4th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  New Jersey Pioneers Transportation Solutions For Mobility-Marginalized Communities

S. Rangwala, Jan 25,”… The NJ Department of Transportation recently announced the “Trenton MOVES” project. MOVES stands for “Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System” – and is designed to eliminate transportation inefficiencies that exist in various under-served communities in the state. Public transportation exists in New Jersey – however, using it to commute certain routes is highly inefficient and expensive. For example, in locations like Trenton where car ownership per household is minimal (zero or one), commuting to well-paying jobs (for example to an Amazon warehouse 15 miles away in Robbinsville which pays $21/hour) would take 2-3 transfers via public transport and consume an average of 90 minutes each way. This hinders employment and upward mobility.  ”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Yup! Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 253, Zoom-Cast Episode 253 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher

F. Fishkin, Jan. 27, “The Federal Trade Commission looks to level the tech playing field…but “The Dispatcher” publisher Michael Sena has some words of warning.   He joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin for that plus Tesla, Waymo and more on Episode 253 of Smart Driving Cars..”

Technical support provided by: https://www.cartsmobility.com/

   The SmartDrivingCars eLetter, Pod-Casts, Zoom-Casts and Zoom-inars are made possible in part by support from the Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO.   For more information: www.motoetf.com.  Most funding is supplied by Princeton University’s Department of Operations Research & Financial Engineering and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE) research laboratory as part of its research dissemination initiative

February 2022 Issue: California DMV has woken up

M. Sena, Jan. 26,”The January 15th issue of The Economist arrived as I was finishing up the lead article for the February issue of The Dispatcher. The Economist issue’s theme, printed on the cover, is: Beware the bossy state – Government, business and the new era of intervention. The lead article and a Special Report insert titled Interventionism, provided excellent additional material with which to test my own thoughts on the new attitude to big tech at the FTC. Although I disagree with The Economist’s relaxed attitude toward China and it staunch support for congestion charging, we are definitely on the same page when it comes to the role of good government and its relationship to business and citizens. If you don’t feel you have time to read my lead article, you can skim down to the last sentence in the article on page 20 and you will get the gist. Hopefully, that will increase your energy level so you will start from the top.

In Dispatch Central I discuss how a State with good intentions can get distracted. California wanted to take control over the testing of self-driving and driverless cars on its roads, but it gave companies (read that Tesla) a loophole by using the term ‘autonomous vehicles’. I realize mine is a voice in the wilderness when it comes to trying to convince people to stop using this term, but I will not stop trying. I have tried to balance the serious with some lighter fare, so give this section a full read….” Read more  Hmmmm… Wonderful, check out PodCast 253/ZoonCast 253 with Michael focused on this issue of The Dispatcher.  Alain

Episode 94 – Ivy League Insights: Professor Alain L. Kornhauser and the Study of Autonomy

G. Brulte, Jan. 27,” When you’ve been studying mobility and advanced technology for over 50 years at one of the nation’s leading universities, you might just qualify as a go-to expert in the field. 

In this episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, we spoke with the legendary Dr. Alain Kornhauser, Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering, and Chair, Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, Princeton University.

With a career that has spanned over half a century, Dr. Kornhauser has been studying the possibilities of rapid transit in the urban environment since the 1970s. As the progenitor of the Princeton Transportation Network Model, he was one of the early proponents of leveraging Geographic Information Systems in the study of transportation systems, and his work has had a significant effect on the North American freight railroad system. Among the many highlights of his career, he founded ALK Technologies, Inc. which brought to market the roadway and railway systems digital map database credited as being used by the majority of North American railroad and trucking companies. Among his more recent endeavors, he has turned his focus on autonomous taxi and urban transit to enable more widespread mobility.

In the discussion that follows, Dr. Kornhauser shared his thoughts on recent developments in the autonomous market, his experiences leading the Princeton team in several DARPA Challenges, how his career trajectory towards autonomy has developed over time, and where he sees the future of mobility headed. School’s now in session….” Read more  Hmmmm… Nothing you didn’t already know., and not bad, if may say so myself 😉😎 Audio file , video clip. Alain

  Waymo sues DMV to keep robotaxi safety details secret

R. Mitchell, Jan. 28, “Waymo, the driverless car company operating an autonomous taxi fleet in San Francisco, is suing the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The immediate issue: whether the company, owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., can hide from the public safety-related information by designating it as a trade secret.

