Sunday, September 12, 2021

35th edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  ‘It’s a Godsend’: 9-Cent Taxi Rides in Rural South Korea

C. Sang-Hun,Sep. 11, “The group were waiting for what would once have been an unaffordable luxury in this rural corner of the country — a taxi to take them shopping and to doctors’ appointments in the county seat 20 minutes away.

But even the poorest among them could easily afford this ride. Each passenger’s share of the total fare would be measured not in dollars but in cents.

“It’s a godsend,” said one of the passengers, Na Jeong-soon, 85…”  Read more We can learn something from this, especially in looking at the real opportunity with autonomousTaxis… High-quality affordable shared mobility for all. What Valley Metro included in  investigating in their study below.  Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 232, Zoom-Cast Episode 232 w Steven Shladover

F. Fishkin, Sept. 4 “Cameras alone aren’t enough to get Tesla or anyone else to driverless mobility.   So says UC Berkeley’s Steven Shladover, a leading autonomous vehicle research engineer.   He joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the need for more regulation from Washington, Waymo, Cruise, Toyota, Motional and more.  Watch or listen to Smart Driving Cars Episode 232 and subscribe!”

   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:  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

  Meet BART’s first-ever homelessness czar

M. Kendall, Sep. 10, “As the entire state grapples with a homelessness crisis made worse by the COVID pandemic, BART is trying a new strategy to address the hundreds of unhoused people seeking refuge on its trains and in and around its stations…


In charge of it all is Daniel Cooperman. Brought on in May to effectively serve as BART’s first-ever homelessness czar, Cooperman has a background in housing and human services — not trains. He hopes to lead BART in a compassionate and humane response to the crisis…” Read more Hmmmm…Very important, very challenging and can’t be swept under the rug.  Alain

  Plans for $400-billion new city in the American desert unveiled

O. Holland, Sept. 6, “The cleanliness of Tokyo, the diversity of New York and the social services of Stockholm: Billionaire Marc Lore has outlined his vision for a 5-million-person “new city in America” and appointed a world-famous architect to design it.

Now, he just needs somewhere to build it — and $400 billion in funding.

The former Walmart executive last week unveiled plans for Telosa, a sustainable metropolis that he hopes to create, from scratch, in the American desert. The ambitious 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. A so-called “15-minute city design” will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes….”  Read more Hmmmm… Whew!!! Just when I thought people preferred quaint neighborhoods. I hope that the “social services of Stockholm” aspect is to help SF & BART with its homeless challenge. That would be one very positive aspect of this concept.  Count me in if it is.  Alain

  Is hands-free the way to be? Test driving GM’s Cadillac Escalade with Super Cruise

J. Gilbert, Sep 10, “A hands-free road trip, what could possibly go wrong?

Very little, as it turned out. But, I did learn a lot about the true meaning of “driver assist” during a Labor Day Weekend Detroit-Pittsburgh round-trip journey, where the goal was to have my hands on the wheel as sparingly as possible.

First the required warning: Super Cruise is not a self driving car system! You can’t buy a self driving car!

Instead, Super Cruise adds steering to the operations you would typically see with modern adaptive cruise control.

You are the driver. You get the tickets. You’re responsible for any crashes….” Read more Hmmmm… Super Cruise is not a self driving car system! You can’t buy a self driving car!…  You are the driver. You get the tickets. You’re responsible for any crashes…. Nice!! Alain


It became so angry with me that it yelled at me, forced me to take over steering, and locked me out.  It was just a misunderstanding — honest!

I love it!! Alain

  Tesla pushes its ‘mind-blowing’ Full Self-Driving Beta v10 to early access fleet

F. Lambert, Sep 11, “Tesla has started pushing its Full Self-Driving Beta v10 software, a version that CEO Elon Musk called “mind-blowing”, to its early access fleet.

Are your minds blown yet?

Mine is blown that Tesla actually stuck to the latest FSD timeline from Musk – “latest” being the keyword.

We are coming up on almost a year since Tesla started testing its Full Self-Driving Beta in its early access program with some customers.

