Monday, November 14, 2022

41st edition of the 10th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter


  Gusciora leads big in Trenton; many council seats up in the air

J. Fox, Nov 9, “Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora has a huge lead in his bid for a second term, putting him in a dominant position against two of his longtime foes, Council President Kathy McBride and Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, in the city’s nonpartisan election.

According to numbers from the Mercer County Clerk’s office, Gusciora currently has more than 70% of the vote….” Read more  Hmmmm…   Yea!!  Now Trenton MOVES can become a reality. Alain


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 291 /PodCast 291  w/Jonathan Vitale, GM

F. Fishkin, Nov.. 12, “As GM expands Super Cruise,  assistant program engineering manager Jonathan Vitale joins Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for a look at the capabilities now and in the future.   Plus Ouster, Velodyne,  Trenton Moves, TuSimple,  Waymo, Tesla and more.   Smart Driving Cars episode 291!”
0:00 Open
01:00 GM Super Cruise assistant program engineering manager Jonathan Vitale
27:23 Trenton Moves
37:00   Ouster and Velodyne
38:45    Waymo
45:30 Tesla and Zoom



Technical support provided by:  a 501c3 dedicated to Safe & High-Quality Mobility for All

  Expanding Access to Hands-Free Driving
Press release, Nov. 9, “GM is committed to expanding access to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), bringing these technologies to more vehicles on more roads, while prioritizing safe deployment. We want to help our customers expand their driving experience with these systems, which is why we’re laser-focused on testing, validating and improving our ADAS technologies to provide our customers with advanced features and systems — like the industry’s first true hands-free advanced driver assistance system, Super Cruise….


Super Cruise is coming to 22 vehicles globally by the end of 2023. Ultra Cruise3 will later be available on certain premium entries. Together, these technologies will bring ADAS to more customers on more vehicles, in more regions at more price points.. Read more Hmmmm…  Yup, the ‘chrome & fins’ selling cars in the 2020s.  The substantive RoI of AV technology. Alain


   Lidar makers Ouster and Velodyne agree to merge

J. Rosevear, Nov. 7, “Lidar makers Ouster and Velodyne have agreed to merge, combining roughly $400 million in market value.

The companies said on Monday that they will join forces to increase their competitiveness in a market segment that has seen valuations plummet as investors have grown disillusioned with autonomous-vehicle technology….

“We all knew that there is a need for consolidation in the market,” Pacala told CNBC. “This is us actually going out and doing it.”….“.  Read more  Hmmmm…   OK. Alain


   Tesla plans to import China-made electric cars to US, says questionable report

F. Lambert, Nov. 1, “Tesla is reportedly planning to start importing electric cars made in China to the US, according to a somewhat-questionable report from Reuters.

Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now denied the Reuters report via Twitter.

Reuters came out with a new report today that claims Tesla is currently validating a plan to import electric cars made at Gigafactory Shanghai in China to the US market.…” Read more  Hmmmm… . Whew!!!  What a bad idea.  Alain


 Waymo’s driverless taxis keep making incremental progress, while others flounder

A. Hawkins, Nov. 11, “The Alphabet division made a couple of announcements this week meant to highlight the progress — albeit incremental — of its robotaxis. The first was that, starting this week, anyone who downloads the company’s app can now hail one of Waymo’s driverless vehicles in downtown Phoenix. (The service was previously only available to the company’s “Trusted Tester” program of people from a wait list who sign nondisclosure agreements to get early access to Waymo’s vehicles in new service areas.)

The second was that the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved an amendment to Waymo’s permit to include driverless vehicles, which means the company has the green light to deploy fully autonomous vehicles as part of its Waymo One taxi service in cities like San Francisco.


Taken together, the announcements offer a balm for those in the AV sector who have grown increasingly skeptical that driverless cars — and more specifically, robotaxis — can ever truly become a real thing. Last month’s shuttering of Argo AI has left many in the industry feeling despondent about the future of AV technology. But Waymo’s slow and steady approach is a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy environment….“.  Read more  Hmmmm…   When will they finally realize that they are a mobility company and look at deployments where their technology makes the mobility that they provide very attractive, rather than trying to have the technology be the attrition to those that already have great mobility.  To get out of the slow lane, they should come to New Jersey where we’ll really appreciate their mobility and, hopefully, tolerate their technology. Alain


A look inside Waymo’s self-driving cars

MobilEye, Nov. 11, “Colton Shone got a look inside one of the self-driving Jaguars released earlier this year.​….“.  Read more Hmmmm…    OK, “really cool”.  But here in New Jersey, it would actually be useful to many.  Alain


Tesla, Zoom announce team-up for in-car video conferencing 

F. Lambert, Nov. 1, “Tesla and Zoom have announced that they are officially teaming up to bring video conferencing inside Tesla vehicles.

