Saturday July 16, 2022
25th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter
MAY MOBILITY CLOSES $111 MILLION SERIES C FUNDING, BEGINS PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT ON TOYOTA’S NEXT GENERATION MOBILITY PLATFORM
Press release, July 12,”May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, today closed a $111 million Series C round of funding. Additionally, the company plans to continue to pursue its deployment programs using the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platform while beginning development on another vehicle design centered around mobility, Toyota’s e-Palette, signaling the next potential milestone as it seeks new ways to bring equitable mobility solutions to the masses….” Read more Hmmmm… Hopefully this will enable May Mobility to take seriously Trenton MOVES and other MOVES-style deployment initiatives in New Jersey and beyond. Alain
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 275/ PodCast 275 w/Daisy Wall, Director of Policy and Advocacy, May Mobility
F. Fishkin, July 16, “What lies ahead for May Mobility following the closing of a 111 million dollar funding round…including the participation of State Farm? Director of Policy and Advocacy Daisy Wall joins Alain Kornhauser & Fred Fishkin for a look ahead. Plus layoffs at Nuro and Argo AI, news about Cruise and the amazing Webb space telescope images. Episode 275 of Smart Driving Cars..”
Technical support provided by: https://www.cartsmobility.com/
The SmartDrivingCars eLetter, Pod-Casts, Zoom-Casts and Zoom-inars are made possible in part by support from the Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO. For more information: www.motoetf.com. Most funding is supplied by Princeton University’s Department of Operations Research & Financial Engineering and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE) research laboratory as part of its research dissemination initiative
Hubble v Webb
J, Christensen, July 13, ” Webb & Hubble overlapped with slider”, See more Hmmmm… Very interesting. Alain
Robotic Research Accelerates Commercial Autonomy Applications
K. Jost, July 6, “Technology developer Robotic Research has been working on autonomous and robotics solutions for the industry’s harshest, unstructured environments around the world since 2002. CEO Alberto Lacaze founded the Clarksburg, Maryland, company mainly to serve the U.S. DOD, with many of its military contracts geared to creating autonomy stacks for a variety of vehicles.
Originally from Uruguay, Lacaze describes himself as a “technical guy,” holding close to 150 patents in the field of robotics. He developed some of the very early neural networks in the 1990s, and has worked with pretty much every aspect of autonomy stack over the years. Lacaze was part of the research faculty at the University of Maryland from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, and he worked at the National Institute of Standards of Technology as part of the government’s efforts to develop autonomy systems for military vehicles.
About a decade later, the company began working on the commercial side. “We’re more of an established company on the DOD side, and more of a startup on the commercial side,” Lacaze said. The company’s vehicle- and sensor-agnostic full-stack autonomy kit, called AutoDrive™, has been integrated in a variety of vehicles, including North America’s first automated heavy-duty transit bus, Class 8 trucks and yard trucks
“My understanding is that they’re mainly concentrated on highway driving, which is very appealing,” Lacaze said. “But we think that there is another story of autonomy, which is everything else. Not everything is on the road driving, and not everything is robotaxis.”
“We know that this is something that we can do very well, and there’s many competitions on the military side that we have won specifically because of those capabilities,” he said, regarding operation without GPS. “[With] many of our customers where we’re starting to have deployments or pilots, they’re telling us that that is unique from us and a big advantage. Nobody wants to stop their warehouse applications every time that someone turns on a welder or a jammer, which happens .surprisingly. commonly, believe it or not.”…
Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting. Alain
Nuro lays off employees in Texas, California and Arizona
B. Wessling, July 13, “Nuro has laid off seven employees in Houston and Mountain View, California and three more at its Phoenix offices. The company has raised $2.1 billion in funding since its founding in 2016.
A Nuro spokesperson told The Robot Report, “As part of our ongoing business strategy development, we closed four positions in Houston and three positions in Mountain View, and offered severance packages to the seven people affected by the change….