The software enables Tesla vehicles to virtually drive themselves both on highways and city streets, but it is still considered a level 2 driver assist since it requires driver supervision at all times. The driver remains responsible for the vehicle, needs to keep their hands on the steering wheel, and be ready to take control.…”  Read more Hmmmm… The bolds are mine.  Amazing that Tesla hasn’t backed down from the name.  Note the image is at a time that the car is going 5mph and there is little traffic.  Why Tesla chose to display what it displays to a driver is beyond me.  So much is purely for show,  Much is irrelevant to the job of getting the driver safely to where he/she is going.  So much information that takes time to grasp and is impossible to easily correlate to what the driver is actually seeing. 


The intersection’s stop line is no where near the location of the stop sign.  Really???  Seems as if one or both are not located precisely enough, certainly not at “centimeter level” accuracy. If when you are so close, their accuracy is so bad, you’re no where near “Full Anything” and certainly not “Full Self-Driving”.


The next fundamental maneuver, the right hand turn after a full stop on the plan view has to be deduced from the blue line, rather than being highlighted some way.  Displaying parked cars off the road behind you serves what purpose???   Is this a 4 way stop, 2 way stop, stop only in this direction???  No pedestrian cross walks?  What is the arc behind the right side of the car???  When I drive, I worry about the clearance near my front right bumper, not my right rear bumper.  Does a Tesla wag its butt as they go down the street??? So bad!! Alain


L. Issacs, Aug 18, “PROJECT DETAILS: Nine EasyMile autonomous, electric shuttles will operate on three routes to create a new transit service providing a missing connection between off-campus student housing, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) campus and the City’s downtown to enable greater accessibility and economic activity. The service will be operated by CSM students and integrated into RTD’s website and trip planner.


DATA SHARING OPPORTUNITY: AvCo will generate a variety of data that is unlike any other AV dataset. Obtain access to the shuttles’ raw sensor data, performance data, or even access to the actual vehicles in order to advance your organization’s business or research activities….” Read more Hmmmm… Excellent that they’ll be sharing their experience in this demonstration.  If interested, contact Lauren Isaac.Alain

Schaeffler and Mobileye to Industrialize Self-Driving Shuttles

Press release, Sept. 6, “…The automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler and Mobileye, an Intel Company and leading provider of automated driving solutions, have agreed on a long-term cooperation…

The rolling chassis from Schaeffler, a modular platform for new mobility concepts, is combined with the Mobileye Drive™ self-driving system. The goal: to develop a new, flexible platform for self-driving shuttles and other vehicle products at full automation level 4 and to offer customers worldwide solutions for Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS). “Mobileye Drive™ is a versatile, scalable solution that enables any vehicle type to become self-driving… ”  Read more Hmmmm…  Seems perfect.  I’m assuming that since MobilEye is supplying the driver, it will also be clearly specifying the Operational Design Domain (ODD, where & when that driver can drive safely), ensuring that the platform remains within the ODD and accepting all driver-related liabilities within each ODD.  Very nice (as long as the ODD has enough customers to enable a viable mobility business).  Alain

  Strengthening Association-Industry-Academic Ties to Foster Innovation that Helps Everyone Recorded

K. Pyle, Sep 12, “As technologists literally reach for the stars with amazing new technologies, it is important that the fruits of their exciting breakthrough developments are available for everyone. At the same time, will developments reach their full potential, if only a select group makes the decisions for the rest of us? How can professional associations, academics, and industry work together to ensure the most good can be done for the greatest benefit possible?

Reaching across disciplines will be critical, as well as reaching out to the various communities impacted by new technologies. These are some of the questions addressed in this interactive ViodiTV real-time conversation with the cofounders of Locomation, a company that is bringing automation to the trucking industry, and Tom Coughlin, past IEEE-USA president, current IEEE President-Elect candidate, and storage expert and consultant…” Read more Hmmmm… Also see Video.  Alain

   Study with Waymo shows riders prefer self-driving vehicles, report finds

S. Rivera, Sep. 6, “Seniors and the disabled in the East Valley find self-driving vehicles preferable over conventional taxis and rideshare options, a recent study found.

A report released by the Federal Transit Administration last week showed for the senior population and Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit-certified riders, autonomous vehicles provided a “safe, convenient travel solution.”

Valley Metro, in collaboration with ASU and Waymo, found AV riders were satisfied in regards to wait time, travel time, comfort and ease of requesting a ride, officials said in a press release.

