Friday, June 17, 2016

  Planning for the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution

J. DeAngelis, June 15, "…autonomous vehicles (AVs) also stand to disrupt the norms of both transportation and land use planning. According to a new report from the Florida State University Department of Urban & Regional Planning titled Envisioning Florida’s Future: Transportation and Land Use in an Automated Vehicle World, AVs may exert as great an influence on the built environment as the mass production of the automobile did in the early to middle 20th century.

Parking minimums, street design, rights of way, development demand, signage and signalization, building siting and design, access management, and their accompanying norms and standards have the potential to change dramatically over the next 40-50 years.a…" Read more  Hmmm…. Land-use implications are THE big unknowns.  See report next.  Alain

  Envisioning Florida’s Future: Transportation and Land Use in an Automated Vehicle Automated Vehicle World

T. Chapin, et al. April 2016, "…Key themes from these discussions included that AVs will require narrower right-of-ways and travel lanes; influence the location, form, and amount of parking; impact the mobility of bicyclists and pedestrians; declutter urban environments through reduced signalization and signage; and provide opportunities for redevelopment on now unnecessary parking lots and excess right-of-ways. In this way, this study affirms that AVs are expected to drastically affect the design and functioning of the built environment and provides a starting point for public and private stakeholders to prepare for these impacts. While further research will be necessary, this study provides preliminary guidance for the policy decisions and infrastructure investments necessary to leverage AV technology to create a transportation system that is safer and more efficient than ever before and an urban environment built upon principles of sustainability and human-centered design…" Read more  Hmmm… A thoughtful investigation with a recognition that the surface is barely being scratched.  If this technology revolution is akin to going from the horse to Henry Ford then the land-use/quality-of-life change for Florida may be akin to going from swamp land to today’s Kissimmee!    Alain

How to get a free ride in a self-driving shuttle this summer

M. McFarland, June 16, "Local Motors officially unveiled its self-driving shuttle Thursday and said it will begin giving free rides to the public in Maryland this summer.

The electric vehicle, which seats 12, will drive slowly on public roads in National Harbor, Md., operating at speeds between 3 and 8 mph, according to Local Motors chief executive Jay Rogers. He characterized Olli as a “friendly neighborhood robot” that isn’t capable of traveling on highways…." Read more  Hmmm… looking to be the first.  No problem with starting slowly.  We are just at the beginning 🙂 See also Wired  Alain

Why back-up cameras haven’t stopped drivers from backing into stuff

J. Bogage, June 16 "With or without eyes in the back of their heads, drivers keep hitting things.

Despite the growing prevalence of back-up cameras, federal data shows that this technology hasn’t significantly cut down on cars backing into people and causing them harm….. In 2003, three in 278 auto models came with back-up cameras. By this year, only 20 models out of 362 industry-wide don’t have them….

the cameras reduce blind zones while in reverse by 90 percent, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — but they keep hitting things…." Read more  Hmmm… Couple of things… "Nice" that NHTSA will mandate them in 2018 once all models have them anyway.  Way to go NHTSA!  (Bronx cheer!) Also, this points out that "ability to see better" is not good enough, nor are warnings.  Automated rear braking is what is needed (I’m sure NHTSA will mandate that in "2026" when all models have it).  Alain

Insurer launches UK’s ‘first driverless car policy’

J. Kollewe, June 7, "The driverless policy has additional features to a standard one. Customers will be covered for loss or damage in case of: failure to install vehicle software updates and security patches, subject to an increased policy excess; satellite failure or outages affecting navigation systems, or failure of the manufacturer’s vehicle operating system or other authorized software; loss or damage caused by a failure to manually override the system to prevent an accident should the system fail; and loss or damage if the car gets hacked.…" Read more  Hmmm…This is a good start.  Insurance can make all of this happen.    Alain

Skeptics of Self-Driving Cars Span Generations

J. Quain, June 16 "“I have no problem letting a car take control,” said Jeffrey Miller, an associate professor of engineering practice at the University of Southern California. “But having a car take my kids to school? You’re talking about people who don’t have the ability to take over if something goes wrong. I’m not that comfortable with it.”…(Hmmm… Yet you let your kid ride a school bus???)  more than two-thirds of the experts in the study said they weren’t ready to have a robotic car play nanny, giving the concept a 3 or lower. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from engineers of the state of the art in self-driving (driverless) cars….

“There are people who want to hop into the back seat and go to sleep,” said Ken Washington, vice president of Ford’s research and advanced engineering division, “and others who say, ‘No robot is going to drive my car.’”

