SmartDrivingCar https://smartdrivingcar.com The latest news in mobility and autonomy Sat, 04 Apr 2020 02:43:52 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://i1.wp.com/smartdrivingcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cropped-SDC-Logo-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 SmartDrivingCar https://smartdrivingcar.com 32 32 137852181 8.15-Via-040320 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-15-via-040320/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-15-via-040320/#respond Sat, 04 Apr 2020 02:09:06 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=8107   Friday, April 3, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.15-Via-040320 15th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   Via raises Series E financing to expand access to efficient, sustainable, and equitable public mobility […]

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Friday, April 3, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.15-Via-040320
15th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Via raises Series E financing to expand access to efficient, sustainable, and equitable public mobility across the globe

Press release, Mar. 30, "Via, the company that provides digital infrastructure to power public mobility in cities around the world, announces today that it has raised a Series E financing led by EXOR. The financing values the company at $2.25B and will enable Via to advance its vision of efficient, accessible, and equitable public mobility. 

Via’s technology powers the next generation of public transportation, helping cities move beyond a system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic network. Via’s algorithm efficiently combines, in real time, multiple passengers or packages headed in the same direction, significantly reducing urban congestion and emissions while providing a high quality and lower cost mobility service. Available in more than 70 cities in 20 countries, and growing rapidly…"  Read more Hmmmm… Ride-sharing may not be dead.  Listen to PodCast 150, watch VideoCast 150 Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 150 – Andrei Greenawalt

F. Fishkin, April 3, "Coronavirus devastates transportation and mobility. How does it recover? Matthew Daus, former NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission chairman, joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that and much more. Watch,  subscribe, and find us at www.smartdrivingcar.com!"   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

Smart Driving Cars VideoCast Episode 150 – Andrei Greenawalt

Video version… Watch episode 150 with Andrei Greenawalt.  Alain

  Tesla soars on delivery numbers — company delivered 88,400 vehicles in Q1

L. Kolodny, April 2, "Tesla reported on Thursday that it delivered approximately 88,400 vehicles in the first quarter of 2020, beating expectations. Analysts had expected about 79,900 as of Wednesday, according to a survey by FactSet.

Tesla stock rose more than 17% after hours on the news.  Breaking it down by model, Tesla reported combined deliveries of 76,200 Model 3 sedans and Model Y cross-over SUVs, and combined deliveries of 12,200 of the older and more expensive Model S and X vehicles. …"  Read more Hmmmm…  Wow!!! I guess the Shanghai plant is really humming!  Congratulations! It is a shame that more of these cars aren’t being built in the US of A.  Alain

  Engineer Says Uber Owes Him $180 Million for Run-In With Google

J. Rosenblatt, April 1, "A star Silicon Valley engineer who defected from Google to Uber Technologies Inc. — only to be fired, tagged as the villain in a trade-secret theft dispute and driven into bankruptcy — says the ride-sharing company owes him more than $180 million for travails and lost time.

Anthony Levandowski, hailed by both companies as a prodigy of driverless car technology, contends Uber didn’t keep its promise to cover his legal bills when it aggressively recruited him in 2016. Google later accused Levandowski of poaching its engineers in violation of his contract and clawed back a $120 million bonus it had paid him, plus about $60 million in interest and attorneys fees.

In his arbitration demand against Uber, Levandowski says he was warned by none other than Larry Page that he’d face “negative consequences” if he left to compete with Google. But he was reassured by Uber’s agreement to indemnify him against Google’s anticipated retribution, and Uber paid for his defense for almost three years.

Until, that is, Google won. Levandowski says that in April 2018, days before the final hearing in Google’s arbitration, Uber told him it wanted to be repaid…"  Read more Hmmmm…Is this a April Fool’s joke; although, Uber likely does owe him. Details do matter in contracts; although, Anthony better collect quickly.    🙂 Alain

  Special Report: Impact of COVID19 on California Traffic Accidents

F. Shilling, April 1, "… We estimate that since the order went into effect, collisions and especially injury and fatality collisions have been reduced by half, from ~1,000 collisions and ~400 injury/fatal accidents per day to 500 and 200 per day, respectively. We also found that animal-related incidents did not experience the same reduction. We found that traffic volumes were up to 60% lower on certain highways after the order compared to a similar period prior to the order, which may account for the reduced number of collisions…."  Read more Hmmmm…Must be even greater reduction in NJ because there seems to be no one on the roads.  Small silver lining along with substantial reduction in CO2 from reduced consumption of gasoline.  Glad that the trucks are still moving because store shelves need to be filled; else, it gets really UGLY!!! Alain

  Tesla is shipping FDA-approved ventilators to hospitals around the world for free during the coronavirus pandemic

B. Gilbert, April 1, "Tesla is offering to pay for and ship a crucial medical component being used in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Elon Musk announced as much on Tuesday: "We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions. Device & shipping cost are free. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse," he said …. "  Read more Hmmmm…  In December, I was sedated and strapped down with a ventilator down my throat for 11 days.  It saved my life.  Thank you,  Elon.  These are going to save lives.  Alain

  Public Transit Cuts Hurt ‘Essential’ Workers Who Need It Most

A. Marshall, Mar. 30, "…To protect its workers and conserve supplies, Metro has closed 19 of its 91 stations until further notice, without providing shuttle buses to fill in the gaps….

“Essential” workers who are still toiling at grocery stores, drug stores, and health care facilities face the same dilemma. Los Angeles has cut bus service by 15 to 20 percent and is running fewer trains. The Bay Area’s BART system has seen ridership plunge by 90 percent compared with this time last year, and has cut three hours of night service amidst a projected $25 million monthly loss. New York City’s MTA has modified its schedule. The agency that runs Seattle’s buses is cutting service and has stopped collecting fares to reduce interactions between workers and riders.

Smaller systems, like the ones in Great Falls, Montana, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, have canceled service altogether …"  Read more Hmmmm… As if conventional public transit wasn’t a complete mess before this pandemic.  If this doesn’t motivate conventional transit to embrace driverless on-demand shared ride mobility then Transit should use this opportunity to simply disappear gracefully.  Big, bulky, inflexible and labor intensive are not good attributes to have for any business.  Alain

  Tesla becomes the best-selling car brand in Iceland

F. Lambert, April 1, "There have been Tesla vehicles in Iceland for years, but the automaker officially launched in the market in September of last year and now Tesla has already become the best-selling car brand in the country.  Iceland is perfect for massive adoption of electric vehicles. The island’s electricity generation is already almost 100% renewable, which makes EVs super clean, and being a remote island, petrol is expensive."  Read more Hmmmm…  Also, there is no range anxiety in Iceland… Not far to go…  Can this also be an April Fool’s joke?  🙂  Alain  

  Recent trends in gasoline prices

M. Sivak, April 2, "This brief note analyzes the changes in the price of gasoline during the first 13 weeks of 2020 and compares them with the changes during the first 13 weeks of 2019. The raw data (the average retail price of regular gasoline) came from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The results are shown in the table below….

During the first 13 weeks of 2020, the price of gasoline decreased by 22.2% (from $2.578 to $2.005). Furthermore, during this time of the year, gasoline prices typically (but not always) tend to go up because of the usual increase in driving in the spring compared with driving in the winter. As an example, the above table also includes the analogous data for the first 13 weeks of 2019. Indeed, during the same time period in 2019, gasoline prices increased by 20.3%. Thus, in comparison with the trend in 2019, gasoline prices during the first 13 weeks of 2020 decreased by 35% (77.8 is 65% of 120.3)…."  Read more Hmmmm…  A very tiny silver lining, but a silver lining all the same.  Alain

  It took a coronavirus outbreak for self-driving cars to become more appealing

S. Lekach, April 1, "Suddenly, a future full of self-driving cars isn’t just a sci-fi pipe dream. What used to be considered a scary, uncertain technology for many Americans looks more like an effective tool to protect ourselves from a fast-spreading, infectious disease.

With COVID-19 — the name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus — keeping most of us housebound, it’s harder to get around or bring in supplies safely. Forget about socializing, just stocking up on groceries, toiletries, and basic medicines and products is a risky challenge. Suddenly having robots and computers help us out doesn’t seem so far-fetched. All that money that’s been funneled into testing self-driving cars — $27.5 billion in 2018, according to data company Statista — is starting to look more and more worthwhile…."  Read more Hmmmm… Probably deserves being in ClickBait or is this another April Fool’s joke?   Alain

  Underwriters Laboratories publishes autonomous vehicle Standard

Press release, April 1, "ANSI/UL 4600 Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products encompasses fully autonomous systems that move such as self-driving cars, along with applications in mining, agriculture, maintenance, and other vehicles including lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It seeks to specifically address the ability of autonomous products to perform safely and as intended- without human intervention- based on their current state and sensing of the operating environment. Reliability of hardware and software necessary for machine learning, sensing of operating environment and other safety aspects of autonomy is also addressed. It is envisioned that future end-product standards will tailor UL 4600 to address specialized applications…."  Read more Hmmmm… https://ul.org/UL4600, not another "SAE" standards organization charging for the documentation for their standards developed by ???? Where is Washington when you need it?  Or is this April fools!! Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   Postponed until Evening Oct. 20 through Oct. 22, 2020

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other cites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain


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


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Postponed, until Evening Oct. 20 -> Oct 22.

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.14-SoA_Covid-033120 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-14-soa_covid-033120/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-14-soa_covid-033120/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2020 01:22:46 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=8087   Tuesday, March 31, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.14-SoA_Covid-033120 14th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   Society of Actuaries Research Brief Impact of COVID-19 D. Hall, Mar 25, "… The result […]

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.14-SoA_Covid-033120
14th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Society of Actuaries Research Brief Impact of COVID-19

D. Hall, Mar 25, "… The result in late March 2020 has been one where a confluence of risks has come together. Additional operational and financial risks may emerge as additional events compound on the current situation. Actuaries will be watching for any additional risk events that layer on to the current environment, especially ones that may cause additional property, mortality and health risks such as catastrophic weather events. Morbidity, mortality, asset/liability management and operational risks are all a part of the initial and evolving story. This update to the Society of Actuaries Research Brief has been constructed to highlight some of the key continuing and new features of the pandemic all around the world and contemplate the risks for the actuarial profession to consider in their work…"   Read more Hmmmm… This is one of the best reports that I have seen and will be updated  every 10 days or so.   A good summary of the materials, podcasts and other good sources are here:

https://www.soa.org/resources/newsroom/covid-19-updates/#research
https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2020/impact-coronavirus/

ECDPC Daily data

GitHub Covid19 data

Cases of COVID-19

Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 149 – Matt Daus

F. Fishkin, Mar. 26, "The Smart Driving Cars podcast with automated driving strategy consultant Richard Bishop joining Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Is automated trucking dead? Also…Covid-19 puts Waymo in park, the latest on Tesla and more. listen and subscribe!"   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 149 – Matt Daus

Video version… Watch episode 149 with Matt Daus.  Alain

  Transportation Companies Can Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) & Emergency EIDL Grants as part of The CARES Act!

M. Daus, Mar. 28, "As a follow-up to our reporting on the assistance available to transportation companies, the CARES Act expands eligibility for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The EIDLs had previously only been open to small businesses affected by COVID-19. Now, under the CARES Act, EIDLs are available to any business with not more than 500 employees, operating under a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor, tribal businesses, cooperatives and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees, all non-profit organizations, and individuals operating as sole proprietors or independent contractors…" Read more Hmmmm… Some of this money may actually help small transportation/mobility/logistics businesses.  Hear/Watch PodCast 149 with Matt Daus.  Alain

  1st Step towards Autonomous Trucking & Platooning

K. Pyle, Mar. 27, "Two former Carnegie Mellon faculty members, who happen to be brothers, discuss how they are taking a pragmatic approach of adding automation to long-haul trucking. Their company, Locomation, upgrades an existing big rig by replacing the side-view mirrors with a module that includes a mirror, lidar, radar, camera sensors, and radios.

This suite of sensors feeds a computer running their software stack. Their system and service allow trucking companies to field a two-truck platoon. Their initial target market is time-sensitive, long-haul applications where trucking companies normally employ two drivers for a single truck with minimal stops (one sleeps while the other drives)…"  Read more Hmmmm… Also watch Ken Pyle’s interview. Alain

  Coming Tesla Autopilot Update To Include Auto-Stopping At Red Lights & Stop Signs (Leaked Video)

Z. Shahan, Mar. 27, "…Apparently, according to Out of Spec Motoring and a video its Twitter account shared, the next Tesla Autopilot update will provide one huge bridge between those two steps. It will give your car the superpower of stopping at red lights and stop signs by itself…"  Read more Hmmmm… Great, but don’t rely on it because you are still responsible!!! If it doesn’t work and you run a red and get T-boned, then it’s your life that you lose!   What is great is: if you are clueless, it may keep you from inadvertently running a red,… not getting T-boned and not losing your life.  🙂 See video  Alain

Exor Makes $200 Million Investment in Ride-Share Company Via

C. Lombardo, Mar 30, "Exor NV, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family, is investing in ride-share company Via Transportation Inc. that would mark its first big foray into the technology sector.

Exor said Monday it is investing $200 million in New York-based Via. The investment would give Exor just under a 9% stake in Via and would value Via at $2.25 billion. Via had last been valued at roughly $1 billion in late 2017, according to Pitchbook…." Read more Hmmmm… This is really good news, maybe the only good news, in the ride-sharing space given the physical distancing mandate.  There may still behope for ride-sharing once we get through all of this physical distancing.  Alain

  GM Planning to Put Super Cruise on at Least 22 More Models

P. Eisenstein, Mar. 29, "…Super Cruise launched in 2017 on the Cadillac CT6. While that big sedan is going away, GM has plans to add the hands-free system to Caddy’s CT4 and CT5 sedans, as well as the totally redone Escalade SUV for the 2021 model year. In 2022, it will be offered for the first time through other GM brands, starting with the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The big blitz comes in 2023 when it will roll out on 22 models, with more likely to follow, company officials have confirmed….

About 30 percent of Caddy CT6 buyers have shelled out the $2,500 for the option. Meanwhile, 85 percent of those who have the system say they would prefer or only buy a vehicle with Super Cruise in the future.

GM recently increased the number of miles Super Cruise can operate on from 130,000 to 200,000. This coming year, meanwhile, it will gain the ability to change lanes simply by tapping the turn signal. And new products will add a rear-facing radar sensor to ensure the vehicle doesn’t pull out in front of fast-approaching traffic…. "  Read more Hmmmm… Since SuperCruise sells cars and provides up-sell revenue, why isn’t it being put in GM cars earlier.  Tesla wouldn’t wait around until 2023! Note GM is putting SuperCruise in Bolt even earlier because every day autoPilot sells Model 3s.  Alain

  New Rules Could Finally Clear the Way for Self-Driving Cars

A. Marshall, Mar. 26, "…The adjusted standards would nix some rules related to rider safety for autonomous vehicles that carry goods like groceries, but no people. They would address the protections needed when steering wheels and steering columns have gone the way of the dodo. They would reexamine how airbags might work in a car newly configured to drive itself, and consider barring children from the front left seat of a vehicle, where the steering wheel traditionally lives.

The rules would also clarify the definition of “driver,” which the agency has now decided it will not change within the standards. Instead, it will clarify within each mention whether “driver” refers to a fleshy human, or the advanced driver systems that might one day operate cars all on their own. This is a reversal for the safety agency, which said in 2016 that it would legally redefine “driver” to treat the Google self-driving system one…"  Read more Hmmmm… Now is probably the right time to do this.  We have to get something moving forward. Asking NHTSA for exemptions has been a rabbit hole.  It has granted a total of one.  Alain

  Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai makes 3,000 cars per week amid other factory shutdowns

F. Lambert, Mar. 27, "Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai is reportedly making 3,000 electric cars per week amid Tesla having to shut down its other factories.

As of Monday, Tesla was forced to shut down production at Fremont factory in California, where the automaker has produced almost all its vehicles for the past decade…

The automaker had a production capacity of about 2,000 vehicles per week prior to the shutdown.  Now a new report from 乌瓦, a Youtuber who has been tracking progress at the factory through drone videos and interviews with employees and locals, states that Tesla is now capable of producing 3,000 cars per week at the plant:…"  Read more Hmmmm…  Very interesting.  Is this a prelude to the losing of even more American jobs?  Alain  

  2020 Detroit Auto Show canceled as venue becomes a field hospital

J. Fingas, Mar.29, "Yet another major 2020 auto show has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although now it’s less about timing and more about supporting the current fight. Organizers have canceled the Detroit Auto Show (officially the North American International Auto Show) as its venue, the TCF Center, is being turned into a field hospital for coronavirus patients. The next show now won’t take place until June 2021, or over two and a half years after the last event…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Certainly not a surprise.  Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   Postponed until Evening Oct. 20 through Oct. 22, 2020

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other cites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain


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


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked

  Will this crisis help set autonomous AI on the right course?

B. Huang, Mar. 26, "he COVID-19 pandemic accelerates an automated future that’s already on its way. It serves as a wake-up call to all AI, robotics, and driverless car startups: stop building eye-dazzling demos and talking about the future possibility of general-use AI. Instead, focus on deploying real-world solutions that can run 24 hours a day with minimum human intervention and deliver true value to users.

