Saturday May 7, 2022

18th edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter


PAVE, May 4, “Autonomous vehicle technologies offer incredible potential: they could make our highways safer, they could offer new mobility options for people who can’t drive, and they could help create a more equitable transportation system for those who are not well-served by our current system.

During the month of May, we are highlighting places where AVs are in use — today — being deployed, tested, and used for public good. We want to look at examples of the technology being used to serve food deserts, to expand access to rural communities, to offer new accessibility options, and more.

We are starting with the Trenton MOVES initiative, which is the first large-scale urban transit system in America based entirely on self-driving shuttles. The shuttles, which carry four to eight passengers, serve traditionally underserved Trenton neighborhoods, where 70% of households have limited access to a single automobile, or no access at all. Our panelists will detail the program, describing how it works, the results it has achieved, and their vision for the future……”  Read more  Hmmmm…   Very nice.  Be sure to watch video 😁 and see ZoomCast 267 Alain


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast Episode 267/ PodCast 267 

F. Fishkin, May 7, “The Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit is less than a month away, focused on making mobility for all a reality through Trenton Moves.  Plus Tesla says Autopilot is achieving big results in improving vehicle safety.   Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for that and more in episode 267 of Smart Driving Cars.”

Technical support provided by:


  Princeton ORFE Class of 2022 Senior Thesis Symposium “Best 8”

A. Kornhauser, May 4, “Princeton University’s  Department of Operations Research & Financial Engineering (ORFE), held its class of 2022 Senior Thesis Symposium of Tuesday, April 25. Each of the 65 members of the class made their presentation in one of 6 parallel  sessions.  As ORFE’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, I am so proud of their accomplishments.   Unfortunately I and each of my colleagues could only experience one-sixth of the presentations, so we assembled the best * and invited them to repeat their presentations to our combined faculty on may 4.  The linked video memorializes their truly substantive findings and accomplishments.  I couldn’t be more proud.  Enjoy:

Also see ZoomCast 256 Alain

Momentum Dynamics presents inductive charging system with two power classes

Press release, May 6, “Momentum Dynamics has announced a wireless system that offers the possibility of both high (50-75 kW) and low (7-22 kW) power charging thanks to a “dual power” mode. The company sees this as nothing less than “a major breakthrough with enormous implications for the EV industry”.

The US developer, which specialises in inductive charging systems for electric vehicles, plays less on the maximum charging power than on the effects in practice. Until now, inductive charging systems have only been designed for one purpose – such as wireless charging of low-power cars in the garage at home or charging heavy-duty vehicles with high power. A car designed for home inductive charging with 7 kW cannot use charging plates with higher power until now….” Read more  Hmmmm…  This approach to charging seems ideal for MOVES-type driverless mobility systems that incorporate “kiosks” where driverless vehicles wait for customers.  Since much of the day, the vehicles are waiting, they can be charging, thus substantially reducing the size of batteries for many, if not essentially all, of the vehicles. For the foreseeable future, the ODDs for these vehicles will be such that trips longer than say 100 miles will be essentially impossible. Trips of greater length will be served by multi-modal means.  All trips will start at a kiosk and, at end will be repositioned to a nearby kiosk where recharging can readily take place.  Super-sized batteries will not be needed nor desired.  Their higher capital cost will not need to be incurred and their weight will not need to be lugged around.  Nice!😎  Also see ZoomCast 256 Alain

Teslas using Autopilot are eight times less likely to be in an accident

J. Klender, May 6, “Tesla vehicles utilizing the company’s Autopilot vehicles are eight times less likely to be involved in an accident compared to the total U.S. vehicle fleet, data from the automaker’s 2021 Impact Report states.

Tesla has long touted the safety of its vehicles, especially ones that operate with its Autopilot driver assistance features. Tesla Autopilot includes several features that are all designed to assist drivers “with the most burdensome parts of driving.” The features include:…”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Again, as with the Tesla’s similar claims little is provided to make sure that apples are being compared to apples when making “8x” claims. 

8x is a big number so I’m confident that AutoPilot improves safety.  What the real value is, be it greater or lesser than “8x” isn’t really important.  Never the less, it would be nice to know the number if obtained from a truly unbiased peer-reviewed analysis of the underlying Tesla data.  I, once again, offer to perform such an analysis.  I shall protect the privacy associated with such underlying data and I will provide a sufficiency of analysis and rigorous statistical analysis to ensure that I have conducted an unbiased comparison with NHTSA’s nominal basis. Also see ZoomCast 256 Alain

  Aurora unveils fleet management platform to optimize autonomous operations

R. Bellan, May 4, “Autonomous vehicle technology company Aurora Innovation has unveiled a fleet management system that can be used to help optimize operations for the startup’s trucking and ride-hailing products.

Aurora announced the platform, named Aurora Beacon, alongside its first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, during which the company presented investors with a series of milestones on its path to commercializing its trucking product, Aurora Horizon, and launching its ride-hail product, Aurora Connect, both of which rely on the same autonomous stack….”  Read more  Hmmmm… It’s been more than 10 years since I focused on tuck management systems.  I guess this is advancement since then…. Alain

” … Aurora Q1 2022 Financials
Aurora closed out the first quarter of the year with an operating loss of $143 million, which is down from $192 million during the same quarter last year. Similarly, its net loss this quarter was $77 million, down from $189 million last year.

The company ended the quarter with nearly $42 million in “collaboration revenue” for development work associated with the company’s agreement with Toyota, which will support its planned ride-hailing product. In March, the company unveiled its test fleet of six Toyota Sienna robotaxis, which will be tested in Texas on high-speed routes.

Ultimately, collaboration revenue is not revenue, and as a pre-revenue company, Aurora declined to provide any guidance, allowing the company to finish its call, including Q&A, in about 30 minutes.  Read more  Hmmmm… What will be really interesting will be when either they or their customer receives their first dollar in return for driverless mobility they actually delivered to a package or a person.  Also see ZoomCast 256  Alain


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

A. Kornhauser, Jan 11, 2022 TRB, ” A slide deck describing the framework fora phased deployment of high-quality mobility in Trenton New Jersey that is envisioned to have wherewithal 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 ZoomCast 251 Also see ZoomCast 267 Alain

Highlights from the 4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit (2020-2021)

  Making Driverless Happen: The Road Forward (Updated)

K. Pyle, April 18, 2021, “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:

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


Staff, Dec 6, “The New Jersey Department of Transportation (“NJDOT”), an instrumentality of the State of New Jersey, has issued a Request for Expressions 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 expressions 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…”

Staff, March 2, “…” Read more  Hmmmm…   Lots of very encouraging and enthusiastic respondents.  Thanks to NJ DoT for making the replies available to the public at large on a very timely basis allowing everyone to learn a lot and showing that there is broad and competent interest in deploying Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, High-quality Mobility throughout Trenton and beyond.  Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events


May 16 -> 19

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit

& Mobility Festival


Thursday (evening), June 2, Welcome Reception @ Alain’s home (Registration required)

Friday, June 3, Equitable Mobility Innovation Forum @ Princeton University (Registration required)

June 4, Equitable Mobility Festival @ Mayor Donnely Homes, Trenton, NJ (Open to All)

Live in Person

See ZoomCast 265

On the More Technical Side

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