7th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  Jaguar Land Rover says all of its cars will come with NVIDIA’s Drive computers by 2025

A. Hawkins, Feb. 17,” Jaguar Land Rover is teaming up with Nvidia to install high-powered computers in its vehicles to enable advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving features. Starting in 2025, all JLR vehicles will come with Nvidia’s end-to-end Drive Hyperion platform installed, the companies said.

Hyperion is the latest iteration of Nvidia’s Drive platform that allows automakers to customize their own driving features. And Orin is the chipmaker’s system-on-a-chip, similar to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving chip or Intel’s Mobileye EyeQ. This new hardware will form the basis for a new suite of driving features, including advanced driver assistance systems, automated parking, and autonomous driving, the companies said.

“Orin is the AI brain of the car, and Drive Hyperion is the central nervous system,” said Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s vice president for automotive.

JLR wouldn’t say which models would be receiving which features as a result of this deal. But we can guess some of the broad outlines, based on Nvidia’s other automotive deals, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, TuSimple, Cruise, Zoox, and a host of Chinese EV startups. Whatever they are, they will be befitting JLR’s mission to provide a luxury vehicle experience to its customers, said Francois Dossa, executive director of strategy at JLR…..”  Read more  Hmmmm… Enormous progress in the coming availability in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Alain

SmartDrivingCars  ZoomCast Episode 256 / PodCast 256  w/ Danny Shapiro, NVIDIA


F. Fishkin, Feb. 18, ” With Jaguar Land Rover signing on to partner with NVIDIA for advanced driver assistance and autonomous capabilities in all of their vehicles starting in 2025,  what will the collaboration mean?   NVIDIA’s VP for Automotive Danny Shapiro joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for that plus the latest on Waymo, VW, Trenton and more.”


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

  When cars no longer rule

Marshall Brown, Jan 29, “A city is not a problem to be solved.
So says Marshall Brown, architect, urbanist, associate professor in Princeton’s School of Architecture and the director of the Princeton Urban Imagination Center.

In Brown’s view, a city is a reflection of our social, political and cultural values. New technologies are not so much solutions as opportunities.

“People ask how will new technologies change our cities, but that is backwards,” Brown said. “The question is, how do we want our cities to change, and then how do we leverage the technologies to get there?”

The technology that has been on Brown’s mind lately is the autonomous vehicle, and not just the driverless car….” Read more  Very nice.  Marshall is a senior member of the Trenton MOVES Dream Team.  Alain

  Trenton receives $5 million grant to make MOVES for residents

K, Burns, Feb. 13, “Trenton has been awarded $5 million in a state grant to kick start planning a transportation project involving autonomous vehicles.

The grant comes from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Local Transportation Project Fund. It will be used to plan the Trenton Mobility and Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES) Project.

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora says 70% of households in his city have only one car or no car at all.  “We have many residents who live in the senior towers and the like that have no real transportation options,” he said…. ”  Read more  More good coverage.  Now comes the 5th SDC Summit. Alain

  Brewing for Awhile:  Trenton MOVES

Feb. 14, A. Kornhauser, See Slides.   Unbelievable is so many ways.  Alain

  ITNCountry and ISPs – A Conversation about Better Mobility & Building Community for Rural America

K. Pyle, Feb. 16, ““Around 40% of rural counties in the U.S. have no public transit services whatsoever,” according to Michael Sena in his January 2022 newsletter, the Dispatcher.1 Affordable mobility is a huge challenge, particularly for seniors and it is even a bigger challenge for seniors living in rural areas….

In the above conversation, Katherine Freund explains how ITNCountry helps local organizations improve mobility for people in rural areas. Patricia Jo Boyers, president/CEO of Boycom, adds her perspective of someone who is connecting rural parts of Missouri to the rest of the world through Boycom’s broadband network.