Thousands of Americans have started to work from home amidst the current pandemic. Retailers have struggled with supply while nervous consumers are hoarding everything from toilet paper to hand soap. Across the globe, Chinese e-commerce giant JD began testing a level 4 autonomous delivery robot in Wuhan and running its automated warehouses 24 hours a day to cope with a surge in demand.

Suddenly, autonomous machines need to be better than just proof of concept. They must be robust enough to work independently across various real-life situations…."  Read more Hmmmm…I don’t buy it, nor the three areas.  Today we have no AI, it is really largely hype.  Data quality is key to everything, be they human intelligence or the artificial variety.  The pathetic quality of the data about what is happening today dominates what this crisis is telling us about the necessities of data quality.  We didn’t learn it in 2016 when the bad data led to forecasts that Hillary’s probability of winning was > 0.99.  The misuses and unknown biases, not just the noise, led to that "AI" debacle.  The same is even more true today.  Alain

 


Click-Bait


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Postponed, until Evening Oct. 20 -> Oct 22.

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.13-Bishop-032720 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-13-bishop-032720/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-13-bishop-032720/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2020 20:29:51 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=8054     Friday, March 27, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.13-Bishop-032820 13th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   Starsky Robotics Failed. Does That Mean Automated Trucking Is Dead? R. Bishop, Mar 24, […]

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Friday, March 27, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.13-Bishop-032820
13th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Starsky Robotics Failed. Does That Mean Automated Trucking Is Dead?

R. Bishop, Mar 24, "I met Stefan Seltz-Axmacher for the first time in November 2015 at the Florida Automated Vehicles Summit. Not long after, we met at the Blue Danube coffee shop in Alameda, CA so he could tell me about his vision for Starsky Robotics. When he energetically described his remote-driving-for-trucks approach, I was skeptical. “Remote driving is hard,” I said. “The military has struggled with this for years. Its harder than it looks.” On the technical side, latency for secure communications is challenging. On the operational side, re-creating enough on-road reality (situational awareness) for a remote driver is difficult when going for the high levels of safety needed. Seltz-Axmacher remained bullish on the approach and at that time went on to found Starsky Robotics as one of the earliest truck AV startups, later closing a $16.5M Series A funding round in March 2018, and then hauling freight while developing both remote and automated driving ability.  Initially, Starsky’s concept was all about remote driving for first/last mile. They later expanded their offering to include fully automated highway driving on limited freight corridors.

Now, Starsky has become the first casualty within a crowded truck automation space, and Seltz-Axmacher has provided us with an intriguing post-mortem in a recent Medium post.  Most of the media coverage I’ve seen has acted as echo chambers for Seltz-Axmacher’s perspective. Here I offer a counterpoint based on my longtime involvement in truck automation plus discussions with many others in the truck Automated Driving Systems (ADS) startup space, many of them irate at what they see as unfounded assertions made in the original post. My sources tell me that because Seltz-Axmacher hasn’t experienced their technology nor been briefed on their technical/safety approach, he has no basis to make sweeping claims about the entire industry…."  Read more Hmmmm… Listen to PodCast 148. or/and Watch us on YouTube.  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 148 – Richard Bishop

F. Fishkin, Mar. 26, "The Smart Driving Cars podcast with automated driving strategy consultant Richard Bishop joining Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Is automated trucking dead? Also…Covid-19 puts Waymo in park, the latest on Tesla and more. listen and subscribe!"   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 148 – Richard Bishop

Video version… Watch our first attempt.  Alain

  Delivery Robots Could Have Saved The Day If The Virus Had Come A Bit Later

B. Templeton, Mar 19, "A large number of companies have been working on robotic delivery “deliverbots” in the last few years, in parallel with work on robocars for passengers. I’ve been an investor/advisor with one, Starship Technologies, which operates on the sidewalks, and already has an active delivery business which has completed over 100,000 deliveries. This story, though, is about the several other ventures planning to do delivery with much larger vehicles which travel on the road. These include Robocar leader Waymo, and Softbank funded startup Nuro, which has built custom delivery vehicles which don’t have room for a human and travel at low speeds. Many other teams are taking their robocar technology and applying it to delivery using modified production cars.

It’s a reasonable plan. The passenger robocar problem is hard, and delivery is easier. You don’t need to go fast. You can limit yourself to slow backroads because cargo doesn’t get impatient. You must not hit any other users of the road, but you can’t kill a pizza that’s inside the vehicle so the safety constraints are less. This has attracted many teams to the space. Sidewalk robots go more slowly but have already reached the desired safety levels and are operating on their own. They can sometimes be faster than road vehicles in congested areas. Other companies hope to deliver by drone.

Suddenly the world has been thrust into a crisis with three interesting aspects:

  1. There is a huge upswing in demand for delivery, and delivery companies are falling way behind.
  2. People have a sudden desire to not have a delivery driver touch their packages, and drivers don’t want to interact with scores of people.
  3. The roads in some areas have become almost deserted due to lockdowns

What a glorious opportunity this could have been for the road based delivery vehicles…. "  Read more Hmmmm… Yup!. Alain

  Tesla makes thousands of electric cars available in inventory – here’s why this is important

F. Lambert, Mar. 20, "Tesla has thousands of electric cars available in its inventory at the end of the quarter and that might change how the company operates.  There are many differences between Tesla and the most established automakers, but one of the most interesting differences is Tesla’s direct-sale model.

The electric automaker doesn’t use third-party franchise dealerships.  Unlike most other automakers, Tesla owns its vehicles all the way to the point customers take delivery.

When you combine this difference with the fact that until recently, all of Tesla’s cars were coming out of a single factory in California, it makes for a vastly different business model….
As we reported this morning, despite the fact that Tesla had to stop production, they are using the shutdown to increase production capacity. They could be able to go back to producing vehicles in just a few weeks.  With new vehicles coming to inventory next month, it might be a while before Tesla goes back to its usual low inventory business model.

It might be a hit on its balance sheet for now, but I think that ultimately, it should turn out to be a good thing and more consistent delivery operations for Tesla. One could even say that it should flatten the curve of Tesla’s quarterly deliveries."  Read more Hmmmm…  Very interesting inventory distribution challenge.  Alain

  TeslaCam Video Shows Limitations Of Humanpilot: SUV Drives Into Ditch

S. Loveday, Mar. 24, "Tesla Autopilot isn’t perfect, but human error is the leading cause of car accidents.
To be clear here, this video makes no claim of a Tesla Autopilot save. That’s not the point. Instead, it’s just footage from a Tesla vehicle’s built-in dashcam (TeslaCam) showing an SUV driver that appears to be distracted, asleep, having a health issue, or just simply not paying attention…."  Read more Hmmmm…  See video.  Alain

  Message from Matthew W. Daus. Esq….

M. Daus, Mar. 23, "The facts, legislative and regulatory actions and developments involving public health, safety and the already devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic change by the moment.  I have heard firsthand reports of massive layoffs, business stoppage and truly unheard of repercussions getting worse by the hour.  Things may never be the same moving forward – this is an entirely new and unexplored world. …" Read more Hmmmm… Matt, an active contributor to the Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summits is putting forth an interesting service. Alain

   FORD AIMS TO RESTART PRODUCTION AT KEY NORTH AMERICAN PLANTS

Press release, Mar. 26, "Ford is aiming to restart production at select plants in North America as early as April 6, bringing key plants back online while the company introduces additional safety measures to protect returning workers.

Ford is planning to resume production at Hermosillo Assembly Plant on April 6 on one shift. On April 14, Ford is planning to start building vehicles at Dearborn Truck Plant, Kentucky Truck Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant’s Transit line and Ohio Assembly Plant.

To support these assembly plants, Ford also is aiming to resume production April 14 at:…"  Read more Hmmmm… Thank you Ford for getting back to work.  You should be able to enforce sufficient spatial distancing throughout these plants.  Spring break was long enough.  We need to get the economy going again.  These worker have families that need to be fed.   Alain

 

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   Postponed until Evening Oct. 20 through Oct. 22, 2020

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other cites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain


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


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked

  How to move more people in fewer vehicles – today

R. Gindrat, Mar. 24, "…Many, including me, have argued that the future of urban transport is electric, autonomous and shared. I still believe this to be true. But the real key to reducing traffic and pollution comes from sharing—and we don’t have to wait for the widespread adoption of electric and/or autonomous vehicles to achieve significant efficiency gains that remove cars and their emissions from city streets….  I agree!

Swap autonomous vehicles that receive instructions into a computer with human-driven vehicles that receive instructions through a driver’s mobile app, and you can achieve the same results – albeit today with fossil fuel-powered cars. … I agree!  True; however, none of these can be done affordably or economically.  Each requires substantial subsidies, that no one is willing to fund, to pay for the drivers. Some of these make for good demos, but are unsustainable economically.  "  Read more Hmmmm… Until we can make these systems driverless (without attendant) the are DoA (Dead on Arrival).  Half-baked!! Alain


Click-Bait

Sleeping in Self-Driving Cars? It’s No Pipe Dream.

D. Neil, Mar.25, "HAVE YOU SEEN the video of the guy sound asleep at the wheel of his auto-piloted Tesla Model S? Mile after mile, with his head back, mouth open like he’s having his teeth cleaned. I envy him…."  Read moreHmmmm… So called Level 3 will never happen… No creator/seller of a consumer item is going to accept the responsibility/liability of the automated operation of that consumer item when that item’s automation system  has been controlled and maintained by a consumer.  Never happen!! Total Click-Bait.  Alain

  Employees at nine Amazon warehouses have contracted the coronavirus

T. Lee, Mar. 25, "….Amazon has more than 750,000 employees, many of whom work at distribution facilities around the country. So recent cases represent a tiny fraction of Amazon’s warehouse workforce… "  Read more Hmmmm…  So why are you writing about this?  Seems like ClickBait to me. Welcome to CNN and Fox News.  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Postponed, until Evening Oct. 20 -> Oct 22.

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.12-Yippie-032120 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-12-yippie-032120/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-12-yippie-032120/#respond Fri, 20 Mar 2020 15:30:22 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=7886   Friday, March 21, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.12-Yippie-032120 12th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   Waymo suspends robotaxi service except for its truly driverless vehicles K. Korosec, Mar. 17, "Waymo  […]

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Friday, March 21, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.12-Yippie-032120
12th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Waymo suspends robotaxi service except for its truly driverless vehicles

K. Korosec, Mar. 17, "Waymo  said Tuesday it is pausing operations of Waymo One, a service in the Phoenix area that allows the public to hail rides in self-driving vehicles with trained human safety operators behind the wheel, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Waymo is also halting testing on public roads in California.

However, Waymo will keep some operations up and running, notably its truly driverless vehicles, which don’t require a human safety driver, according to an announcement on its website Tuesday. These driverless vehicles are used in the Phoenix area as part of Waymo’s early rider program that lets vetted members of the public hail a ride…"   Read more  Yippie!!! Unfortunately, the latest is not so good…   Waymo has suspended all services, including the driverless.  Poopie!!! Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 147 – Michael Sena

F. Fishkin, Mar. 14, "From Sweden…The Dispatcher editor Michael Sena joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin as Covid-19 takes a toll on Waymo, Uber and more. Plus Saving the Car Industries in the U.S. and the EU… the latest from Future Networked Car 2020 in Geneva and more."   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

  Symposium on the Future Networked Car: FNC2020

M. Sena, April 2020, " THE ITU AND UNECE Symposium on the Future Networked Car is special for several reasons. It is arranged and held by organizations that are in the standards and policy support business, not in the conference business. That means there are no exhibitions where large sums of money are paid for the privilege of occupying a booth. It
also means that there are no attendee fees.  The Symposium comprises four panel discussions and two information presentations about the organizers’ activities in the area of vehicle connectivity. Panelists are subject experts in the topic addressed by the panel and there are no company pitches. There are no parallel sessions or breakout sessions, so everyone hears everything. The two coffee breaks, the lunch and the Symposium-ending reception (this year sponsored by DEKRA, QUALCOMM and ROAD DB) offer plenty of opportunity for old friends to meet and new friendships and business contacts to be made. As a bonus, it’s held on the first public day of the GENEVA INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW, or GIMS as it is referred to, and admission to the Symposium also provides access to the SHOW at the Palexpo for the day.

The tally for delegates on-site was around 60, as opposed to the usual 120-150. In spite of some doubabout a local/remote panel discussion, it worked.

The ITU conference hall provided everything we needed for both those who were present and for those who joined remotely. There were enough participants in the hall to give it the feel of a real, live event, while the remote panelists where shown on the multiple screens…."  Read more I participated remotely, Michael provides a must read excellent summary and you may learn more by listening to PodCast 147.  Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   Postponed until after June 30.  More later

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other cites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

  The End of Starsky Robotics

S. Seltz-Axmacher, Mar. 19, "In 2015, I got obsessed with the idea of driverless trucks and started Starsky Robotics. In 2016, we became the first street-legal vehicle to be paid to do real work without a person behind the wheel. In 2018, we became the first street-legal truck to do a fully unmanned run, albeit on a closed road. In 2019, our truck became the first fully-unmanned truck to drive on a live highway.

And in 2020, we’re shutting down.

I remain incredibly proud of the product, team, and organization we were able to build; one where PhDs and truck drivers worked side by side, where generational challenges were solved by people with more smarts than pedigree, and where we discovered how the future of logistics will work.

Like Shackleton on his expedition to Antarctica, we did things no one else ever has. Similarly, though, it didn’t turn out as planned….

There are too many problems with the AV industry to detail here: the professorial pace at which most teams work, the lack of tangible deployment milestones, the open secret that there isn’t a robotaxi business model, etc. The biggest, however, is that supervised machine learning doesn’t live up to the hype. It isn’t actual artificial intelligence akin to C-3PO, it’s a sophisticated pattern-matching tool…. "  Read more Hmmmm…  Yup!!! Read on. It is VERY worthwhile! There are many fundamental truths… Alain

  U.S. agency proposes revising auto safety rules to speed self-driving cars

D. Shepardson, Mar 17, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday it was proposing sweeping changes to U.S. safety requirements to speed the deployment of self-driving vehicles without human controls.  The agency said it is proposing to rewrite 11 safety standards that require traditional manual control "by revising the requirements and test procedures to account for the removal of manually-operated driving controls." The proposal will be open for public comment before the agency can finalize it. …"  Read more Hmmmm…  It is about time.  The public comments will be very interesting. Details are in the Federal Register, next.  Alain

Occupant Protection for Automated Driving Systems

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 571 Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0014 RIN 2127-AM06, Mar. 16, "SUMMARY: This proposal is one of a series of regulatory actions that NHTSA is considering to address the near- and long-term challenges of testing and verifying compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) for vehicles equipped with Automated Driving Systems (ADS) that lack the traditional manual controls necessary for human drivers, but that are otherwise traditional vehicles with typical seating configurations. This notice seeks to clarify the
ambiguities in applying current crashworthiness standards to ADS-equipped vehicles without traditional manual controls, while maintaining the regulatory text’s application to more traditional vehicles and vehicles equipped with ADS that may have alternate modes. This proposal is limited to the crashworthiness standards and provides a unified set of proposed regulatory text applicable to vehicles with and without ADS functionality. …"  Read more Hmmmm…  Read all the details, They are important.  Alain

  U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $20.3 Million in Grants to Improve Transportation Access Through Innovative Technologies

Press release, Mar. 16, "Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced approximately $20.3 million in grant selections through the Integrated Mobility Innovation (IMI) program. IMI supports projects that use innovative technologies and processes to improve access to public transportation, increase public transportation efficiency, and enhance the overall rider experience. Twenty-five projects in 23 states will receive funding under the program.

"These $20.3 million in federal grants will help communities nationwide enhance their transportation systems to make it easier for people to use transit, especially older adults and people with disabilities," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The projects will advance mobility through creative partnerships and emerging technologies. Combining public and private transportation assets and strategies can greatly increase access to mobility for everyone…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Congratulations to the 23 recipients. Hopefully the services rendered will outlast the funding provided.  Alain

  Announcing Waymo’s Open Dataset Virtual Challenges

D. Anguelov, Mar. 19, "Last August, we invited the research community to join us in accelerating self-driving technology with the release of one of the largest multi-sensor self-driving datasets available today. Even as COVID-19 continues to develop, we are committed to fostering an environment of innovation and learning – one that can continue to grow and thrive in our temporarily virtual world. That is why today, we are launching the next phase of our program: expanding the Waymo Open Dataset by an additional 800 segments and inviting researchers to participate in Waymo’s Open Dataset Challenges…

We’re offering awards to the top submissions in each of the five challenges as follows:… ,  Read more Hmmmm… As if we had nothing to do while working from home.  We can now do this for Waymo.  Alain

Ford Motor                                                         Company Logo  Ford Autonomous Vehicle Dataset

K. Staff, Mar. 19, "We present a challenging multi-agent seasonal dataset collected by a fleet of Ford autonomous vehicles at different days and times during 2017-18. The vehicles were manually driven on a route in Michigan that included a mix of driving scenarios including the Detroit Airport, freeways, city-centers, university campus and suburban neighborhood.

