Friday, April 19, 2019
17th edition of the 7th year of SmartDrivingCars

Need a ride to light rail? Metro launches shuttles to Tukwila, South Seattle transit stations

M. Linblom, Aptil 16, "At a time public-transit across America is losing customers to private ride-hailing rivals, Seattle-area governments are paying the Via transportation network company to shuttle more people toward Sound Transit trains.

Starting Tuesday, travelers can now download the Via to Transit app, or call 206-258-7739, to order rides to or from five light-rail stations in South Seattle and Tukwila. A black van ought to arrive in 10 to 15 minutes. Trips must begin or end at a transit station.

Pay the usual King County Metro adult fare of $2.75, or the student/low-income rate of $1.50 using an ORCA card, and then get a free transfer by tapping your card before boarding the train. Cash and paper transfers aren’t accepted, just ORCA fare cards or a Transit Go smartphone-based bus ticket….

Metro’s performance standards aim for at least 1,000 Via customers a week, which computes to about $6 operating cost per user…"  Read more  Hmmmm… Very interesting and shared ride-focused.  Certainly a precursor to autonomousTaxi service if Waymo, or someone else, if there exist somebody better, can finally get Driverless over the hump.  By that time we’ll have plenty of experience with human drivers so that we’ll know how the service, vehicle routing and management algorithms will need to work and we can scale the systems beyond the limits of the meager public subsidies. Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 100-A. Greeawalt/Via

April 5, F. Fishkin, "The success of on demand transit company Via is proving that ride sharing systems can work. Public Policy head Andrei Greenawalt joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for a wide ranging discussion. Also: Uber, Tesla, Audi, Apple and Nuro are making headlines. Tune in and subscribe!Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Achieving Safe, Inclusive,
Affordable, Energy Efficient, & Environmentally Responsible, On-Demand 24/7 Mobility for All,
especially the Mobility Disadvantaged

evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Register; Sponsor

  What to Expect From Tesla’s Autonomy Investor Day

B. Kenwell, April 19, "…Bears have raised the argument that regulators shouldn’t allow this controversial system to be on the streets, given that accidents and fatalities have resulted while using it. Supporters of Tesla’s autonomous driving program say it’s necessary to accelerate the technology’s potential, while others use autonomous driving vs. human driving data points to argue that those using Autopilot are actually safer than those not using it. Many also argue that Autopilot still requires drivers to stay attentive and alert.

In either case, Tesla’s Autopilot lives on and on Monday we’ll get an idea what the automaker thinks of its autonomous future. Aside from the presentation, look for more details on a potential ride-hailing and ride-sharing network that others have mentioned in the past, and don’t be surprised if that draws plenty of skepticism."  Read more  Hmmmm… I’ll be very interested in listening live if they stream it.  Might be better than the Falcon Heavy launch.  Very unlikely! Alain

  The danger in Tesla’s self-driving claims

J Muller, April 19, "…Reality check: Adding a powerful computer chip does not mean the cars are ready to drive themselves. Musk says Tesla still has to develop software that extends current highway driving capabilities to city streets, including traffic light recognition, complex intersections and remote parking….

"With the current Autopilot, everybody knows they need to pay attention. But if all of a sudden, they put in somebody’s brain that these cars can drive themselves, I think that is irresponsible," says Alain Kornhauser, chair of the AV engineering program at Princeton University…." Read more  Hmmmm…  Yup!  More below.  Alain

  Tesla spotted filming self-driving demo ahead of autonomy/Tesla Network event

F. Lambert, April 18, "Tesla has been spotted evidently filming a self-driving demo in a Model 3 ahead of its planned ‘Investor Autonomy Event’ next week during which the automaker is expected to release more details about ‘Tesla Network’, its autonomous ride-hailing network…" Read more  Hmmmm… If Tesla releases any videos showing anything that looks like what Tesla sells to the public, driving on anything that looks like a public road without an alert adult supervisor in the drivers seat, I’m going to scream.  That would be so totally irresponsible.  As I have previously written, consumers are simply not prepared to assume the responsibility of owning and managing a driverless car. They may never be. For now, congress should forbid consumers/individuals from owning these things.  In the wrong hands they are more dangerous that guns and they don’t have the protection of a 2nd amendment. 

Moreover, the fantasy that "my Tesla’s autoPilot can do this" should not be even hinted by anyone at Tesla; else… Tesla should be held liable for ALL losses resulting from any and all crashes involving any autoPilot system.  ALL loses includes any financial loss incurred  by any entity involved in the SmartDrivingCar industry resulting from the negative public perception and confidence in SmartDrivingCars that such crashes would induce.   

