3rd edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter
Riding Nairobi’s Craziest Matatu, Kenya
J. Billam, Feb. 11 ’22, “I show my wild experience riding Nairobi’s Craziest Matatu (local bus) bound for Rongai in Kenya’s capital city… “ Watch more Hmmmm… If we aren’t going to have Moves-style Autonomous Transit Networks, then Matatus may well be the answer to safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, and colorful mobility. Millions take them every day in Nairobi, Kenya. Amazing. J Alain
All Nairobi Matatu Routes at your fingertips!
“ Have you ever found yoursel in town with no idea how to get to a certain destination using Public Transport and you end up calling friends or asking strangers where a certain Matatu stage is? You are not alone!! Thousands of Nairobians go through this daily!
So us cool peeps at MyRide Africa thought to bring this to an end so that you never get lost in Nairobi again! We have the all new Matatu Map on the App that can help you to find any route in Nairobi in 3 easy steps…’’ Read more Hmmmm… Just returned from a trip of a life time to Kenya. Absolutely fantastic experience Alain
<![if !vml]><![endif]>SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 300 / PodCast 300
“F. Fishkin, Jan.24, “ Episode 300 of Smart Driving Cars! Alain returns from Africa, Mobileye eyes robotaxis in Israel and beyond, Tesla demand rises after price cuts, Mercedes talks level 3 and Toyota Boshoku shows future mobility for all. Tune in and subscribe! 0:00 open; 1:11 Alain on trip to Nairobi, Kenya and public transit there; 5:52 Mobileye looks to deploy robot taxis in Israel and Europe this year; 11:42 Forbes piece on map of places where autonomous vehicles are serving public; 13:30 Tesla price cuts spur demand; 17:45 Tesla staged video? Alain’s take; 20:52 Mercedes talks level 3 availability; 21:54 Interview with Richard Chung of Toyota Boshoku courtesy of Ken Pyle and Viodi.com; 32:00 Alain on podcast number 300!”
Technical support provided by: CARTSmobility.com a 501c3 dedicated to Safe & High-Quality Mobility for All. Tax-deductible donations are most appreciated @ Support CARTS’ mission to provide safe & high-quality mobility for all
Save the Date:
6th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:
Tuesday Evening, May 23 -> Thursday 5pm, May 25, 2023
Princeton University Transportation Program
Friends & Reunion Banquet
in conjunction with the 103rd annual
Transportation Research Board (TRB) Meeting in Washington, DC
TUESDAY, January 9, 2024
Tony Cheng’s Seafood Restaurant
K. Pyle, Jan. 21, “From a personal perspective, the most memorable part of CES2023 was spending the week with Dr. Alain Kornhauser and Dr. Elizabeth Monroe. Princeton Professor Kornhauser brings his perspective to several of the Viodi interviews at CES2023 as seen below. One of the highlights was our ride in a teleoperated (look ma, no hands) rental car with Kornhauser and Monroe..….” Read more Hmmmm… Ken, it was a lot of fun and learning. Thank you. Alain
Mobileye CEO says Israeli company betting big on robot taxis
F. Situk, Jan. 20, “We will deploy between 100 and 150 robot taxis in 2023 in Israel and in a number of cities in Europe as a full-scale test’
Everyone now knows Mobileye, the Israeli company behind the in-vehicle camera technology that saves lives every second around the world.
Nothing expresses the incredible success of this Israeli flagship better than the figures that accompany it: Sold to Intel in 2017 for $15 billion — the biggest exit in the history of Israel — the company specializing in autonomous driving assistance has just made its IPO, valued at $17 billion. A month and a half later, it is worth ten more.