We present the seasonal variation in weather, lighting, construction and traffic conditions experienced in dynamic urban environments. This dataset can help design robust algorithms for autonomous vehicles and multi-agent systems. Each log in the dataset is time-stamped and contains raw data from all the sensors, calibration values, pose trajectory, ground truth pose, and 3D maps. All data is available in Rosbag format that can be visualized, modified and applied using the open source Robot Operating System (ROS)."  Read more Hmmmm…  Excellent.  I haven’t had a chance to look at the data but I suspect that it is excellent, especially since it addresses some of the variational environmental  aspects. On the surface  (see map of the 66 km route) it seems to be oriented towards the self-driving car market, rather than the driverless mobility services market (which consists of residential city streets, their construction zones, etc. where people live and places they’d like to go to … clinics, hospitals, day care centers, food stores, thrift stores, libraries, community centers, …).  Some streets in Dearborn are included, but not that first residential ring outside the gilded center city towers such as Petosky-Otsego or  Warrendale or … 

Note, the empty open straight freeway that is displayed on the lead page exemplifies how much of the data is absolutely useless. Who cares about all those trees? If a data point is behind you and going slower than you, it is irrelevant! 

Also note that the lane data for the approach of the the overpass is missing just at the time when you really need it as you approach that stationary object in the lane ahead.  Why is it missing??  Does the ground truth contain the minimum clearance under that stationary object overpass) in the lane ahead?  That’s the most important data segment, along with the lane line data and the data associated with the car in the other lane,   

Kyle Wiggers’ take on the data release can be found in Ford releases a data set to accelerate autonomous car development in VB.  Alain

  Elon Musk says ‘coronavirus panic is worse than virus itself’ in email to Tesla employees

F. Lambert, Mar. 17, "Elon Musk sent a new email to all Tesla employees today to share some thoughts about the coronavirus as the Bay Area, where tens of thousands of Tesla employees work, has imposed a shelter-in-place that tells people to stay home…

After that, the CEO was critical of the level of panic around the virus:

My frank opinion remains that the harm from the coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself. If there is a massive redirection of medical resources out of proportion to the danger, it will result in less available care to those with critical medical needs, which does not serve the greater good.

Though he also issued a warning for family gatherings:

What the COVID-19 coverage does show is that the danger of colds and flu in general can be high for the elderly, especially if there is prior lung damage. Much is made of public gatherings, but please be cautious of family gatherings, too. What is relatively harmless to a child can be dangerous to grandparents.

Read more Hmmmm…   I agree. Alain

WIRED   Apple’s New iPad Pro Has Lidar and a Keyboard With a Trackpad

J. Chokkattu, Mar. 18, "APPLE HAS A new iPad Pro, and it looks like a mash-up of its predecessor and the iPhone 11 thanks to Apple’s signature dual-camera array on the back. But the cameras go a step further; they use Lidar, a technology commonly seen in self-driving cars, to sense depth and to boost the iPad Pro’s augmented reality abilities. Perhaps more interesting, the tablet’s keyboard cover now has a built-in trackpad…"  Read more Hmmmm…  We’ve come a long way, baby!  "Commonly seem in …".  Not if Elon has his way!  Alain

Tesla Reports Only 12.2 Miles of Autonomous Mode Testing in 2019

R. Baldwin, Feb 26, "Every year companies working on autonomous cars in California have to file a report to the state, stating the number of miles they traveled during their drives and their disengagements (how many times the human behind the wheel had to take over). Recently, companies including Waymo and Cruise have balked about the disengagement data point, saying it doesn’t reflect the true power of their systems. Frankly, miles aren’t much of an indicator, either, since these drives take place in only certain areas…. "  Read more  See Video, Alain 

Uber is doing 70 percent fewer trips in cities hit hard by coronavirus

A. Hawkins, Mar. 19,  ”Uber took stock of the effect the coronavirus outbreak has had on its business in a call with investors on March 19th, and the early numbers are pretty grim. The company’s gross bookings in Seattle, a city hit hard by the novel coronavirus, is down by 60-70 percent, the company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

And while the company didn’t release exact numbers for other US cities, Khosrowshahi says they are assuming similar declines in other big markets that have also been affected, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City…."  Read more  transit systems are down even more.  Anyone want to buy oil??  Are savings in highway deaths outpacing  the virus?  See also..  Lime is yanking its electric scooters from California and Washington due to coronavirus, and Coronavirus shows there’s still no such thing as a totally human-free self-driving car  Alain

After resisting coronavirus order, Tesla will now end production in Fremont

R. Mitchell, Mar. 19, "Tesla will temporarily end production at its Fremont, Calif., assembly plant beginning March 23 to comply with San Francisco Bay Area restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The company made the announcement Thursday after days of controversy as Chief Executive Elon Musk kept the plant running full-tilt despite shelter-in-place orders from Alameda County, where Fremont is located.

“We have decided to temporarily suspend production at our factory in Fremont from the end of day March 23, which will allow an orderly shutdown,” the company said in a statement posted on its investor website.

The lockdown orders, issued jointly by six Bay Area counties, are in effect until April 7, although public health officials have said that date could change…."  Read more Hmmmm… No comment.   Alain

 

  Uber is shutting down Uber pool to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus

T. Lee, Mar. 17, "Uber plans to disable Uber Pool, its shared-rides feature, in the United States and Canada, the company announced on Tuesday. The company hopes to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve," Uber executive Andrew Macdonald said in a statement to the media.

Uber says that it will decide on other markets beyond the US and Canada on a case-by-case basis.

Uber’s other services—including regular ride-hailing and meal delivery—will continue operating…."  Read more Hmmmm…   As if it wasn’t tough enough to achieve ride-sharing.  Will it be the real loser in this desolization of the world public?   Given the sad state of our health care information system, the curve would have to extend beyond the inception of the next pandemic to be flat enough for the system to be able to handle it.  So sad. Alain

  Automated Speed Enforcement Launches Statewide In Pennsylvania

J. Heinze, Mar 5, "Pennsylvania will soon launch the use of automated cameras to enforce speeding in work zones across the state.

The plan, which was announced in Nov. 2019 and has been in a trial "pre-enforcement" phase the last 60 days, begins on March 9.

Officials hope the program helps change driver behavior on a larger scale. Cameras will only detect speeders in works zones who are going 11 miles per hour or more above the posted limit…."  Read more Hmmmm… Seems as if it is OK in PA to go 10 mph above the limit, even in a work zone.  Does that mean that it is OK for Driverless cars to go 10 mph above in work zones.  How much over the limit is it OK to go in non-work zones???  PA must have their own language where the definition of "limit" is Fuhgeddaboudit.   Alain


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


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Postponed,  More Later!!!

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


 

 

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8.11-Opportunity-031420 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-11-opportunity-031420/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-11-opportunity-031420/#respond Sun, 15 Mar 2020 19:59:46 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=7759   Saturday, March 14, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.11-Opportunity-031420 11th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   WAYMO DRIVERS SAY THEY’RE BEING DISCOURAGED FROM CANCELING ROBOTAXI RIDES DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK A. Hawkins, […]

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Saturday, March 14, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.11-Opportunity-031420
11th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  WAYMO DRIVERS SAY THEY’RE BEING DISCOURAGED FROM CANCELING ROBOTAXI RIDES DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

A. Hawkins, Mar. 13,  "Waymo,Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet, says it will keep operating its fleet of roughly 600 self-driving taxis in Arizona during the novel coronavirus outbreak. But the safety drivers who monitor the autonomous taxis are concerned that they are being put in harm’s way.

Waymo is “strongly encouraging” its full-time employees without “business critical” tasks to work from home. Its safety drivers, who are employed by a French transit company called Transdev North America that has a multiyear contract with Waymo, are still mostly required to come into work, The Verge has learned. Transdev appears to be following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by stepping up the frequency of its cleanings and disinfections. But drivers tell The Verge that the Waymo vendor is ignoring recommendations about social distancing.

“It feels like the drivers are treated like second class citizens, having to report to work and serve ‘hails’ while the full-time employees are required to work from home to stay safe,” said a Waymo driver who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. “Safety for some.”…"  Read more Hmmmm… I thought that Waymo had started offering rides without safety drivers in Chandler????  I guess, they do it in a "smaller" Operational Design Domain (ODD) and they are trying to expand that ODD by operating with safety drivers for trip originating and or terminating outside that original "smaller" ODD. 

 

Anyway… I often use the elevator to try to understand autonomousTaxis… driverless mobility machines.  Will we look back to this complaint by attendants as the turning point which hasten Waymo’s operation of its vehicles without attendants on-board much as the elevator operator’s strike in NYC in September 1945 hasten the deployment of automated elevators (see Pushing the right Buttons)?   As I’ve been writing, the biggest challenge of Uber/Lyft is management of its drivers.  It looks like Waymo is experiencing the same challenges with its attendants.  Moreover,  a NECESSARY condition on economic viability is safely operating without a driver/attendant.  We may look back and credit COVID-19 as hastening Waymo’s deployment of driverless mobility for all.  This may be COVID-19’s only positive contribution to society. 🙂   Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 146

F. Fishkin, Mar. 14, "Will the Coronavirus speed the move to driverless mobility? Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin tackle that plus the latest on Waymo, Tesla, new IIHS safety tech recommendations and more in this edition of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast. Tune in and subscribe!"   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   Postponed until after June 30.  More later

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other cites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

  Addressing driver disengagement and system misuse: human factors recommendations for Level 2 driving automation design

A. Mueller, March 2020, "Currently available Level 2 driving automation has the potential to reduce crashes. However, there are known risks with drivers misusing these systems, particularly as they relate to drivers becoming disengaged from the driving task. The purpose of this paper was to summarize the human factors literature and make empirically supported design recommendations for Level 2 driving automation on the best methods to encourage driver engagement and communicate where the system can safely be used. Our recommendations pertaining to driver engagement concern driver monitoring systems that detect signs of driver disengagement, driver attention reminder methods, escalation processes, consequences for sustained noncompliance when monitoring systems have detected driver disengagement, and proactive methods for keeping drivers engaged with respect to driver-system interactions and system functionality considerations. We also provide guidance on how the operational design domain should be communicated and restricted. We advise you to consider these recommendations in a holistic context, as selectively adhering to only some may inadvertently exacerbate the dangers of driver disengagement and system misuse….

The operational design domain (ODD) for Level 2 automation systems should be clearly defined and communicated to the driver."  Read more Hmmmm… This is very important and a MUST read for everyone.  I’d even go farther by:

  • banning "Level 3" systems,
  • banning the use of StupidSummmon on private and public roads/spaces except for one’s own private property,
  • allow the tapping of the brakes to disengage only the throttle but NOT the braking function of intelligent cruise control,
  • sustained or repeated instances of noncompliance should result in pulsebraking, safe stop, and Level 2 system lockout until the driver gets a note from his mother that he has been a good boy and can have his toy back or makes a n*$250.00 donation to IIHS, where n = lockouts he has incurred .

Alain

Tesla’s Musk is mum about coronavirus impact, except to say panic is ‘dumb’

R. Mitchell, Mar. 12, "Tesla had been hoping to score three profitable quarters in a row, for the first time in its history. But with the coronavirus slamming the overall economy, analysts are increasingly skeptical.

Wall Street analysts expect Tesla’s first-quarter sales to come in well under pre-virus forecasts and see net losses near $40 million when the company reports in late April, according to consensus estimates compiled by FactSet.  But they have little to go on.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk uses Twitter as Tesla’s primary communications channel. He’s not saying much there about how the coronavirus might affect the company….  He’s said nothing about the current level of production in Shanghai, which reopened on Feb. 10 after a 10-day government-ordered shutdown. Nor about the company’s sales prospects in China, where the overall auto industry suffered an 80% decline in sales in February. Also, no talk about supply chain issues….

 

The company’s stock price has dived with the rest of the market, plummeting 39% from a closing high of $917.42 on Feb. 19 to $560.55 as of Thursday’s close…

 

 On Thursday, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas cut his delivery estimate from 500,000 cars to 452,000…

 

The new factory is sailing into a tail wind: EV sales in China fell in February 77%, from 49,000 vehicles in January to 11,000. The good news for Tesla: it accounted for 3,958 of those cars, according to the China Passenger Car Assn., or a bit over a third of all EVs sold in China.  Sales growth must burst well beyond current levels to support the China factory’s annual production capacity of 150,000 cars…"  Read more Hmmmm… In a nutshell, reflective of the whole reaction to the virus.   Alain

  Driverless trucks being tested right now on public roads

Mar. 13, "Few are aware that driverless 18-wheelers are already on the road. The test runs on highways have humans in them just in case sensors or computers fail, but an autonomous trucking executive says by next year, they won’t. The future of freight on America’s roads can be a driverless one, this executive says. And that’s news to many, especially the truck drivers who stand to lose their livelihoods. 60 Minutes cameras ride aboard a test run and Jon Wertheim reports on the potential disruption to a storied American industry on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS…." Read more Hmmmm… they now  …have humans in them just in case…    and next year they will also …have humans in them just in case… , and the year after that… …have humans… There is an enormous benefit to the driver, the carrier and the shipper for automated driving aids for the long-haul trucking industry (Safe- and Self-driving trucks).  What is being presented here are Self-driving trucks, where the professional driver remains attentive to the driving task as IIHS has recommended above.

It is complete watch-bait, that 60 minutes is even suggesting that any of these trucks will be going down any interstate or any other public road driverlessly any time soon (No attendant on-board anywhere.).  The risk to the surrounding public will simply be many times greater than the minuscule private benefits derived by saving the cost of the driver. No trucking company CEO is going to risk his job and the value of his stock options on such a stunt.  TuSimple isn’t going to bet its ranch on it either.  Just because you might be able to do it, doesn’t mean that you will do it, especially when one screw-up loses the ranch.  It’s even doubtful that a "Level 3" operation (the driver is able to sleep while traveling within the Operational Design Domain (ODD)) will become operational in any significant way.  There isn’t even a reasonable business case for platooning except for maybe very limited niche situations. 

Again, systems that improve the driver’s work environment and possibly help her/him get another one or maybe even two hours of service are fantastic.  removing the driver altogether, not so much.  Alain

Morgan Stanley warns it’s too early to buy Tesla’s stock — even after a coronavirus-led plunge of more than 20% (TSLA)

C. Reinicke, Mar 2, "Tesla stock fell to a one-month low on the last trading day in February as coronavirus fears rattled global markets, snapping a record rally that had sent shares up more than 250% from October to their all-time high close of about $918 per share on February 19.

It might still be too early to buy the dip, according to Morgan Stanley.   "While the shares trade ~34% above our $500 target, we would wait and see if a challenging 1Q and supply disruptions come to pass before revisiting the stock," equity analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a Monday note, referring to Friday’s closing price. He reiterated his "underweight" rating on shares of the company, which gained about 10% Monday. …" Read more Hmmmm… Tesla Stock Price.  Alain

Video: AutonomouStuff building next generation of self-driving cars

D. Proeber, Mar 6, "This promotional video by AutonomouStuff in Morton shows how it is bringing self-driving technology to life."  Read more Hmmmm…See video. Alain

  Tesla makes its millionth car—a red Model Y

T. Lee, Mar. 10, "Tesla has made 1 million electric cars, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Monday evening. Musk shared an image of the vehicle, a red Model Y—Tesla’s forthcoming lower-cost crossover.

It’s a remarkable milestone. The carmaking business is notoriously competitive and capital-intensive. Before Tesla, it had been decades since anyone had built a substantial American carmaker…." Read more Hmmmm… Congratulations.  Alain


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


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked

  Self-driving cars stuck in neutral on road to acceptance

Mar 9, "A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals only one in 10 drivers (12%) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Even more Americans – 28% – don’t know how they feel about the technology, signaling that consumers are stuck in neutral on the road to accepting self-driving cars. AAA believes consumer sentiment of automated vehicles will be driven by tangible information on key issues and, equally important, quality education and experience….

Seven in 10 (72%) U.S. adults would feel safer riding in a self-driving car if they had the ability to take over control if something goes wrong. …"  Read more Hmmmm… Ability to take over???  Self-driving cars require you  to continuously be paying attention  and be ready and able to "take over" if something bad is starting to happen!!!   Once again, the AAA didn’t properly describe Self-driving cars, so it is impossible to draw any conclusions from this survey. Alain


Click-Bait


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Postponed,  More Later!!!

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.10-Design4Kids-030620 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-10-design4kids-030620/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-10-design4kids-030620/#respond Sat, 07 Mar 2020 01:31:56 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=7531   Friday, March 6, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.10-Design4Kids-030620 10th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   Call to Action on Children in Autonomous Vehicles Feb. 2020, "The Blue Ribbon Panel on […]

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Friday, March 6, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.10-Design4Kids-030620
10th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  Call to Action on Children in Autonomous Vehicles

Feb. 2020, "The Blue Ribbon Panel on Children in Autonomous Vehicles is calling on developers of autonomous vehicles (AVs) to ensure that AVs are engineered, deployed and marketed to protect the unique needs of child passengers. Developers are broadly defined to include original equipment manufacturers, non-original equipment manufacturers, as well as designers of component systems such as LIDAR, chip or satellite manufacturers, and others building key components of AVs.

AVs must be developed, regulations upgraded and laws passed to ensure children will be properly restrained, have the highest level of protection in a crash, and can be appropriately supervised during a trip. This panel believes it is imperative that minor children never be transported without appropriate supervision by a parent, guardian or caregiver until best practices are adopted.

