Saturday, June 8, 2019
25th edition of the 7th year of SmartDrivingCars
What Truck Drivers Think About Autonomous Trucking
W. MacNaughton, June 1, "We’ve all heard about the advent of Autonomous Trucking – but mostly from people who work in the tech industry. So this week, I’ve been visiting (and sleeping, eating and showering in) truck stops in Nevada, Utah and Idaho to hear what truck drivers themselves have to say about the future of the profession. …" Read more Hmmmm… This is excellent. One thing that was missed… If done appropriately, (operative word here is appropriately, not really what has been done so far…) … ""autonomy" could help me drive much more safely and really help me if it focused on reducing the stress or anxiety that driving causes me. It would really be nice if I could relax and think about something else at least some of the time when I drive. Much of driving is very simple… but very boring. Please help me do my job more safely. I’ll then be fresh and really be able to handle the tough hard stuff. Do for me what automation does for pilots. I’m just as important." Alain
Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 111
F. Fishkin, June 9, "Is GPS ruining your brain? Hear how one of the pioneers of the technology responds to that report. Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin tackle that and..what truckers think of autonomous trucks…self driving Lyft vehicles pass a milestone in Vegas…and news on Gatik AI, Drive AI, Apple, Tesla and more. Episode 111 of Smart Driving Cars!" Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" . Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay … Alain
Ditch the GPS. It’s ruining your brain
M. O’conner, June 5, "It has become the most natural thing to do: get in the car, type a destination into a smartphone, and let an algorithm using GPS data show the way. Personal GPS-equipped devices entered the mass market in only the past 15 or so years ???… Actually we put the first nationwide GPS system, CoPilot, on the market @ J& R Computer World in August 1997 🙂 … , but hundreds of millions of people now rarely travel without them. These gadgets are extremely powerful, allowing people to know their location at all times, to explore unknown places and to avoid getting lost.
But they also affect perception and judgment. When people are told which way to turn, it relieves them of the need to create their own routes and remember them. They pay less attention to their surroundings. And neuroscientists can now see that brain behavior changes when people rely on turn-by-turn directions.
In a study published in Nature Communications in 2017, researchers asked subjects to navigate a virtual simulation of London’s Soho neighborhood and monitored their brain activity, specifically the hippocampus, which is integral to spatial navigation. Those who were guided by directions showed less activity in this part of the brain than participants who navigated without the device. “The hippocampus makes an internal map of the environment and this map becomes active only when you are engaged in navigating and not using GPS,” Amir-Homayoun Javadi, one of the study’s authors, told me.
Read more Hmmmm… Now I know why I can’t function anymore. 🙁 Abstract of the study "Topological networks lie at the heart of our cities and social milieu. However, it remains unclear how and when the brain processes topological structures to guide future behaviour during everyday life. Using fMRI in humans and a simulation of London (UK), here we show that, specifically when new streets are entered during navigation of the city, right posterior hippocampal activity indexes the change in the number of local topological connections available for future travel and right anterior hippocampal activity reflects global properties of the street entered. When forced detours require re-planning of the route to the goal, bilateral inferior lateral prefrontal activity scales with the planning demands of a breadth-first search of future paths. These results help shape models of how hippocampal and prefrontal regions support navigation, planning and future simulation." Alain
Tesla – the Dark Horse MaaS Provider? #SmartDrivingCarSummit
K. Pyle, June 7, "Could the robotaxi model that Tesla’s Elon Musk has been touting be a successful approach for a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) model? After some recent first-hand experience with the Tesla driving experience, MaaS champion, Princeton’s Dr. Alain Kornhauser states why he believes Musk be on the right path. In the above video, Kornhauser provides an overview of some of the innovative human-machine research initiated at the 2019 SmartDrivingCar Summit, the importance of community acceptance of autonomous vehicles and, at approximately 03:55, the discussion of Tesla as a MaaS provider.
As Kornhauser mentions, it’s plausible to believe that such a service could quickly scale to something like 2.5% of the daily U.S. rides. As he notes in the above interview, that would equate to a little more than 60% of today’s public transportation ridership…." Read more Hmmmm… See video. Think about it. 🙂 Alain
Global EV Sales In April 2019: Over 166,000 At 2.1% Market Share
J. Pontes, June 3, "Tesla Model 3 sales globally are almost three times higher than the second best plug-in electric car, but BYD remains the biggest manufacturer so far this year. In April, global sales of plug-in electric cars grew at a slower pace than we would hope for, but 29% gain year-over-year is not a bad thing either.