Over the last few years, Tesla has invested heavily in features that are aimed to be useful for the in-car experience when its vehicles become self-driving.

I am talking about in-car video games and Tesla Theater, which integrates streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu directly into the center display of Tesla vehicles..…” Read more  Hmmmm… . This is a great idea but ONLY if it operates when the car is in park and Tesla monitors any attempt to jailbreak that restriction. Alain


   Can Self Driving Cars Break The Rules? Technology Deep Dive!​

MobilEye, Nov. 11, “Mobileye brought me out to their headquarters in Jerusalem where I was able to experience their autonomous driving technology first hand. Autonomous driving is a complex subject, so we’ll be breaking down how it all works. ​

There’s a narrative that autonomous cars will be far too conservative in their driving to be practical and enjoyed by consumers. But what if autonomous cars could break the rules? Well, there’s a very interesting answer to this to question.​….
“.  Read more Hmmmm…   Good video but we’re still trying to convince that all of this works rather than what its going to end up being ‘good for’.  Alain


What I’ve Learned After 26 Rides In A Driverless Cruise Robotaxi

M. Hergber, Nov. 5, “About three weeks ago, I received an email with an access code for an app that allowed me to take rides in a robotaxi. The app comes from Cruise, a startup that was acquired by General Motors in 2016 for just under a billion dollars. With it, I could now use the Cruise robotaxis, which have been operating in San Francisco since August 2021, for myself. What makes them special is that these robotaxis drive driverless. There is no one in the car when it picks up passengers.​….“.  Read more Hmmmm…   “What makes them special is that these robotaxis drive driverless.”  How long will that ‘specialness’ last as a compelling product differentiator?  Can it really be long enough to be a market success?  Alain


  FSD Beta 11 (2022.40.5) Release Notes 

Staff, Nov. 12, “Partial release notes have become available and are available below. More to come soon.​….“.  Read more Hmmmm…  FYI  Alain


  TuSimple names new CEO, replaces ex-boss fired after probe into ties to Chinese firm

Reuter, Nov. 11, “TuSimple Holdings Inc’s (TSP.O) former chief executive Cheng Lu is returning to the role, days after the self-driving trucking company fired his predecessor following an internal probe that showed some employees had ties and shared information with a China-backed firm.

San Diego, California-based TuSimple also announced late on Thursday that it removed four independent directors and appointed co-founder and major shareholder Mo Chen as executive chairman of the board.

The reshuffle follows an investigation by its board that concluded that some of its employees spent paid hours last year working for Hydron Inc, a startup working on autonomous trucks mostly in China….” Read more Hmmmm…  OK.  Alain


  New Pennsylvania law permits platooning

K. Goble, Nov. 8, “A new Pennsylvania law is touted as modernizing the state’s vehicle code to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill to permit the driverless testing and deployment of autonomous cars and trucks on Pennsylvania roadways.

Pennsylvania law has prohibited vehicle operation on state roadways without a human driver behind the wheel inside the vehicle.

Previously HB2398, the new law permits platooning with a driver in the lead vehicle. One nonlead vehicle is permitted to operate with an automated driving system engaged.​….“.  Read more Hmmmm…  OK. Alain


 Another affordable EV is suddenly not very affordable anymore

A. Hawkins, Nov. 9, “Kia America just announced the 2023 pricing for the EV6, and much like many EVs before it, it’s going in the wrong direction.


Next year’s EV6 will start at $49,795, including a $1,295 destination charge — a 16 percent price hike, or $7,100 more than last year’s model. Previously, the Light base model EV6 started at $42,695, including the destination charge. (That model has now been discontinued and replaced with the Wind RWD trim.)


And that’s not taking into account any dealer markups or options that would likely end up pushing the Kia EV6’s price north of $50,000, which is dangerously close to luxury vehicle levels of price. (Kia isn’t jacking up the price for nothing, though: the 2023 EV6 is getting a pretty significant range boost.) Inflation sucks, but inflation in the EV sector is especially depressing for a number of reasons… ” Read more!    Hmmmm… Good thing electricity is perceived to be free.  How long is that going to last? Alain




Nov. 12, “On Saturday, November 12 at 11:06 a.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched the Intelsat G-31/G-32 mission to a geosynchronous transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This was the fourteenth launch of this booster, which previously supported Dragon’s first crew demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and 10 Starlink missions. Read more Hmmmm…  No attempt was made to recover the booster.  Needed the propellant was needed for the mission.  Perfect final flight for a booster that had been recovered 13 times.  Alain