Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vancouver councillor wants city to prepare for driverless cars  T. Fletcher, Feb 18 "Driverless cars might seem like a futuristic dream, but a city councillor doesn’t want Vancouver to take a hands-off approach to the emerging technology.  Coun. Geoff Meggs is steering a motion slated for next Tuesday’s council meeting asking city staff to look into the impact of self-driving vehicles and how to maximize the benefits of the technology for Vancouver and the city’s economy.

Although the city’s transportation 2040 plan, which outlines a strategy for how people and goods will move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years, was adopted only four years ago, Meggs said it fails to address driverless technology….  “It may be a powerful tool or there may be problems with it, but at the moment, it’s an empty category in a lot of our thinking,” Meggs told Metro. “We don’t want our (transportation) plan, which we just did, to be obsolete before it even starts.”…"  Read more  Hmmmm…Yup!  Obviously, "obsolescence before ribbon cutting" is something all cities should try to avoid.  Alain

How Driverless Cars Can Reshape Our Cities

P. Sisson, Feb 25 "A potential shift to a society of riders could reclaim roadways for green space and help reshape the public realm.."  Read more  Hmmmm…Of course I like my comments. 🙂  I don’t think we’ll do "shared-ownership".  We’ll buy the mobility "by the drink" from a mobility service company" and not buy with our neighbors a "bottle to share" .  Remember, "fractional ownership" is a real struggle in the air mobility and vacation home industries.  No one is happy!  Alain

Secretary Of Transportation: ‘I See The Future’ When I’m In A Self-Driving Car

Feb 22, R. Siegel, "NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx about the legal ramifications of self-driving automobiles and what the government is doing to usher in this new technology….." Read more See Also   Hmmm… Excellent!  Alain

The Lipinski Transportation Note (Feb. 25, 2016)

Feb 25 "  $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country under another round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program.  The 2016 TIGER grant program will focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities…" Read more  Hmmm… Real Economic Recovery can also be generated by Investing in  research in automated vehicles.  Just a thought… since it is supposedly all about "reliable, safe and affordable" and there doesn’t seem to be any other federal AV money until 2017 at the earliest for something where the Feds are already playing catch-up  Alain

NHTSA Just Approved GM’s Fancy New Rear-View Camera Mirror

Feb 22, J. Westbrook, "In the letter below, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today, the organization deemed Cadillac’s new mirror/camera equipment, called the “Full Display Mirror,” legal under the existing safety requirements for an inside rear view mirror:…It always interests me how these letters are worded, with NHTSA essentially saying “it’s not NOT allowed,” which is equivalent to an okay…" Read more  Listen to Story  Hmmmm…Another step  forward. (And to some..If the lens gets dirty, clean it; if the sky falls, be under it.)  Alain

Semi-Autonomous Cars Compared! Tesla Model S vs. BMW 750i, Infiniti Q50S, and Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Feb ’16 ,  "So while we’re getting worse behind the wheel, the sensors and algorithms capable of saving us from ourselves are getting better. And though we’re not convinced that this will ever yield totally hands-off personal transportation, scores of manufacturers are working feverishly to prove us wrong..As usual, our test regimen is a balanced mix of on-road evaluations and proving- grounds tests. Other than noting which car can and which can’t steer you snugly against a curb, we skipped automatic-parking maneuvers. All these cars and many others on the market keep watchful eyes on your blind spots, a second form of artificial intelligence we’re taking for granted here. To verify that adaptive cruise control works to maintain a safe interval between your car and the one immediately ahead when an intruder barges into your lane, we used a foam-filled Volkswagen Golf decoy owned by Bosch to supplement our over-the-road observations….
" Read more Hmmmm…Well worth reading.  Just the facts, mam!  Alain

Car Sharing Will Keep Growing, but It Will Not Disrupt the Automotive Industry

Feb. 23, "While the Growth of Car Sharing Will Create New Opportunities for Incumbents and New Players, It Will Reduce New-Vehicle Sales by Only 1%,… At the same time, the extremely high utilization rates of AVs will likely limit sales into car-sharing fleets." Read more  especially the Report  Hmmmm…Agreed, Car-sharing is challenged as noted above and BCG does identify that automation and Ride Sharing will disrupt the auto industry. Alain