We’re asking developers to commit to the following actions: … "  Read more Hmmmm… Given that one of the largest mobility marginalized groups are individuals that are too young to drive, including the very young that require supervision as well as those that are old enough to ride alone, this focus group is very important and very pertinent.  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 145 – L. Walker

F. Fishkin, Mar. 5, "Tackling the issues of children in autonomous vehicles, Lorrie Walker of Safe Kids Worldwide joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Plus the latest from Waymo, Tesla, GM, Uber, Lyft and more."   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 144 – L. Shinohara

F. Fishkin, Feb 27, "How a new generation of affordable LiDAR can make autonomous vehicles smarter and safer. RoboSense VP Leilei Shinohara joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus..the Tesla investigations, California’s latest autonomous reporting, Waymo, Michigan’s initiative and more."   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

  World’s First Smart LiDAR Sensor Will Be Demonstrated at CES2020 with On-Vehicle Public Road Test

Press release, Jan. 3, "RoboSense, the world’s leading autonomous driving LiDAR perception solution provider, announced today that the solid-state LiDAR RS-LiDAR-M1Simple(Simple Sensor Version) is now ready for customer delivery, priced at $1,898. The new RS-LiDAR-M1Simple is less than half the size of the previous version, with dimensions of 4.3” x 1.9” x 4.7” (110mm x 50mm x 120mm), and is equipped with enhanced hardware performance virtually equal to the serial production version provided to OEMs. The main body design of this automotive-grade solid-state LiDAR is finalized and ready for shipment…."  Read more Hmmmm… Listen to Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 144 above.  Alain

The U.S. and EU Can Still Save Their Car Industries

M. Sena, March 2020, "What does the incarceration of car industry executives have to do with Tesla selling 367,000 cars in 2019, 50% more than in 2018? And what do both of these facts have to do with the U.S. and the EU governments unwittingly reducing the competitiveness of their automotive companies compared to their competitors in China that are receiving maximum financial and political support? I will de-scribe the connections, how we arrived at where we are today and where we are headed unless Western vehicle manufacturers’ and politicians take concerted, coordinated and effective action. It’s not too late—yet…. "  Read more Hmmmm… Another absolutely wonderful and most well written expose on the fate of the traditional auto industry.  Michael will welcome your feedback.  Alain

  Introducing the 5th-generation Waymo Driver: Informed by experience, designed for scale, engineered to tackle more environments

S. Jeachandran, Mar. 4 "… In order to navigate the complexities of driving – from the biker weaving and speeding through traffic on a foggy San Francisco morning, to the family pet rushing into the street to greet you at night – the Waymo Driver uses a comprehensive view of its surroundings and a detailed understanding of its environment to accurately reason about its next move. No one type of sensor on its own can provide that level of detail in all operating conditions; therefore, we’ve spent over a decade developing a single integrated system comprised of complementary sensors to give our Driver this comprehensive view of the world so that it can safely navigate complex environments.

Over the past few months, people have begun to notice more of our latest Waymo Driver cruising in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially since our all-electric Jaguar I-Paces look a little different thanks to our latest hardware sensor suite. Informed by 20 million self-driven miles on public roads and over 10 billion miles of simulation, engineered to tackle an even more diverse range of complex driving environments with unparalleled capabilities, our completely redesigned fifth-generation hardware sensor suite will enable the scaled deployment of the Waymo Driver.

Here’s a look at each of the sensors that form the latest generation to inform the Waymo Driver…." Read more Hmmmm… A must read.  See also Andrew Hawkin’s comments on this announcement.   Alain

  CONGESTION AT THE CURB

H. Campbell & B. Schlecter, Jan 2020, "An Analysis of Ride-Hailing at LAX and recommendations to Optimize the TNC System at Airports.  What started as a novel way to hail a ride with an app is now a multi-billion dollar industry with millions of drivers and hundreds of millions of passengers worldwide. While many have enjoyed the comfort and ease of hailing a Transportation Network Company (TNC) ride, cities are now dealing with the negative effects of tens of thousands of extra cars on the road. 

Airports have always been one of the most challenging arenas for TNCs. We’ve come a long way since the days of unregulated pick-ups and drop-offs, and while nearly all major airports now have agreements with Uber and Lyft, the volume of passengers being dropped off and picked up on an hourly basis often exceeds airport capacity.  Combine that with more and more flights every year, and aging infrastructure, and you have a recipe for serious problems when it comes to getting people in and out of airports.

Airports around the country are attempting to deal with the sudden influx of ride-hail passengers, but Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was one of the first to implement an off-terminal pick-up site, a major structural change to the TNC pick-up process. This report aims to examine the change, provide recommendations to optimize the system, and analyze how other airports around the country can learn from this process to ensure a smooth transition when it comes time for them to face their own ride-hail problems…. "  Read more Hmmmm…  This is a very important report that is certainly relevant to the infrastructure side of creating Operational Design Domains (ODDs) that include a safe and welcoming interface for large volumes of customers.  Unfortunately, this report’s Allow Pickups for Shared Rides at the Terminals    section doesn’t go far enough emphasizing sharing rides.  There is no mention of the opportunity to have users who are going in the same direction to match themselves up dynamically in real-time.  Same thing doesn’t happen at the taxi line at Las Vegas airport, even on the first day of CES.  The attendant at the head of the taxi line outside of Union Station has been doing (or maybe had been doing before Uber/Lyft showed up) this most effectively and efficiently since at least 1975, using only his brain. 

The report’s Recommendation section has 3 focused on enhancing ride-sharing, but fails to recognize the opportunity to dynamically assemble shared rides right up to the point at which customers get into the vehicle.  People wait outside the terminal to get into these vehicles.  The priority line (the shortest line) should be composed of those who are willing to share a vehicle.  The opportunity to ride together should exist right up to the time the vehicle is boarded (have "Re-Match" operate all the way up to the time that the car is ready to leave the priority line). Create the perception, and the reality, that "if you are willing to share you’ll get out of the airport faster than if you don’t"  (and cheaper, but airport user’s most valued commodity is time. They are typically spending someone else’s money, but time is theirs!)  Make ride-sharing a virtue rather than burden.

People aren’t assembled into a shared elevator as they enter a building, or before they leave their room in a hotel.  They assemble at the elevator bank (and they do it themselves.)

Ride sharing is the most important environmental and de-congestion opportunity afforded  by LAX-it and it needs much more emphasis and attemtion.   Alain

  Tesla Autopilot is going to detect potholes and make mini-maps to remember them

F. Lambert, Feb 5, "Tesla’s Autopilot, which the automaker is trying to turn into a self-driving system, is going to detect potholes and make mini-maps to remember them, according to a new comment from CEO Elon Musk.  In order to achieve full self-driving, a system would have to be able to handle a wide range of different scenarios, including different weather and road conditions.  These conditions, like potholes, can sometimes be difficult for human drivers to handle, and some people find it improbable that self-driving systems will be able to appropriately navigate them…. "  Read more Hmmmm…   Given NTSB’s findings in the Huang Tesla crash, instead, or in addition to classifying and geo-coding potholes, Tesla should classify and geo-code poor/bad paint stripping locations, including all of the gore areas that don’t have zebra striping as well as all locations where autoPilot has challenges with lane striping.  They then could use this information to assist, alert Tesla drivers, but more importantly, help all human drivers by making this information available to DoTs so that they could properly paint these locations to help everyone drive more safely. 

If they don’t wish to perform this public service, then they should release their data so that I or someone else can do this. Alain

GM plunges deeper into the EV market with a $20-billion spending plan

R. Mitchell, Mar. 4, "General Motors laid out an aggressive electric vehicle strategy Wednesday, an approach it hopes will dramatically boost sales in California.

Chief Executive Mary Barra said GM would spend $20 billion on its electric and automated vehicle programs over the next five years, at which point it intends to be selling a million EVs a year in the U.S. and China. Key to the strategy is a joint venture with South Korea’s LG Chem that aims to boost driving range to 400 miles or more while reducing costs.  “We believe climate change is real,” Barra said. The company’s aggressive move into EVs, she said, “will dramatically change the future of this company and our industry.”

California, and the coastal states in the U.S. in general, has proved more amenable to EVs, giving GM the opportunity for faster growth beyond its base in mid-America. “We sell the most vehicles in the country right now,” she said. “We’re unrepresented on the coasts. It’s a huge opportunity for us.”"  Read more Hmmmm… Interesting.   Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   evening May 19 through May 21, 2020 (Tickets are limited, register before May 1)

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other ciites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

Waymo rakes in $2.25 billion in self-driving unit’s first external fundraising

A. Hawkins, Mar. 2, "aymo just announced a significant milestone: its first external fundraising round. The self-driving division of Alphabet raked in $2.25 billion in a funding round led by Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Mubadala Investment Company, the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi. Additional investors include Magna International, Andreessen Horowitz, and AutoNation, as well as Alphabet.  To date, Waymo has been an outlier in the world of self-driving cars, relying almost exclusively on the largesse of its corporate parent. That changes with today’s announcement, shifting Waymo into an uncertain but potentially lucrative new phase.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik framed it as an expansion of the roster of automakers, fleet logistics firms, transit agencies, and delivery companies with which Waymo already has partnerships. “We’re expanding that team, adding financial investors and important strategic partners who bring decades of experience investing in and supporting successful technology companies building transformative products,” Krafcik said in a statement. “With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology, and our operations, all in support of the deployment of the Waymo Driver around the world."

…Waymo only provides its fully driverless rides (i.e. no safety driver) to customers who have signed NDAs with the company and not as part of its consumer-facing Waymo One service. The comparison to San Francisco is noteworthy because that is where Cruise is testing its self-driving cars in the hopes of eventually launching a similar ride-hailing service (which it argues is more complex than suburban Phoenix). The fifth generation of Waymo’s self-driving system is expected to roll out this year as part of its new fleet of Jaguar I-Paces. And to my knowledge, this is the first time Waymo is giving a name to its self-driving truck and delivery pursuits: Waymo Via…."  Read more Hmmmm…   Very interesting, informative and important.  Alain

  Under the Hood of Uber ATG’s Machine Learning Infrastructure and Versioning Control Platform for Self-Driving Vehicles

Y. Guo, Mar. 4, "As Uber experienced exponential growth over the last few years, now supporting 14 million trips each day, our engineers proved they could build for scale. That value extends to other areas, including Uber ATG (Advanced Technologies Group) and its quest to develop self-driving vehicles.

A significant portion of this work involves creating machine learning (ML) models to handle tasks such as processing sensor input, identifying objects, and predicting where those objects might go. The many models needed to solve this problem, and the large team of engineers working on them, creates a management and versioning issue in itself.

We initially address this problem by defining a five-step life cycle for the training and deployment of ML models in our self-driving vehicles. This life cycle begins with data ingestion and goes all the way to model serving, with steps along the way to ensure our models perform well. This process lets us effectively accelerate the iteration of our self-driving vehicle components, continually refining them to perform to the highest standards…." Read more Hmmmm…   Very worth reading and pondering.  Alain

  This cheerful Waymo ad highlights all the ways we’ll use self-driving cars in our daily lives

A. Hawkins, Mar. 3,  "Waymo came out with a new ad today that presents a cheerful, very Google-esque look at how the self-driving company plans to eventually make money: ride-hailing, delivery, trucking, and logistics. The ad comes on the heels of the announcement that the Alphabet-owned company has, for the first time, raised $2.25 billion in outside investment….."  Read more Hmmmm… All part of the early deployment strategy that has the opportunity to scale.  Be sure to see the video.  Alain

  Uber driver reclassified as employee in France

R. Dillet, Mar. 4,"France’s Court of Cassation, a court of last resort, has ruled that a former Uber driver should have been considered an employee instead of a self-employed partner. As the Court of Cassation is the supreme court of appeal in that case, Uber  can no longer appeal the decision.

Back in June 2017, an Uber driver filed a lawsuit against Uber because their account had been deactivated. A labor court first refused to look at the case, saying that the court couldn’t rule on that case as it didn’t involve an employee and an employer.

Another court in Paris then took care of the case and ruled that there was an employment relationship between that Uber driver and Uber itself. According to the court, there was a relationship of subordination between the company and the driver — in other words, the driver was following orders from Uber.

In particular, the Paris court said that the driver couldn’t build their own customer base and couldn’t set prices. The driver also argued that Uber was overseeing their work, as they would receive a message that said “Are you still there?” after declining three rides…."  Read more Hmmmm… Typical French.  Now the cost of the driver will make Uber even less affordable and effectively precludes Uber from becoming anything more that your father’s taxi service.  (Are taxi drivers in France employees?) 

  What European Consumers Think about Connected Car Data and Privacy

L. Rosner, March 2020, "… In 2018, we commissioned Edison Research to field a consumer survey in the United States. In that survey, we saw significant interest among consumers for new services based on connected car data and a high willingness to share car data in order to access these services. However, these same consumers expressed general concerns about sharing their data with apps and services—a finding that did not surprise us, since the survey was fielded just a few months after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal had broken and just as the European General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR) was coming into e‑ect.

But we also wanted to find out what European consumers think and were excited to be able to collaborate with SBD Automotive on this research, which was fielded in December 2019 and January 2020. We were encouraged to see clear signs of a budding ecosystem with growth potential, but we also saw the need for OEMs and service providers alike to provide more evangelism and more transparency about their data practices. This report will delve into our findings and provide actionable takeaways to stakeholders in the connected car ecosystem.  Enjoy the read!…" Read more Hmmmm…  An interesting read. Alain

  Lyft ramps up self-driving program

K. Korosec, Feb 28, "… “Lyft Inc. did not operate any vehicles in autonomous mode on California public roads during the reporting period,” the letter read. “As such, Lyft Inc. has no autonomous mode disengagements to report.”

The 2019 data tells a different story. Lyft had 19 autonomous vehicles testing on public roads in California in 2019, according to data released earlier this week by the CA DMV. Those 19 vehicles, which operated during the reporting period of December 2018 to November 2019, drove nearly 43,000 miles in autonomous mode….

 

The total number of autonomous miles driven in 2019 rose 40%, to more than 2.87 million, thanks largely to a notable uptick in public on-road testing by Baidu,  Cruise, Pony.ai, Waymo and Zoox…." Read more Hmmmm…OK.  Alain

  GM unveils a new electric vehicle platform and battery in bid to take on Tesla

A. Hawkins, Mar. 4,  "General Motors laid out its electric vehicle strategy on Wednesday, showcasing roughly a dozen products as part of a broader attempt to convey to investors how serious it is about embracing its electric future.

In addition to showing off some of its upcoming vehicles, GM revealed an all-new modular electric vehicle platform with an improved battery pack called Ultium. Much like Volkswagen’s so-called MEB platform, the GM platform is intended to be flexible and multifaceted, with the goal of eventually undergirding a variety of vehicle types and shapes.

 

….The automaker has said it plans to release 20 electric nameplates by 2023 and will publicly unveil three of those vehicles in the months to come: the Cadillac “Lyriq” EV crossover in April and two electric versions of GMC’s Hummer in May. This will be followed “soon after” by the Cruise Origin, a shared, electric, self-driving vehicle developed by Cruise (a majority owned subsidiary of GM) and Honda.."  Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting; however, seems that Hummers are more important than Cruise Origins.  Same old GM???  Alain

  Waymo’s Self-Driving Jaguars Arrive With New, Homegrown Tech

A. Davies, Mar. 4, "If you’re in Mountain View and you spot a self-driving car, the smart money says it’s one of Waymo’s modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans. If you see an electric car, it’s most likely a Tesla. But the odds on both are set to change. Waymo is rolling out its new fleet of roboticized, all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUVs, a robotic armada that over the next two years will grow to as many as 20,000.

At first glance, the newly outfitted I-Paces don’t look much different from the mocked-up version Waymo showed off nearly two years ago, when it announced a partnership with Jaguar. A closer look reveals a bigger shift offering hints about the future of autonomous vehicles. The two rooftop lidars on the Pacificas have been compressed into one unit that can handle both medium- and long-range sensing. The perimeter lidars near the wheels have been joined by “perimeter cameras.” A lidar and camera sit on the grille, where you’d normally see Jaguar’s roaring cat logo. And so on.

To borrow an auto industry phrase, this is more than a “facelift,” a package of minor changes designed to refresh a stale model. Over the past several years, hundreds of Waymo engineers have rebuilt most of the company’s self-driving hardware, chiefly the cameras, lidars, and radars that perceive the world around the car. They did almost all of the work in-house and from scratch. Now the electric Jaguar (which Waymo, inexplicably, declined to dub the I, Robot-Pace) is the first vehicle to benefit from the company’s fifth generation hardware suite…."  Read more Hmmmm… Nice information here.  Hopefully Waymo will bring a few hundred of these to central Jersey giving Waymo the opportunity to provide valuable mobility to many and really demonstrate that all of their efforts can substantially improve the lives of many rather than be yet another toy for those that already have too many. Alain

 Ex-Uber self-driving head declares bankruptcy after $179 million loss to Google

P. Dave, Mar. 4, "The former head of Uber Technologies Inc’s self-driving technology unit, Anthony Levandowski, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, shortly after a court confirmed that he must pay $179 million to Google to end a legal battle over his split from the Alphabet Inc unit.

