Monday, June 29, 2015

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MOSI debuts nation's first driverless vehicle open to public


D. Dangerfield, 6/12/15 " Imagine a vehicle that can drive on its own.  On Saturday, the public will be invited to take a ride in one.  The new driverless Meridian Shuttle is part of an exhibit that opens at MOSI on Saturday. The vehicle allows up to eight people to ride around the first floor of the museum.  Read more  Hmmm... It is all about starting.  Congratulations! Alain


OPINION: The disruption of driverless cars

6/17/15, "...For insurance companies, their primary revenue streams will shift from personal lines to commercial lines as carriers retool their offerings to sell product liability insurance to vehicle manufacturers.  The impact will be of a higher magnitude than that of Obamacare, which shifted healthcare marketing targets from employers to consumers.  We should expect to see extremely competitive pricing and some very big winners and losers in the insurance industry, since there are far more insurers than there are vehicle manufacturers...

...This somewhat resembles the historical factors affecting the transition from horse and buggy to the automobile.  There is also an entire segment of the population that simply enjoys both driving and collecting vehicles..."  Read more  Hmmm... Yup!  In 2050 some 1 percent-ers will have car-farms in Chevy-Neck, New Jersey :-)  Not a bad article! Alain


Automobile Insurance in the era of autonomous vehicles


Survey results, June 2015. "... Survey found skepticism about the potential transformation,  Few carriers have taken action... because most believe the change will happen far into the future..."  Read more  Hmmm... Another excellent report from KPMG.  Sounds like many insurance executives may be having a "Kodak Moment"! Alain


Will your self-driving car be programmed to kill you if it means saving more strangers?

6/15/15 "This ethical puzzler is commonly known as the Trolley Problem. It's a standard topic in philosophy and ethics classes, (and pretentious cocktail parties) ...So should your self-driving car be programmed to kill you in order to save others? There are two philosophical approaches to this type of question, Barghi says. "Utilitarianism tells us that we should always do what will produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people," Read more Hmmm...  sounds more like Marxism.  Oh well. This cocktail party debate will continue to go on forever. Alain


Google's driverless car fleet to double as it prepares for new tests


M. Williams, 6/18/15 "Google’s autonomous car fleet is undergoing a major expansion. In the last month, the number of cars it is permitted to drive on public streets has more than doubled, and Google now accounts for more than half of the driverless cars that are legal in California.


As of Wednesday, the company has been issued 48 permits for driverless vehicles, according to records at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. About a month earlier, on May 15, Google held just 23 permits...."  Read more


Komatsu to provide trucks for Adani Mining’s Carmichael mine

J. Perkins, 6/11/15 "...the project will be “utilising at least 45, 400-ton driverless trucks. All the vehicles will be capable of automation. When we ramp up the mine, everything will be autonomous from mine to port.”..."  Read more    See also: Driverless trucks to hit Alberta oilsands


Tipping Point in Transit

F. Manjoo, 6/10/15 "...I noticed this effect during my days with the Mercedes. With the car steering for me, and promising to take care of emergencies, I felt much safer fiddling with the stereo, the GPS navigator and even my phone while driving 75 miles an hour down the highway...." Read more Hmmm... mostly rehash; however, the comments about relaxing with "Level 2" technology suggests that the car makers need to get us to Level 3 where we can safely text, etc. This is really important, else we may be creating a nightmare at Level 2 from which we may not wake up.  Alain


Why cars will undergo the same reinvention as cell phones


J. Hartung, 6/16/15 "In 2015 you can buy a car that will automatically keep itself within a lane, safely spaced from vehicles around it. It will sense pedestrians and stop itself if you don’t react quickly enough. It can even back a trailer for you...When the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, it was a sexy smartphone with an intuitive interface - exactly the kind of product that Apple is great at making. But when the App Store was launched a year later, it became something much, much more powerful...The same transition, from dumb device to smart platform, is happening in automotive." Read more Hummm...Yup! Alain


Nagoya University opens hub to develop driverless cars


A. Tsukidate, 6/13/15 "A research center bringing together academia, industry and government opened on June 12 at Nagoya University with the aim of developing automated driving technologies as one of its first key projects..." Read more



Some other thoughts that deserve your time:


HopSkipDrive, a Ride Start-Up for the After-School Set

C. Martin, June 27 "...Their solution was to start a ride service called HopSkipDrive. It’s one of two such California companies catering to busy families. The other one, Shuddle, serves the San Francisco Bay Area.


HopSkipDrive’s passengers are children ages 7 to 17 whose parents request and pay for rides at least 24 hours in advance using a smartphone app or the company’s website. A ride costs $20; a package of 50 is $600. Trips longer than five miles or 30 minutes cost extra. Nearly 2,000 people have signed up for the service so far, according to the company...."  Read more   Hmmm... Very interesting.  Even more interesting if they can implement substantial ride sharing and utilize driverless cars as soon as they are available.  Alain


Ride-Hailing Apps Go the Extra Mile


J. Stephens, Spring 2015, "...The appeal of these smartphone-enabled ride-hailing services (sometimes erroneously called ride-sharing; more on that below) in center cities is obvious and intuitive. They attract millions of fares and thousands of drivers with scarcely any advertising. They are typically used for short trips in dense areas, areas that are often well served by transit but that can also be nightmarish to drive in. Through the combined power of big data, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship, and, of course, smartphones, a willing driver can be just as much of a savior to the espresso-fueled executive at 7 a.m. as he was to the clubgoer just a few hours earlier...."  Read more   Interesting background summary.  Alain


Amazon’s ‘Treasure Truck’ Combines Flash Sales and Storefronts


6/26/15, " Inc. is bringing impulse buying right around the corner. The Web retailer unveiled June 25 the Treasure Truck, which carries paddle boards, porterhouse steaks and other discounted items that people can buy online and pick up when the vehicle is nearby. Amazon’s mobile app will tell shoppers what’s on the truck each day and list pickup times and locations in Seattle, where the company is based.... " Read more  Hmmm... While it delivers in your neighborhood it also sells excess stuff to your neighbors??  Alain


If car buyers dwindle, Ford is trying to find what’s next


Washington Post, 6/24/15 "...Ford last month sent letters to 14,000 of its American drivers with an unusual suggestion: For extra cash, they could rent their cars to fellow urbanites wanting a cheap ride.  America’s second-biggest auto giant wouldn’t directly sell any additional cars or trucks under the arrangement; it wouldn’t even take a cut. But it would put Ford closer to the front of a movement in which cars are shared, ignored or Uber-ed — not bought.