This pairing of two amazing women is appropriate as modern, efficient, and sustainable mobility systems require both robust back-end systems like ITNCountry provides, and solid last-mile broadband networks, like what Boycom provides. Or, to paraphrase Freund, ITNCountry goes together with rural internet service providers like salt and pepper and bread and butter!…”  Read more  Very interesting.  Watch the conversation.  Alain

  Opportunities, Challenges, and Uncertainties in Urban Road Transport Automation

S. Shladover, Feb. 6, “Automated driving has attracted intense attention in the media and among the general public, based on extremely optimistic predictions from some industry participants, but these have started to become more realistic in the last couple of years, after the “hype cycle” for automation peaked. This paper explains the opportunities for Automated Driving System (ADS) technology to improve the urban transport of people and goods, together with the challenges that will limit the scope and timing of the deployment of urban ADS. The discussion emphasizes the diversity of ADS applications and services, each of which has its own opportunities, challenges, and uncertainties, leading to diverse deployment scopes and schedules. The associated challenges are sufficiently daunting that ADS deployment will lag behind electrification and connectivity, leaving more time for cities to prepare for it….”  Read more  A very thoughtful piece, Steve.  Well worth reading. 

“Urban Road Transport” is a very large sector of our economy facilitating the achievement of roughly 1 billion individual person trips each day, just in the USA.  Plus the effective movement of the goods consumed and discarded by the 270 million individuals that live in those urban areas.  Automation certainly has enormous opportunities and challenges and, luckily I like to say, the future is uncertain.  One thing is highly certain…  One size of automation won’t fit all and if automation doesn’t make things better, then automation for automation’s sake is a non-starter.  We are still at the very beginning of the use of automation in road transport.  Let’s focus on getting started on what is both easy and delivers the most value soon.   Alain

  Zoox robotaxis are already mingling with the public on semi-private test courses

K. Korosec, Feb. 10, “Zoox has built dozens of custom-built electric robotaxis and is testing them in one or more “semi-private courses” in California, according to the company’s co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson.

“We have dozens of them — not hundreds yet, but it’s very far into the double digits, said Levinson, referring to the total number of robotaxis built and in testing.

The disclosure, which came up in a wide-ranging interview with media, suggests that the Amazon subsidiary is ramping up in preparation to begin testing its electric robotaxis on public roads. Zoox currently tests Toyota Highlander vehicles equipped with its self-driving system in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Foster City, California, near its headquarters, and recently expanded testing to Seattle as well. Those vehicles all have human safety drivers behind the wheel…. ”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Hopefully Zoox will look seriously at the Trenton MOVES opportunity.  No problem starting with Toyota Highlanders and evolving.  Alain

  Tesla’s ‘phantom braking’ problem is now being investigated by the US government

A. Hawkins, Feb. 17, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is investigating 416,000 Tesla vehicles after receiving hundreds of complaints of unexpected braking. The investigation covers all Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles released in 2021 and 2022.

Reports of “phantom braking” first surfaced last fall, when Tesla was forced to “roll back” version 10.3 of its Full Self-Driving beta software, the company’s advanced driver assist system, because of issues with forward collision warnings and phantom braking.

But after the rollback, the number of complaints actually increased substantially, with NHTSA receiving at least 107 from November to January, compared with only 34 in the preceding 22 months, according to The Washington Post.

In total, NHTSA said it has received 354 complaints in the last nine months. “The complaints allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds,” the report reads. “Complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive cycle.”….”  Read more  Hmmmm…   My guess continue to be that the source of the problem lies in the detection of stationary objects ahead.   I suspect that

1.  few, or even none, of the phantom braking events occurred when the Tesla was closely following a moving vehicle in its lane ahead,

2. most, if not all, of the phantom braking events occurred when …

    a. a stationary object along the side of the lane ahead was incorrectly tagged as having a lateral speed that implied an imminent collision possibility, or

    b. a stationary object along the side of the road ahead was incorrectly located such that it was perceived to be in the lane ahead such that a collision was imminent, or

    c. a stationary object located in the lane ahead that could readily be passed under (overhead sign, overpass, traffic light, tree canopy, …) was not properly recognized in the “z” direction as having enough ground clearance to enable the Tesla to safely pass under the stationary object.   It is simply not easy to reliably perceive the clearance under objects over the lane ahead.


As one drives, an enormous number of stationary objects are encountered.  Most are off to the side of the travel lane.  But even if a very few are inadvertently tagged with a horizontal speed, they can’t be summarily disregarded.  A braking response should be initiated by the vehicle for the sake of caution. An alert driver can readily over-ride the braking if the driver acknowledges that the object is actually stationary, not in the lane ahead or the object can readily be passed-under.