Innov’nation had the privilege of speaking with Amnon Shashua, the co-founder and director of Mobileye, to discuss the company’s successes and projects, which are preparing to shape new modes of driving…. “Read more Hmmmm… Exactly what we need for Trenton MOVES . Alain
This ‘AutonoMap’ Shows The Many Places Autonomous Vehicles Are Serving The Public Today
B. Templeton. Jan. 17, “Above is “AutonoMap,” an attempt to map the growing number of places where mostly autonomous vehicles are out on roads and sidewalks carrying members of the public or cargo for them with no safety driver or other employee in the vehicle. Map markers in red indicate this state of full autonomy, other colors show public robotaxi service with an employee still in the vehicle, and some services planned to open up to the public in the future…. “ Read more Hmmmm… Interesting that the text states…” mostly autonomous vehicles” yet the headline fails to include the “mostly”. (what is “mostly autonomous”. If it is not driverless, the technology has no hope of having a positive RoI. Moreover, many of the places are where service is “planned” rather than “are”. Brad does make the distinction between what is actually “serving the public” and what isn’t in the YouTube video: Introducing the Autonomap of all public self-driving vehicles. Pay close attention. The fine print and details matter. Alain
Tesla Can Slash its Prices Because its Cars Are So Cheap to Build
Andy Kalmowitz, Jan 23, “There’s a reason why Tesla has been able to drastically cut its vehicle prices across the board without breaking a sweat. The automaker reportedly earns more money per vehicle than literally all of its rivals. Now, Reuters reports that Tesla is using that fact as another weapon in the EV price war.
The Austin, Texas-based company was at one point one of the automotive industry’s biggest money-losers, but during 2022 Tesla built quite a lead over everyone when it comes to profit per vehicle, according to the outlet.
Tesla reportedly earned, on average, $15,653 in gross profit per vehicle in the third quarter of 2022. That blows away other automakers like Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford — Tesla averages five times the per-vehicle gross profit of Ford in particular….” Read more Hmmmm… Be sure to also look at the Reuters report. Most impressive because Tesla’s Giga factories in Shanghai, Austin and Berlin (and even Fremont) have very little labor input, yielding substantial scale economies. As volume increases the marginal costs of producing a car decreases. This is the opportunity with MOVES-style mobility… to provide high quality mobility inexpensively through driverless automation and ride-sharing. Alain
Automotive LiDAR – Still Alive & Kicking
Sabbir Rangwalla, Jan. 22, “Heading into 2023, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging – a 3D imaging technology) appeared to be struggling, given the delays in launching profitable autonomous vehicles and the ~80-90% drop in valuations of SPAC-funded (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) LiDAR companies. LiDAR pioneers were facing severe business hurdles. Some declared bankruptcy (Quanergy, Ibeo), shut down operations (Argo.ai’s LiDAR and AV unit) or announced a merger with a competitor (Velodyne with Ouster). More consolidation is undoubtedly on the horizon since the market opportunities cannot support the number of LiDAR companies that sprouted during the 2015-2020 timeframe (> 70).
Las Vegas spawns optimism, however, and is probably one of the reasons CES is held there. The general buzz around autonomy and LiDAR was upbeat and surprisingly realistic….” Read more Hmmmm… Seemed to me that Luminar was very upbeat, but Sabbir is the expert here. Alain
Data Reveals Impact of Tesla Price Cuts, UBS Expects Massive Auto Market Declines
R. Maurer, Jan. 23, “ ➤ Various data points regarding Tesla interest after price cuts ➤ Tesla inventory levels out ➤ UBS analysts see massive declines in automotive industry earnings ➤ Kia EV9 specs possibly leaked 0:00 Intro / TSLA 0:55 Data following price cuts 7:22 Tesla inventory 9:24 UBS expects massive declines 13:47 Kia EV9 specs 15:11 Twitter 15:43 Earnings update ….” Read more Hmmmm….. Interesting. Alain
GM Just Announced a Terrible Investment + Ives Bullish on Tesla China Research
R. Maurer, Jan. 21, “ ➤ GM announces a nearly $1B investment plan ➤ Dan Ives bullish on Tesla in China after survey ➤ Tesla is a category winner in car of the year awards ➤ Tesla talks heat pump: https://youtu.be/DyGgrkeds5U ➤ Lucid discounts ….” Read more Hmmmm….. Interesting. Alain
Tesla video promoting self-driving was staged, engineer testifies
H.Jim, Jan. 18, “Jan 17 (Reuters) – A 2016 video that Tesla (TSLA.O) used to promote its self-driving technology was staged to show capabilities like stopping at a red light and accelerating at a green light that the system did not have, according to testimony by a senior engineer.
The video, which remains archived on Tesla’s website, was released in October 2016 and promoted on Twitter by Chief Executive Elon Musk as evidence that “Tesla drives itself.”