Toyota create ‘crash test cyclist’ to help develop driverless cars

M. Glaskin, Feb 10 ,  "The car maker has built a cycling crash test dummy in order to assess the radar technology on the driverless cars it’s developing…" Read more  Hmmmm…Great!  Alain

Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Carnegie Mellon gets $5 million gift from Posner family

D. Erdeley, Feb 19 "…Carnegie Mellon University added $5 million to its Presidential Scholarship Fund, courtesy of a gift in memory of the late Henry Posner Jr. and his wife, Helen.

CMU officials said the gift from CMU trustee Anne Molloy and her husband, railroad entrepreneur Henry Posner III of Pittsburgh, will underwrite a minimum of five undergraduate scholarships a year at the Oakland school.   Read more  Hmmmm…This is Extremely kind and generous of the Molloy/Posners.  Alain

On the More Technical Side

Comments on Proposed AV Regulations in California

R. Peterson, Feb 23, "…Although section 38750 attempts to assign the regulation of “autonomous vehicles” to the DMV, the definition of “autonomous vehicle” was unworkable and outdated soon after its adoption.  The definition attempts to draw a distinction between systems that “enhance safety or provide driver assistance” (listing, but not limiting them to a list of systems that existed at the time), but attempts to exclude from these safety enhancing features, those technologies “capable” of driving the vehicle “without active control or monitoring of a human operator.” 
There are two faults in this definition.  First, it seems to attempt a distinction between safety enhancing features and autonomous vehicles.  This is a false dichotomy.  By taking drunk, distracted, careless, and sleepy human drivers with their limited skills out of the primary role of driving, autonomous technology is safety enhancing.  It just happens to bring in its train a number of additional utilities and benefits that most safety features do not deliver.  This is hardly a vice.
Secondly, the definition turns on “capability,” not the OEM’s purpose or intention.  227.02(d).  Almost as soon as section 38750 was adopted, and before these proposed regulations were published, vehicles “capable” of driving themselves within the parameters for which they were designed were on the roads and legal in every state, including California.  Read more  Hmmmm…Excellent.  Alain

Recompiled Old News & Smiles:

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

 Energy Leeds, Feb 2016 "… Energy Use = Energy Efficiency of Travel × Travel Demand … people generally prefer the privacy and convenience of car, but also appreciate the driving-free experience of public transport…The lower travel and concomitant energy use and carbon emissions, could increase by 5% from mid-level automation to  Excellent, so far, but…  up to 60% for a high penetration of self-driving cars in the USA …Thus,  stopping short of fully self-driving cars may be more beneficial from an energy perspective. That is where the Half-baked comes in.  Leeds fundamentally assumes that individuals, as opposed to fleets, are going to buy driverless vehicles.  My expectation is that Fleets (aka Ubers) will easily outbid individuals to buy and operate the fully driverless vehicles in a shared-ride mode;  So the +60% actually becomes -50% in Figure 1.  Read more and Related pieces Will self-driving cars reduce energy use and make travel better for the environment? and Help or hindrance? The travel, energy and carbon impacts of highly automated vehicles assume that fully automated vehicles will be owned by individuals.  I respectfully disagree.  That world view is the critical assumption.  We’ll need to wait and see which reality plays out in this Universe.  Alain


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

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

The Business of Autonomous Vehicles
March 22-23, 2016
Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Francisco Airport

Recent Highlights of:

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 28, 2016

London’s first driverless cars revealed

The consortium behind the trial has decided to adapt electric passenger shuttles that are currently in service at Heathrow Airport for use in Greenwich.  Unlike the Heathrow pods, they will not need dedicated tracks.
The Greenwich trial is one of four in the UK to test driverless technology and public reaction to it…"This vehicle has millions of miles under its belt and now we have to take it outside of the track and modify it for use on pavements," he added.  The so-called UltraPODs currently in service at Heathrow carry passengers between the car park and Terminal 5. In the five years they have been in use, they have carried 1.5 million passengers and traveled three million kilometers (1.8 million miles)…."   Read more   Hmmm…Wow!! … PRT evolving to be autonomousTaxis!  Wow!!!  🙂    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