The topics Waymo wants to keep hidden include how it plans to handle driverless car emergencies, what it would do if a robot taxi started driving itself where it wasn’t supposed to go, and what constraints there are on the car’s ability to traverse San Francisco’s tunnels, tight curves and steep hills. Waymo also wants to keep secret descriptions of crashes involving its driverless cars….”  Read more  Hmmmm… Please read on.  But what a shame! 

Here we have Waymo/Alphabet, who by most accounts is way out in front, wanting to keep for itself Intellectual Property (IP) so as to maximize shareholder value.  A laudable, and likely legal, position to take.

Above we have Michael Sena arguing that social welfare/public good should be the objective that regulators/legislators use to control large and small corporations.  The argument being, that cooperation rather than competition may lead to both better public good and better shareholder value.  Thus a win-win!

Safety may well be the “poster-child’ opportunity for such a theory and Waymo is going into it kicking & screaming rather than embracing it in order to even further increase its lead.

I and many others have argued that Safety is an absolute necessary condition that must be achieved else this technology is never going to see the light of day.  Since “Safety” is one of those concepts that can only be achieved in “the limit as time goes to infinity”, It is a really tough “necessary condition”.  Consequently, one can’t be unsafe, AND, nor can anyone else. The humiliation rubs off on everyone in the business. 

Waymo’s action here must be that they don’t get the “nor can anyone else” clause.  (Waymo/Alphabet is a rational entity; thus, whatever it decides to do at any point in time must be what it decided was the best thing to do at that time; else, it would have done something else. There is only one reality! (I think?) )

If Waymo/Alphabet did get the “nor can anyone else” clause, it would be divulging openly all of its Safety-related IP and leading and effort to get everyone else to divulge theirs, so that the industry as a whole would be actively working together to become as safe, as possible, as soon as possible, so as to really deliver the most social welfare and public good as soon as possible.  Given that Waymo is at or near the competitive front, it seems to me, and to the most casual observer, that this approach is most likely to lead to delivering the greatest shareholder value. 

But since they are actively choosing to keep their safety secrets to themselves I must be wrong 😅

OK, I’m wrong, but look at what they are trying to keep secret…

  • How Waymo plans to handle emergencies … Maybe???  Seems doubtful that they have a secret sauce here. 
  • What to do if a vehicle goes off-route… Maybe???  Seems doubtful that they have a secret sauce here either.
  • Go through a tunnel… Seems like one only has 2 choices…  other than…  don’t use the tunnel in the first place. Maybe I can deliver value to 99% of my potential customers, be successful without the tunnel and leave the tunnel to my competitors who can’t serve the 99% that I’m serving very well.   I’m really missing something. Tunnel in my mode-share model and I get how many more customers??? I’ve been in academia too long. Whew!
  • Tight curves, (something better than slow down???)
  • Steep hills…  how well are you doing serving the potential customers that don’t live on steep hills.   Are serving the 1%of1%er that live at the top of steep hills or at the dead end streets really going to contribute to increased shareholder value???
  • What is really going on in the “deep learning AI” model… Waymo doesn’t know, no one knows.  Why do I sometimes get confused?  Don’t know.  Why am I confused here???   Why my AI is confused.  If they know, then that is really secret sauce.

From my perch, I just don’t see any of the things that Waymo is trying to keep as a competitive advantage has any chance of increasing Alphabet’s shareholder value AND Waymo is passing up an enormous opportunity to lead  and be rewarded for delivering more public welfare and shareholder value earlier.  Seems like a win-win-win-win… 


I must have slept through the first lecture and missed the fundamentals.  I’m confused.


Irrespective of the above… my position has been that the the industry should cooperate/collude on Safety and regulators/legislators should empower/enable them to cooperate/collude on Safety.   They can and should compete on everything else, like market pricing.



  The self-driving car industry is abandoning the term ‘self-driving’ and leaving it to Tesla

Jan. 26< A. HJawkins, “So long, Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets; hello, Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association!