To me, putting such videos/fantasies out there is tantamount to a terrorist attach on the SmartDrivingCar industry. Look at the damage Uber did in Arizona.  This would be overtly irresponsible by Tesla. Alain

  In a bind, Musk hopes autonomous Tesla taxis will drive a new, positive narrative

R. Mitchell, April 19, "…At the invitation-only event — called Investor Autonomy Day and set for 11 a.m. Monday at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters — Musk is likely to detail currently sketchy plans to make Tesla the first company to offer widespread deployment of driverless cars on highways and city streets. Within months, Musk said, owners of most Teslas can have their cars refitted with a new computer board to enable full self-driving…."  Read more  Hmmmm…  Hopefully he’ll be responsible.  Alain

  Uber announces $1 billion investment into its self-driving car group, weeks before going public

D. Bosa, April 18, "Uber has announced a deal for a $1 billion investment in its self-driving vehicle unit, just weeks before its initial public offering.  Toyota and Japanese auto-parts supplier Denso will together invest $667 million, while Softbank’s Vision Fund will invest $333 million. SoftBank is already Uber’s largest shareholder and Toyota invested $500 million last year. 

The investment values the division, known as the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), at $7.25 billion and creates a newly formed corporate entity with its own board…"  Read more  Hmmmm… Am I missing something?  Has the S1 been updated??  Who got what for what?  In the past, Uber seems to have made more from selling "Assets" than giving rides.  Is this more of that??   Has ATG been skimed?  Too complicated for me. I can’t follow this shell game.  Alain

  GM’s Cruise is preparing for a self-driving future in the cloud

K. Wiggers, April 20, "…Cruise runs lots of simulations across its suite of internal tools — about 200,000 hours of compute jobs each day in Google Cloud Platform — one of which is an end-to-end, three-dimensional Unreal Engine environment that Cruise employees call “The Matrix.” Macneil says it enables engineers to build any kind of situation they’re able to dream up, and to synthesize sensor inputs like camera footage and radar feeds to autonomous virtual cars.

According to Macneil, Cruise spins up 30,000 instances daily, each of which loops through a single drive’s worth of scenarios. It’s basically like having 30,000 virtual cars driving around in parallel, he explained, and it’s a bit like Waymo’s Carcraft and the browser-based framework used by Uber’s Advanced Technology Group…."  Read more  Hmmmm… Yup.  Given the advancements in simulation one wonders how many "M-cities" one needs.  Alain

California to allow testing of light-duty self-driving trucks

A. Hawkins, April 12, "California would allow for the testing of light-duty autonomous trucks on public roads under a proposed rule announced Friday. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced the proposal today, which outlines a permitting process for companies wishing to test or deploy driverless trucks for testing. 

The rule would only apply to autonomous vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds. That means only Class 1 and 2 trucks — which include minivans, pickup trucks, utility vans, and step vans — could receive permits for testing under the proposed rule. " Read more  Hmmmm… Look at the actual CA DMV Announcement.  Only Class 1&2, but it is a start and a good start.  Alain

  Audi self-driving unit taps newcomer Aeva for its unique lidar

K. Korosec, April 17, "Audi’s  self-driving unit has tapped a startup with a unique approach to lidar as it ramps up testing in Munich using a fleet of autonomous electric e-tron crossover vehicles.

Audi subsidiary Autonomous Intelligent Driving, or AID, said Wednesday it’s using lidar sensors developed by Aeva, a startup founded just two years ago by veterans of Apple and Nikon.

Aeva,  a Mountain View, Calif.-based company started by Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, has developed what it describes as “4D lidar” that can measure distance as well as instant velocity without losing range, all while preventing interference from the sun or other sensors. Move past the 4D branding-speak, and the tech is compelling…."  Read more  Hmmmm…  Getting velocity is good, but how good is the velocity that is gotten?  Alain

  Aptiv takes its self-driving car ambitions (and tech) to China

K. Korosec, April 17 "Aptiv,  the U.S. auto supplier and self-driving software company, is opening an autonomous mobility center in Shanghai to focus on the development and eventual deployment of its technology on public roads…." Read more  Hmmmm…  Aptiv is already testing on public roads in the US.  Is this move focused on testing Driverlessly without an attendant on Chinese public roads??

  Apple in talks with potential suppliers of sensors for self-driving cars – sources

S. Nellis, April 17, "Apple Inc has held talks with at least four companies as possible suppliers for next-generation lidar sensors in self-driving cars, evaluating the companies’ technology while also still working on its own lidar unit, three people familiar with the discussions said…. …Was Waymo included??…

In addition to evaluating potential outside suppliers, Apple is believed to have its own internal lidar sensor under development, two of the people said." Read more  Hmmmm…  Key is getting a good v in addition to d at each pixel r,g,b.  Alain

Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time

  Tesla falls behind in autonomous driving leaderboard, but still most trusted by consumers

F. Lambert, April 19, "Tesla has fallen behind in autonomous driving, according to Navigant’s leaderboard, but it’s still the most trusted by consumers for self-driving.  Navigant Research has created a leaderboard based on each company’s vision and execution in the autonomous driving world in order to get an idea of which ones might have a lead.  They based the rankings on 10 criteria:…" Read more  Hmmmm… I’ve never appreciated this chart.  There are so many coefficients that are drawn completely out of thin air that you can generate any Jackson Pollock you might want.  At least the Farmers’ Almanac has some history behind it.  Alain

 C’mon Man!  (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)

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