driverless". Vehicles can’t be "repositioned-empty" (which (I don’t mean to offend anyone) is the real value of a taxi driver today). So autonomousTaxis are impossible.
Also, these levels do not address Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) Systems and Automated Lane Keeping Systems which are the very first systems whose on-all-the-time performance must be perfected. These are the Safety Foundation of HAV (Highly Automated vehicles). I understand that the guidelines may assume that these systems are already perfect and that "20 manufacturer have committed" to have AEB on all new cars, but to date these systems really don’t work. In 12 mph IIHS test, few stop before hitting the target, and, as we may have seen with the Florida Tesla crash, the Level 2/3 AutoPilot may not have failed, but, instead, it was the "Phantom Level 1" AEB that is supposed to be on all the time. This is not acceptable. These AEB systems MUST get infinitely better now. It is a shame that AEBs were were not explicitly addressed in this document.
"…I. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p11) A. Guidance: if a vehicle is compliant within the existing FMVSS regulatory framework and maintains a conventional vehicle design, there is currently no specific federal legal barrier to an HAV being offered for sale.(footnote 7) However, manufacturers and other entities designing new automated vehicle systems
are subject to NHTSA’s defects, recall and enforcement authority. (footnote 8) . and the "15 Cross-cutting Areas of Guidance" p17)
In sum this is a very good document and displays just how far DoT policy has come from promoting v2v, DSRC and centralized control, "connected", focus to creating an environment focused on individual vehicles that responsibly take care of themselves. Kudos to Secretary Foxx for this 180 degree policy turn focused on safety. Once done correctly, the HAV will yield the early safety benefits that will stimulate continued improvements that, in turn, will yield the great mobility, environmental and quality-of-life benefits afforded by driverless mobility.
What are not addressed are commercial trucking and buses/mass transit. NHTSA is auto focused, so maybe FMCSA is preparing similar guidelines. FTA (Federal Transit Administration) seems nowhere in sight. Alain
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
May 7 Crash
Hmmm…What we know now (and don’t know):
Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving
Thursday, March 17, 2016
U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles
Sunday, December 19, 2015
Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars
Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1. Hmmm … Watch Video especially at the 13:12 mark. Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above! Also see his TipRanks. Alain
This list is maintained by Alain Kornhauser and hosted by the Princeton University LISTSERV.
This list is maintained by Alain Kornhauser and hosted by the Princeton University LISTSERV.