The AV industry’s top lobbying group in Washington, DC is rebranding, dropping the reference to “self-driving” in exchange for a more straightforward moniker. The group, which was founded in 2016 by Waymo, Ford, Lyft, Uber, and Volvo, lobbies lawmakers to pass legislation favorable to its members. It has since grown to include the top AV operators in the country, including Cruise, Aurora, Argo AI, Motional, Nuro, and Zoox….” Read more  Hmmmm… Wow!  From the frying pan into the fire.  Using “Autonomous Vehicle” as the new moniker seem to be upping the Silicon Valley hype instead of a “more straight name.  None on these initiatives will ever be “autonomous”.  They’ll always be subject to the oversight of a human operator (CA law requires it!!!), oversight of a human public agency, oversight of human stock holders.  The term “autonomous” is Silicon Valley hype complete with smoke and mirrors.  At least Elon’s Teslas do sometimes drive themselves under the supervision of a human driver.  One just needs to read the fine print. 


The only fine print that one might be able to find about the term “autonomous” in the context of providing mobility is that it never has “… the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs…“.  It simply will never have a “world view” that is broad enough to enable it do that.  An amoeba will always has a broader world view.  At least it knows that it has to eat to live. An “autonomous ” car… Clueless!


A more truthful name for this lobbying group might be Coalition for Improved Mobility for People and Goods.  Please stop with the Silicon Valley Smoke & Mirrors hype.  It’s not about the How, but What the How produces.  Why doesn’t Silicon Valley get it?  Maybe it’s because a long-term desirable What is rarely produced by a SV focused only on the “Flip“??? Alain

  Respected Automated Driving Expert Gives Tesla FSD Beta An “F”

J. Torchinsky, Jan. 19, “…Templeton has been in the driving automation space for years, and I think he’s someone with a perspective worth listening to when it comes to automated driving. He recently became one of The Chosen to get Tesla’s FSD Beta software to try, and he found it “terrible. I mean really bad.” He explains his reasoning in a video with examples, so, you know, if you’re filling up with rage, maybe just take a moment to watch it.

Templeton used FSD Beta version 10.8 on his 2018 Model 3, and conducted his tests on a relatively unchallenging 3.5 mile loop around Cupertino, California, near Apple’s headquarters. This is significant in that this area is not far away from native Tesla lands, in conditions the software should presumably be very used to, and weather, light, and visibility were all pretty close to optimal.

Despite all this, FSD Beta still drove the car jerkily, made confusing and sometimes downright incorrect decisions, inconvenienced other drivers, and, at one point, even attempted to make a left turn on a red light….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Brad, an F??? Ouch!!! See video.  Alain

  Tesla Now Runs the Most Productive Auto Factory in America

T. Randall, Jan 24, “Elon Musk has a very specific vision for the ideal factory: densely packed, vertically integrated and unusually massive. During Tesla Inc.’s early days of mass production, he was chided for what was perceived as hubris. Now, Tesla’s original California factory has achieved a brag-worthy title: the most productive auto plant in North America.

Last year Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, produced an average of 8,550 cars a week. That’s more than Toyota Motor Corp.’s juggernaut in Georgetown, Kentucky (8,427 cars a week), BMW AG’s Spartanburg hub in South Carolina (8,343) or Ford Motor Co.’s iconic truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan (5,564), according to a Bloomberg analysis of production data from more than 70 manufacturing facilities….”  Read more  Hmmmm… Impressive.  But it is supposed to be so much easier to make an EV than an ICE (where does a hybrid fit?  Likely not between but beyond???). Alain

  Tesla (TSLA) releases Q4 2021 financial results: beat expectations with over $2 billion in profit

F. Lambert, Jan. 26, “Tesla (TSLA) has released its financial results and shareholders letter for the fourth quarter of 2021, and consequently for its full-year 2021, after market close today.

We are updating this post with all the details from the financial results, shareholders’ letter, and the conference call later tonight. Refresh for the latest information….” Read more  Hmmmm… Impressive.  How is the competition doing???? 😎 Alain

  NTSB chief to fed agency: Stop using misleading statistics

H. Yen, Jan 18, ” With traffic fatalities spiking higher, the nation’s top safety investigator says a widely cited government statistic that 94% of serious crashes are solely due to driver error is misleading and that the Transportation Department should stop using it.

Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she’s surprised the wording remains on the department’s website even as the Biden administration pledges to embark on a broader strategy to stave off crashes through better road design, auto safety features and other measures….”  Read more  Hmmmm… What??? One person is mis-stating what another person actually stated both of which are likely wrong. 

I’ll throw in there what may also be a mis-statement that “The “lion’s share” of serious and non-serious road vehicle crashes involve mis-behavior by the human operator (aka human driver) of at least one of the so-involved road vehicles.

However one states it, when drivers don’t mis-behave, things are pretty good. 

We’ve done a pretty good job of protecting the mis-behaving entity through our crash mitigation initiatives (seat belts, airbags, energy absorbing vehicle and road furniture designs.  Unfortunately we’ve done very little to safeguard those that are crashed-into by those mis-behaving drivers.  Those individuals have been saved by NHTSA’s crash mitigation efforts

Unfortunately, NHTSA, NTSB and “Washington” have done precious little to help the innocent bystanders that are crashed into.  They’ve barely talked about reigning-in the mis-behaviorers and precious little in promoting the use of automated systems that can intervene to over-ride driver misbehavior or saved the day by avoiding, not just mitigating, crashes.   At least IIHS has started to rate Automated Driver Assistance systems. Even though Tesla, by mis-representing its self-driving capabilities, encourages a few to really mis-behave; on-balance, Tesla may well be the safest car on the road.

Instead of worrying about how something is said, what about some substantive action and support from NTSB to reduce mis-behavior, mitigate the effects on those being crashed into and begin to embrace going beyond crash mitigation to crash-avoidance .  Alain

IIHS to Introduce New Ratings for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

E. Segura, Jan. 24, “In the wake of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) becoming widely available in late model vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is adding a new ADAS ratings program. IIHS will evaluate the safeguards using Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor grades….”  Read more  Hmmmm… Great that today’s “Best” is at most only “Good” because today there is enormous room for improvement to be achieved above today’s “Best”.  Today’s “Good”, for some reason, needs hands on the wheel, but no “requirement for one’s feet.  So if I have my feet up my …. and can’t hit the brake soon enough, I’m OK????  I’ prefer to stop short of a collision rather than swerve around it at high speed.  Am I the only guy who fears roll-overs?? Alain

  L.A. Just Ran (and Ended) the Biggest Free-Transit Experiment in the U.S.

A. Walker, Jan 19, “In March 2020, Los Angeles’ public-transit agency, Metro, stopped collecting fares on its buses as a COVID-19 safety precaution. For the next 22 months, Metro waived fares for anyone who wanted to keep riding its buses, anywhere they wanted to go (as long as they wore a mask, of course). And people did keep riding. Outside of the initial stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020, Metro’s ridership never dipped below 50 percent of before-times ridership, with buses eventually recovering to within 10 to 15 percent of pre-pandemic numbers. While the agency doesn’t know exactly how many people were riding fare-free buses during this time — because fare collection is one of the ways to track ridership — a spokesperson says that from April 2020 to December 2021, it’s safe to say Metro’s buses provided about 281 million fare-free boardings. This means the agency has inadvertently been conducting what may be the biggest free-transit experiment in U.S. history. Fare collection restarted last week after two unprecedented years in which transit agencies learned a lot about how people moved (or didn’t) around their cities, and now Metro is using some of this information to game out improvements and pilot other free- and reduced-fare programs….” Read more  Hmmmm…”… it’s fair to say…”???  Really??? Transit systems have “always” done a terrible job collecting data about how customers use their services because detailed data are not likely to be very complementary.  Few buses are full “downtown”.  Those that are, are empty at the other end of their route and therefore are roughly half full on those routes.  The many/most that are much less than full downtown are also empty at the other end and thus less/wayLess than half full on those routes at those times.  Thus half-full is very much a glass ceiling.  Truth may well be something one might  prefer to not know. 

Now we learn that “… it’s fair to say… (which deserves 3-digit “accuracy”???) ” that over the span of 640 days, 281M boardings, or an average of about 125,000 per day.  Metro supposedly has a fleet of ~2,320  buses (notice 3-digit “accuracy”) so each bus served on average 190 person-trips per day over that 640 span (assuming no transfers, which is a good assumption.). 

That’s actually a pretty good number because if each one of those passengers just pitched in $1 that’s enough to cover each driver’s take-home pay of about $50k/year (~250 work days/year).  The question I have is how did they arrive at the a 3-digit accuracy that’s only “… fair to say…”.