Nuro’s reported layoffs follow a string of other industry layoffs within the last few weeks. Argo AI, another company developing autonomous vehicles, announced it’s laying off 150 employees and shutting down its operation in Washington, DC.
Starship Technologies, a sidewalk delivery robot company, also recently laid off 11% of its workforce. The outdoor robot delivery market has become quite crowded for companies like Starship and Nuro. Other sidewalk delivery companies, like Coco, Kiwibot, Serve Robotics and Synkar, have cropped up in recent years. As well as heavier payload companies, like White Rhino.
Starship said it had been negatively impacted by the “dramatic downward shifts” in the global economy and investment market.
Downward shifts in the global investment market, particularly in China, were also cited for the reported layoffs at Pudu Robotics, a Chinese developer of commercial service robots.
Additionally, DoorDash announced it was closing Chowbotics just 18 months after acquiring the business. Chowbotics was apart of DoorDash’s robotics division, DoorDash Labs, which is still in operation.” Read more Hmmmm… Earning revenue to pay salaries is proving to be a challenge for the AV industry. Alain
Cruise robotaxi service under review following anonymous letter
R. Bellan, July 14, “Someone claiming to be a Cruise employee sent an anonymous letter to a California regulatory agency raising concerns that the company is launching its robotaxi service too early. The employee cited the regularity of instances that Cruise robotaxis malfunction in some way and are left stranded on streets, often blocking traffic or emergency vehicles, as one of his main concerns, according to the letter that has been reviewed by TechCrunch.
The letter also claims that employees “generally do not believe we are ready to launch to the public, but there is fear of admitting this because of expectations from leadership and investors.” Cruise has responded to this with results from an April 2022 survey from over 2,000 employees, in which 94% of respondents agreed with the statement: “Safety is a top priority here.”…” Read more Hmmmm… Nothing is easy. Since TechCrunch has “reviewed” the letter, why didn’t is link it so that we can be better informed. Is it a “secret”??? Hopefully the CPUC will release it or will we need to file a Freedom of Information request? Alain
Update on US Automated Transit Projects
R, Mudge, July 20 “Automated bus deployments in the US… Two dimensions: autonomousBus & ADAS Apllications…” Read more Hmmmm… Update to mid 2022 of progress in traditional urban rubber-tire transit. Alain
Automated Bus Rapid Transit A New Mode for High- Quality, High-Capacity Transit Corridors
R. Mudge, Oct 2020, “Elected officials and transit executives today face operating crises due to the unprecedented COVID19 pandemic, uncertain future demand, funding shortfalls, and competition from new services and technology. This paper describes a new technology that may help transit leaders address some of these problems as they look toward the future. This paper describes a new approach to high-capacity transit, Automated Bus Rapid Transit (ABRT). ABRT uses state-of-the-art technology to enhance conventional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). This document provides information for elected officials, transit executives, transit planners, and engineers who seek options to improve transit service while taking advantage of new technology. Automated BRT enhances conventional BRT by leveraging various technologies of automated driving systems (ADS). ADS cover a wide range of capabilities, including: automated collision avoidance and emergency braking to increase safety, automated lane-keeping to allow running on narrow rights of way and sharp turns, automated precision docking, which allows level boarding at platforms to maintain an ADAcompliant gap and reduce damage to buses and platforms, automated smooth acceleration, deceleration, and speed control, and “platooning” which can create an electronically linked train of buses controlled by a single driver in the lead bus. …” Read more Hmmmm… Progress in traditional urban rubber-tire transit though mid-2020. Alain
Musk said not one self-driving Tesla had ever crashed. By then, regulators already knew of 8
R. Mitchel, July 14, “Elon Musk has long used his mighty Twitter megaphone to amplify the idea that Tesla’s automated driving software isn’t just safe — it’s safer than anything a human driver can achieve.
That campaign kicked into overdrive last fall when the electric-car maker expanded its Full Self-Driving “beta” program from a few thousand people to a fleet that now numbers more than 100,000. The $12,000 feature purportedly lets a Tesla drive itself on highways and neighborhood streets, changing lanes, making turns and obeying traffic signs and signals.
