43rd edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter
Gatik and Walmart Achieve Fully Driverless Deliveries in a First for Autonomous Trucking Industry Worldwide
Press release, Nov. 8, “Gatik and Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced today that Gatik is operating daily without a safety driver behind the wheel on its delivery route for Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas, moving customer orders between a Walmart dark store and a Neighborhood Market in its fleet of multi-temperature autonomous box trucks.
Gatik’s deployment with Walmart in the state represents the first time that an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile anywhere in the world.
Gatik’s fully driverless operations, which began in August 2021, involve consistent, repeated delivery runs multiple times per day, seven days per week on public roads and unlock the full advantages of autonomous delivery for Walmart’s customers: increased speed and responsiveness when fulfilling e-commerce orders, increased asset utilization and enhanced safety for all road users…”…
This milestone signifies a revolutionary breakthrough for the autonomous trucking industry,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder, Gatik. “Our deployment in Bentonville is not a one-time demonstration. These are frequent, revenue-generating, daily runs that our trucks are completing safely in a range of conditions on public roads, demonstrating the commercial and technical advantages of fully driverless operations on the middle mile. We’re thrilled to enable Walmart’s customers to reap the benefits.”
In December 2020, Gatik and Walmart received the Arkansas State Highway Commission’s first ever approval to remove the safety driver from Gatik’s autonomous trucks, following the completion of 18 months’ successful operations. As part of its roadmap to operating fully driverless, Gatik undertook a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy, involving state and local leadership and emergency services, and will continue to hold ongoing informational workshops concerning its ground-breaking autonomous operations.
In December 2020, Gatik and Walmart received the Arkansas State Highway Commission’s first ever approval to remove the safety driver from Gatik’s autonomous trucks, following the completion of 18 months’ successful operations. As part of its roadmap to operating fully driverless, Gatik undertook a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy, involving state and local leadership and emergency services, and will continue to hold ongoing informational workshops concerning its ground-breaking autonomous operations…” Read more Hmmmm… If you are trying to do it for real , this is the way to do it. I appreciate the showing showing some humility as opposed to making Houdini-style Snake & Mirrors announcements focused on getting more from the “SoftBanks” of this world. Congratulations! This looks like a real “dida milestone”! Alain
SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 243, Zoom-Cast Episode 243 Progress with Driverless
F. Fishkin, Nov. 26, “AutoX advances with fully driverless RoboTaxis in China, Gatik and Walmart are doing full driverless deliveries in Arkansas, Tesla full self driving custsomers have to agree to company access to video inside and out. Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that and more on Episode 243 of Smart Driving Cars”.
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
The 9th Annual Florida Automated Vehicles Summit will be hosted by the Central Florida Expressway Authority in Orlando, Florida November 29- December 1, 2021.
The Florida Automated Vehicles (FAV) Summit assembles industry leaders from around the world to address technologies, operations, and policy issues. Our mission is to gain insight into what Florida is doing to create the ideal climate for the implementation and deployment of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies.
Topics will include automated, connected, electric, and shared (ACES) mobility, operations, law, infrastructure, functional design, cyber security, ethics, aftermarket products, enabling technologies, and public policy…. ” Register Now. Hmmmm… Looking forward to seeing you there in Orlando. Alain
Staff, Nov. 16, “Chinese start-up AutoX, backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, announced on Tuesday that it now operates the country’s largest service area for fully driverless RoboTaxis across 168 square kilometers of Shenzhen, the leading tech hub in South China’s Guangdong Province.
Being able to navigate all the public roads in Pingshan district in Shenzhen, AutoX has become the first RoboTaxi service to cover an entire district in a major Chinese city….
In January this year, AutoX became the second company in the world to offer a fully driverless RoboTaxi service when it launched a pilot service in Shenzhen.
