Saturday, December 11, 2021

46th edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter



P, Murphy, Dec. 6, “The New Jersey Department of Transportation (“NJDOT”), an instrumentality of the State of New Jersey, has issued a Request for Expression of Interest (“RFEI”) to identify experienced firms capable of introducing a safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, and efficient on-demand
automated vehicle mobility systems in and beyond Trenton, NJ.

NJDOT is soliciting written Expression of interest from qualified and experienced vendors to gain valuable insight from the private industry regarding the goals set forth in the Trenton MOVES (Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System) potential project and assess its viability.

If and when NJDOT elects to proceed with a potential project, NJDOT may issue formal Request(s) for Qualifications or Proposals.
The RFEI is available to be downloaded at…

1. Potential Project Summary
The State of New Jersey is exploring a transportation equity and sustainable energy opportunity within the capital city of Trenton. Trenton MOVES (Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System) will be led by the Governor’s Office, NJ Department of Transportation, the City of Trenton, and one or more institutions of higher education.

Trenton MOVES is exploring the feasibility of deploying ~100 AVs to serve as lowcapacity (4-8 passenger), high-quality (on-demand, kiosk-to-kiosk) shuttles to serve the 90,000 residents who live in the City of Trenton’s 8 square miles. The effort will be phased in over two (2) years and will serve the population of New Jersey’s capital city, a population where 70% of households have one or fewer cars. A proof-of-concept Operational Design
Domain (“ODD”) is described in Section 3.1. …  “Read more  Hmmmm… How fantastic is this!  Plus, Governor Phil Murphy’s Press Release announcing Trenton MOVES.  All substance!!  I also presented relevant testimony to NJ’s Assembly Transportation Committee Thursday morning.  An ALK trifecta this week😁.  The “welcoming environment” now exists in New Jersey.  We are no longer tied for last with Mississippi as was reported at last week’s Florida AV Conference. We’re looking like “first in the world” focused on substantive deployment to real customers.  We’ve built the “Field of Dreams” and awaiting the technology “to come”.  We only need one!  Or we’ll assemble volunteers (and not hostages as Mike Tomlin would put it) and build a winning team ourselves.😎 Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 245, Zoom-Cast Episode 245 Trenton MOVES

F. Fishkin, Dec. 10, “The State of New Jersey MOVES to create the first autonomous vehicle-based urban transit system in America.  What will it mean?   Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the latest on Waymo, Tesla, Via, Intel-Mobileye and more.”

Technical support provided by:

   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

  Orf 467F21 Symposium: Evolutionary Deployment of a State-wide aTaxis system starting from MyVillage

J. Woll’22, A. Lau’23, M. Wasserman’22, C. Larson’22, J. Sun’23, Dec. 10, “Slides of: Making It Happen”: Hawaii – California – Washington – Florida – Connecticut” Read more  Hmmmm…Video of Presentation, Slides, Report Format.  I coudn’t be more proud. 😁  Alain

   Robotaxi race opens up as top contender Waymo in low gear in Arizona

P. Dave, Dec. 1, “Alphabet Inc’s Waymo (GOOGL.O) risks losing its lead in the U.S. race to prove robotaxis are a viable business as it sticks to a limited service and rivals backed by automakers near their own launches.

Companies including Ford Motor Co’s (F.N) Argo AI and General Motors Co’s (GM.N) Cruise are competing for the billions of dollars in financing needed to automate driving through artificial intelligence software and expensive sensors.

Waymo has led the field. In the first and only fully driverless taxi service in the country, Waymo has driven thousands of people since opening a year ago east of Phoenix to anyone who downloads its ride-hailing app. And since August, hundreds in San Francisco have trialed cabs with safety drivers aboard….


Waymo’s ride-hailing service in Arizona has not expanded beyond suburbs….. ” Read more  Hmmmm… Maybe Waymo should realize that the suburbs of Arizona, while nice and easy, are already so most well-endowed with their own personal mobility options.  Real customers are few and far between once the novelty of the amusement ride has worn off. 


Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to look at New Jersey, that has real customers and a most and built a “Field of Dreams” for Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility, as only a  parking garage for their  efforts to compete with Manhattan’s existing mobility options consisting of subways, yellow cabs, Uber/Lyft/Via, shared bikes & scooters and wide sidewalks in search of customers.  Good luck!  Alain

  Car crash deaths have surged during COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why

R. Mitchell, Dec. 8. “It was a tally that shocked the experts: 38,680 deaths on U.S. roadways last year, the most since 2007 even though pandemic precautions had dramatically reduced driving.

“This was completely unprecedented,” said Ken Kolosh, a researcher at the nonprofit National Safety Council. “We didn’t know what was happening.”

One possibility was that stressed-out Americans were releasing their anxieties on the wide-open roads. He guessed that fatal accidents would decline in 2021 when traffic returned.

He was wrong. The latest evidence suggests that after decades of safety gains, the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless — more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and leave their seatbelts unbuckled.

“I fear we’ve adopted some really unsafe driving habits, and they’re going to persist,” Kolosh said. “Our roads are less safe than they were pre-pandemic.”…” Read more  Hmmmm…  I prefer to call it mis-behavior.  Driving is a dangerous form of “letting off steam”.  Unfortunately, I find myself engaging in it.  Not good! We all need to relax!.  Alain

  Robotic Research raises $228M Series A to build out commercial autonomous offerings

R. Bellan, Dec. 9, “Robotic Research, a self-driving technology company that has spent the last two decades developing on and off-road autonomous vehicles for the Department of Defense, raised a $228 million Series A round. The company will use the investment, which was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Enlightenment Capital, to build out the commercial side of its business.

Crescent Cove Advisors, Henry Crown and Company and Luminar, a lidar company, also participated in the investment.

RR.AI, as the company has branded its commercial arm, currently has its vehicle-agnostic autonomy kits, called AutoDrive, in about 150 heavy-duty transit buses, Class 8 trucks and yard trucks operating on roads across the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and Saudi Arabia, according to Alberto Lacaze, CEO of Robotic Research. Now, it’s just a matter of scaling.

Robotic Research has historically automated trucks for the U.S. Army and Navy, operating in areas that aren’t mapped and don’t have GPS, good communications or lined roads. The company’s autonomy stack also adds sensors that commercial autonomous vehicles usually don’t use, such as stereo and structure for motion, a range imaging technique for estimating 3D structures from 2D image sequences, says Lacaze. As a result, RR thinks it has a leg up….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Congratulations Alberton. 😎 Alain

  Intel stock rallies amid plan for Mobileye IPO that could ‘obviously’ unlock value for chipmaker

E. Bary, Dec. 7, “Intel Corp. shares were up 2.6% in Tuesday trading after the chipmaker won praise for its plans to take its Mobileye self-driving unit public.

Intel INTC, -2.45% bought Mobileye in 2017 and will now be sending the company off to the public markets again—but in a different way. The company announced late Monday that it planned to launch an initial public offering for Mobileye in 2022, though Intel will hang onto a majority stake in the company.

Retaining that majority ownership is key for Intel, according to some analysts, since Mobileye will remain consolidated for the purposes of Intel’s financial statements….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Impressive.  😎.  How much does that make The FSD part of Tesla worth?   Alain

  Finally, a Fusion Reaction Has Generated More Energy Than Absorbed by The Fuel

M. Star, Dec.3, “A major milestone has been breached in the quest for fusion energy.

For the first time, a fusion reaction has achieved a record 1.3 megajoule energy output – and for the first time, exceeding energy absorbed by the fuel used to trigger it….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Impressive. However...The “triggering” energy” has to come from someplace… Electricity!   And the “energy output” has to become usable… Electricity!