As critics scolded Musk for testing experimental technology on public roads without trained safety drivers as backups, Santa Monica investment manager and vocal Tesla booster Ross Gerber was among the allies who sprang to his defense.
“There has not been one accident or injury since FSD beta launch,” he tweeted in January. “Not one. Not a single one.”
To which Musk responded with a single word: “Correct.”
In fact, by that time dozens of drivers had already filed safety complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over incidents involving Full Self-Driving — and at least eight of them involved crashes. The complaints are in the public domain, in a database on the NHTSA website…. ” Read more Hmmmm… FSD is a really bad name! As is AutoPilot. Elon, please change the name. You like to say that for products (cars, rocket engines, …), fewer parts are better. For names/labels, implying less is better. Appreciation tends to be relative to expectation. By using the names FSD and autoPilot, you’ve set the expectation so high you ruined your chance of creating happy campers. Just change the names. You’ll exceed expectations and we’ll stop giving you grief. Alain
Pennsylvania Senate panel forwards autonomous vehicle bill
K. Goble, July 15, “Work continues at the Pennsylvania statehouse to advance a bill that is touted to modernize the state’s vehicle code to allow for the driverless testing and deployment of autonomous cars and trucks.
Currently, the Keystone State prohibits vehicle operation on state roadways without a human driver behind the wheel inside the vehicle.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 11-3 to advance a bill, SB965, to legalize and regulate driverless vehicles in the state. The vote follows action in the House to approve a bill to accomplish the same goals. …”Read more Hmmmm… The title is misleading. This is about platooning with the requirement that a driver be in the lead vehicle. It addresses a very small segment of the “autonomous vehicle sector” of the economy. Note, the “vehicle-following problem” is much simpler than the “vehicle-leading problem”.
Hopefully New Jersey will address legislatively the permitting of driverless/attendantless lead vehicles that can operate safely following or leading and enable the delivery of “safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality mobility for all. Now that’s worth enabling legislatively. Alain
Hyundai, Kia to launch Level 3 self-driving Genesis G90, EV9 in 2023
H. Kim, Jul 15, July 15, “South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group will launch its most-advanced Level 3 autonomous cars next year, starting with Hyundai Motor Co.’s flagship luxury Genesis G90 sedan and Kia Corp.’s large-size electric sport utility vehicle, the EV9.
The group’s commercial launch of the self-driving vehicles equipped with its advanced technology is designed to help Hyundai and Kia better compete with electric car giant Tesla Inc., which is also the global frontrunner in autonomous driving…” Read more Hmmmm… Lots of gonnas, stated explicitly to “better compete with … Tesla”. I guess that says it all by Hyundai/Kia and likely says it for the rest of the traditional car industry. Alain
Tesla tries to help Texas grid amid heat wave with its cars until it can with Powerwalls
F. Lambert, July 12, “Tesla is trying to help Texas’s electric grid again amid another heat wave with its electric cars until it can with Powerwalls as it lobbies for some rule changes.
Texas has a notoriously fragile grid that is having issues supporting increasing peak electricity demand.
The issues have mostly come in the winter amid cold fronts, but the state’s electric grid has had issues this year with early heat waves.
The first one hit as soon as May, and it tripped six power plants in the state.