After 10 months of operation, the service area in Shenzhen gradually expanded to become the largest fully driverless RoboTaxi zone in China. …” Read more Hmmmm… I’m still looking for some details but there is an enormous amount of substance here. Not only does the arterial/highway aspects look darn good, but the village video is very impressive. Just shows what needs to be done and what can be done. Very impressive. Congratulations Jianxiong! I now count 4 legitimate “driverless/attendantless sharing public streets under normal conditions … Waymo/Chandler, GM-Cruise/SF, Gatik/Arkansas and AutoX/Shenzhen. Alain
Tesla asks Full Self-Driving Beta drivers to accept being recorded in case of a crash or ‘safety risk’
F. Lambert, Nov. 23 “Tesla is now asking owners getting into the Full Self-Driving Beta program to accept that Tesla can use footage from both inside and outside the car in case of a safety risk or accident.
It’s the first time that Tesla will attach footage to specific individuals….
The automaker has updated the warning that comes with downloading a new version of the FSD Beta.
It includes all the much-needed warnings that were parts of previous releases, but Tesla added important new language:
- “By enabling FSD Beta, I consent to Tesla’s collection of VIN-associated image data from the vehicle’s external cameras and Cabin Camera in the occurrence of a serious safety risk or a safety event like a collision.”
The fact that Tesla added that language specifically related to safety risks and accidents would point toward the automaker looking to secure usable evidence in case of an accident where its Full Self-Driving system is blamed…..” Read more Hmmmm… Only fair. Tesla must be held responsible for crashes caused by Tesla’s technology, if that technology was driving at the time of and caused the crash. Tesla needs to be able to defend itself if Tesla’s technology wasn’t at fault and immediately settle if it was at fault.
When Tesla assumes the responsibility of driving it also has to accept any liability if Tesla’s technology causes a crash, Since “>90%” of crashes are caused my human misbehavior (not paying attention, driving while impaired, excessive speeding, tailgating, …), Tesla’s simply has to refuse to drive if the technology is impaired, or if the human driver instructs the Tesla to speed excessively, run red lights, tailgate, cut-in aggressively,… The Tesla Technology should just say.. “No thank you. I’m not doing that … and neither should you!”
This is great!!! Alain
Staff, Nov. 25, “Chinese tech group Baidu Inc and self-driving startup Pony.ai have won approval to launch paid driverless robotaxi services that will see the firms deploy not more than 100 vehicles in an area in China’s capital Beijing.
The state-backed Beijing Daily newspaper reported on the approvals on Thursday, citing a ceremony held by the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, where the 60 square kilometre-large area (23 square miles) is located.
Baidu said in a statement that this would be its Apollo Go service’s first commercial deployment on open roads.
Customers will be able to hail one of the daily service’s 67 cars at more than 600 pick-up and drop-off points in both commercial and residential areas, it said. It will charge fares similar to the level of premium ride-hailing services in China, a Baidu spokesperson added…..” Read more Hmmmm… Looks like more positive acceleration of deployment in China. Alain
Press release, Nov. 23, “Today, Euro NCAP publishes the Assisted Driving gradings of seven cars equipped with Highway Assist….
Highway Assist systems help the driver to maintain a steady speed, to keep a safe distance from the car in front and to keep the vehicle in the center of the lane by combining (intelligent) Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Lane Centering (LC) .
Highway Assist systems are designed to assist the driver, not to take control, and the driver is expected to keep his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road at all times. For this reason, Euro NCAP tests not only the car’s ability to assist and promote safer driving, but also evaluates how the system engages the driver and, if the unexpected happens, what safety backup is offered by the vehicle…. ” Read more Hmmmm… and the driver is expected to keep his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road at all times….
- “his“… this must be the European version of NCAP…
- why just “hands” and not also “feet” on the …, and
- eyes on the road at “all” times.
Seems like the above is a set up for failure. A head’s up display diverts the driver’s eyes away from the road ahead and onto the windshield.
It is also amazing “… assist but not take control…” What??? Is it going to whisper in my ear?
- Anti-lock Brakes take Control!
- Electronic Stability Control takes Control!
- Intelligent and Stupid Cruise Control take Control!
- Lane Centering (supposedly) Steers (Maybe that’s the one that doesn’t work).
- Automated Emergency Braking (supposedly) Brakes (But why isn’t it classified as an “assist” in driving? It is the assist/help that I really want/need. It’s the one that’s going to save my life.
