Issue 641 Feb 2014 Scott Le Vine, Centre for Transport Studies: "...Autonomous cars, driverless cars, automated cars – whatever you call them (and yes, it does make a difference) they are the hot topic in transport today. Carmakers are investing millions of pounds in research & development, mock towns are being built to test automation concepts, fact-finding hearings are taking place, laws are being passed – even international treaties are being re-opened..." Read more This is a lead/summary of the next item. Alain
ITC Occasional Paper, #5, Feb. 2014 Dr Scott Le Vine and Professor John Polak "...This occasional paper argues that the changes brought about by increasingly sophisticated vehicle automation will appear in an evolutionary pattern and it highlights many of the second-order impacts that will arise, including improved mobility and capacity on existing networks (especially the Strategic Road Network); the release of time when traveling; improved safety; and extending our driving life further into old age... Read more
Hmmm...a well thought out presentation of the opportunities and challenges especially as they pertain to "Will I own my autonomous car?" and Will autonomous car be cars?" Well worth reading. Alain
CHARLES BOMBARDIER Friday, Feb. 21 2014 "... The Rubix is a multipurpose urban car concept shaped like a cube. This electric driverless vehicle aims to change how we view and interact with our car in cities, where space is expensive and limited... With this in mind, I tried to come up with a driverless car concept that would be roomy enough to let you work, transport friends and items, and relax (text, browse the web or watch a movie). I also wanted the Rubix to be able to park inside a condo and serve as an additional room when needed – as an office, TV room, or reading space...Read more
Hmmm... I guess this is OK if there is a market for an "our...urban driverless vehicle"; however, I tend to think that this "our...urban driverless car" concept is a true oxymoron. It's creative to be "part of your condo"; however, that glimmer of creativity is insufficiently substantive to overcome the fundamental contradiction of personal ownership of a driverless car by an urbanite.
The fundamental appeal of an urban environment is the close proximity of essentially all quality-of-life elements. Many are available without the assistance of a vehicle. Accessibility to the others is readily available via a "mass transit" system. That system is available "on the margin" where and when needed. Not like in the suburbs, where mass transit is non-existent and nothing is within a short walk. Here the mobility is either self-furnished ("our") or non-existent. What I've termed as mobility "by the drink" rather than "from one's own bottle (or by the bottle)"). The challenge of conventional transport mechanisms is that they are available "on the margin" only in very limited places (near transit stations or bus stops) to take you to only a very limited number of locations (other stations in a very sparse network) at very limited times (scheduled service). The opportunity of an organized fleet of driverless vehicles to provide service essentially anytime from almost anywhere to almost anywhere at a very reasonable price offers to the urban dweller all the on-the-margin (by the drink) mobility opportunity they would ever want. Zero incentive to own one, even if you count the extension of your condo. Very few in Manhattan or urbanite would continue to own a car. You've chosen to live with others in a condo complex, chances are, you'll see the advantages of not owning your own driverless vehicle.
It is doubtful that cars that extend one's condo would be the icing that would cause the rush to the dealership. The design creativity should be focused on making it easy for people to get in and out of these cars and reasonably comfortable inside so as to minimize any sketchiness associated with ride-sharing. Alain
Sustainability Research Networks Competition (SRN)
"...The goal of the Sustainability Research Networks (SRN) competition is to bring together multidisciplinary teams of researchers, educators, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders to conduct collaborative research that addresses fundamental challenges in sustainability. The 2014 SRN competition will fund research networks with a focus on urban sustainability.
Proposals should identify an ambitious and nationally important theme in urban sustainability, present a creative and innovative research agenda that builds upon existing work in this area, and describe how a network of researchers and other stakeholders will be supported that integrates a variety of disciplines, sectors and backgrounds in order to create new perspectives and yield significant new understanding and knowledge....
goals ... to understand and overcome the barriers to sustainable human and environmental wellbeing and to forge reasoned pathways to a sustainable future...." Read more
Hmmm... Since the focus of this solicitation is "urban sustainability" with the goal of " ... human and environmental wellbeing..." , seems to me that the prospects of SmartDrivingCars should have a role somewhere in this research effort. Mobility is a major contributing element of the wellbeing of urban areas; however, in so doing has been a challenge to sustainability. The fundamental opportunity of SmartDriving Cars (which, of course, include trucks and buses) is that they have the opportunity to substantially improve mobility while being less of a sustainability challenge. However, for that to become reality, the shared-ride, shared-use aspects of the technology will need to be central to their market adoption. Creating the knowledge that will facilitate that route-to-market requires the ".. bring(ing) together multidisciplinary teams of researchers, educators, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders to conduct collaborative research". They will create the knowledge that will facilitate the market adoption of these technologies and contribute in a meaningful way to urban sustainability. It is encouraging that NSF is interested in creating a welcoming environment for these technologies and help us go beyond the shallow concept above. Alain
Sam Ro Feb 26 2014, "Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas cranked up his price target on Tesla to $US320 from $US153.