The peer-to-peer rental experiment — which has the Bay Area in a prominent role — is only the latest weird move for America’s auto powerhouse, maker of the F-150 and Model T. Last month, Ford launched a pay-as-you-go network of shareable, on-demand cars in London, called GoDrive.  Read more Hmmm.. And if these become driverless... Then watch out!  Alain


Jaguar Land Rover Announces Technology Research Project To Detect, Predict And Share Data On Potholes


6/10/15, "Whitley, UK: Jaguar Land Rover is researching a new connected car technology that will allow a vehicle to identify the location and severity of potholes, broken drains and manhole covers, and then share this data in real-time via the cloud with other vehicles and with road authorities to help them prioritise repairs.


If a car can receive a warning from another vehicle about severe potholes or broken manholes ahead, then drivers would be able to slow down and avoid the danger - or the car could adjust suspension settings to reduce the impact and smooth the ride. This could help reduce the potential for punctures, wheel and vehicle damage as well as road accidents...."  Read more   Hmmm... It could even be extended to warn of slippery conditions ahead.  Wow!!  Connected vehicle technology without needing any FCC mandate or DSRC.  Wow!  Alain




Press Release, J6/16/15 "At the Paris Air Show, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford joined with SURVICE Engineering Co., a Belcamp, Md.-based defense firm, and U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics, an aeronautical engineering firm, to announce that the two companies have teamed up on the development of Hoverbike technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. SURVICE and Malloy are working on the Hoverbike as part of an ongoing research and development contract with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The Hoverbike is being developed to operate as a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV).." Read more Hmmm  See video. Alain


Google didn’t lead the self-driving vehicle revolution. John Deere did


A. Peterson, 6/22/15 "Google has received tons of gushy press for its bubble-shaped self-driving car, though it's still years from the showroom floor. But for years John Deere has been selling tractors that practically drive themselves for use on farms in America's heartland, where there are few pesky pedestrians or federal rules to get in the way.


For a glimpse at the future, meet Jason Poole, a 34-year-old crop consultant from Kansas. After a long day of meetings earlier this month and driving five hours across the state to watch his little girl's softball game, he was still able to run his John Deere tractor until 2 a.m. thanks to technology that left most of the driving up to a computer... Read more


The role of Smartphones in connected car and driver services


M. Goldas, 6/19/15 "...The OnStar service, launched by GM as long ago as 1996, has provided a template for communication services for both car and driver that has proven both stable and capable of extension.


The opportunity to connect cars has sometimes seemed like a match made in heaven for both telcos and automotive OEMs. But as with all fairy-tale weddings, the celebration is threatened by the presence of a bad fairy, in the shape of the smartphone. The connected car vision is supposed to be realised through the sale of new cars. But with around 9% of vehicles replaced every year, it is going to take quite a while before most cars on the road are connected...."  Read more


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


Ten ways autonomous driving could redefine the automotive world


M. Bertoncello & D. Wee June, 2015 " ... The self-driving vehicle revolution, an illustration of potential growth..."  Read more  Hmmm Well, maybe not because McKinsey has it so wrong.  They completely fail to see that self-driving cars will have essentially zero consumer appeal but will instead be transformation to companies such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car ("We'll pick you up"), Uber, NJ Transit and zillions of other mobility-oriented companies.  Not your best moment, McKinsey.  Alain


Land Rover Autonomous Car Technology Now Lets You Drive Cars Using Just An App


N. Rajan 6/16/15 "...You'll basically be able to get out of the car, walk along side it at four miles per hour (if you're wondering about speed) and control the vehicle's steering, throttle and brakes. ..." Read more  Whatever!?   Alain


How Driverless Cars Will Upend Energy Markets


M. Ramos, 6/19/15 Hmmm... Just please don't read it.  Alain


Walk around an autonomous car-filled town with Oculus Rift and 360-degree treadmill


A. Charlton, 6/12/15 "A 360-degree treadmill designed for the military is being used with a virtual reality headset to help demonstrate what UK towns and cities will look like when autonomous pods buzz along the pavements – and how they will avoid crashing into you..."  Read more Hmmm.. Half-goofy; totally-goofy??? Alain


Maps and tires: More pieces of the self-driving car puzzle


J. McIntosh, 6/17/15 "...such maps will need such information as where the lines are on the road, how the road bends, and know exactly, within 20 centimeters, where highway exits start and end..."  Hmmm... I couldn't disagree more!  Simply the wrong way to do this!  Not crashing is all about knowing the state of things relative to me.  Not me knowing precisely where I am, and everything else near me is, in some grand Universal Coordinate System.  Please!  Alain



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



Calendar of Upcoming Events



November 4-9, 2015









Prof. Alain L. Kornhauser

Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE)

Princeton University





Heathrow Operational PodCar


Only Steering, Inside

Audi Jam-Assist Demo

Pedestrian Recognition

Lane-Keeping w Brakes

Masdar PRT

Mining Application

Economist Cover Story