Converting “Electricity” -> “triggering energy” consumes a substantial amount of energy and converting the “energy output” ->”Usable Electricity” uses/wastes more energy. 

The societal objective is develop a process that takes some “Electricity” and creates more “Electricity”; else the process is useless irrespective of some niceties that might be occurring inside the process.  Unfortunately, even with  this  “achievement” we are very far away from “Fusion Generating More Electricity Than Absorbed by the Fuel”.  The “smoke & mirrors” here are reminiscent to those used in pitching Autonomous Vehicles.  Alain

  Transit-tech startup Via valued at $3.3 bln after latest funding round

R. Wilking, Nov. 30, “Via said on Tuesday it has raised $130 million in fresh capital as part of a late-stage financing round led by asset manager Janus Henderson, valuing the transit-tech startup at $3.3 billion.

The Series G funding also includes investments from accounts managed by BlackRock, ION Crossover Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies and existing investor Exor.

The New York-based company develops public mobility systems by building a network of buses, shuttles, wheelchair-accessible vehicles and autonomous and electric vehicles. It plans to use the funding to fuel expansion into new markets, hire employees and improve its products….”  Read more  Hmmmm… Who would have thought that a transit company that relies on public subsidies such a high valuation level.  Congratulations!  Alain

Tesla is selling fleet of hundreds of Model 3 electric cars to New York City

F. Lambert, Dec. 9 “.The city of New York is currently proposing a contract to buy a fleet of Model 3 vehicles from Tesla.

It would create a fleet of hundreds of electric cars for the city.

The proposed contract has been revealed through a notice for public hearing obtained by Electrek.

The city wrote in the notice:

“IN THE MATTER OF a proposed contract between the Department of Citywide Administrative Services of the City of New York and Tesla, Inc., located at 3500 Deer Creek Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94304, for procuring Tesla Model 3 All-Electric Sedans. The contract is in the amount of $12,360,000.00.  The term of the contract shall be five years from date of Notice of Award.  PIN #: 8572200042, E-PIN #: 05622S0005001.”…

The number of Model 3 vehicles involved in the contract wasn’t disclosed, but if the value of the fleet is around $12,360,000, it should be between 200 and 300 electric vehicles.

It’s not clear what the Tesla vehicles are going to be used for by the city, but New York operates a large fleet of vehicles throughout many departments.

Earlier this year, we reported on the New York Police Department buying a Tesla Model 3 to turn it into a police patrol car.

It became the latest of many police departments across the US that decided to buy Model 3s to replace gas-powered patrol cars. The gas savings have proven to make a massive difference in their fleet costs…..” Read more Hmmmm…  Impressive.  Alain


Tesla is under scrutiny by NHTSA for enabling in-car video games while driving

F. Lambert, Dec. 9 “People doing things they shouldn’t while driving is nothing new nor unique to Tesla, but the automaker is now under scrutiny by the NHTSA for going a step further and enabling in-car video games while driving.

Other than common sense and/or fear of getting caught, there’s nothing stopping anyone from using their phones, including playing video games on them, while driving….”  Read more Hmmmm…  Absolutely irresponsible of Tesla who can instantly put a stop to it using Over-the-Air updating.   C’mon Elon! Alain


5th Annual SmartDrivingCars Summit:  Deployment of Equitable Affordable, High Quality Mobility throughout New Jersey

Date Change:   Thursday evening, May 5, through Saturday May 7, 2022.  Live in Trenton, New Jersey. 

“Everything” was going well wrt the 5th Summit Nov 18->20; however…

Time is very short, we must focus on the election and the realities of where we remain with Covid really put cold water on some aspects of our vision for November.

Consequently. I’ve become convinced that it is very much better, that we take our time and reschedule for the first week on May 2022 rather than rush for what isn’t as good as could be. 