“Tesla’s quest to disrupt a trillion $US car industry offers an adjacent opportunity to disrupt a trillion $US electric utility industry,” he wrote in a new note to clients. “If it can be a leader in commercializing battery packs, investors may never look at Tesla the same way again.” If Tesla figures out how to cheaply store green energy, that’s a game-changer.
But if Tesla masters the self-driving car, then here comes utopia. (emphasis added)...." Read more
Hmmm.... be sure to look at the graph. That's real "pump". I guess that I must just not be on the inside, but how is it that now Tesla is seen as the potential "master of self-driving cars". What do I know? I buy high and sell low! Alain
Today’s crash-avoidance systems are the mile markers to tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles
Published: February 2014 "...In our testing, we’ve had the opportunity to try out dozens of safety systems. We think they provide real benefits to drivers, but the devil is often in the details. That’s why automakers are working hard to make sure their systems are intuitive and foolproof, and that drivers will respond to the warnings with the correct action. “We put a lot of time and energy into making sure we don’t have a system that people want to turn off because it annoys them more than they feel it benefits,” says Steve Kenner, Ford’s global director of automotive safety.
An IIHS field test found that 72 percent of people who tried multiple crash-avoidance technologies said they would want them in their personal vehicle. However, the cost can be an obstacle. Most of the systems come only as part of a large options package or on a model’s higher, more expensive trim versions. That can add an average of $2,000 to the cost of a vehicle. And not every model offers all of the features.
As word gets out about the benefits of those types of systems, automakers say consumer acceptance will grow, which will help to bring down the cost and make the safety advances more affordable..." Read more
Hmmm.. It is a pretty good article, but we all expect better from Consumer Reports. They should point out that apparently, Ford hasn't put enough time and money into their systems since they are offering only warnings and hoping that drivers will respond and do the correct thing. If Ford has sensed a situation in which some "correct thing"needs to be done, why aren't they simply implementing the "correct thing". How in the heck is the driver supposed to know Ford's "correct thing". If he/she hasn't initiated the process of doing the "correct thing", then the cognitive cycles that a normal brain will need to understand and begin to execute Ford's "correct thing" mean that Ford needs to tell me in advance to do something that I already intend to do (commonly called nagging). If Ford doesn't nag me and warns me too late, then bang! If they know enough to nag me, they should simply wait and if I don't start doing it, Ford should just do it (Nike). Please!!! Alain
February 24, 2014 - "U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, in light of cars that are collecting reams of data on where Americans drive, he is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish clear guidelines that will require carmakers to notify drivers when they are being tracked and allow drivers to opt out completely from sharing information. During last month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, many carmakers revealed new technological enhancements that they are embedding in cars. These advancements include: automatic crash preparation, black boxes, smart-phone-like operating systems, dashboard apps, etc. Schumer praised the potential positive safety implications of this new technology – many of which are being required by the federal government – but warned that the data that is being collected by the influx of technology is being sent to third parties without drivers’ knowledge. The Senator is urging the FTC and NHTSA to work together with the auto industry – and other companies that track vehicular data – to establish clear guidelines around what can and cannot be tracked, and to provide clear opt-out opportunities for drivers..." Read more
Hmmm... Yup. we certainly need to "establish clear guidelines" here. Alain
Feb. 26, 2014 Ben Grubb "...One day in the not too distant future, self-driving share cars will be ferrying commuters around our streets if Australian researchers succeed in their quest to better understand our driving quirks..." Read more
In case you didn't see these, take a look, Alain:
January 14, 2013 | TRB Annual Meeting | Washington, DC
Matthew Moore, Vice President, HLDI
Status Report, Vol. 48, No. 3 | April 25, 2013
ESC helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads. It cuts in half the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash. ESC has been required in all vehicles since the 2012 model year, but many older models have it as well. Check ESC availability on any vehicle dating back to the 1996 model year. Look up a Make&Model
Crash avoidance features are rapidly making their way into the vehicle fleet. Six of the most common new technologies are forward collision warning, autobrake, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, adaptive headlights and blind spot detection. Use the dropdown menus below to find out which models come with which features. Look up a Make&Model
Drafts of chapters: http://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/NJ_aTaxiOrf467F13/Orf467F13_FinalReports/
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Andrew Chatham, Principal Software Engineer, Google will lead the plenary session on Tuesday, March 11. Chatham leads the offboard software and mapping efforts for Google's self-driving cars. He joined the project in 2009 and has helped the team achieve over 500,000 miles of autonomous driving. He is especially interested in the intersection of Google's technology and the existing transportation world. He joined Google in 2002 and is a graduate of Duke University.
Register TODAY for the ITE 2014 Technical Conference and Exhibit.
June 8 - 11, 2014, Dearborn, Michigan, USA
Sponsored by the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
Prof. Alain L. Kornhauser
Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE)
Heathrow Operational PodCar
Only Steering, Inside
Audi Jam-Assist Demo
Lane-Keeping w Brakes
Economist Cover Story