Moreover, EuroNCAP observed it in its evaluation of the MB GLE “… The GLE responds to avoid a collision in most of the ACC test scenarios and requires AEB interventions in the more critical stopped vehicle, cut-in and cut-out tests…” Why are stationary objects relegated to the AEB that doesn’t kick in until time2collision (t2c) is “1.6 seconds” and “all hell has to break loose” in order to avoid a crash! Why couldn’t AEB start to break “lightly” when t2c is say 3 seconds or whatever in order to be “gentle”. Seems that this a fundamental “SAE standards” design flaw. Alain
EVHybridNoire, Nov. 17, “Released on the heels of the signing of the transformational infrastructure bill, the EVHybridNoire Public Policy Toolkit provides an introduction to e-mobility, a context for working on e-mobility with an equity-centered approach and specific policy recommendations for equitably advancing e-mobility. The toolkit also highlights the historical and present inequities in transportation. The pillars…” Read more Hmmmm… Also most appropriate for pre-deployment of aTaxis. Thank you Henry. Alain
B Feigenbaum, Nov. 18, “New Jersey’s highway system ranks 50th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is identical to the previous report, where New Jersey also ranked last overall.
New Jersey ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in eight of the report’s 13 metrics. The state’s costs are disproportionately high and the biggest driver of its poor overall rankings. While some higher costs are understandable, New Jersey spends $1,136,255 per mile of state- controlled road, which is $762,700 more than New York spends per mile and $929,331 more than California spends per mile….” Read more Hmmmm… Ouch! Baruch assured me that he did everything he could to try to make NJ look better. Like… “we’re the densest state in the US”, … All to little or no avail. Ouch!
Instead, we’re going to lead the nation in deploying “Equitable, Safe, affordable High-quality Mobility”… Trust me!!!😎 Alain
R. Mitchell, Nov. 24, “That silver Dodge Ram Warlock with the 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi engine must have looked pretty sweet when gasoline prices hovered around $4 a gallon. Now, with gasoline topping $6 a gallon at some Los Angeles-area stations, a bit of sour’s been added to the mix.
Record-high gasoline and diesel prices are combusting driver budgets across the land, small car or large. But filling up a pickup truck or truck-size SUV burns hottest, given the extra weight and lower gas mileage that come as a trade-off for utility and size.
Like many, George Moreno uses his pickup for work. The downtown Los Angeles resident runs a warehousing and logistics company. Heavy-duty trucks do most of the work, but he often uses his Ford F-150 for smaller runs. Fuel costs “are so important to us, definitely,” Moreno, 52, said outside the Home Depot in Cypress Park. It’s hard “to keep our prices at a fair level while watching our costs go up.”… ” Read more Hmmmm… Ouch! $6/gal price better not come to Jersey; else, we’re all going electric… but how much are electrons going to cost after we do that. Can we start storing some now??? But where and in what? I guess big isn’t so beautiful. Alain
C. Hart, Sept. 30, “… It is worth noting that aviation has been developing automation for decades. But airliners will continue to have pilots for the foreseeable future because automation designers do not have satisfactory answers for two crucial questions:
- What if the automation fails? And, much more likely,
- What if the automation encounters circumstances that were not anticipated by the designers?
The same questions apply for automation in road vehicles. Hence, despite the substantial potential lifesaving improvements of removing drivers from cars, driverless cars probably will not achieve public acceptance for widespread use until car automation designers can answer those two questions…
Although the reliability of automation is generally improving, any system that is designed, built, and maintained by humans will fail sooner or later…” Read more Hmmmm…Chris, Excellent. My only quibble is that the opportunity to uniquely provide “Equitable, Affordable, High-quality Mobility” at acceptable safety levels is the game changing opportunity for driverless technology. Much in the same way that flying uniquely delivered previously unavailable “Fast, Long-distance Mobility” at what was implicitly accepted safety levels. The benefits of 100 years of evolution has delivered unbelievable levels of safety, but commercialization and deployment didn’t wait the 100 years; else, we’d still be pre Ford Tri-motor, DC-3 and Lockheed Electra.