Most of the researchers and automotive experts say driver attitudes will shift as more advanced safety and semiautonomous systems are introduced into new models. Education about how the systems work and their benefits will also help…" Read more  Hmmm… Way too early to get meaningful answers to these questions.  No one wanted to ride an elevator without an operator nor wanted to ride in a horseless carriage nor fly in an airplane.    Alain

For Driverless Cars, Citylike Test Sites Offer the Unpredictable

N Boudette, June 4 "…In addition to its Mcity effort, the University of Michigan is a partner in a project to set up a much more complex site about 10 miles away in neighboring Ypsilanti. It will be called the American Center for Mobility and will comprise 335 acres that were once part of G.M.’s Willow Run plant. During World War II, it was the site of a famed bomber factory. Mr. Maddox has been named the center’s chief.

Unlike Mcity, this larger site will have long stretches where autonomous cars can be tested at highway speeds and space for creating a variety of complex intersections. Its existing roadways include overpasses and bridges.

Ford is interested in potentially using the Willow Run facility, said Randy Visintainer, Ford’s director of autonomous vehicle development. “It is something we would probably have to create if it didn’t exist,” he said..The challenge, by all accounts, is enormous…" Read more  Hmmm…Tried to do one at Fort Monmouth, now scaled back to doing it at Princeton’s Forrestal Campus and via Virtual Reality.  Issues are "corner cases".    Alain


C. Fitzgerald, June 5 "…For the most part, the consumers surveyed were relatively happy with the technology already in their cars. Well over half reported positive associations with the technology: 28% of participants are very happy with the technology, and an additional 42% like most of the features.

When asked about levels of autonomy, consumers broke out into very distinct age groups. The highest percentages of consumers surveyed — regardless of age — responded that they’re interested in autonomous technologies that help the driver, meaning technologies that may apply full braking force when a car stops short, or guides the driver slightly if they weave out of a lane. Most significantly, more than half of consumers in the 65 to 74 and 75-plus age groups indicated that they would be interested in owning cars with this type of technology…." Read more Hmmm…See next posting for original paper.  Not easy to predetermine what consumers will want, especially when some of the options are conceptual (e.g. "full autonomy").   Alain

Autonomous Vehicles, Trust, and Driving Alternatives: A survey of consumer preferences

H. Abraham et al., June 2016 "… To effectively develop and deploy systems that enhance driver safety and mobility through greater degrees of automation, consumers’ understanding, trust and desire for these systems will need to be developed to support the marketplace. For consumers to optimally leverage the advances of many technologies, adequate technology training may be required. Little is established about how consumers are currently acquiring this training for new vehicle technologies. What is not yet fully understood, is how drivers across the lifespan acquire information about technological and service alternatives, view today’s automotive technologies, see future automation systems supporting them, look to learn about these systems, and consider options for alternative transportation. To explore these topics, a survey instrument was developed to gain deeper insight into key questions including:
1. Are consumers satisfied with technology that is already in their vehicle?
2. How are consumers learning about in-vehicle technologies? How would they prefer to learn?
3. Are consumers willing to use various alternatives to driving? Do they currently use them?
4. Are consumers willing to use automation in vehicles?
5. Are older adults willing to use autonomous vehicles and / or alternatives to driving in order to increase mobility?…" Read more Hmmm…A good attempt to try to resolve answers to these questions; however, the eventual reality of these systems will likely be quite different than the current "Sunday supplement" that is at-best the current perception of these systems.  Did anyone really have to be "taught" to use an automated people mover at airports?  Whatever!  🙂   Alain

Google Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report

May, 2016  "Down with the tyrannical horn: Teaching a self-driving car to honk..Given the time we’re spending on busy streets, we’ll inevitably be involved in collisions; sometimes it’s impossible to overcome the realities of speed and distance. Thousands of minor crashes happen every day on typical American streets, 94% of them involving human error, and as many as 55% of them go unreported. (And we think this number is low; for more, see here.).."  Read more  Hmmm…Always good reading. (Compared to below from GM it is out-of-this-world).  Alain

Tesla offered to share all its Autopilot data with the US Department of Transport

F. Lambert, June 3,  "Tesla’s CEO added that for the regulators to approve an autonomous driving system, it would have to prove to be at least two times safer than a human or maybe even 5 to 10 times. Earlier this year, he said that based on early data from the Autopilot program, the system lowers the probability of having an accident by 50%.."  Read more  Hmmm…Always good promotion from Elon. (Compared to below from GM it is out-of-this-world).  Alain

Facebook Ride Sharing Group Replaces Uber And Lyft In Austin

S. Hamley, June 8,  "…Nature abhors a vacuum, so they say, and so does the digital economy. Within days of the announcement that Uber and Lyft would cease operations in Austin, a group calling itself Arcade City Austin/Request A Ride organized itself on Facebook. Started by Christopher David and Eric Green, the group has over 32,000 members today.