 

… Levandowski filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, enabling him to negotiate debts. He has $50 million to $100 million in estimated assets, compared with $100 million to $500 million in liabilities, according to his filing…." Read more Hmmmm… We all need to behave.   Alain

  Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study

A. Hawkins, Feb. 25,  "Uber and Lyft have weathered criticism about pollution and traffic congestion for years, but it’s been difficult to get an exact gauge about how much ride-hailing contributes to daily emissions. A new study released today claims to have a more precise answer to this question.

 

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, ride-hailing trips today result in an estimated 69 percent more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace. In cities, ride-hailing trips typically displace low-carbon trips, such as public transportation, biking, or walking. Uber and Lyft could reduce these emissions with a more concerted effort to electrify its fleet of vehicles or by incentivizing customers to take pooled rides, the group recommends.

“However, those strategies alone will address neither the increases in vehicle miles traveled nor rising congestion concerns,” the report says. “For ride-hailing to contribute to better climate and congestion outcomes, trips must be pooled and electric, displace single-occupancy car trips more often, and encourage low-emissions modes such as mass transit, biking, and walking.”.."  Read more Hmmmm… I emphasized parts of the last sentence above. Unfortunately, unless driverless, Uber/Lyft  can’t pool effectively because the drivers don’t like pooling.  With drivers that don’t pool, Uber/Lyft can’t be affordable and thus can’t scale to displace a meaningful number of single-occupant car trips   Alain

  Should we design for self-driving cars — or for people?

TEDxMidAtlantic, March 2019, "Sam Schwartz, the traffic engineer who literally invented the word "gridlock," offers an overview of the last 100 years of cars and traffic. And he offers the sobering warning that if we don’t alter our ideas about autonomous vehicles, we may find ourselves living in a future designed for cars rather than the people they are intended to serve."  Read more Hmmmm…  See video. Alain

  Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Deployment

B. Canis, Feb. 11, "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to bring major improvements in highway safety. Motor vehicle crashes caused an estimated 36,560 fatalities in 2018; a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that 94% of crashes are due to human errors … I prefer to say "due to human misbehavior"… …."  Read more Hmmmm… Read but this seems antiquated in that it is focused on cars owned by individuals rather than mobility machines operated in a fleet to provide mobility as a service.  Alain


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

  Tesla Autopilot is going to detect potholes and make mini-maps to remember them

F. Lambert, Mar. 4, "Tesla could soon release its “Reverse Summon” feature, which could enable owners to have their electric car drop them off and go find their own parking spots….. "  Read more Hmmmm…   Yipes!! Tell me it ain’t so.  What is this Stupid Summon Squared??? Please stop Elon.  Just because it can do something cute and impresses a 4th grader doesn’t mean that you actually put this capability in the hands of lazy individuals.  How entitled and potentially irresponsible are your customers?  Be prepared for another grand appearance before the NTSB.  Owners of parking lots… if you don’t place signs forbidding this practice on your property, then you’re also going to be dragged into court and in front of the NTSB.  This is CRAZY! C’mon Elon!  Alain


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait

  What Would You Do In A Self-Driving Car?

Mar 4, "…We asked more than 2,000 drivers from around the world that very question. Here’s what we learned….  " Read more Hmmmm… Don’t we already know what passengers do in cars that we drive?  We aren’t always by ourselves, are we?  Whatever!  Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


 

 

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8.09-NTSB-022820 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-09-ntsb-022820/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-09-ntsb-022820/#respond Sun, 01 Mar 2020 17:34:39 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=7389 Friday, February 28, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.09-NTSB-022820 9th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   NTSB slams Tesla, Apple and regulators over a fatal Autopilot crash R. Mitchell, Feb. 25, "The […]

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Friday, February 28, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.09-NTSB-022820
9th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  NTSB slams Tesla, Apple and regulators over a fatal Autopilot crash

R. Mitchell, Feb. 25, "The nation’s top safety investigator slammed Tesla on Tuesday for failing to take adequate measures to prevent “foreseeable abuse” of its Autopilot driver-assistance technology, in a hearing into the fatal 2018 crash of a Tesla Model X SUV in Mountain View, Calif.

The National Transportation Safety Board said 38-year-old Walter Huang, an Apple software engineer, had Autopilot engaged in his 2018 Tesla Model X and was playing a video game on his iPhone when the car crashed into a defective safety barrier on U.S. Highway 101.The board also blamed the highway safety arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation for failing to properly regulate rapidly evolving robot-car technology….  The board adopted a long list of measures meant to reduce such accidents as “partially automated driving” technologies become more popular in new vehicles….

Sumwalt made clear the Mountain View crash was not an isolated incident, but illustrative of the safety issues involved as humans and robot systems increasingly share the driving, not just in Teslas but in vehicles from all manufacturers. “It’s time to stop enabling drivers in any partially automated vehicle to pretend that they have driverless cars,” he said.

…….

 the Model X drove straight down the middle of a “gore lane,” a white-striped zone where cars aren’t supposed to go," … It is clear from the images that the gore area was NOT white-striped as is supposed to be and the lane markings are badly worn.  Why didn’t NTSB fault the CA DoT for its poor maintenance and marking practices.  CA DoT needs to be severely reprimanded. " … a Toyota Prius crashed into it 11 days earlier…" to what extent did NTSB investigate the Prius crash.  It didn’t have autoPilot, so that’s not the common factor.  I suspect that the confusing lane markings and the lack of striping is the root cause "

… The car’s collision avoidance system did not detect the crash barrier." … I suspect that this is NOT true.  The system detected the stationary object, but the coded logic disregards stationary objects (classifies them as false alarms) because false positives are too likely.  NTSB made a similar error in the Joshua Brown crash where the system didn’t mis-identify the stationary trailer ahead as being background sky, but instead classified the stationary object in the lane ahead as a false positive .  NTSB investigators have failed to ask the right questions in these investigations…   "

….The car’s forward collision warning system did not provide an alert, and the automatic braking system did not activate."… Again, the system classified stationary objects in the lane ahead as phantom objects and disregards them.  Once disregarded, there is no reason to initiate a warning or apply Emergency Brakes.  Yipes!      Read more Hmmmm… Hopefully this will curtail the misbehavior in the use of these systems.  The Self-driving systems require constant adult  supervision. I suspect that NHTSA will place extraordinarily onerous regulations on personally owned self-driving cars that will effectively ban the ability to sleep, play video games, text or otherwise be non-vigilant in all non-driverless vehicles.  Driverless vehicles will be required to be operated and maintained by a responsible fleet manager and not have any straight forward way for a human to drive them.  Certainly no steering wheel or pedals.  I expect that they’ll also ban the use of Stupid-Summon-like systems outside of one’s own personal property.  They should.    Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcat Episode 144 – L. Shinohara

F. Fishkin, Feb 27, "How a new generation of affordable LiDAR can make autonomous vehicles smarter and safer. RoboSense VP Leilei Shinohara joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus..the Tesla investigations, California’s latest autonomous reporting, Waymo, Michigan’s initiative and more."   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

  California DMV releases autonomous vehicle disengagement reports for 2019

K. Wiggers< Feb 26, "This morning the California Department of Motor Vehicles released a batch of 2019 reports from the companies piloting self-driving vehicles in the state. By law, all companies actively testing autonomous cars on public roads in California are required to disclose the number of miles driven and how often human drivers were forced to take
This morning the California Department of Motor Vehicles released a batch of 2019 reports from the companies piloting self-driving vehicles in the state. By law, all companies actively testing autonomous cars on public roads in California are required to disclose the number of miles driven and how often human drivers were forced to take control of their vehicles, otherwise known as a “disengagement.”

Formally, the DMV defines disengagements as “deactivation of the autonomous mode when a failure of the autonomous technology is detected or when the safe operation of the vehicle requires that the autonomous vehicle test driver disengage the autonomous mode and take immediate manual control of the vehicle.” Critics say it leaves wiggle room for companies to withhold information about certain failures, like vehicles running red lights in order to avoid hitting pedestrians about to cross the street. But in lieu of federal rules, the reports offer one of the few metrics for comparing the industry’s pack leaders.

According to the DMV, AV permit holders — of which there are 60 — traveled approximately 2.88 million miles in autonomous mode on California’s public roads during the reporting period, an increase of more than 800,000 miles from the previous reporting cycle. Currently, 64 companies have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver on California public roadways, up from 48 companies in 2018. It’s worth noting that only five companies —  Aurora, AutoX, Pony.ai, Waymo, and Zoox — have permits under the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to transport passengers in autonomous vehicles, with Zoox receiving the first one in December 2018….

Waymo’s 153 cars and 268 drivers covered 1.45 million miles in California in 2019, eclipsing the company’s 1.2 million miles in 2018, 352,000 miles in 2017, and 635,868 miles in 2016. Indeed, it was a year of mileage milestones for the Alphabet subsidiary, which passed 1,500 monthly active riders in Phoenix, Arizona — the only state of the nine in which Waymo has driven where its commercial taxi service, Waymo One, is available.

 

"…Completely driverless rides remain available only to a “few hundred” riders in Waymo’s Early Rider program, the company says…"  Read more Hmmmm…  Very interesting.  Spreadsheet of  the 8,979 disengagement reports for 2019.   CA_DMV site containing source data.  CA_DMV Source page.   Alain

   Collision Between a Sport Utility Vehicle Operating With Partial Driving Automation and a Crash Attenuator Mountain View, California  March 23, 2018  HWY18FH011

Report of Public Meeting, Feb 25, "This is a synopsis from the NTSB’s report and does not include the Board’s rationale for the conclusions, probable cause, and safety recommendations. NTSB staff is currently making final revisions to the report from which the attached conclusions and safety recommendations have been extracted. The final report and pertinent safety recommendation letters will be distributed to recommendation recipients as soon as possible. The attached information is subject to further review and editing to reflect changes adopted during the Board meeting. Executive Summary…"

Read more Hmmmm…  Read carefully. Also look at Opening Statement, Staff Presentations Closing Statement and Video of hearing.  Alain

  Your Tesla could explain why it crashed. But good luck getting its Autopilot data

R. Mitchell, Feb. 25, "On Jan. 21, 2019, Michael Casuga drove his new Tesla Model 3 southbound on Santiago Canyon Road, a two-lane highway that twists through hilly woodlands east of Santa Ana.

He wasn’t alone, in one sense: Tesla’s semiautonomous driver-assist system, known as Autopilot — which can steer, brake and change lanes — was activated. Suddenly and without warning, Casuga claims in a Superior Court of California lawsuit, Autopilot yanked the car left. The Tesla crossed a double yellow line, and without braking, drove through the oncoming lane and crashed into a ditch, all before Casuga was able to retake control.

Tesla confirmed Autopilot was engaged, according to the suit, but said the driver was to blame, not the technology. Casuga’s attorney, Mike Nelson in New York City, asked Tesla to release the data to show exactly what happened. Tesla refused, the suit claims, and referred Casuga and his lawyer to the car’s event data recorder, known as the black box. But the black box — a common feature in cars since the early 2000s — doesn’t record Autopilot data. Autopilot information is captured and stored separately, often sent over the airwaves to Tesla’s remote cloud computer repository.

Finding out who or what caused a car crash should be easier today. Cars have become computers on wheels, bristling with sensors, data processors and memory chips. The information “is significantly better and more potentially useful than ever,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group….

 

Only federal safety regulators have on-demand rights to car crash data collected onboard by the manufacturer but not on the black box.  …

 But safety experts say an over-aggressive attitude about intellectual property is getting in the way of basic safety assessment.

“Data associated with a crash, or even near-crash, of a vehicle operating under automated control should not be deemed proprietary,” said Alain Kornhauser, professor of operations research at Princeton University, a specialist in driverless technology and policy, and founder of the annual Smart Driving Car summit. “Safety must be a cooperative effort, not a ‘I know something you don’t know’ competitive play.”

 

…Musk has long insisted that his company’s Autopilot feature already is safer than the average vehicle on the highway and safer than Teslas driven without Autopilot engaged…. But Tesla has not released the data for safety researchers to evaluate. Statisticians at Rand Corp. and elsewhere have questioned his methodology, citing problems with sample size, sample representation and other issues. Princeton’s Kornhauser said he offered to do an independent safety evaluation on Tesla’s claims, using anonymized data. Tesla never responded to his invitation."  Read more Hmmmm…  What a shame.  Tesla has safety data about the safety performance if its cars whose quality is way beyond what any of us would have ever dreamed about ever having.  It is an enormous shame that they don’t anonymize the data and release it for all to see. We would all learn so much from these data.  Alain

    Draft Program   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   evening May 19 through May 21, 2020 (Tickets are limited, register before May 1)

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other ciites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

   RoboSense LiDAR Announced as a Finalist in Transportation & Logistics Category in the 2020 Edison Awards

Press release, Feb 13, "RoboSense’s automotive MEMS LiDAR“RS-LiDAR-M1” has been named a finalist in transportation &Logistics category for the 2020 Edison Awards. The Edison Awards, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognizes and honors the world’s best innovations and innovators…. The RoboSense RS-LiDAR-M1 is the world’s first and smallest MEMS Smart LiDAR Sensor to incorporate sensor hardware, AI perception algorithms, and IC chipsets, transforming conventional LiDAR sensors from an information collector to a complete data analysis and comprehension system, providing essential information for autonomous vehicle decision-making faster than ever before. The RS-LiDAR-M1 meets every automotive-grade requirement, including intelligence, low cost, stability, simplified structure and small size, vehicle body design friendliness, and algorithm processed semantic-level perception output results…." Read more Hmmmm…Interesting and nice advancement.  Alain

Pavement Marking Standards for Automated Driving Systems and Improved Driving Safety

Markings Committee, Jan. 9, "The Markings Technical Committee (MTC) Automated Driving Systems (ADS) RFI Task Force has identified three areas where pavement markings can support automated driving systems: uniformity, quality, and maintenance. This proposal addresses the highest priority uniformity issues….

Pavement markings are the most often cited traffic control device that the automated driving industry references in terms of a highway infrastructure element to support the deployment of partial to full automated driving. However, the references were often vague with inadequate details for highway agencies to assess or even implement….

The proposed recommendations represent the highest needs from the automated driving community. They are automotive “Original Equipment Manufacturers” (OEM’s) neutral and will provide safer, more robust pavement marking detection rates resulting in fewer vehicles unintentionally leaving their lane (roadway departure crashes make up over half of all fatalities and serious injury crashes in the US). …"  Read more Hmmmm…  This is great.  Good paint is what everyone needs, both human drivers and automated driving systems!  Thank you!  Alain

    Relax. Self-driving cars are smart enough to see past some tricky electrical tape.

S. Lekach, Feb 20. "This week, McAfee security researchers released 18 months worth of research that demonstrates the ease with which a "smart" autonomous vehicle can be tricked into misreading and accelerating past speed limits. The finding that some strategically placed black tape on a speed limit sign could trip up a smart car equipped with Mobileye cameras (used for advanced driving systems) to go 85 mph instead of the 35 mph limit certainly seemed alarming.

But there were some major caveats to the research. Mainly, that for self-driving vehicles (i.e., cars reliant on computer control for driving versus a hybrid system like Tesla’s that relies on humans and software for piloting) this weakness discovered in older Teslas isn’t an actual issue.

You can check out McAfee’s successful hack, in which the car’s cruise control zooms past 35 mph, in the video above.

But before freaking out about all the ways self-driving and automated vehicles are doomed, first consider that the McAfee Advanced Threat Research team tested this model hack on two 2016 Teslas; newer Tesla models have since stopped using Mobileye cameras in favor of the company’s own proprietary cameras.

Also, the version of the Mobileye camera used in those models has been updated and that version is no longer susceptible to the hack…." Read more Hmmmm… So much for McAfee’s self-serving "hack".   Alain

  Self-driving shuttle company ordered to stop carrying passengers after injury

S. O’Kane. Feb 26, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has partially suspended the US operations of France’s EasyMile after a passenger in Ohio was injured while riding in one of the company’s self-driving shuttles. EasyMile can continue operating its shuttles while NHTSA investigates, but the company can’t carry any passengers.

EasyMile currently operates its self-driving shuttles in a handful of US cities, including in Columbus, Ohio, where two of them have been running along a nearly 3-mile loop in a residential area at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, according to Reuters. But last week, one of those shuttles made an “emergency stop” from a speed of just 7 miles per hour, and a passenger fell out of their seat as a result…."  Read more Hmmmm… Whew, this is harsh.  I guess all these systems are going to require the use of seat belts.  Alain

  Michigan governor creates office for mobility initiatives such as self-driving, connected cars

D. Eggert, Feb 25, "Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that Michigan will have a mobility officer to coordinate all initiatives related to self-driving and connected cars, an effort she said will ensure the state is the go-to place for testing and producing vehicles of the future….

She also signed an executive order to establish the Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, an advisory group that will replace but function similarly to one created by a 2016 law. The council will be housed within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity instead of the Department of Transportation…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Not a bad move.  DoTs tend to be too focused on providing pavement and bridges.  They are also obsessed with Vehicle Miles Traveled rather than mobility Miles Traveled.  us on people rather than vehicles changes many things. Alain

  Toyota steers $400 million to self-driving startup Pony.ai

A. Hawkins, Feb 25, "Pony.ai, a self-driving startup based in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou, China, is deepening its ties to Toyota. The two companies announced a pilot program to test self-driving cars on public roads in two Chinese cities, Beijing and Shanghai. The Japanese auto giant plans to invest $400 million in Pony.ai, valuing the startup at $3 billion.