At the time, Tesla introduced a new way to try to help out with a new in-car alert to Tesla owners in the state encouraging them not to charge between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. if they can avoid it:
A heat wave is expected to impact the grid in Texas over the next few days. The grid operator recommends to avoid charging during peak hours between 3pm and 8pm, if possible, to help statewide efforts to manage demand….” Read more Hmmmm… OK. Alain
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Previous SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast/PodCasts
These editions are sponsored by the SmartETFs Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO. For more information head to www.motoetf.com
https://www.cartsmobility.com/ provided technical support
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 273/ PodCast 273 Michael Sena, Editor The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, June 23, “Smart Driving Cars episode 273: Getting Moves moving. The June Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit brought the players together. Now the real game begins. “The Dispatcher” publisher and consultant Michael Sena joins us for that plus…Einride’s autonomous electric transports, Cruise takes paying passengers and a critical checkpoint for Zoox. “
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 272/ PodCast 272 Ed Niedermeyer
F. Fishkin, June 16, “With NHTSA releasing the data on 392 crashes involving driver assistance systems, we dive into the significance and take-aways with guest Ed #Niedermeyer, author, journalist and co-host of the #Autonocast. Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 272 of Smart Driving Cars.“
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 271/ PodCast 271 Summary of 5th Summit, Alain Kornhauser & Jerry He
F. Fishkin, June 8, “From the people living in Trenton’s Donnelly Homes, to Trenton Central High, to Princeton University, there were lessons to be learned at the 5th annual Smart Driving Cars Summit. CARTS Mobility executive director Jerry He joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin to discuss the progress. (video by www.DanielProductions.tv).” Watch Video Hmmmm…Outstanding
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 269/ PodCast 269 Michael Sena, Publisher of The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, May 26, “Smart Driving Cars (episode 269) Did government car ratings take a wrong turn? The star rating system for new cars doesn’t offer the protections it should. That’s the view of consultant and “The Dispatcher” publisher Michael Sena. He joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for episode 269 of Smart Driving Cars. Plus… another self driving promise from Elon Musk, the Smart Driving Cars Summit and more..”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 268/ PodCast 268 Bob Kacergis, CCO, Momentum Dynamics
F. Fishkin, May 15, Wireless electric vehicle charging can make autonomous mobility services more affordable for all. How? Momentum Dynamics Chief Commercial Officer Bob Kacergis explains on episode 268 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin. Plus..Oshkosh, Torc Robotics, Trenton Moves and more.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 267/ PodCast 267
F. Fishkin, May 7, “The Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit is less than a month away, focused on making mobility for all a reality through Trenton Moves. Plus Tesla says Autopilot is achieving big results in improving vehicle safety. Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for that and more in episode 267 of Smart Driving Cars.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 266/ PodCast 266 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, April 28, “Germany has given the green light for no hands on the wheel mobility. What does it mean? The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins us for that…plus Waymo, Tesla, Ford, Argo and more.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 265/ PodCast 265 w/Jim Nicholas, CEO, Uniphy
F. Fishkin, April 23, “Designing the robotaxi rider experience. Uniphy CEO Jim Nicholas is forging partnerships to help transform consumer experiences with vehicles and more. He joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for that…plus the latest on Tesla, Trenton and more. “
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 264/ PodCast 264
F. Fishkin, April 15, “Smart Driving Cars episode 264: Massive Robotaxi Move by #Musk and #Tesla? Elon Musk is saying Tesla will make a massive move into robotaxis. And what about his attempt to buy Twitter? Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin weigh in on that…plus Argo AI coming to Greenville, South Carolina and Cruise expands Walmart deliveries in Arizona. That and more on episode 264 of Smart Driving Cars. Tune in and subscribe..
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 263/ PodCast 263 w/ Henry Posner III’77 Ferroequinalogist
F. Fishkin, April 7, “Mobility takes on a different meaning for Ukrainian refugees. Henry Posner II and his Railroad Development Corporation has been helping to transport many into Germany. He joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for episode 263 of Smart Driving Cars. That plus GM Cruise, Aurora, VW, Qualcomm & more.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 262/ PodCast 262 w/ Michael Sena
F. Fishkin, March 30, The latest from the Symposium on the Future Networked Car, the UK investigates laws for driverless cars, cars….politics and Russia, Tesla and some big news from Waymo. The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for Smart Driving Cars episode 262.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 261/ PodCast 261 w/ Sven Beiker & Dick Mudge
F. Fishkin, March 25, “Where autonomous mobility vehicles operate matters. But why does too. And Mercedes takes a leap. That and more as Sven Beiker of Silicon Valley Mobility and Dick Mudge of Compass Transportation join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 261 of Smart Driving Cars.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 260/ PodCast 260
F. Fishkin, March 21, “Apple reportedly has dissolved its car team and why is Alain now eating at McDonald’s? Episode 260 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin has that plus GM, Cruise, Tesla, Aurora, Polestar and more.”-
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 259/ PodCast 259 w/ Mo ElShenawy, EVP of Engineering, Cruise
F. Fishkin, March 9, “Cruise, with GM and Honda as operating partners, has gone truly driverless in San Francisco and is seeking permission to eliminate steering wheels in the Cruise Origin. EVP of Engineering Mo ElShenawy joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for a special edition of Smart Driving Cars.