According to TechCrunch, when members need a ride they post their current location and destination on Facebook. Within minutes, potential drivers respond with an estimated time of arrival, a proposed fee for the ride, and a phone number where they can be contacted. Once an agreement has been made, group members delete the request…."  Read more  Hmmm…If Uber (and Lyft) have so little "stickiness", why is their valuation so high???.  Alain

Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Adding Teen Driver to Auto Policy Yields Average 79% Premium Rise

A. Carrns, June 17 "…Families adding a teenage driver to their auto insurance policy will see their premium increase by an average of 79 percent, the latest analysis from finds. That’s a bit lower than the average increases seen in recent years, but it is still a hit to the wallet…

The higher premiums reflect teenagers’ greater likelihood of being involved in an accident. Research shows that they have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States.." Read more Hmmm…and the data are from a 2012 report.  Just imagine what the crash rate is now that they all have cell phones. Amazing that the premium increase isn’t greater.  The solution is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer: automated collision avoidance systems!  🙂   Alain

Tesla’s weird week

June 10, "…In a span of just 72 hours, the Model S was accused of having major suspension issues, the NHTSA supposedly got involved, Tesla explained there is nothing wrong and the NHTSA isn’t actually investigating the issue and Elon Musk tweeted that the whole thing was a giant conspiracy.

Woah. OK, let’s take a step back and dissect this…" Read more Hmmm…Every week is a weird week.  Alain

On the More Technical Side

Recompiled Old News & Smiles:

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

The future of autonomous cars Faraday Future aims to test self-driving cars in Michigan

Jun 13, 2016  "Stephen Carlisle, President and Managing Director, General Motors of Canada joins BNN to discuss why GM is expanding its autonomous vehicle engineering and software development work in Canada."  Read Video  Hmmm…A Canadian view from GM’s president. Connected car??? Hiring how many when???  (Have offer from Facebook/Google/Apple/Msft/Amazon/GM; likelihood of choosing GM is epsilon).  How many lines of code?? Dedicated lanes for autonomous vehicles??? Not a whisper about safety (continued denial), GM at the top still doesn’t really get it.  Alain

Faraday Future aims to test self-driving cars in Michigan Technical Assistance Events for Concept Development Phase

Jun 13, 2016  "Faraday Future isn’t just talking a big game when it mentions plans for autonomous features in its cars. Michigan’s Department of Transportation tells the Detroit News that FF not only asked about how to apply for plates that let it test self-driving cars, but has applied for three manufacturer plates since. While the company isn’t confirming anything (the plates are to test "prototypes and features," it says), it’s safe to say that at least one of those vehicles won’t always have a human at the wheel…" See more   Hmmm…Just enormously skeptical.  Seems like way too much lipstick here (, but what do I know?).  Alain

Technical Assistance Events for Concept Development Phase

June 2016  "The USDOT has selected three pilot sites, where teams are in the process of conducting Phase 1 Concept Development activities in order to move towards deployment and operations phases. A series of USDOT-sponsored technical assistance events has been developed to assist not only the three selected sites, but also other early deployers of connected vehicle technologies to conduct Concept Development activities…." See more   Hmmm…Infrastructure that is "deployed" tends to have an expected life of 40+ years.  Is this connected vehicle stuff already essentially obsolete?  Is there a viable business case? I guess that is why it is a (central government) deployment rather than a market adoption. Alain

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

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Connected & Automated Vehicle Conference
What States Need to Know
June 21 &22, 2016
Maritime Institute (near BWI), Lincoln Heights, MD

Congressman Dan Lipinski Cordially Invites You:

Policy Roundtable — ‘‘The Road Ahead: Developing Policies to Make Connected &
Automated Vehicles a Reality’’
June 22nd, 2016 — 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM
2253 Rayburn House Office Building (T&I Committee Hearing Room)

Recent Highlights of:

Friday, June 3, 2016

It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead

M Richtel, May 22, " Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from crashes, collisions and other incidents caused by drivers.

Just don’t call them accidents anymore.