Pony.ai has been working with Toyota since 2019 on public autonomous vehicle testing. With this new investment, their relationship will become even closer, with the automaker and the startup “co-developing” mobility products like “mobility services.”

…Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has largely kept quiet on its self-driving car program…."  Read more Hmmmm…   Toyota seemed to have shut down right after the Uber Herzberg crash.  Maybe they are beginning to resurface.  ALain

  Tesla Model 3 Crushes Original Tesla Roadster — Like A $70,000–100,000 Car With Cost Of Toyota Camry Or Honda Accord

Z. Shahan, Feb 25, "As you may have seen by now, 7 year Tesla insider David Havasi and I have been getting together in recent months to talk about the deep history of Tesla from an insider (David) and outsider (me) perspective in a podcast and video chat series called Tesla Inside Out. We’ve together decided that we really want to do two things with this series: 1) delve into funny, cool, interesting Tesla stories from years ago (that’s basically all David), and 2) discuss Tesla news of the day together (like friends at a coffee shop — but you’re invited), drawing on David’s history in the company and my historical perspective from covering the company for 7+ years…. "  Read more Hmmmm…  What I was most impressed about was the chart showing the 85% drop in prices of Lithium-ion batteries in the last 10 years. While battery prices need to continue to drop, what’s been achieved is impressive!   Alain

Autonomous Ridehailing Could Be More Profitable Than We Had Modeled

T. Kenney, Feb 19, "ARK estimated that consumers will be able to travel on autonomous ridehailing platforms for just $0.25 per mile when they reach scale in 2024, or less than half the cost of driving a personal car and roughly one tenth the cost of a taxi. With these compelling economics driving customer adoption, ARK’s research previously concluded that companies owning and operating the autonomous technology stacks – like Waymo and Tesla – could command a take-rate of 20-30% of revenues, similar to that for Uber and Lyft, and that investors should be willing to pay $2 trillion today for the winning platforms.1…"  Read more Hmmmm… This is a combination of Click-bait and Half-baked.  Yes, cost of $0.25 per person mile is a reasonable value at scale  with 2.0 person miles served by each vehicle mile (Average vehicle occupancy (AVO) > 2.0.  (vehicle mile costs of ~ $0.50). 

Scale happening by 2024 is VERY optimistic!  The big question is what fare will achieve scale?  Average fare of $0.50 per person mile may be achievable if the systems are welcoming, safe and anxiety-free.  The chance of that occurring at scale (Serving 10% of the nation’s daily person trips (100M person trips/day using, 500M person miles/day delivered by 2M million vehicles in operation)) by 2024 is essentially zero. Even 1% of person trips is optimistic . By 2030 maybe, but only if there are no bumps on the road ahead.  Each bump in the road (crash generating safety concerns, for example) probably delays everything by 5 years per event.  It is unlikely that Waymo will have the 82,000 cars that they have the option to buy operating driverlessly (without attendant) by 2024.  (The cost of these systems with a safety driver on-board is at least twice that of a conventional taxi (>$7.00/vehicle mile.)  However, once the 10% person trip share is achieved, $0.50/passenger mile could generate nice "profits" of ~$125M per day or ~$50B per year.  Not bad.  Alain

  Jersey City’s on-demand public bus  service is up and running for as cheap as $1 per ride

J.  Heinis, Feb 25, "Jersey City’s on-demand public bus service is up and running for as cheap as $1 per ride and will remain at that price through March 21st for anyone willing to try an alternative to rideshares like Uber and Lyft…."  Read more Hmmmm…  How much will it be after March 21.  Where will the subsidy come from??? Alain


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

There are so many bad articles.  I’m overwhelmed.  C’mon Man!  Alain


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.08-Safe-Driving-022120 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-08-safe-driving-022120/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-08-safe-driving-022120/#respond Sat, 22 Feb 2020 01:18:01 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=7148   Friday, February 21, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.08-Safe-driving-021520 8th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars    Motor Vehicle Deaths are Estimated to Have Dropped 2% in 2019 Press release, Feb. 20, […]

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imap://alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.2&filename=hejedgabmgkdglfj.png

Friday, February 21, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.08-Safe-driving-021520
8th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

   Motor Vehicle Deaths are Estimated to Have Dropped 2% in 2019

Press release, Feb. 20, "For the second consecutive year, the U.S. experienced a small decline in roadway deaths, according to preliminary estimates released today from the National Safety Council. In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes – a 2% decline from 2018 (39,404 deaths) and a 4% decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths). Approximately 4.4 million people were seriously injured[i] in crashes last year – also a 2% decrease over 2018 figures…

 

Research to definitively determine why fatalities have decreased for the last two years is likely to lag several years. However, the NSC preliminary estimate signals that the country may be experiencing the benefits of several risk mitigation actions implemented in the last few years…

 

And today, the majority of newly manufactured vehicles include advanced driver assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems, backup cameras and adaptive headlights, all of which are proven to reduce the severity of crashes or prevent them altogether…."  Read more Hmmmm… Safe-driving cars may well be beginning to deliver real societal benefits.  And , once the OEMs get AEBs to really work, even more lives may be saved.  And, this has come about by the public sector spending almost no money and Washington staying out of it. 

 

Safe-driving cars that have automated features that keep us from misbehaving when we drive is the way to improved safety.  If we want to also capture the societal benefits of improved mobility, then we have the automated features replace the driver.  We will likely pay a slight safety penalty by completely replacing the driver, but that replacement is necessary in order for us to capture the affordability and scalability necessary to attain substantive societal benefits.  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcat Episode 143 – T. Bolat

F. Fishkin, Feb 20, "Declining roadway deaths and injuries may have something to do with safe vehicle technology says Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser. And new tech from companies like WaveSense mean it is just getting started. Join Kornhauser, co-host Fred Fishkin and WaveSense CEO Tarik Bolat for that plus the latest on Tesla, Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover and more.   "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

    Draft Program  4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   evening May 19 through May 21, 2020 (Tickets are limited, register before May 1)

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other ciites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

  MIT’s Ground-Penetrating Radar Looks Down for Perfect Self-Driving

B. Howard, Feb 18, "Ground-penetrating radar may soon be the sensor that makes your car autonomous in all weather conditions. It turns out that when you scan the 10 feet below the roadway surface, you get a unique identifier that is accurate to an inch or two. Mapping cars would scan the roadways once, then your self-driving car with its own ground-penetrating radar would rescan as you drive, matching its real-time scan to the master map. That would keep your car centered, even if pavement markings are covered by snow or ice, according to WaveSense, an MIT spinoff that already has already tested military applications…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Very interesting for lane centering and at "$100 a pop, may well be practical.   But, we still need to have good paint and plow the roads so that some of us that still drive can safely get to where we’d like to go?  Alain

  Tesla closes stock offering with $2.3 billion, stock price soars to $917

F. Lambert, Feb 19, "Tesla announced today that it closed its new $2 billion stock offering announced last week and the underwriters took the option to purchase an additional $300 million worth of shares.
Last week, Tesla announced a new stock offering of between 2.65 million and 3.1 million shares, which would help Tesla raise over $2 billion.

Today, the automaker confirmed that it closed the offering with the optional 397,500 shares:…

The company set the price of the offering at $767 per share and the stock price has since soared to close at $917 a share today." Read more Hmmmm… Wow!!  Alain

  Some of the Best Self-Driving Safety Tech Is in… a Subaru?

A. George, Feb, 15, "“Self-driving,” and even worse “Autopilot,” is pretty misleading term. Right now, in 2020, the most advanced systems are only capable of a handful of functions, none of which mean that you can check your inbox while behind the wheel. Even Cadillac’s Super Cruise, which allows you to take your hands off the wheel for minutes at a time, will stop working if you look away from the road."  s as "Invited As it should…   ;’;

"But once you temper those Jetsons expectations, modern safety systems are really impressive. … But Subaru is finally bringing this tech to the people. Its new models have automatic braking if you’re about to hit a car or pedestrian, automatic steering to keep the car in its lane, and cruise control that adjusts to traffic. None of those are new, but it’s remarkable to have these things standard have on a $23,000 new car…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Deserving praise! (even though Subaru may have paid for the placement of this article.)  Alain

  Why Dead Sonos Speakers Mean You’ll Never Own a Driverless Car

S. Abuelsamid, Feb 10, "…The beauty of software-defined systems like computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers is that new software can transform a product without touching the hardware. Up to a point. There are of course limits beyond which older hardware can no longer support new features. That’s why early generations of the Apple Watch can’t run WatchOS 6….

Until the rise of Tesla, end-of-support woes have never really been a problem for the auto industry, where support traditionally ended when you drove the car off the lot. This changes radically with the arrival of automated vehicles, and it’s why you will probably never own one.

For more than 130 years, the automotive business model has been to design, build, and sell vehicles to customers (or more precisely to dealers, who then sold to customers). Once you had the title to that vehicle, you were largely on your own. … Hardware changed every year (more or less chrome & fins) to accelerate obsolescence and get you back to the dealer to buy a new one…   For some number of years after purchase, manufacturing defects would be fixed under warranty. But aside from the inevitable effects of wear and tear from actually driving, the vehicle stayed fundamentally the same … But cosmetically/perceptually NOT the same; else you wouldn’t come back to the dealer... Sure you could buy aftermarket upgrades and modifications, but by the time the car was in your garage, the engineers … Stylists… who created it were already working on the next generation…. to change the perception, not the substance…

Up to this point, Teslas have been by far the most software-defined vehicles ever produced. A customer can pay to add the AutoPilot driving assist features to a three-year-old car with an in-app purchase and OTA update because the hardware to accept those updates was built-in at the factory. But you can’t do that to a 2014 model, because the necessary sensors and actuators just weren’t there.  … So the cycle time is longer, but is the grand scheme of things, it is the same… ”…

Automated driving in a vehicle is a safety-critical function… In the AV space, vehicles that don’t stay up to date and within specifications could pose a serious risk not just to the direct users, but to others on the road, including cyclists and pedestrians….

In the AV space, vehicles that don’t stay up to date and within specifications could pose a serious risk not just to the direct users, but to others on the road, including cyclists and pedestrians…"  Read more Hmmmm…  The OEMs can’t sell you a Driverless car because they’ll be on the hook if something happens.  If they put it in your hands they can’t maintain/control them well enough to keep things from happening.  Sharing responsibility here simply won’t work.  Somehow, in the past (and present) , if the wheel came off, it was your responsibility for not maintaining the car.  I can’t see it becoming the responsibility of buyer if the software is not maintained and the car crashes.  Plus, why own something that someone else maintains & controls?  If it really works, others will be out there renting it at very favorable terms.  The market simply isn’t there for personal ownership.  Alain

  Buying a Used Vs. New Car: Which Provides the Better Deals?

J. Blackley, Feb 15, "Tesla Model 3 leads the list of cars that are best to buy new
According to the latest study by automotive research firm and car search engine iSeeCars.com, the average one-year-old used car costs 20.1 percent less than its new version. However, some models have as little as a 5.2 percent difference, while others have price differences as high as 43.4 percent…"   Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting!  Results of old business model versus new business model.  Alain

  Tesla vehicles confirmed to be used in Elon Musk’s Boring Company Las Vegas Loop, watch breakthrough in real time

F. Lambert, Feb 14, "Tesla vehicles are now confirmed to be used in Elon Musk’s Boring Company Loop project to create an electric people mover at Las Vegas’ massive convention center.  You can watch them break through the first tunnel in real time." Read more Hmmmm… Watch video. It is happening.  Alain

  For Self-Driving Startups, Revenue Is Elusive, But Miles Add Up

D. Welsh, Feb 14, "May Mobility Inc.’s boxy white-and-green self-driving shuttle pulls up to a damp corner in downtown Detroit. Its big doors swing out revealing a safety driver and six seats that face each other. It’s more comfortable than a subway car or most buses, but not by much….

May  has managed to get a public service going by keeping it simple. It provides slow rides on easy fixed routes that serve a specific need. “Our progress is that we’ve delivered 200,000 revenue-generating rides,” said May Chief Executive Officer and founder Edwin Olson. “Some companies have the bankroll to be in R&D mode, but a few of us are working toward sustainable operations.”… "  Read more Hmmmm…  Simple is good, but simple needs to be safe enough to replace the    driver; else, we just have a conventional minibus service that has been available for a long time but has nothing but a niche market opportunity.  Alain

  Jaguar Land Rover unveils ‘autonomy ready’ electric shuttle concept

A. Hawkins, Feb 18, "Jaguar Land Rover is the latest automaker to unveil an electric and “autonomy ready” shuttle pod designed for shared use in urban settings. “Project Vector” is just a concept, but the UK carmaker said it hopes to have some version of the vehicle on the road for testing by 2021.

For now, the automaker is keeping most of its specs under wraps. The vehicle is four meters long, with a motor and battery pack built into a flat floor, but JLR won’t reveal the size of the battery or the range of the vehicle. The interior can be adjusted for private or shared use as well as for last-mile delivery service.

 

Unlike GM and Honda’s recently unveiled Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle, JLR’s concept has a driver’s seat and traditional controls for human use…" Read more Hmmmm…  I guess that it will be easy to remove the driver’s seat and traditional human control, but it shows that Jaguar/Land Rover isn’t really committed to driverless.   Alain

Image removed by sender.  A History of Street Networks: from Grids to Sprawl and Beyond

L. Aurbach, Jan 29, "Roadway networks are the basic frameworks of cities. They endure for centuries, influencing the ways that cities operate and their residents’ quality of life. A History of Street Networks explores the origins and institutionalization of modern roadway networks, particularly the networks of urban sprawl. The book surveys an international history of these powerful yet unheralded infrastructure systems….

More than one hundred individuals, visions, built projects, and policies are examined, representing the most important efforts to make and control roadway patterns. …"  Read more Hmmmm… Interesting reading.  Alain


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

There are so many bad articles.  I’m overwhelmed.  C’mon Man!  Alain


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait

  Tesla Autopilot gets tricked into accelerating from 35 to 85 mph with modified speed limit sign

F. Lambert, Feb 19, "A group of hackers has managed to trick Tesla’s first-generation Autopilot into accelerating from 35 to 85 mph with a modified speed limit sign that humans would be able to read correctly…." Read more Hmmmm… Cute, but optical illusions are easy and I might actually read some of these as 85 mph as I’m driving down the street.  By the way, where is the speed limit 85mph?   Certainly nowhere in New Jersey, and certainly nowhere where near where anyone would expect to see a 35mph sign.  So it is an easy over-the-air update to fix this one.  Don’t these folks have anything better to do???  Great, they got another 15 seconds of fame in Un-social media.   Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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8.07-Urbs&Burbs-021520 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-07-urbsburbs-021520/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-07-urbsburbs-021520/#respond Sat, 15 Feb 2020 20:47:22 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=6988   Saturday, February 15, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.07-Urbs&Burbs-021520 7th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   “Urbs,” “Burbs,” and the Immigration Locomotive J. Hughes, Feb 2020, "Even more so than the […]

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imap://alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.2&filename=hejedgabmgkdglfj.png

Saturday, February 15, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.07-Urbs&Burbs-021520
7th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  “Urbs,” “Burbs,” and the Immigration Locomotive

J. Hughes, Feb 2020, "Even more so than the nation, the broad fourstate, 35-county metropolitan region centered on New York City (figure 1) is becoming afflicted by a condition of demographic stagnation.  While the United States has been experiencing the lowest population growth rates since the Great Depression, the region has only recently (2016–2018) slipped into absolute population decline, spawned by domestic outmigration. The major counterforce forestalling a demographic catastrophe has been positive international migration.  Immigration has become the primary source of population growth—the demographic locomotive.  Without it, the region would have to bear fully the economic consequences of what has become a virtual domestic population hemorrhage—a vast exodus of regional residents moving to the rest of the country. This is just one dimension of endemic demographic change that has swept the post–Great Recession world….

 

The second new reset is a turnaround of the pattern evidenced in the 2010–2016 period, when population growth in the “urbs” surpassed that of the “burbs.” After dominating growth early in the decade (2010–2016), the core—the urban heart of the metropolitan region encompassing New York City and three adjacent counties in New Jersey—suddenly slipped into decline post-2016, causing the region as a whole to lose population. This is the latest transformation in what has become a transmillennial demographic roller coaster ride… "   Read more Hmmmm… Most interesting Demographic Dynamic.   A must read.   Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcat Episode 142 – James Hughes

F. Fishkin, Feb 15, "What shifting populations mean for the future of mobility and transportation. Leading expert Jim Hughes of Rutgers University joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the latest on Tesla, GM, Comma AI’s inexpensive autopilot, Aptiv, Lyft and more. Tune in and subscribe! "  Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

    Draft Program  4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   evening May 19 through May 21, 2020 (Tickets are limited, register before May 1)

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other ciites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

  Is a $1000 Aftermarket Add-On as Capable as Tesla’s Auto­pilot and Cadillac’s Super Cruise?

D. VanderWerp. Feb 10, "f the self-driving car is the promised land, then today’s ever proliferating driver-assist features are the desert. Diminished claims and "it’s harder than we thought" mea culpas from self-driving’s loudest advocates suggest we’ll be wandering here for many years to come.