In total, EV Sales Blog estimates some 166,200 sales at an average market share of 2.1%.
Taking into consideration the growth of all-electric cars by 43%, the slowdown was caused by plug-in hybrids (again), which now hold just 29% share out of the overall BEV/PHEV segment. After four months, sales stand at over 662,000 and 2.1% market share. The target for 2019 is 3.5 million (compared to 2 million in 2018)." Read more Hmmmm… 17,464 is not bad, but production is supposed to be 5,000 per week. Hmmmm ??? Alain
Electric Vehicle Sales Up 70% In Europe
M. Kane, June 3, "… #2 Tesla Model 3 — After a delivery peak in March, the poster child for electromobility has dropped to more “normal” performances, with Tesla delivering 3,738 units of its sedan in April. Looking at individual markets, the midsize model was mainly delivered in Norway (720 units), Germany (514), the Netherlands (467), Switzerland (492), and Sweden (446). May seems to be following April performances, but expect another Tesla tide in June…" Read more Hmmmm… Enormous drop from March. They still lead YtD with 23,322; Renault Zoe @15,292. Alain
Ken Pyle’s Appeal to Waymo
K. Pyle, June 9, "@Waymo @SmartDrivingCar Dr. Kornhauser and I would love to report on what you are doing as part of your #meetWaymocontest…" Read more Hmmmm… Ken, this is too much fun! Alain
Lyft’s self-driving car service in Vegas passes 50,000 rides
S. Lekach, May 31, "Lyft’s self-driving cars powered by Aptiv have been picking up passengers around Las Vegas for the past year. This week the autonomous ride service hit 50,000 rides. The cars are requested through the Lyft app as usual, but are clearly noted as autonomous vehicles. Lyft works with self-driving company Aptiv to offer the service, which charges riders the same as the equivalent usual Lyft ride. A safety driver is still in the car.
At the 50,000 ride marker, Lyft pointed out that its self-driving cars average a 4.97 star rating and 92 percent of riders gave feedback that they felt safe during the ride. For most riders, this was their first time in an autonomous car. …" Read more Hmmmm… Getting there; however, nothing is reported about "disengagements". This begins to prove that people will ride a computer driven car that has an attendant onboard. Doesn’t say anything about "if no attendant is onboard". There is essentially zero business case for an automated mobility system that has an attendant onboard. Unfortunately, this says nothing about the viability of the technology (attendant-less) that Lyft (and Uber) needs to support its current stock price. 🙁 Alain
Self-driving train goes wrong way in Tokyo; 14 hurt in crash
APF, June 2, "Fourteen passengers were injured after a driverless five-car train in suburban Tokyo went in the wrong direction and crashed into a buffer stop, Japanese police said Sunday. Local media reported that some injuries – the first resulting from an accident involving an automated train in 30 years – appeared to be serious but non-life-threatening….
Compared to self-driving cars that have recently taken the road in several countries on a test basis, automated trains have a relatively long history in Japan…." Read more Hmmmm… Very unfortunate, but reality. Japan will learn from this crash, improve the "30 year old (/antiquated?)" control system and move on to create an even better and safer driverless train to serve some of Japan’s mobility needs. Alain
Evolution of BOSTON DYNAMICS ROBOTS
June 9, 2018, See video Hmmmm… Pretty amazing. Alain
Why Aren’t Cities Getting Ready for Autonomous Vehicles?