That is the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country. They are campaigning to change a 100-year-old mentality that they say trivializes the single most common cause of traffic incidents: human error.  “When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.  “In our society,” he added, “language can be everything.”

Almost all crashes stem from driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving and other risky activity. About 6 percent are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather and other factors…." Read more  Hmmm… I should have started the last issue of SDC with this article.  Mark is absolutely correct here. Language matters and it is NOT an accident.  it is a Total Poop Show!.  Alain

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Derailment of Amtrak passenger train 188, Philadelphia, PA, May 12, 2015 NTSB/ DCA15MR010

Public meeting of May 17 "… Executive Summary…This report addresses the following safety issues:

  • Crewmember situational awareness and management of multiple tasks.
  • Positive train control. In the accident area, positive train control had not yet been implemented at the time of the accident, but it has since been implemented.  The NTSB found that the accident could have been avoided if positive train control or another control system had been in place to enforce the permanent  speed restriction of 50 mph at the Franklin Junction curve.
  •   Read more 

Hmmm… Kudos to NTSB for finding "the accident could have been avoided if positive train control or another control system had been in place to enforce..."

HOWEVER, given that PCT was mandated by Congress in 2008 with a deadline of December 15, 2015 and that 6 months before the deadline PTC had NOT been implemented on Amtrak’s highest volume segment (PHL-NYC) is so unacceptable that this deserved to have been their #1 bullet.  NOT some poor train engineer that was simply trying to do a job made enormously more dangerous and stressful because Amtrak management failed to implement in a timely manner what had been mandated by its "sugar daddy"!!  So the NTSB "threw" the engineer "under the bus" and essentially all of the news reports pointed to the engineer rather than Amtrak’s senior (mis)management (The Atlantic, NBC, Washington Post, WSJ, NYT etc.  Why didn’t the NYT do a long story on why Amtrak management didn’t install PTC in a timely manner???) 

My point here is larger in that this same issue exists in the rest of the transit industry where crash-avoidance technology exists today that can substantially reduce collisions and do so while printing money for the transit industry.  Dr. Jerome Lutin and I have pointed out to deaf ears that automated collision avoidance systems exist today for buses whose costs are substantially less than the net present value of the liability that these buses can be expected to impose on society.  This is about the cash that a hopelessly bankrupt transit industry has to pay out because it isn’t installing existing crash avoidance technology that is available today.  On top of that cash are all of the societal benefits associated with eliminating collisions. There is no rush (not even a faint heart-beat) by the industry to do this. FTA is totally asleep, yet bus drivers continue to be placed in some of the most stressful and unsafe working conditions without the help that such technologies can deliver.  I can’t be more blunt… The major cause of accidents in the transit industry is the fact that the management of the transit industry is not installing in its fleets existing and available automated collision avoidance systems.  What is even more derelict is that new bus procurement don’t include such provisions either.  When is the finger going to finally be pointed towards "Management" and the FTA instead of the poor bus driver or train engineer? NTSB is getting close by at least  putting  it 2nd, but if the public is to become aware, it will need to rise to the top bullet.  Alain  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving

Chenyi Chen PhD Dissertation , "…the key part of the thesis, a direct perception approach is proposed to drive a car in a highway environment. In this approach, an input image is mapped to a small number of key perception indicators that directly relate to the affordance of a road/traffic state for driving….."  Read more  Hmmm..FPO 10:00am, May 16 , 120 Sherrerd Hall, Establishing a foundation for image-based autonomous driving using DeepLearning Neural Networks trained in virtual environments. Very promising. Alain 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

 Beverly Hills to Develop Autonomous Vehicles

M. Walker April 15, "The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously this week to adopt a resolution to develop driverless vehicles that will provide public transportation throughout the city.

The program is part of Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch’s plan for a municipally owned fleet of autonomous vehicles that would function as an on-demand car shuttle service to and from any address in the city. .." Read more  Hmmm…Communities all around the nation should follow what BH, Austin and a few other communities are doing.  There is an opportunity to begin on-demand shared-ride "21st Century Public Transit" mobility using volunteer drivers to initiate and thoroughly demonstrate this low-cost mobility in preparation for a massive roll-out that can take place once driverless cars can extend/replace the volunteer drivers. Staff report on the matter; another article; landing page for the program.  Alain