But the Model X was not driving itself with technology Tesla had deployed, Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla, said in the transcript of a July deposition taken as evidence in a lawsuit against Tesla for a 2018 fatal crash involving a former Apple (AAPL.O) engineer…” Read more Hmmmm….. Read carefully. Aren’t essentially all promotional videos “staged”? See the New York Times coverage in Elon Musk’s Appetite for Destruction Alain
Here’s the real story behind Tesla’s ‘staged’ self-driving video
F. Lambert, Jan. 17, “here are a lot of media reports about Tesla having “staged” or “faked” a self-driving video in 2016 today after the testimony of a Tesla Autopilot executive was released, but here’s the full story.
In 2016, Tesla announced that all of its vehicles going forward would be equipped with the hardware necessary to achieve full self-driving capability through software updates in the future.
Seven years later, Tesla has yet to deliver on that promise, but the company is still promising it and releasing software updates that bring the capability closer.
After making the announcement in 2016, Tesla released a video demonstration of its self-drivng technology.
The video showed a Model X driving by itself around the Bay Area for a few miles – navigating some stop signs and traffic lights before entering Tesla’s parking lot.….” Read more Hmmmm….. You be the judge. Alain
Ford Heritage Vault to mark 75th anniversary of F Series vehicles
F. Fsihkin, Jan 13, “Ford Heritage Vault to mark 75th anniversary of F Series vehicles.” Read more Hmmmm….. Nice interview, Fred. Alain
Envisioning a Future of Mobility Diversity and Versatility
K. Pyle, Jan. 16, “Will 2030 be the year we see in-route drone deliveries to living spaces on wheels? Will we see new forms of entertainment, such as mobile karaoke bars? By the year 2030, will it be possible for a person to secure his electric-assist wheelchair in a shared, electric autonomous vehicle without assistance?
These are just some of the visions that Toyota Boshoku has as it plans for mobility that is electrified and autonomous. Ultimately, their Mobility as a Service goals is to deliver the right vehicle with the right configuration to the right people at the right time.
Richard Chung, Chief Branding Officer and Center Chief Interior Space Visioneering Center for Toyota Boshoku, says they are designing for diversitility, which is a combination of diversity and versatility. In the above interview, Chung provides an overview of three of their concept vehicles on display at CES2023..….” Read more Hmmmm… Ken, very nice. Alain
Tesla (TSLA) is seeing ‘unprecedented demand,’ stores hitting new records
F. Lambert, Jan. 17, “Tesla (TSLA) is currently experiencing “unprecedented demand” in the US following the significant price cuts that happened last week.
Many stores are hitting new records and inventories are dwindling.
Last week, Tesla implemented massive price cuts of up to $13,000 on Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in the US.
The automaker tried to claim that the price cuts were due to a “partial normalization of the cost inflation,” but most industry experts agree that Tesla needed the price cuts to create demand.
A week later, Electrek can confirm that the price cuts are working in doing just that.
Sources familiar with the matter told Electrek that many Tesla stores in North America had reached their new record for sales in a single week. One source familiar with Tesla’s sales said that the company is experiencing “unprecedented demand” in North America following the price cuts.
Tesla saw similar action in China after price cuts there.
The inventory is decreasing at a record rate in several key US markets. As for new custom orders, Tesla will likely run out of build slots for the North American market in the next few days. ….” Read more Hmmmm….. Pricing along the demand curve in order to take advantage of scale economies. Also see: After huge cuts, Tesla raises Model Y price… but not by much Alain
Autonomous Mobility – Beyond the Amusement Park
K. Pyle, Jan. 22, “For decades, Orlando amusement parks have provided a tangible look at the future. Oceaneering has been building that future in its Orlando manufacturing and test facility for decades as well. At CES2023, Marc Volger, Senior Autonomous Software Engineer ONS Orlando OEC, provides an overview of the ZF-designed, Oceaneering-built autonomous shuttle. The type of shuttle show in the above video has been transporting people in Rotterdam as part of the Rivium 3.0 project for several years..….” Read more Hmmmm… Ken, very nice. Alain
Mercedes-Benz Approved to Use Level 3 Autonomous Cars Anywhere in the US
G. Pertas, Jan 22, “…” Read more Hmmmm….. The title may well be more egregious than Elon’s $420. tweet. Read the article very carefully plus all of the fine print of the owner’s manual and the sales agreement. Buyer beware!!! Alain