Friday, October 02, 2015

"60 Minutes" test-rides Mercedes-Benz self-driving car

Oct 2 "As Google’s driverless cars have logged more then a million miles in the past six years, the rest of the auto industry is racing to keep up. Computer scientist Ralf Herrtwich hits the road with "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker to demonstrate Mercedes-Benz’s most advanced self-driving prototype. Watch the full story Sunday on "60 Minutes."  Watch video and watch 60 minutes on Sunday Oct 4. This is really becoming mainstream.  Congratulations Ralf! Alain

Friday, August 28, 2015

Truck Safety Out of the Box from Autonobox

B Simpson, July 19, 2015 "The premise is promising. Develop and market a plug-and-play, forward-avoidance braking system for the heavy vehicle market that can be installed quickly, upgraded regularly, and even transferred from vehicle to vehicle if necessary.

The Autonobox System essentially is a second braking system for heavy-duty vehicles that addresses the long-standing problem of brakes that overheat after intense use like a panic-stop or sustained use while going downhill…. Read more  Hmmm…A viable after-market retro-fit opportunity.  Alain

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rep. Lipinski Introduces Future Transportation Research and Innovation Act

I. Sancken 03/29/15, "Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has introduced H.R. 2886, the Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity (TRIP) Act, to support innovative technologies that have the potential to fundamentally alter mobility in America and beyond.

"Surface transportation used to be rather staid and unimaginative, but today the very concept of ‘mobility’ is being reinvented through research, innovation, and entrepreneurship," said Rep. Lipinski. "Rapidly advancing automation, connectivity, and information technologies are creating incredible opportunities for transportation innovation. We need to develop innovative ways to improve safety, ease congestion, improve personal mobility, and cut energy use…"  Read more  Hmmm… Excellent!  Alain

Friday, May 29, 2015

John F. Nash Jr., Math Genius Defined by a ‘Beautiful Mind,’ Dies at 86

E. Goodmay, May 24 "…Dr. Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike in Monroe Township around 4:30 p.m. when the driver lost control while veering from the left lane to the right and hit a guardrail and another car, Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police said.

The couple were ejected from the cab and pronounced dead at the scene. The State Police said it appeared that they had not been wearing seatbelts…. Read more
See also: John, Alicia Nash Remembered After Fatal Crash
A Beautiful Mind Mathematician John Nash and His Wife Killed in N.J. Car Crash ;

Hmmm… So tragic!!! What a crying shame!!! So preventable!!! We will miss them 🙁

Unfortunately, the NYT and others tried but missed the fundamental point by following up with "Deaths of Math Genius John F. Nash Jr. and Wife Show Need to Use Seatbelts in Back, Experts Say ".  Why do we so easily put up with crashes in the first place?  It is as if it is OK to go around crashing, just put on a seat belt.   Technology is available to avoid crashes, but there isn’t sufficient public policy focus on avoiding crashes to accelerate its adoption and enhancement.

The fundamental problem was that the taxi was not equipped with available automated stability control, lane keeping and collision avoidance systems.  This was not an accident, it was a failed public safety policy that refuses to move beyond crash mitigation and its challenged “V2x” initiatives to embrace forthright automated crash avoidance. 

Moreover, there is a failed Taxi regulatory structure that doesn’t even hint that taxis should have electronic stability control, automated lane keeping and collision avoidance.  What is the purpose of taxi regulation, to keep “Ubers” out of business? 

It is time for the nation’s transportation policy to focus intelligence/automation on the vehicle in support of the driver.  Hopefully Congress will restructure the pending transportation legislation to focus automated vehicle technologies that actively assist drivers when they make driving mistakes.  We are not perfect.  We deserve a public safety policy that is more mindful of our imperfections. Policy that isn’t aimed at just warning and scolding us but actively takes over and does the right thing.  We, not the infrastructure, are the cause of most of the the highway carnage.  It is the driver who needs help and our public policy should focus on delivering that help.      Alain

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