Furthermore, riders in the study said they were engaged in more activities outside of the home and believe they would feel comfortable riding without an AV specialist…”  Read more Hmmmm…Excellent for ADA riders and elderly.  What about the poor?  Alain

  An Evaluation of the Valley Metro–WaymoAutomated Vehicle RideChoiceMobility on Demand Demonstration, Final Report

P. Stopher, Aug. 2021, “In 2016, the Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro) of the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area was awarded a grant as part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program. Through the grant, Valley Metro and Waymo partnered to pilot the use of Waymo autonomous vehicles (AVs) as certified vehicles for Valley Metro’s RideChoice program, a subsidized curb-to-curb individual mobility service (via taxi or ride-hailing services) for paratransit-certified people under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and for older adults age 65 and over living in Greater Phoenix. …”  Read more Hmmmm…Nice, except what seems to be missing here is any semblance of equity wrt other people that are too poor or too young to drive their own car.  I guess unless they are also old or “paratransit certified (hopefully that where the poor fit in”, they are stuck with the mobility offered by Valley Metro.  Maybe the FTA should also investigate how Waymo’s on-demand service, if adopted by VM, could actually improve the VM’s service to some/many/most of these customers and incur a lower cost in delivering that service.  Alain

  After seven years, an Apple car is still on the horizon

P. McGee, Sep.12, “Minutes after the news broke this week that Doug Field, the former Tesla executive who led Apple’s car project, was defecting to Ford, the Cupertino company’s venture called an all-hands meeting.

Field, who explained he was joining the Detroit carmaker for the chance “to try to make a difference”, was the latest in a long line of exits from Project Titan, Apple’s secretive plan to build a self-driving car.

He was the fourth head of the project to depart in seven years, and the team has bled three other senior executives in the past few months. Staff were jittery as the media speculated that Apple might pull the plug on the car.

But in a half-hour briefing, Apple executives said there would be a reorganisation, but no lay-offs, according to two people present. By Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Kevin Lynch, who has been leading Apple’s Watch and health projects, would take over at Project Titan. The car was still on the road.

Despite the turbulence, it was too early to call time on Apple’s seven-year effort to build a car, said Laurie Yoler, a founding board director at Tesla and a former board member at Zoox. …

    For Manuela Papadopol, a car industry veteran and chief executive of Designated Driver, a start-up focused on operating cars remotely, all indications are that Apple is paring down its ambitions from the vehicle to enhancing the digital cockpit and redefining elements of the passenger experience.

“There’s no way on Earth that Apple is building a car,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong: I think the opportunity for Apple is incredible in automotive — not in building cars, but in the interior space. They could project augmented and virtual reality into the windows. That’s where the opportunity lies.”…”

For Manuela Papadopol, a car industry veteran and chief executive of Designated Driver, a start-up focused on operating cars remotely, all indications are that Apple is paring down its ambitions from the vehicle to enhancing the digital cockpit and redefining elements of the passenger experience. “There’s no way on Earth that Apple is building a car,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong: I think the opportunity for Apple is incredible in automotive — not in building cars, but in the interior space. They could project augmented and virtual reality into the windows. That’s where the opportunity lies.”…”  Read more Hmmmm…I agree with Manuela.  Alain

Driverless Vehicles Will Have a Bigger Impact on Mobility Than Electric Vehicles − Mobileye’s Johann Jungwirth @ SHIFTx

R. Dato, Sep. 7, “Autonomous vehicles will have a bigger impact on the future of mobility than the transformation to electric vehicles. That’s according to Johann Jungwirth, the Vice President MaaS at Mobileye, which is testing driverless vehicles in locations around the world. …” Read more Hmmmm…Agreed.  EVs make little change on mobility, they just change mobility’s energy source.  The value of driverless is that it can substantially improve the quality and price of mobility for those that, for what ever reason, don’t have access to a car power by either and ICE or an EV.  Alain

  Stealth Robocar Startup Sees Remote Drivers as Autonomy Shortcut

S. Nicola, Sep. 7, “…For a fraction of the price of an Uber, customers will be able to order a remote-controlled car, drive themselves to their desired destination and then get out, leaving it to a human teledriver miles away to either park the vehicle or steer it to a next client. In a later step, Vay plans to introduce a ride-hailing service that’s entirely remote-controlled…”  Read more Hmmmm… Operational Design Domain is unlikely to be large enough to be viable.  Alain