L. Bliss, Ma7 30, "…So, given what they already know, city officials are surely taking steps to steer us away from an all-autonomous gridlocked hellscape—right? Alas, no. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, very few local leaders are working to anticipate the effects of self-driving cars. And though the arrival of these vehicles en masse could still be decades away, the authors write that now is a rare window of opportunity for cities to write policies that tackle both the unwanted effects of AVs as well as other big civic challenges…." Read more Hmmmm… At the beginning, cities aren’t a good place for driverless vehicles. Cities have too much invested in their hopelessly poor, hopelessly bankrupt transit systems. No one working in any transit system dares to create a welcoming environment to a potential competitor. Communities, smaller cities and transit deserts are he places to start. It is easier technologically and socially. Alain
There’s A Drivers Ed Course For Those Who Test Self-Driving Cars On Public Roads
E. Garsten, June 9, "…But U.K.-based CAT Driver Training has won accreditation for a four-day course aimed at teaching engineers and others involved in testing autonomous vehicles how to do so more safely…. Launched last November, the main thrust of the Autonomous Safety Driver Training Course is centered on defensive driving,…
“How can somebody develop a system to drive safely if they have no knowledge of advanced, or defensive driving?” said Hoad. “You might need to decide when to take over, you might need to anticipate a failure or a vehicle doing something extraordinary on a roundabout that might take somebody untrained by surprise and manage not only yourself and the environment around you but the potential for the system not to behave in the way you might. Quite simply they’re learning how to evaluate road correctly, assess hazards, forward plan, observe.”…" Read more Hmmmm… Training of AV "Attendants" is absolutely necessary as may well be the training of each buyer of a Tesla with AutoPilot. Attending is all about being able to sense that the AV system is about to do the wrong thing. Once the Self-driving car starts doing the wrong thing, the attendant’s "knee jerk" reaction must be able to "save the day". That is NOT easy because there is essentially zero time to think. All one can do is react. Alain
Self-driving delivery van startup Gatik AI comes out of stealth with Walmart partnership
K. Korosec, June 6, "Gatik AI, an autonomous vehicle startup that came out of stealth Thursday with $4.5 million in funding and Walmart as a customer, is aiming for the sweet middle spot in the world of logistics.
The company, which operates out of Palo Alto and Toronto, isn’t deploying autonomous delivery bots built for sidewalks, nor is it aiming for self-driving trucks, or even robotaxis to shuttle around people. Instead, the founders of Gatik AI are developing a business that will do short hauls of goods between businesses using autonomous light-commercial trucks and vans.
The Ford transit vehicles outfitted with Gatik’s self-driving system will drive up to 200 miles a day and stay within a city environment, co-founder and CEO Gautam Narang told TechCrunch…. The company has been testing its autonomous vehicle technology on public roads in California for about 18 months…." Read more Hmmmm… This is Self-driving… an Attendant is on-board. It is NOT Driverless. Alain
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time
This is what it’s like to control an autonomous car from miles away
S. Lekach, June 1, "The exit ramp is a long, curving slope, and you have to make sure the 50-foot big rig you’re driving carefully navigates the bend and doesn’t fly out of control at a high speed. But the thing is, you’re not actually there. You’re in a room in Silicon Valley, watching the ramp unfold in front of you on several screens. That heavy load you’re carrying is thousands of miles away in Florida.
Welcome to teleoperated driving, or remote-controlled driving with a human in front of a steering wheel, brake, and gas pedals, and a "windshield" plastered with monitors. It’s a method that allows autonomous vehicles to operate without anyone inside. Instead, there’s a watchful remote driver, or operator, there for trickier moments that the robo-truck or vehicle can’t handle…." Read more Hmmmm… Please No!!!!!!!!! This is NOT the right way to do "trickier movements". This is total Bull. No way an operator can perform "trickier maneuvers" better remotely, than she can do it from the driver’s seat. Please don’t even try this. If you need a driver in your system, put the driver in the driver’s seat, please (unless you are on a resupply mission in Afghanistan or invading Moscow. 😉) Alain
Robo-deliveries are now a reality in China
Smebiz, June 3, "FORGET drones. The future of deliveries may be robo-vans.
A Chinese startup called Neolix kicked off mass production of its self-driving delivery vehicles over a week ago – saying it’s the first company globally to do so – and has lined up giants such as JD.Com Inc and Huawei Technologies Co as customers. Neolix expects to deliver a thousand of the vehicles, which resemble tiny vans, within the first year as it broadens out…" Read more Hmmmm… Spending someone else’s money to kick off mass production of something is easy, but it DOESN’T make it a REALITY in China or anywhere else, unless what is mass produced actually works safely. To my knowledge, the hard part… that it works safely… has NOT been demonstrated. Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
Forget Driverless Cars, It’s Flying Cars That Are About To Disrupt The Trillion Dollar Transport Industry.
D. Lerner, June 2, "…Flying Cars Will Be Huge And No I Haven’t Lost My Mind…" Read more Hmmmm… Yes you have! C’mon Man!!! Alain
Simply Click Bait
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
2019 Math Frontiers Webinars
Mathematics of Transportation
June 11, 2019 at 2 p.m. ET:
Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck and Alain Komhauser will discuss mathematical approaches that inform transportation policies and improve transportation networks.
September 4-6, 2019
Pocono Manor, PA
4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 19 through May 21, 2020
On the More Technical Side