By May we will have received responses to our upcoming for “Equitable … Mobility in Trenton”.  We will thus have a better idea on “Who”,  from the “What & How” communities, “Want & Can” Deploy “Equitable … Mobility” starting in Trenton with real expectations of scaling throughout New Jersey.

In May the 5th Summit can better achieve its fundamental purpose by allowing all of us in New Jersey to better learn from others around the world  the “Whats & Hows” and have the possible “Whos” get a better appreciation of the “Equitable … Mobility” desires of Trentonians and other New Jersians. 

Rescheduling the Summit to be between the RfI and the RfP steps of our Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Deployment Process, will better enable our Community Engagement initiative to shape our ultimate  deployment.  We’ll thus deliver even better mobility equitably and best improve quality-of-life in Trenton and throughout New Jersey.   

Please pencil into your calendar the new dates of  May 5 (Thursday evening) though May 7 (Trenton Mobility Festival Saturday). 😎   Please let me know if these dates work for you.

Sorry about the delay, but many will be relieved by this change. Plus, early May is really nice in NJ.😁


This 5th Summit is inspired by the many levels of public-sector, community and neighborhood welcoming and support that now exists in New Jersey for the deployment of equitable, affordable, high-quality mobility. This is now made possible by automated driving technology that is especially targeted to serve those who, for whatever reason, don’t have access to their own personal car.  

The Princeton SDC Summits were initiated in 2017 to provide a venue for the open discussion of how technology, in particular automation, can be shaped to improve mobility of people and goods between and within cities. Early on, we realized that this form of mobility could easily provide yet another alternative to those who are fortunate enough to enjoy one or many high quality mobility options.

But, more importantly, it became obvious that substantial improvement in quality-of-life and equitable mobility can readily be made available to the un-served and under-served.  Those who cannot drive themselves, cannot afford the transport alternatives that exist for them, or who live in areas where, for either economic or other reasons, neither public nor private desirable forms of transport are offered.  Furthermore, such initial Operational Design Domains (OODs) can be readily expanded and replicated to allow the vast investments continuing to be made in this technology to actually yield their envisioned societal and financial benefits. 

The recently completed 4th Summit set the groundwork for these initial deployments to benefit under-served communities. Communities with many households having access to one or fewer cars and with challenged transit alternatives. We concluded the 4th Summit by envisioning a deployment throughout Trenton, NJ, a community where 70% of the households have access to one or fewer cars.

We believe that Trenton is a perfect ODD to begin to deliver Equitable, Affordable, High-quality Mobility, in addition to being environmentally responsible, safe and comfortable.

The opportunity to expand throughout Mercer County and replicate this deployment scenario throughout the State exists.  This deployment will  serves as a blueprint for the future for many other “Trentons” of this world. 

The groundwork set by the 4th Summit and the NJ Autonomous Vehicle Task Force has enabled us to create a “most welcoming environment”  in New Jersey for creating a Public-Private Partnership to deliver this enhanced mobility to the residents of Trenton and all New Jersians. The 5th Summit will focus directly on deployment in Trenton and will take place in Trenton. We also envision its expansion throughout Mercer County and its replication in and around New Jersey’s other major cities.  

The Technical portion of the summit will be in the morning, through lunch, of Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. 

Sessions will be free of charge but will require advance registration, as seating will be limited. 


The Societal portion focused on engaging the customers of this form of mobility, featuring descriptions, discussions, interactions, exhibits and  technology demonstrations, will be free and open to the public, with preference given to Trenton residents on Friday and residents of Mercer County and the rest of New Jersey on Saturday.  Link to Sponsorship Opportunities Link to Draft Program  Link to Registration

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

Sunday Supplement



More On….

   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

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

Calendar of Upcoming Events

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit 

Spring 2022

Thursday (evening), May 5, Welcome Reception (Registration required)

Friday, May 6, Equitable Mobility Innovation Forum (Registration required)

Saturday, May 7, Equitable Mobility Festival (Open to All)

Trenton, NJ
Live in Person

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