At least the technology is meandering in the right direction, though. Thanks to recent software updates, the most sophisticated systems—Cadillac’s Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot—are more capable today than they were initially. This report on those systems includes a lesser known third player. For $998, upstart Comma.ai sells an aftermarket dash cam and wiring harness that taps into and overrides the factory-installed assistance systems in many Honda and Toyo­ta models as well as some Chrysler, Kia, and Lexus vehicles, among others. When activated, Comma.ai’s Openpilot software assumes control over the steering, brakes, and throttle, and it reduces the frequent reminders to keep your hands on the wheel. As you might imagine, automakers do not endorse this hack.

Any one of these systems could confidently track the center of a lane for hours with minimal driver input on reasonably straight highways. Although no automaker admits that infotainment is part of its system’s machine learning, right after we went hands-free, Hinder’s "Get Stoned" started playing through the Cadillac’s speakers. We ignored that suggestion and threw the three systems at the toughest highway kinks, interchanges, and two-lane roads surrounding our Ann Arbor home base until either they or we flinched. There was some of each…."  Read more Hmmmm…  A really good description of these systems.  A must read.  (What a shame that GM isn’t making a bigger deal out of SuperCruise.  What you MUST remember about each of these systems, especially the *.ai system is that these are FULL self-driving systems… Meaning that you MUST pay attention to the road ahead and be prepared to take over control ALL the time.  Don’t even think that they’ll take you home after having adult beverages, or they’ll let you take a nap or they’ll let you do more than take a quick glance at some text, or… These are nowhere near Driverless systems.  Alain

  Introducing the Cruise Origin

Veoneer, Jan. 27, "When GM introduced their Cruise Origin,… thermal sensing, … was highlighted as an important sensor (at 1:16)." Read more Hmmmm… Watch the video  Given that each but one of the 6 deer that I’ve hit (or hit me) in my lifetime of driving have been at night, in not so rural New Jersey (Jim Hughes calls NJ, the Garden State, a "salad bowl" for deer) and Pennsylvania, Thermal Sensing may well be more than a "nice to have".  The 4th Summit will discuss the role of Thermal Sensing.  Alain

NTSB Opens Public Docket for 2 Ongoing Tesla Crash Investigations

Press release, Feb 11, "The National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday  new factual information via the public docket for  two Tesla accident investigations – the March 23, 2018, crash of a Tesla Model X in Mountain View, California,  and the March 1, 2019, crash of a Tesla Model 3 in Delray Beach, Florida….The Mountain View accident occurred when a 2017 Tesla Model X P100D electric-powered passenger vehicle operated with advanced driver assistance features – a feature  Tesla calls “autopilot” – departed  the southbound travel lanes of Highway 101 and struck a previously damaged crash attenuator. The driver, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was fatally injured in the crash.

About 500 pages of factual information covering various aspects of the investigation were made public Tuesday.  These items have been added to the Mountain View public docket, which was originally opened on June 19, 2019, when the NTSB released more than 500 pages of factual information.  The Mountain View docket is available at https://go.usa.gov/xd9u9.

The Delray accident occurred when a 2018 Tesla Model 3 electric-powered passenger vehicle traveling southbound on State Highway 441 struck an eastbound semitractor-trailer that had crossed in front of the Tesla.  At the time of the crash, Tesla’s ”autopilot” system was active. The driver, the sole occupant of the Tesla, was fatally injured. The truck driver was uninjured. The public docket for the Delray investigation was opened Tuesday and is available at https://go.usa.gov/xdXRe…. Read more Hmmmm…There is a lot of factual information here.  As I wrote earlier, in the Mountain View crash, not only was the attenuator not replaced, but the road striping was very confusing and likely contributed significantly to the previous crash that took out the attenuator in the first place.  Ca DoT should be sure to have good paint and good striping on all of their road segments.  Also, if you’ve had problems with an automated system in a certain area, wouldn’t you be super attentive and even not use that system when you returned to those areas?

In the Delray crash, how can the truck driver not be at fault.  Same thing happened in the Joshua Brown crash, the truck driver was at fault (failed to yield to on-coming traffic).  In both cases, the truck drivers essentially stopped their trucks while they were broad-side across the car’s lane of travel.  It is also a problem that these Automated Emergency Braking  systems can not accurately determine the clearance under a stationary object across a road.  And it seems like they don’t even try.  They either disregard such objects which leads to the Joshua Brown and Delray crashes or they inappropriately slam on the brakes as happened to Steve Still . 

  ‘Disgruntled’ former Waymo self-driving car operator arrested for causing car crash

A. Hawkins, Feb 13, "A former Waymo contractor was arrested after allegedly forcing one of the company’s self-driving cars to crash in Tempe last month, according to AZ Central. Police say 31-year-old Raymond Tang drove his Mazda recklessly around the Waymo vehicle, eventually swerving in front of the self-driving car and slamming his brakes, causing the Waymo vehicle to rear-end him.

 

The collision was captured on video by the Waymo vehicle’s cameras and posted online by ABC15. A dark Mazda can be seen swerving several times in front of the Waymo vehicle before eventually slamming on the brakes and causing a minor fender-bender…." Read more Hmmmm…  Yea!!! See video.  Alain

  NTSB Releases Report On 2018 Fatal Silicon Valley Tesla Autopilot Crash

B. Templeton, Feb. 13, "On March 23 of 2018, Walter Huang, an Apple engineer commuting to work in his Tesla Model X crashed into a damaged crash attenuator at the off-ramp for Highway 85 from 101 in Silicon Valley. Tesla Autopilot was on, and steered the car into the barrier, accelerating as it approached it. Huang was killed. This triggered an NTSB investigation, which was recently released. A hearing with the full report is scheduled for Feb 25 where final conclusions will be published.

..This crash is particularly visceral for me, since I drive the same lane he was driving frequently, and I have several times done so using Autopilot in my Tesla. It’s a piece of highway almost everybody in Silicon Valley drives, and it’s located just a few miles from Tesla Headquarters in Palo Alto, so it is also driven frequently by a large fraction of Tesla engineers.

 

The NTSB report adds only modest new data, and what is added matches closely with expectations….

 

There is debate as to how much Huang was paying attention, but it is very likely the report will find that he holds the bulk of the responsibility for the crash, because it was his duty to take the wheel if Autopilot failed, and he did not….

 

The report also will assign fault to Caltrans, which maintains the highways…..

 

As noted, the report will likely not find crash responsibility with Autopilot. It performed (or didn’t perform) as it is advertised to not perform. Worse, Huang was aware that Autopilot did not handle this off-ramp correctly, for he had experienced problems with it there before at least twice. This should have caused him to either not use Autopilot there or to make sure he was vigilant at that location. The report also contains speculation on whether Huang was playing a game on his iPhone prior to the crash that might have distracted him. There are also incorrect statements in the report concerning the question of whether Huang had is hands on the wheel or not…."  Read more Hmmmm… Excellent! Ca DoT deserves more blame.  There is absolutely no reason that lane lines are permitted to fade.  Not only are good lane lines necessary for AutoPilot to stay in the correct lane, but also for each of us to stay in the correct lane.  For too long, the small amount of money that it takes to paint good lines has been overlooked in place of massive, more prestigious construction projects.  It is not glamorous, but may well be the most cost effective way for Ca DoT, and every other DoT, to improve safety on its roadways. Alain

  $7,000 Tesla Autopilot vs $1,000 Openpilot: Self-Driving Test!

A. Slye, Jan. 13, " …"  Read more Hmmmm… Watch the video and you make the call.   Again, The OEMs state that installing the Comma.ai system voids the warranty.  I’m not sure what your insurance company will say (When these aftermarket systems become good enough, they may say … go ahead, we’ve got you covered because these systems, when used with continuous human oversight actually reduce the expected liability associated with your driving behavior.  In fact they may go so far as to say… you are such a poor driver, that if you responsibly use this such a product we’ll even pay for it and have you covered.  Used car dealers may actually install such after-market devices to increase the value of their used cars, especially if the product has proven its crash avoidance performance to some insurance company.   The focus of such technology is (should be) all about crash avoidance.  If it works for bad drivers (good drivers tend not to be at fault in crashes), then there is real money on the table to promote the adoption of such crash-avoiding Safe-driving car technologies.  Alain

  Tesla Self-Driving Computer architect Jim Keller is confident about solving autonomous driving

F. Lambert, Feb 7, "Jim Keller, Tesla’s former head of Autopilot hardware and the designer of Tesla’s Self-Driving Computer chip, says that he is confident about solving autonomous driving after working at Tesla….. 

Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla is working on its own new AI chip.  Keller was leading the program, along with several other hardware responsibilities at the automaker.  It eventually led to the Tesla Self-Driving Computer unveiled last year, but Keller left in 2018 after having designed the chip.

The engineer now works at Intel and he hasn’t publicly commented about his work at Tesla until now.  He was interviewed on Lex Fridman’s AI podcast and had some very interesting comments about how he thinks autonomous driving is a problem that can be solved:… " Read more Hmmmm…Most interesting comments by Keller in this PodCast.  Must watch the video!  Alain

  How good are your car headlights? Here’s how technology is making them safer

R. Mitchell, Feb. 13,"How good are your headlights? Probably not as good as you think.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Thursday issued a list of the 23 safest 2020 passenger vehicles, based mainly on the institute’s crash worthiness tests.

Of those 23 vehicles, only six offer top-rated headlights as standard equipment, the IIHS said: the Genesis G70, the Honda Insight, the Hyundai Nexo, the Lexus NX, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid and the Tesla Model 3. The headlights on the other 17 models on the list are rated as “acceptable.”

The IIHS also includes pedestrian detection systems in its safety assessments, although that feature is rarely available as standard equipment…" Read more Hmmmm… IIHS and NHTSA also need to do a better job AEB, Lane centering, and intelligent cruise control systems.  Alain

  We still can’t agree how to regulate self-driving cars

A. Hawkins, Feb 11, " There was a sense of déjà vu on Capitol Hill today as a House panel convened yet another hearing on how to best regulate autonomous vehicles. But it wasn’t clear that any of the issues that sunk the previous effort had actually been resolved — which may mean that we’re headed for a very similar conclusion. …

A quick recap in case you forgot:…

 Auto and tech industry representatives want more leeway to manufacture and deploy vehicles that lack traditional controls, like steering wheels, sideview mirrors, and pedals….

And they want to preempt states and cities from passing laws regarding autonomous vehicles.

On the flip side are safety advocates, trial lawyers, and local officials who maintain that the promise of self-driving cars to reduce road deaths is just that — a promise. " …  Driverless cars are NOT about improving Safety, that’s the role of Safe-driving cars.  Driverless cars are about being safe in delivering improved mobility to many who can not or wish not to drive themselves.  Yes, safety will be improved, simply by having the driverless vehicles misbehave way less frequently that human drivers misbehave.  >90% of car crashes involve human driver misbehavior. Why is there no discussion about mobility in these hearings??? …"… 

Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, noted that AV companies have the ability to test as many vehicles as they want on public roads in most states right now. “They can test unlimitedly right now,” Chase said. “There’s a big difference between testing and selling and deploying.”…

Jeff Tumlin, the director of transportation at San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency,…urged lawmakers to require companies to install “black box”-like event data recorders in their cars to capture sensor data before and during inevitable crashes. And he pushed for the creation of a national database of safety incidents involving self-driving cars that would be available to the public."… Absolutely!  This is extremely important so that everyone can work to fix what went wrong.  We don’t know what we don’t know.  We can’t afford to lose the opportunity to learn from each crash and JFI (Just Fix It)…

"…Still, the sticking points that sunk the last bill remain the same: forced arbitration, exemptions, and federal preemption. Neither side seems to have moved much since the last round of hearings. And even if they did overcome their differences to pass a bill, it’s unclear that Congress would find a willing partner in President Trump…"  Read more Hmmmm…Watch for yourself… https://youtu.be/ZgGVhDbe-pI   Alain

How lidar makers are coping with slow progress of self-driving tech

T. Lee, Feb 11, "… For this piece I asked both lidar company officials and independent experts to help me understand the state of the lidar market. They told me that Velodyne—the company that invented modern three-dimensional lidar more than a decade ago—continues to dominate the industry.

But Velodyne is facing growing competition from newer firms. One company in particular—Ouster—has begun shipping aggressively priced alternatives to Velodyne’s flagship products. While these products might not quite match Velodyne’s performance, they’re good enough and cheap enough to pose a serious threat to Velodyne’s dominance….."  Read more Hmmmm…  FURTHER READING  Elon Musk: “Anyone relying on lidar is doomed.” Experts: Maybe not  This topic will be addressed and debated at the 4th Princeton SDC Summit.  Alain

  Aptiv’s self-driving cars have given 100,000 paid rides on the Lyft app

K. Korosec, Feb 11, "… The companies announced Tuesday that they’ve given 100,000 paid rides in Aptiv’s self-driving vehicles via the Lyft app.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest open-to-the-public commercial pilot,” Aptiv Autonomous Mobility President Karl Iagnemma said in a recent interview. ….”

The milestone has a few important caveats. Aptiv’s self-driving vehicles — which initially began with BMW 5 series — have a human safety driver behind the wheel to take over if needed. The human driver operates the vehicle manually in parking lots and hotel lobby areas.

The program, even if with those human safety drivers behind the wheel, has proven invaluable to the companies, according to Iagnemma and Jody Kelman, who leads the self-driving platform team at Lyft.  “We’ve got something here,” Kelman said. “This is really a blueprint for what future mobility partnerships can look like.”

Companies in this so-called “race” to commercially deploy on-demand ride-hailing services using self-driving vehicles must master more than the technical bits. Fleet management, real-time routing and designing an approachable user interface are just a few critical components needed to operate a profitable robotaxi service.

The program has taught Aptiv how to “get and keep a fleet of autonomous vehicles on the road and keep them highly utilized,” Iagnemma said, later adding that this project positions Lyft and Aptiv to be major winners in this space. The companies also learned how to work with various regulatory bodies, in this case, with the city of Las Vegas, Clark County and the region’s transit authority…."  Read more Hmmmm…  This is all very important.  They must now know where their aTaxis actually work so they should be able to define an Operational Design Domain (ODD) where they can deliver rides safely without an attendant.  Once that ODD is large enough to encompass enough potential trip demands  to make it worth their while, they should go out an JDI (Just Do It)… serve those customers who wish to travel within that ODD.  Unfortunately, the fact that they haven’t done it yet must mean that they have work yet to do to make the ODD large enough to encompass enough potential trips that could be expected to deliver enough benefit to offset the risk associated with removal of the the attendant/driver. 

One thing is certain… expensive cars with expensive drivers has very limited upside opportunity and very downside expectations.  First get rid of the driver. Then scale to reduce the cost of the car.   That might give you a chance to provide substantial return to all the sunk investment.  Alain

  The killer(s) on the road: reducing your risk of automotive death

P. Attia, Feb 9, "…nearly 18,000 automotive accidents occur every day in the US, on average. This frequency multiplied by the low severity still amounted to nearly 37,000 automotive fatalities in 2018. To put this difference into perspective, between 2000 and 2018 there were 778 fatalities from US scheduled air travel. Over the same time span, there were 723,530 automotive fatalities—almost 1,000 times greater than the number of fatalities from scheduled air travel….

These numbers should scare anyone. If I die in the next 10 years, the most probable “murder weapon” is my vehicle or another vehicle on the road. Is there anything I can do to lower the chances of dying in a car or from a car?…

Of all drivers killed in US automotive accidents in 2017, 18% occurred on a freeway. …  there are more drivers killed in intersections (20%) than on freeways….  drivers killed on rural roads with 2 lanes (i.e., one lane in each direction divided by a double yellow line) accounts for a staggering 38% of total mortality….

What driving error resulted in the fatality?… In the cases where drivers are killed on freeways, 31% of them have alcohol in their system and nearly 85% of these drivers were over the legal limit of 0.08 g/dL.  Furthermore, 29% of all driver deaths involved speeding, and just under 1 in 10 involved distracted driving…."   Read more Hmmmm….  These are NOT "driving errors".  They are driver misbehaviors!   drivers have to stop misbehaving and OEM have to stop promoting their cars as opportunities for drivers to misbehave.  Alain


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

There are so many bad articles.  I’m overwhelmed.  C’mon Man!  Alain


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked


Click-Bait

Israeli cyber experts manage to fool autonomous vehicle systems with phantom images

Staff, Feb 14, "Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center have found that they can cause the autopilot on an autonomous vehicle to erroneously apply its brakes in response to “phantom” images projected on a road or billboard.