The broader issue is that those 2,300 buses cost a lot more to operate than the take-home pay of the driver.  There are overhead cost associated with having drivers and the assumption that each bus is operated (customers have to support) only one driver is substantially optimistic.  The other 115 days a year beyond 250 have to be covered by another driver that needs to be paid and to capture 190 person-trips a day, a bus is likely operating over 2 shifts.  Thus one likely needs a contribution of something that looks more like $5 from each customer (over head is 2x, 2-shifts is 2x and 50% more days makes it roughly 5x)  and one hasn’t started paying for the buses, garage, maintenance, fuel,  ….)… and that’s if the “281M” is close to correct.  Forget about it being free and those that ride buses are critical workers that have to go dig ditches, sweep floors, do dishes, care for the sick. 

  U.S. hybrid electric car sales hit record highs

H. Jin, Jan. 6, “… Sales of EVs also jumped 83% to 434,879, but represented a meager 3% of the market….”  https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/us-hybrid-electric-car-sales-hit-record-highs-2022-01-06/

  Hmmmm… This can’t be right.  Tesla claims they sold a million.  I know that’s world wide, but… Are these the right numbers?  If they are, the other OEMs are each far (10x) behind.  You decide.  Alain

  Tesla unveils fleet of new ‘Tesla Semi’ electric trucks

F. Lambert, Jan. 26, “Tesla has quietly unveiled a fleet of new ‘Tesla Semi’ electric trucks as part of its new financial result report.
 Yet, there’s no word on the status of production and customer deliveries.

The situation around the Tesla Semi has been unclear over the last few months. The electric truck has already been delayed several times, as it was originally supposed to be delivered in 2019…..” Read more  Hmmmm… Only 4 are shown.  A “Nikola moment” ???? 😎 Alain


Making it Happen:  Trenton MOVES… a Framework for the Deployment of Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility

A. Kornhauser, Jan 11 TRB, ” A slide deck describing the framework fora phased deployment of high-quality mobility in Trenton New Jersey that is envisioned to have wherewithall to naturally scale beyond Trenton in a fashion that can be replicated the more than 100 communities across the US that have similar demographic and travel demand characteristics.”  Read more  Hmmmm… Go through the slides in presentation mode to take advantage of the animations.  See… SmartDrivingCars  Zoom-Cast Episode 251 /A. Kornhauser: Making it Happen:  Trenton MOVES… a Framework for…  Alain

Saturday, December 11, 2021


P, Murphy, Dec. 6, “The New Jersey Department of Transportation (“NJDOT”), an instrumentality of the State of New Jersey, has issued a Request for Expression of Interest (“RFEI”) to identify experienced firms capable of introducing a safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, and efficient on-demand
automated vehicle mobility systems in and beyond Trenton, NJ.

NJDOT is soliciting written Expression of interest from qualified and experienced vendors to gain valuable insight from the private industry regarding the goals set forth in the Trenton MOVES (Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System) potential project and assess its viability.

If and when NJDOT elects to proceed with a potential project, NJDOT may issue formal Request(s) for Qualifications or Proposals.
The RFEI is available to be downloaded at https://www.nj.gov/transportation/business/procurement/ems/current.shtm…

1. Potential Project Summary
The State of New Jersey is exploring a transportation equity and sustainable energy opportunity within the capital city of Trenton. Trenton MOVES (Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System) will be led by the Governor’s Office, NJ Department of Transportation, the City of Trenton, and one or more institutions of higher education.

Trenton MOVES is exploring the feasibility of deploying ~100 AVs to serve as lowcapacity (4-8 passenger), high-quality (on-demand, kiosk-to-kiosk) shuttles to serve the 90,000 residents who live in the City of Trenton’s 8 square miles. The effort will be phased in over two (2) years and will serve the population of New Jersey’s capital city, a population where 70% of households have one or fewer cars. A proof-of-concept Operational Design
Domain (“ODD”) is described in Section 3.1. …  “Read more  Hmmmm… How fantastic is this!  Plus, Governor Phil Murphy’s Press Release announcing Trenton MOVES.  All substance!!  I also presented relevant testimony to NJ’s Assembly Transportation Committee Thursday morning.  An ALK trifecta this week😁.  The “welcoming environment” now exists in New Jersey.  We are no longer tied for last with Mississippi as was reported at last week’s Florida AV Conference. We’re looking like “first in the world” focused on substantive deployment to real customers.  We’ve built the “Field of Dreams” and awaiting the technology “to come”.  We only need one!  Or we’ll assemble volunteers (and not hostages as Mike Tomlin would put it) and build a winning team ourselves.😎 Alain