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 258! / PodCast 258 w/ Michael Sena, Publisher, The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, March 3, “How will electric vehicle charging stations make money? The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena poses that question and many more on episode 258 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Plus Ford creates a distinct EV car business, an update on NJ progress and more. Tune in and subscribe….”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 257/ PodCast 257 w/ Ciff Winston, Brookings Institute & Marc Scribner, Reason Foundation
F. Fishkin, Feb. 25, “So what about these reports and opinion pieces casting doubt on the future of autonomous mobility? The Brookings Institution’s Cliff Winston and Reason Foundation’s Marc Scribner join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin to slice and dice. Plus GM Cruise, VW and more..”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 256 / PodCast 256 w/ Danny Shapiro, VP Automotive, NVIDIA
F. Fishkin, Feb. 18, ” With Jaguar Land Rover signing on to partner with NVIDIA for advanced driver assistance and autonomous capabilities in all of their vehicles starting in 2025, what will the collaboration mean? NVIDIA’s VP for Automotive Danny Shapiro joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the latest on Waymo, VW, Trenton and more.”
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 255 / PodCast 255 w/Brad Templeton
F. Fishkin, Feb. 11, ” The engaging debate over disengagements. In episode 255 of Smart Driving Cars, Forbes.com Sr. Transportation Contributor Brad Templeton engages with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser over the path to the future of autonomous mobility. The latest data on disengagements from companies testing self driving vehicles in California, Tesla, Cruise, Waymo and New Jersey begins funding Trenton MOVES…are part of the spirited discussion with co-host Fred Fishkin.”
SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 254, Zoom-Cast Episode 254 w/Alex Roy
F. Fishkin,Feb 4, “Why Self Driving Isn’t a Race, It’s a Game. That’s what Alex Roy, Director of Special Projects at Argo AI writes at www.groundtruthautonomy.com.Alex joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest Smart Driving Cars for a wide ranging discussion on that plus the latest on Trenton Moves, FreightWaves, Tesla, Waymo, Cruise, Toyota and more .”
SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 253, Zoom-Cast Episode 253 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, Jan. 27, “The Federal Trade Commission looks to level the tech playing field…but “The Dispatcher” publisher Michael Sena has some words of warning. He joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for that plus Tesla, Waymo and more on Episode 253 of Smart Driving Cars..”
SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 252, Zoom-Cast Episode 252 /Michael Krauss, Prof. of Law Emeritus & Alexandra Mueller, IIHS
F. Fishkin, Jan. 20, ” The IIHS has announced it will rate vehicle partial automation systems. Spearheading is research scientist Alexandra Mueller who joins us. And Professor Emeritus Michael Krauss from the George Mason University School of Law on the manslaughter charges leveled in a Tesla autopilot case in California. Episode 252 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. “
SmartDrivingCars Zoom-Cast Episode 251 /A. Kornhauser: Making it Happen: Trenton MOVES… a Framework for…
F. Fishkin, Jan. 15, ” In this special edition of Smart Driving Cars, Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and his presentation: Making it Happen: Trenton Moves-a framework for the deployment of safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high quality transportation. The focus is on providing autonomous mobility in a place where there is real need. A first. Join the effort.”
Link to 250 previous SDC PodCasts & ZoomCasts