In a new paper, “Phantom of the ADAS,” researchers demonstrated that autopilots and advanced driving-assistance systems (ADASs) in semi-autonomous or fully autonomous cars register depthless projections of objects (phantoms) as real objects…"   Read more Hmmmm….  Thee in no news here.  We get fooled by optical illusions all the time. Fooling a CNN is much easier.  User’s of ADAS systems should be paying attention all the time and as you do when you go out on the road, you take a chance.  The paper actually wants to suggest the need for some sort of verification of sensed objects using communications.  Somewhat an attempt to justify V2X communications providing "… validate their  findings with a third party due to the lack of deployed vehicular communication systems…."  Will the next paper be on how to hack the third party source data?   Alain


Calendar of Upcoming Events:

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

 

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8.06-Exemption-020720 https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-06-exemption-020720/ https://smartdrivingcar.com/8-06-exemption-020720/#respond Sat, 08 Feb 2020 17:14:55 +0000 https://smartdrivingcar.com/?p=6797   Friday, February 7, 2020  SmartDrivingCar.com/8.06-Exemption-020720 6th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars   NHTSA Grants Nuro Exemption Petition for Testing Low-Speed Driverless Vehicle Press release, Feb 6, "NHTSA […]

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imap://alaink@exchangeimap.princeton.edu:993/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E3022058?part=1.2&filename=hejedgabmgkdglfj.png

Friday, February 7, 2020 

SmartDrivingCar.com/8.06-Exemption-020720
6th edition of the 8th year of SmartDrivingCars

  NHTSA Grants Nuro Exemption Petition for Testing Low-Speed Driverless Vehicle

Press release, Feb 6, "NHTSA announced today that it granted Nuro’s request for a temporary exemption from certain low-speed vehicle standard requirements. The exemption will allow the company to deploy its low-speed, occupantless electric delivery vehicle, the “R2.”  Unlike a conventional low-speed vehicle, the R2 is designed to have no human occupant and operates exclusively using an automated driving system.

“Since this is a low-speed self-driving delivery vehicle, certain features that the Department traditionally required – such as mirrors and a windshield for vehicles carrying drivers – no longer make sense,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao… " Read more Hmmmm… this is: One small step.  The bigger one will be for the GM/Cruise vehicle.  Be sure to read the Supplemental Information.  Details matter.  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcat Episode 141- A. Roy

F. Fishkin, Feb 7, "The latest glossary of BS in mobility, self driving and autonomy from author, podcaster and cannonball driver Alex Roy on Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Plus the news from Tesla, Nuro, Waymo, GM and more!Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

    Draft Program  4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit   evening May 19 through May 21, 2020 (Tickets are limited, register before May 1)

A. Kornhauser, Feb 6, "The focus of the Summit this year will be moving beyond the AI and the Sensors to addressing the challenges of Commercialization and  the delivery of tangible value to communities.  We’ve made enormous progress with the technology. We’re doing the investment; however, this investment delivers value only if is commercialized: made available and is used by consumers in large numbers.  Demos and one-offs are "great", but to deliver value that is anywhere near commensurate with the magnitude of the investment made to date, initial deployments need to scale.  We can’t just have "Morgantown PRT Systems" whose initial deployment has been nothing but enormously successful for 45 years (an essentially perfect safety record, an excellent availability record and customer valued mobility).  Unfortunately, the system was never expanded or duplicated anywhere.  It didn’t scale.  It is a one-off. 

 

Tests, demos and one-offs are nice niche deployments; however, what one really needs are initial deployments that have the opportunity to grow, be replicated and scale.  In 1888, Frank Sprague, successfully deployed a small electric street railway system in Richmond, Va.  which became the reference for many other ciites.  "… By 1889 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague’s equipment had been begun or planned on several continents…" Substantial scaled societal benefits emerged virally from this technology.  It was eventually supplanted by the conventional automobile but for more than 30 years it delivered substantial improvements to the quality-of-life for many. 

 

In part, the 4th Summit will focus on defining the "Richmond" of Affordable Shared-ride On-demand Mobility-as-a-Service.  The initial Operational Design Domain (ODD) that safely accommodates Driverless Mobility Machines that people actually choose to use and becomes the envy of communities throughout the country. " Read more Hmmmm… Draft Program is in flux.  Consider all named individuals as "Invited yet to be confirmed". Alain

  Alex Roy’s Glossary of BS in Mobility, Self-Driving and Autonomy (Winter 2019/2020)

A. Roy, Jan 31, "he scope of mobility-industry clickbait is so massive these days, all the wine at a Pagani owners meet isn’t enough to make sense of it. Consider the transportation sector, in which publicists compete to unleash ever more BS words on an overwhelmed public. How best to counter the daily storm of nonsense and exaggeration? -—with a glossary for the ages.

Here goes:.. "  Read more Hmmmm… enjoy!! Alain

  APEX: The Secret Race Across America

A. Roy, 2020, "2,811 miles. 2 drivers. 1 car. The movie they didn’t want us to release. The true story of how the Cannonball Run record was broken…." Read more Hmmmm… See movie.  Enjoy!! Alain 

  The federal government just granted its first driverless car exemption

A. Hawkins, Feb 6, "… Nuro, the self-driving startup founded by two ex-Google engineers, has a new delivery robot. The R2 is the company’s second-generation vehicle, and while it looks similar to the first-generation R1 — egg-shaped, no room for a human driver, objectively cute — there is one important difference: the R2 has been granted a special exemption from federal safety requirements….

That may sound dangerous, but it’s actually pretty significant. It gives Nuro permission to produce and test vehicles that aren’t intended for human drivers. Right now, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) require cars to have basic, human controls, like steering wheels, pedals, sideview mirrors, and so on. These standards specify how vehicles must be designed before they can be sold in the US… But Nuro’s exemption will come with some strings attached. According to the department (emphasis ours):

Given the R2’s unique and novel design, though, NHTSA has determined that it would be in the public interest to maintain greater oversight of the R2 than typical for an exempt vehicle, and has conditioned the exemption on a set of terms including mandatory reporting of information about the operation of the R2 (including the automated driving system) and required outreach to the communities where the R2 will be deployed…" Read more Hmmmm…This is significant!  Alain

  Tesla’s Stock Is Up 36% in Two Days. What’s Going On?

N. Cholski, Feb 4, "… But if a stock rises steadily above the price at which the short-sellers initially sold it, they are sitting on a loss. That loss — in theory — has no limits because a stock can keep rising. And if a stock zooms higher, as Tesla’s has, the short-sellers will usually have to rush to buy the shares to protect themselves against further losses. If enough investors do this, it pushes the stock price up even further, forcing even more buying by short-sellers. Other investors often join the buying, in the belief they can make quick and easy profits.

This effect, known as a short squeeze, not only creates losses on existing short bets, but also deters new investors from betting against the stock. The almost vertical trajectory of Tesla’s share price suggests that a particularly acute short squeeze is in progress…."  Read more Hmmmm… Whew!! Alain

  The Future of Sensors for Self-Driving Cars: All Roads, All Conditions

D. Cardinal, Feb 4, "Whatever your thoughts about how quickly autonomous vehicle technology will move forward, there is little doubt that it will need to rely on better and less expensive sensor technology than we have available today. Current test vehicles often have sensor suites costing over $100,000, and still can’t deal with all types of road and weather conditions.

To help provide some background context and assess the future potential of various sensor technologies, we assembled a panel of industry experts at Electronic Imaging 2020. They represented the major sensor modalities in automotive use today: lidar, radar, cameras, and thermal imaging. Everyone learned a lot, and there were some great takeaways that we’ll share with you in this writeup of the session….

When asked about the argument that “people can drive with two eyes, why can’t cars?” their responses ranged from needing to be better than human drivers to a desire for true redundancy for safety. All of the panelists also agreed that it would be years before the advanced technology needed for L4 and above would be close to affordable for retail car buyers. So they are all determined to buckle up for the long, slow, adoption curve they expect as costs gradually come down with increased volume and innovation."    Read more Hmmmm… Redundancy isn’t really good when there is disagreement.  Which is correct???  Also, being "better than humans" should NOT be the goal.  Humans are absolutely fantastic as long as they don’t misbehave. A system that is as good as humans and misbehaves much less is substantially "better than humans".  Alain

  SURVEY SHOWS MUTED WILLINGNESS TO PAY MORE FOR AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES AND SIGNIFICANT INTEREST IN GIVING UP VEHICLE OWNERSHIP FOR ROBOTAXI RIDE-HAILING

F. Delaunay, Jan 28, "… AlixPartners’ Global Autonomous Vehicle Report, which is based on a survey of more than 6,500 consumers across China, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, found that consumers are willing to spend just an 8% to 24% premium for “hands-off-the-wheel” autonomy over today’s already-available technologies (lane-keeping assistance, automatic braking, etc.). The results ranged from Germany’s 24% down to 8% in China. Americans surveyed said they’d be willing to pay just a 9% premium—or $1,868 versus $1,709.

At the same time, the survey results also suggest that the traditional auto industry, in particular, faces another big challenge when it comes to AVs: competition from ride-hailing.

When asked if they’d be willing to consider switching from personal-vehicle ownership to using autonomous-vehicle ride-hailing services, or “robotaxis,” if the monthly cost were from 40% cheaper to even 20% more expensive than vehicle ownership, 44% to 84% across the six countries said they would—led by consumers in China, the world’s largest auto market, at the 84%. In the U.S., 44% said they’d consider swapping their personal vehicle for ride-hailing under such circumstances…"  Read more Hmmmm… The results about aTaxis are interesting and encouraging.  Alain

  GM’s Cruise values autonomous vehicle industry at $8 trillion

M. Wayland, Feb 5, "The global autonomous vehicle industry is an $8 trillion market opportunity, according to General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit Cruise.

Dan Ammann, CEO of the GM majority-owned autonomous vehicle subsidiary, on Wednesday said that valuation includes autonomous ride-hailing services to compete against current companies such as Uber and Lyft at a potentially $5 trillion sector; $2 trillion for freight; and $500 billion each for data insights and in-vehicle experiences…. "  Read more Hmmmm… In line with Adam Jonas’ original $10T/yr.  See the embedded video.  Alain

  2021 Cadillac Escalade Elevates the Extraordinary

Press room, Feb 5, "

  • Industry-first curved OLED display technology
  • Industry-first AKG audio technology
  • Segment-first available Super Cruise driver assistance technology…

… Then finally way down on the page…
Super Cruise

The 2021 Escalade enters the future of mobility as the first full-size SUV with Super Cruise driver assistance technology. It enables hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles of compatible highways in the United States and Canada, using LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a state-of-the-art driver attention system and a network of cameras and radar sensors.

The 2021 Escalade features an enhanced Super Cruise system with several new features and improvements, including automated lane change.  Automated lane change will allow the driver to direct the system to perform a single lane change using the turn signal to indicate the direction of the desired move…." Read more Hmmmm… I guess that we should be pleased that GM placed Super Cruise third after a display and a speaker.  I’m certain that Elon would have listed Super Cruise first, highlighted its current and future capabilities at the top of the sheet (or right after the EV range aspects) and found better things to promote other that a screen and speakers.  So bad!!  (Super Cruise is actually a very good system.  Too bad GM doesn’t really value the safety of its customers; else, it would have it at the top, on all of its models, and not be promoting the watching of a curved OLED screens.)  Alain

  Peoria Approves Funding for Autonomous Shuttle

Press release, Feb 5, "Arizona’s first shared-ride, autonomous shuttle operating on a public street is coming to Peoria. Last night, Peoria’s city council approved the funding for a 60-day autonomous vehicle pilot program with Beep, a Florida-based autonomous mobility solutions company….  The Beep Command Center can also communicate with the onboard shuttle attendant at any time. The shuttle holds up to 10 passengers at a time and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph as part of the pilot program…."  Read more Hmmmm…This is Peoria, Arizona. It does have an attendant. Alain

Tesla: Two Heads are Better Than One

R. Lancelot, Feb 5, "…  All of these investors are ignoring something that Tesla owners or wannabe owners know, that Tesla’s vehicles are fundamentally built differently. From their Ethernet networks to Tesla’s dual redundant fully self-driving system, Tesla’s vehicles are unlike anything manufactured anywhere else in the world for sale to the general public.

Tesla is also building up a powerful network effect narrative around its stated plans to enable a car sharing/ride hailing service on its existing connectivity platform. But fleet operators aren’t waiting for Tesla’s own networked car solution. Fleet operators from Daimler (that’s right – buying 60 Tesla’s) to Kapten (Las Vegas taxi operator – bought 50) and many others are stuffing their fleets with Tesla’s due to their low cost of operation and reliability.

Underlying all of this is the most remarkable value multiplier of all: transparency. While other autonomous vehicle operators and car companies tout their long-term and short-term plans for electrification, connectivity, and autonomy – Tesla publicly discloses its plans, its architecture, its philosophy, and its results.

Is Tesla perfect? Far from it…."  Read more Hmmmm… Tesla treats it customers substantially differently than traditional,even higher end, OEMs.  As I’ve mentioned several times, in 2014 I bought a new Mercedes S-550 because it had intelligent cruise control and automatic lane centering (which barely works).  In the more than 5 years that I’ve owned the car, there has been zero/no attempt by Daimler to improve/update the software in my car.  The intelligent cruise control works well (except it turns off completely if I tap the brakes, rather than turning off only the acceleration function.  I claim that when most people tap the brakes, that’s an indication that they want to speed up.  It does NOT mean that they don’t want to slow down enough to to not hit something in front of them!   This is a left-over from our Society of Automotive Engineers who set standards for "stupid" cruise control to turn off the system if the brakes were tapped.  But stupid CC only controlled the throttle, so turning off the whole system was the simple thing to do.  The SAE has failed to understand that tapping the brakes just means stop accelerating, NOT: stop accelerating  AND stop decelerating!  So bad!!! , but I digress!) 

 

The Lane centering system does not work  well and who knows if the AEB works well.  Daimler must have made improvements to the software over the past 5 years; however, they’ve made zero effort to try to improve my car.  I’d pay handsomely for software improvements that would cost them close to zero to upgrade.  But that’s not their business model.  It is centered on Obsolescence.   They have focused completely on selling me a new one by telling me how bad my car is relative to a new one.  Tesla’s obsession with upgrading and improving what you just bought, rather than the traditional obsolescence and dis-satisfaction central to the traditional OEM’s business model, is a fundamental force in this dynamic. Alain

    This Is What Tesla’s Autopilot Sees On The Road

Carscoops, Jan 31, "This video shows what Tesla Autopilot’s neural network sees on the road. Tesla says the system relies on per-camera networks to analyze raw images to perform semantic segmentation, object detection and monocular depth estimation. It employes birds-eye-view networks to take a video from all cameras to output the road layout, static infrastructure and 3D objects directly in the top-down view…. " Read more Hmmmm… See video.  Fairly impressive.  Frame rates of about 17 frames per second, with lanes and road edges clearly seen.  However, … There doesn’t seem to be any indication on the screen of the approaching car from the left 20 seconds in.  Plus there are no situations in which it approaches any stationary object overhead (tree canopy, overpass,…) nor a 53 foot trailer without a skirt stationary in the lane ahead, or a parked firetruck, or a transition from car-following to leading with a stationary object in the lane ahead, or …. Alain

  Tesla Autopilot is going to detect potholes and make mini-maps to remember them

F. Lambert, Feb 5, "Tesla’s Autopilot, which the automaker is trying to turn into a self-driving system, is going to detect potholes and make mini-maps to remember them, according to a new comment from CEO Elon Musk.
In order to achieve full self-driving, a system would have to be able to handle a wide range of different scenarios, including different weather and road conditions.

These conditions, like potholes, can sometimes be difficult for human drivers to handle, and some people find it improbable that self-driving systems will be able to appropriately navigate them.

Tesla is leveraging its large customer fleet equipped with Autopilot hardware to capture data on those corner cases and teach its neural network to handle them…. " Read more Hmmmm…Why not!  This is leveraging Tesla’s over-the-air communications.  Just the beginning of what they can do as they scale.  Alain

  Tesla will launch ride-sharing app with its own driver insurance

F. Lambert, Feb 4, "…I think it would make sense for us to close-loop on higher use of Autopilot, it reduces the insurance costs as well as the probability of injury.’…"  Read more Hmmmm..  Why not!  Alain

Someone used neural networks to upscale a famous 1896 video to 4k quality (Updated)

T. Lee, Feb 4, "… Of course, humanity’s standards for realism have risen dramatically over the last 125 years. Today, the Lumière brothers’ masterpiece looks grainy, murky, and basically ancient. But a man named Denis Shiryaev used modern machine-learning techniques to upscale the classic film to 21st-century video standards.  The result is remarkable. Watching the upscaled version makes the world of our great-great-great-grandparents come to life. Formerly murky details of the train, the clothing, and the faces of the passengers now stand out clearly…."  Read more Hmmmm…  Look at the videos.  Alain

     Autonomous Vehicle Work Group: 2019 Annual Report

J. Lin, Nov 15, "…This report represents the culmination of extensive research, deliberation, and discussion in 2019 led by a 34 members Executive Committee made up of public, private and non-profit organizations, and seven subcommittees lead by nine different state agencies with the participation of nearly 500 stakeholders. The AV Work Group effort is truly a broad-based, transparent, and inclusive process with stakeholders and experts driving the research, assessment, and determination of what our state decision makers need to consider in order to prepare for the operation of AV’s on our public roadways in Washington State.."  Read more Hmmmm…  Unfortunately it seems that Washington State is singularly focused on AVs for consumers, rather than the opportunity that AVs to deliver substantial affordable on-demand shared-ride mobility-as-a-service.  I guess that Washington State is content to continue to promote and expand single occupant do-it-yourself mobility as the mainstay for the State.   (Oops.. there is an image of an Olli on page 1  (offset by numerous images of connected personal vehicles.) So disappointing.  Alain


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

There are so many bad articles.  I’m overwhelmed.  C’mon Man!  Alain


Sunday Supplement


Half-Baked

 

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ


On the More Technical Side

http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/Papers/


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