  Orf 467F21 Symposium: Evolutionary Deployment of a State-wide aTaxis system starting from MyVillage

J. Woll’22, A. Lau’23, M. Wasserman’22, C. Larson’22, J. Sun’23, Dec. 10, “Slides of: Making It Happen”: Hawaii – California – Washington – Florida – Connecticut” Read more  Hmmmm…  Video of Presentation, Slides, Report Format.  I couldn’t be more proud. Also check out Pod-Cast Episode 246, Zoom-Cast Episode 246 w/Jack Woll’22, Jason Sun’232, and Connor Larson’22😁  Alain

Trenton MOVES:
Community Engagement Update

J. He, Dec. 15, “Vignettes from Community Engagement “focus groups”.  Read more  Hmmmm… Why Trenton!  Alain

5th Annual SmartDrivingCars Summit:  Deployment of Safe, Equitable Affordable, Sustainable,  High Quality Mobility throughout New Jersey

Date Change:   Thursday evening, May 5, through Saturday May 7, 2022.  Live in Trenton, New Jersey. 

“Everything” was going well wrt the 5th Summit Nov 18->20; however…

Time is very short, we must focus on the election and the realities of where we remain with Covid really put cold water on some aspects of our vision for November.

Consequently. I’ve become convinced that it is very much better, that we take our time and reschedule for the first week on May 2022 rather than rush for what isn’t as good as could be. 

By May we will have received responses to our Trenton MOVES RfEI   for “Equitable … Mobility in Trenton”.  We will thus have a better idea on “Who”,  from the “What & How” communities, “Want & Can” Deploy “Safe, Equitable … Mobility” starting in Trenton with real expectations of scaling throughout New Jersey.

In May the 5th Summit can better achieve its fundamental purpose by allowing all of us in New Jersey to better learn from others around the world  the “Whats & Hows” and have the possible “Whos” get a better appreciation of the “Equitable … Mobility” desires of Trentonians and other New Jersians. 

Rescheduling the Summit to be between the RfI and the RfP steps of our Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Deployment Process, will better enable our Community Engagement initiative to shape our ultimate  deployment.  We’ll thus deliver even better mobility equitably and best improve quality-of-life in Trenton and throughout New Jersey.   

Please pencil into your calendar the new dates of  May 5 (Thursday evening) though May 7 (Trenton Mobility Festival Saturday). 😎   Please let me know if these dates work for you.

Sorry about the delay, but many will be relieved by this change. Plus, early May is really nice in NJ.😁


This 5th Summit is inspired by the many levels of public-sector, community and neighborhood welcoming and support that now exists in New Jersey for the deployment of safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality mobility. This is now made possible by automated driving technology that is especially targeted to serve those who, for whatever reason, don’t have access to their own personal car.  

The Princeton SDC Summits were initiated in 2017 to provide a venue for the open discussion of how technology, in particular automation, can be shaped to improve mobility of people and goods between and within cities. Early on, we realized that this form of mobility could easily provide yet another alternative to those who are fortunate enough to enjoy one or many high quality mobility options.

But, more importantly, it became obvious that substantial improvement in quality-of-life and equitable mobility can readily be made available to the un-served and under-served.  Those who cannot drive themselves, cannot afford the transport alternatives that exist for them, or who live in areas where, for either economic or other reasons, neither public nor private desirable forms of transport are offered.  Furthermore, such initial Operational Design Domains (OODs) can be readily expanded and replicated to allow the vast investments continuing to be made in this technology to actually yield their envisioned societal and financial benefits. 

The recently completed 4th Summit set the groundwork for these initial deployments to benefit under-served communities. Communities with many households having access to one or fewer cars and with challenged transit alternatives. We concluded the 4th Summit by envisioning a deployment throughout Trenton, NJ, a community where 70% of the households have access to one or fewer cars.