To minimize the need for driver over-ride and passenger discomfort,  this aspect of the perception step must be as close to error-free as possible. Alain

TuSimple will make driverless testing permanent en route to commercialization

A. Adler, Feb 10, “Autonomous trucking software developer TuSimple will make driverless runs permanent as it gets closer to commercializing autonomous trucking on the nation’s freeways.

“Driver-out proves we are feature complete, which means our autonomous driving system has all the capabilities required for true driver operations along commercial routes. And that it is able to safely mitigate or contain all the edge cases during operations,” CEO Cheng Lu told analysts on the company’s Q4 earnings call after markets closed on Wednesday….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  This is completely crazy!  There is absolutely zero need to have “Driver-out” to prove anything!!! Please stop!!!  To prove “feature completeness” (which I assume means.. won’t crash) all you need to do is not have any disengagements that otherwise would have resulted in a crash.  Please don’t put the rest of us on the road at risk of you killing us because you were seeking click-bait.  All TESTING must be done with an alert attendant on-board capable of disengaging the automated driving system.  We also don’t need your smoke & mirrors videos. 

All we need is for you to be honest with us as I hope you are honest with yourself so that you can reach the decision to stand behind your technology and fully accept any consequences associated with it being responsible for any and all crashes.  Then you’ll have a product that might have a chance of delivering value to those who purchase as opposed to only lip stick attracting money from investors. Alain

  New Waymo Via partnership gives it access to 200,000 shippers and carriers

R. Bellan, Feb. 16, “Waymo Via, Waymo’s autonomous trucking and cargo unit, has found another long-term strategic partner to see it through to commercialization.

The company is gearing up to launch a pilot with C.H. Robinson, a freight logistics technology supplier that connects shippers to carriers, within the coming months that will see Waymo’s test fleet delivering freight in Texas for one of C.H. Robinson’s customers. …” Read more  I guess they should compete with Aurora, but they should first look to Trenton MOVES if they really want to lead anytime soon.  Alain

  Why marginal CO2 emissions are not decreasing for US electricity: Estimates and implications for climate policy

S. Holland, Feb. 22, “Significance
Marginal emissions of CO2 from the electricity sector are critical for evaluating many climate policies. We provide estimates of marginal CO2 emissions for electricity use in the United States that vary by region, hour of day, and year to year. Despite a decrease in average emissions over the last decade, marginal emissions have increased. We apply our estimates to an analysis of the Biden administration’s target of having electric vehicles make up 50% of new vehicle purchases by 2030. We find that, without significant and concurrent changes to the electricity sector far more substantial than those over the last decade, the increase in electricity emissions is likely to offset more than half the emission reductions from having fewer gasoline-powered vehicles….” Read more  Not good news here..  Alain

Towing boats head toward burning cargo ship carrying 4,000 VWs, Porsches, Bentleys, Audis, Lambos

Staff, Feb 18, ” A ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles — including Volkswagens, Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis — that caught fire near the coast of the Azores will be towed to another European country or the Bahamas, the captain of the nearest port told Reuters on Friday.

Lithium-ion batteries in the EVs on board the ship named Felicity Ace have caught fire and the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish, captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas said.

It was not clear whether the batteries first sparked the fire….”  Read more  More bad news for EVs.  Are they really a good idea??   Alain

  Study confirms what common sense has made clear for years: Hydrogen fuel cells cannot catch up to battery-electric vehicles

F. Lambert, Feb. 15,  “A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature has confirmed what common sense has made clear for years: Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren’t likely to catch up to battery-electric vehicles – even for commercial trucks.

The auto industry has been divided on solutions to remove emissions from their products.

Most have been betting on battery-electric vehicles(BEV), but a few automakers have insisted on trying to make fuel cell hydrogen powertrains work.

Toyota, Hyundai, and GM have been the most resistant in giving up on the technology, which also can achieve zero-emission transport, but it is much less efficient than BEVs.

For passenger cars, it’s already game over for fuel cells (FCEV)…..”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Certainly will be nice when the sun gives us all the electricity that we need and we don’t need PSE&G any more.  . 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.  Alain

  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

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