Saturday, April 23, 2016

  N.J. superintendent killed while jogging was struck by student late for trip

K. Shea, April 19, "…The Robbinsville High School student who was driving the car that struck and killed the district’s superintendent Tuesday morning was late for a school trip when the crash occurred, according to two sources involved in the investigation.…" Read more Hmmm…Most tragic in so many dimensions!!!  HOWEVER, it was NOT the student that STRUCK the Superintendent, it was the CAR.  AND the CAR needs to start being held responsible for ALLOWING such tragedies to ruin so many lives.  It is very likely that this tragedy could have been averted had the car been equipped with an automated collision avoidance system and/or lane-keeping system.  Given the availability of these "tragedy avoidance systems", we should all be asking why this CAR wasn’t equipped with such a system and why all cars aren’t so equipped.  Certainly innocent runners and dogs need to be asking such questions.  So too, that young lady’s car insurance company; it must be muttering: "shouda bought her that upgrade".  What about the car companies themselves who are largely just sitting on the technology or the dealerships that don’t feel compelled to espouse the benefits of such technology while pushing more "horsepower" and "Corinthian Leather" (and worse yet: "AooleCarXYZ" that distracts drivers).  We all know that Washington is broken.  Them staying out of the way is probably best (although aggressively applying better human-visible paint/laneMarkings and human-readable signs would go a long way to helping both attentive drivers and automated lane-keeping systems).  Everyone else has  fundamental self-interest at stake and each needs to stop pointing the finger to the frail human driver.  We have the technology and the the self-interest to make mobility substantially safer.  Let’s really get on with it.  It’s time!   Alain

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Automated Vehicle Operational Guidance Public Meeting

April 8,"At this meeting, NHTSA sought input on planned operational guidelines for the safe deployment of automated vehicles (AV). Of high importance to the agency is information on the roadway scenarios and operational environments that highly automated vehicles will need to address, and the associated design and evaluation processes and methods needed to ensure that AV systems are able to detect and appropriately react to these scenarios"  Read more  Hmmm…Watch testimony  , especially: testimony of Dr. Jerome Lutin.   Alain 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities

March 23 Hmmm… Watch the video of the Committee Meeting.  The testimony is Excellent and very compelling! Also see Self-Driving Minnesota Alain

Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

Press Release, Mar 17, NHTSA & IIHS "announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process…The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.. Watch NHTSA video on AEB  Download AEB video from IIHSRead more  Hmmmm…Fantastic!  Automakers leading with regulatory process staying out of the way.   Alain

Saturday, March 12, 2016

GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion

D. Patrick Mar 11,"General Motors  GM 1.43%  this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation that the deal is valued at “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.

Talks between the two companies originally related to a strategic investment by GM in Cruise, which was planning to raise a new round of venture capital funding. But that quickly morphed into an acquisition discussion with the entire agreement getting hashed out in less than six weeks. Read more Hmmmm…That sets the bar.  Reminiscent of AOL paying $1.1B for MapQuest resulting in NavTeq getting $8.1B from Nokia followed by Here getting $3B from MB et alDeja vu all over again!  Very interesting  🙂  Alain

Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit

A. Robertson, Feb 10 , Feb. "…Half a century after its heyday, the Alden StaRRcar clearly wasn’t made for its world. It looks like a white flatiron with wheels or a sleek, plastic bullet, dwarfed by the regal sedans of 1960s Detroit. It belongs in one of Buckminster Fuller’s domed cities, a vehicle for traveling under the geodesics of a bubble-topped Manhattan. Its future wasn’t one of highways, but of narrow cement tracks looping gracefully between city and suburb, connecting increasingly alienated parts of the American landscape…

Once considered a key to solving urban blight, the StaRRcar was part of a public transit revolution that never was — but one that would help launch one of the weirdest and most politicized public infrastructure experiments of the 20th century. It’s an old idea that today, in an age of self-driving cars, seems by turns impractically retro and remarkably prescient…

PRT’s invention is attributed to a transportation expert named Donn Fichter, but the central idea was conceived, remixed, and adapted by many in the 1950s and 1960s. While the details varied, the prototypical PRT system was a network of narrow guideways populated by small passenger pods. When commuters arrived, they would hit a button to select a destination, calling one of the pods like a taxi. Then, instead of running on a set line, the pod would use guideways like a freeway system, routing around stations in order to take passengers directly to their final stop.

The system was designed to be everything that existing public transportation wasn’t. Pods would carry only as many people as an average car, guaranteeing a nearly private ride. Riders wouldn’t need to follow a timetable or wait for other people to enter and exit the system. Because the pods would only be dispatched on demand, cities could run service to many low-traffic areas without worrying about waste. There were no drivers to train or pay, and the pods could run quietly on electrical power instead of with fossil fuels…

Multiple plans for personal rapid transit fell through, whether because of budget problems, logistical issues, or political power struggles….