We believe that Trenton is a perfect ODD to begin to deliver Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility, in addition to being environmentally responsible, safe and comfortable.

The opportunity to expand throughout Mercer County and replicate this deployment scenario throughout the State exists.  This deployment will  serves as a blueprint for the future for many other “Trentons” of this world. 

The groundwork set by the 4th Summit and the NJ Autonomous Vehicle Task Force has enabled us to create a “most welcoming environment”  in New Jersey for creating a Public-Private Partnership to deliver this enhanced mobility to the residents of Trenton and all New Jersians. The 5th Summit will focus directly on deployment in Trenton and will take place in Trenton. We also envision its expansion throughout Mercer County and its replication in and around New Jersey’s other major cities.  

The Technical portion of the summit will be in the morning, through lunch, of Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. 

Sessions will be free of charge but will require advance registration, as seating will be limited. 


The Societal portion focused on engaging the customers of this form of mobility, featuring descriptions, discussions, interactions, exhibits and  technology demonstrations, will be free and open to the public, with preference given to Trenton residents on Friday and residents of Mercer County and the rest of New Jersey on Saturday.  Link to Sponsorship Opportunities Link to Draft Program  Link to Registration

   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit  It is over!!!  Now time to actually do something in the Trentons of this world.   

  Making Driverless Happen: The Road Forward (Updated)

K. Pyle, April 18, “It’s time to hit the start button,” is Fred Fishkin’s succinct way of summarizing the next steps in the Smart Driving Car journey. Fiskin, along with the LA Times’ Russ Mitchell co-produced the final session of the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit, Making It Happen: Part 2. This 16th and final session in this multi-month online conference not only provided a summary of the thought-provoking speakers, but also provided food for thought on a way forward to bring mobility to “the Trentons of the World.”

Setting the stage for this final session, Michael Sena provided highlights of the Smart Driving Car journey that started in late December 2020.  Safety, high-quality, and affordable mobility, particularly for those who do not have many options, was a common theme to the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit. As Princeton Professor Kornhauser, the conference organizer put it,…..” Read more  Hmmmm…. We had another excellent Session.  Thank you for the summary, Ken!  Alain


Ken Pyle‘s Session Summaries of 4th Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:
15th Session    Making it Happen – Part One: Elected Officials’ Role in Creating a Welcoming Environment in the Trentons of this World

14th Session    What Will Power Safely-driven Cars

13th Session    Improving the Moving of Goods

12th Session    3/18/21 Human-centered Design of Safe and Affordable Driverless Mobility

11th Session    3/11/21  Incentivizing Through Regulation

10th Session    3/04/21  Incentivizing Through Insurance

9th Session    2/25/21  Can Level 3 be Delivered?

8th Session    2/18/21  Who Will Build, Sell and Maintain Driverless Cars?

    Michael Sena’s SlidesGlenn Mercer Slides

7th Session    2/11/21  Finally Doing It
6th Session    2/ 4/21   Safe Enough in the Operational Design Domain
5th Session    1/28/21   At the Tipping Point
4th Session    1/21/21  Why Customers are Buying Them

3rd Session    1/14/21  The SmartDrivingCars We Can Buy Today
2nd Session   1/ 7/21  A Look into the Future
1st Session: 12/17/20  Setting the Stage

Kornhauser & He, April 2021 “Making it Happen:  A Proposal for Providing Affordable, High-quality, On-demand Mobility for All in the “Trentons” of this World” 

Orf467F20_FinalReport “Analyzing Ride-Share Potential and Empty Repositioning Requirements of a Nationwide aTaxi System

Kornhauser & He, March 2021 AV 101 + Trenton Affordable HQ Mobility Initiative

Re-see:    Pop Up Metro USA Intro 09 2020

H. Poser’77, Sept 13, 2020.  “Creating Value for Light Density Urban Rail Lines”  . See slides,  See video Hmmmm… Simply Brilliant.  Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit 


Thursday (evening), May 5, Welcome Reception (Registration required)

Friday, May 6, Equitable Mobility Innovation Forum (Registration required)

Saturday, May 7, Equitable Mobility Festival (Open to All)

Trenton, NJ
Live in Person

On the More Technical Side


K. Lockean’s AV Research Group at U of Texas