To me, the real value of driverless is the opportunity to deliver “equitable” mobility sustainably on an economic basis.
With that objective in mind, it may well be “Prime Time” for us to begin by deploying today/soon the Ford Tri-motor, DC-3 and Lockheed Electra versions of this technology. Substantial improvement in quality-of-life to economically challenged segment of the economy may well justify moving forward in some ODDs with today’s driverless equivalents to the Ford Tri-motor, DC-3 and Lockheed Electra Alain
Staff, Nov 24, “The UAE unveiled its first fully autonomous taxi on Tuesday, at the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit.
A fleet of driverless cars, named TXAI, will hit the roads later this month with the first trial being conducted on Yas Island, the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
It will be the first autonomous driving project to be trialed on the streets of capital.
TXAI has been developed by Bayanat, a geospatial, data analytics, and AI company in the UAE…. ” Read more Hmmmm…Hopefully there is no connection between TZXAI and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Else, why not? Compared to the AutoX village video, this may well be easy. Alain
Staff, Nov 18, “SHANGHAI, Nov 18 (Reuters) – WeRide, a China-based autonomous driving startup, said on Thursday it plans to make its robotaxis available for booking by the public on Guangzhou Automobile Group’s (601238.SS) Ontime ride-hailing app by next year.
Backed by Nissan Motor (7201.T), WeRide said in a statement it plans to offer test rides for the public at the Guangzhou Auto Show, which begins in the southern Chinese city on Friday. It added that its robotaxi has been integrated into the Ontime platform and they were conducting testing….” Read more Hmmmm… While it is certainly nice to have all of this on a ride-hailing platform, the issue is how well is it evolving to provide safe-enough mobility without need of an attendant. Alain
B. Sullivan, Nov 23. “Utilities in Southern California may cut power to almost 200,000 homes and businesses over Thanksgiving to prevent live wires from sparking blazes as high winds sweep the drought-stricken region creating critical fire conditions.
Almost 152,000 customers of Edison International’s Southern California Edison face outages in six Southern California counties, including Los Angeles and Orange, if conditions get too dangerous, according to its website. Further south, San Diego Gas & Electric may cut off 43,333 customers. Both numbers are an increase from warnings on Tuesday. …” Read more Hmmmm… Sure hope none of those customers have EVs that need to be charged. Recall that people went a little nuts over a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline last May. Alain
Press release, Nov. 10, “Purdue University engineers have invented a new, patent-pending charging station cable that would fully recharge certain electric vehicles in under five minutes – about the same amount of time it takes to fill up a gas tank.
Today, chargers are limited in how quickly they can charge an EV’s battery due to the danger of overheating. To charge an EV faster, a higher current needs to travel through the charging cable. The higher the current, the greater amount of heat that must be removed to keep the charging cable operational. The cooling systems that chargers currently use remove only so much heat….” Read more Hmmmm… Great, but not only are the cables leading to the batteries going to need to be cooled, but cooling takes energy. Also, the creation of the heat in the first place means that more electricity is going to need to be created than just moving the car. Electricity will be wasted not only creating the heat but also cooling the heat all to address a real limitation of batteries… it takes time to fill them efficiently.
There was a reason why ICEs won out over Steam and EVs back in “1905”. Batteries remain a tough stumbling block. It may well be that our move to EVs may be premature and counter productive at this time. We still have a lot of homework and head scratching to do. 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 RfI 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)
Re-see: Pop Up Metro USA Intro 09 2020
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
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
Saturday, May 7, Equitable Mobility Festival (Open to All)
Live in Person
R. Shields, 22 – 25 March, “Recordings from the conference:
Session 1 plus opening: (Regulatory): https://youtu.be/UcDC8gXiUFk
Session 2: (Cybersecurity): https://youtu.be/ppp2hxlvebY
Session 3: (Automated Driving Systems): https://youtu.be/uL2dRHuX2Cc
Session 4: (Communications for ADS) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFQcL6yfBso
Read more Hmmmm… Russ, thank you for sharing! Alain