  WeRide unveils China’s first Level 4 self-driving cargo van,WeRide Robovan

Press release, Sep. 9, “WeRide, a world-leading autonomous driving company, forayed into urban logistics industry with the unveiling of WeRide Robovan, the very first L4 self-driving cargo van in China. The company will work with Jiangling Motors (JMC), a major Chinese automobile manufacturer, and ZTO Express, a leading express delivery company in China, in a strategic cooperation, promoting mass production and the commercialization of WeRide Robovan. WeRide orchestrates this trilateral cooperation and creates an autonomous driving (AD) ecosystem for China’s urban logistics. WeRide now is not only dedicated to L4 autonomous driving mobility, but also smart urban logistics…”  Read more Hmmmm…  Seems all about gonna rather isa.  Fundamental question is … Whena??? . Video is largely smoke & mirrors (gonna rather than isa).  Alain

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

Sunday Supplement



More On….

Re-see:    Pop Up Metro USA Intro 09 2020

H. Poser’77, Sept 13, 2020.  “Creating Value for Light Density Urban Rail Lines”  . See slides,  See video Hmmmm… Simply Brilliant.  Alain

   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit  It is over!!!  Now time to actually do something in the Trentons of this world.   

  Making Driverless Happen: The Road Forward (Updated)

K. Pyle, April 18, “It’s time to hit the start button,” is Fred Fishkin’s succinct way of summarizing the next steps in the Smart Driving Car journey. Fiskin, along with the LA Times’ Russ Mitchell co-produced the final session of the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit, Making It Happen: Part 2. This 16th and final session in this multi-month online conference not only provided a summary of the thought-provoking speakers, but also provided food for thought on a way forward to bring mobility to “the Trentons of the World.”

Setting the stage for this final session, Michael Sena provided highlights of the Smart Driving Car journey that started in late December 2020.  Safety, high-quality, and affordable mobility, particularly for those who do not have many options, was a common theme to the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit. As Princeton Professor Kornhauser, the conference organizer put it,…..” Read more  Hmmmm…. We had another excellent Session.  Thank you for the summary, Ken!  Alain


Ken Pyle‘s Session Summaries of 4th Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:
15th Session    Making it Happen – Part One: Elected Officials’ Role in Creating a Welcoming Environment in the Trentons of this World

14th Session    What Will Power Safely-driven Cars

13th Session    Improving the Moving of Goods

12th Session    3/18/21 Human-centered Design of Safe and Affordable Driverless Mobility

11th Session    3/11/21  Incentivizing Through Regulation

10th Session    3/04/21  Incentivizing Through Insurance

9th Session    2/25/21  Can Level 3 be Delivered?

8th Session    2/18/21  Who Will Build, Sell and Maintain Driverless Cars?

    Michael Sena’s SlidesGlenn Mercer Slides

7th Session    2/11/21  Finally Doing It
6th Session    2/ 4/21   Safe Enough in the Operational Design Domain
5th Session    1/28/21   At the Tipping Point
4th Session    1/21/21  Why Customers are Buying Them

3rd Session    1/14/21  The SmartDrivingCars We Can Buy Today
2nd Session   1/ 7/21  A Look into the Future
1st Session: 12/17/20  Setting the Stage

Kornhauser & He, April 2021 “Making it Happen:  A Proposal for Providing Affordable, High-quality, On-demand Mobility for All in the “Trentons” of this World” 

Orf467F20_FinalReport “Analyzing Ride-Share Potential and Empty Repositioning Requirements of a Nationwide aTaxi System

Kornhauser & He, March 2021 AV 101 + Trenton Affordable HQ Mobility Initiative

Calendar of Upcoming Events

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit 

Fall 2021

Live in Person

November 16 (evening) -> 19 2021

On the More Technical Side

K. Lockean’s AV Research Group at U of Texas


 R. Shields, 22 – 25 March, “Recordings from the conference:

Session 1 plus opening: (Regulatory):
Session 2: (Cybersecurity):
Session 3: (Automated Driving Systems):
Session 4: (Communications for ADS) :

Read more  Hmmmm…  Russ, thank you for sharing!  Alain