And as in the ‘60s, we’re talking about whether self-driving vehicles could spell the end of private cars…." Read more  Hmmmm…A must read.  Pretty much as I remember it.  I lived much of it, including designing 10,000 station, 10,000 mile PRT networks that could serve all of New Jersey’s needs for personal mobility.  The good news was that the area-wide systems would provide great mobility for all.  The bad news: No viable way to start.  The best starting places could each be readily served by conventional systems with no technology risk.  Without a place to start, PRT never got a chance to flourish in the vast areas that are un-servable by conventional technology.  Moreover, PRT needed the diversion of public sector capital funds that weres already in the back pocket of those pedaling the conventional technologies. Consequently, the personal auto has reigned on.

Today is different. With PRT, even the first vehicle needed a couple of stations and interconnecting guideway (and all of the discussion and heartache was about the location and cost of those initial stations and guideway).  With autonomous taxis sharing existing roads, one can begin with a single vehicle capable of serving many existing places without needing to pay-for/justify any infrastructure.   That is today’s fundamental opportunity, in contrast to PRT’s monumental infrastructure burden even for one vehicle.  That’s why aTaxis are destined to finally deliver PRT’s utopian mobility to all and substantially transform our cities and suburbs. Alain


Thursday, February 18, 2016

  Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percent in 50 Years

Press Release Feb 16 "With continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated 3.5% increase in motor-vehicle mileage, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2015 totaled 38,300, up 8% from 2014.

The 2015 estimate is provisional and may be revised when more data are available. The total for 2015 was up 8% from the 2013 figure. The annual total for 2014 was 35,398, a less than 0.5% increase from 2013. The 2013 figure was 3% lower than 2012. The estimated annual population death rate is 11.87 deaths per 100,000 population, an increase of 7% from the 2014 rate. The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.22 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, an increase of 5% from the 2014 rate. Read more Hmmmm…This is REALLY BAD news.  Come on insurance. This is costing you money!  Accident rates going up means that your actuarials are behind, your regulated pricing lags and you are losing money.  To get ahead of your actuarials, you MUST incentivize the adoption of automated collision avoidance systems.  You’ll then do very well, thank you AND help society.  Alain

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2017

Feb. 9, "…(3) Accelerate the integration of autonomous vehicles, low-carbon technologies, and intelligent transportation systems into our infrastructure….

  • Providing almost $400 million on average per year in funding over the next 10 years for the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Investments would help develop connected infrastructure and smart sensors that can communicate with autonomous vehicles, support R&D to ensure these vehicles are safe and road ready, and expand at-scale deployment projects to provide “proving grounds” for autonomous self-driving and connected vehicles in urban and highway settings.

Read more Hmmmm…major victory…not only: "…for autonomous self-driving…", bit also stated before: "… and connected…".     Alain

Thursday, January 14, 2016

 Obama’s $4 Billion Plan for Self-Driving Cars Will Make Google Very Happy

M. Bergen, Jan 14 "The Obama Administration has seen the self-driving future, and it’s jumping aboard.  At the Detroit auto show on Thursday morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will unveil a plan to develop a national blueprint for autonomous driving technology within the next six months.  He will also announce that President Obama is planning to insert $4 billion into the 2017 budget for a 10-year plan to support and “accelerate” vehicle automation projects.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. …But here’s the part of Foxx’s talk that really matters for Google: These national rules will allow fully driverless cars..." Read More  Hmmm… A few months ago it was $42M for Connected Vehicles. Today it is 100x for automated vehicles! Finally Secretary Foxx.."YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT" (Blue Brothers)  Yea!!!!!   🙂 Alain

Sunday, January 3, 2016

 Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self-Driving Cars

J. Hyde & S. Carty, Dec. 21 "Google and Ford will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology, a huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing, …According to three sources familiar with the plans, the partnership is set to be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California….

Google already has several links to Ford; the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford, including a stint as head of truck engineering, and several other ex-Ford employees work in the unit as well. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.

And Ford executives have been clear for years that the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Ford CEO Mark Fields has repeatedly said Ford was thinking of itself “as a mobility company,” and what that would mean for its business" Read more  Hmmm…Not surprising and not exclusive. 🙂 Alain

Sunday, December 19, 2015

Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars

Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1.  Hmmm … Watch Video  especially at the 13:12 mark.  Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above!  Also see his TipRanks.  Alain

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