Wednesday, June 14, 2023

23rd  edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  Watch: A conversation on the U.S. autonomous vehicle industry

Axios events, June,7, “On Wednesday, June 7 in Washington, D.C., Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller and business reporter Nathan Bomey hosted conversations exploring the growth of the American autonomous vehicle industry. Guests included Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), and National Disability Institute director of health equity Elizabeth Layman. A View from the Top sponsored segment featured Cruise chief legal and policy officer Jeff Bleich….

Rep. Bob Latta discussed how driver safety is informing congressional efforts to accelerate autonomous vehicle regulation.

  • On rising deaths from traffic accidents due to driver error:…

Sen. Gary Peters highlighted strong U.S. ambitions to lead in developing the technologies needed to support the growth of a domestic autonomous vehicle industry.

  • On competition to be a leader in the future of mobility:…

Elizabeth Layman explained how autonomous vehicles could expand job prospects for people with disabilities in providing more options for transportation.

  • On a recent National Disability Research report studying the impacts of AVs for people with disabilities:…”    

Read  more  Hmmmm…  Watch attached video, and….  All those initiatives are very important, but the highest value “low hanging fruit” is Origin’s fundamental ability to provide affordable, high-quality mobility to the large number of people who “need a ride”.

Many of those people today, don’t get to go where they wanted to go at the time they wanted to go because, they couldn’t “get a ride”.  Some went through extra-ordinary “pain” to get the ride they got, but unfortunately, the pain they incurred in getting that ride diluted the value and quality-of-life they could have gotten had the ride not been so challenging to get. Those that didn’t go, did something and got some personal value in doing that, but got less value than if they could have gotten a high-quality affordable ride to where they really wanted to go.


Origin, properly deployed and operated, especially in MOVES-style fashion, can readily deliver those rides safely and is “Made in America” and environmentally responsible and can readily use its flexibility to better serve the needs of those with disabilities.  Alain


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 321 / PodCast 321 A look at the innovative Cruise Origin

F. Fishkin,  June 14, “A look at the innovative Cruise Origin from CARTS Mobility’s Jerry He, dissecting the market for autonomous mobility, Tesla’s rocket ride and more. Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 321 of Smart Driving Cars.

0:00 open

0:25 CARTS Mobility gets look at Cruise Origin at Axios event 05:15 Dissecting the market for autonomous mobility and more

10:50 Inside EVs headline on Cruise not blocking responders in San Francisco

14:45 Alain will have more to say in upcoming book he is co-authoring with Michael Sena

20:38 Ken Pyle at Viodi posts on mobility need in Little Rock

26:17 Toyota Mobility Foundation backing sustainable Cities Challenge

28:24 I-95 Philadelphia closure

31:30 More on mobility in cities

42:15 Tesla shares have rocketed 45:10 Uber reportedly launching peer to peer vehicle sharing


  First Look – GM Cruise Debuts Origin Vehicle on East Coast

J. He, June 14, “I had the unique pleasure of attending Axios x Cruise’s event, “A conversation on the U.S. autonomous vehicle industry”, where Cruise debuted its Origin prototype. The Origin vehicle was initially unveiled in 2020, immediately before the Pandemic, when the hope [read: hype] of autonomous vehicles and investment in ride-sharing were the highest.

Three years afterwards, the Cruise Origin vehicle, designed to be fully driverless, finally reached its way to the East Coast of US.…”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Hopefully this is the beginning of GM/Cruise delivering valuable most appreciated mobility to cities on the East coast, especially New Jersey.  Alain

D.  Mihalscu, Jun 12,” A Cruise autonomous vehicle appeared to get in the way as emergency crews were responding to a shooting in San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday night.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV-based autonomous vehicle was accused of blocking emergency responders who were trying to aid victims of the mass shooting incident. …


… Footage shared by bystander Paul Valdez on Twitter (via Teslarati) showed the Cruise AV stopped in the middle of the road during the incident. …


In the same Twitter thread, the General Motors-owned company responded to accusations that its self-driving car was blocking the road by saying the vehicle “initially stopped as it was approaching an active emergency scene, then proceeded to do a U-turn and pull over.” Cruise noted that “throughout this time, all vehicles, including emergency response vehicles, were able to proceed around our car.”…


The incident attracted Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attention, who posted an exclamation mark in a comment to a post about the incident. His tweet received a response from Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, who reiterated the company’s position that “at no point did the Cruise vehicle block access for first responders.”

He then asked a rhetorical question, “why criticize AVs doing the right thing and staying back + pulling out of the way?” …”

Read  more  Hmmmm… The good news here is that the headline focused on Cruise NOT blocking … and included Kyle’s rhetorical, yet most substantive, question…  why is anyone criticizing something that is done right…. Stop in a location where others who need to get by can. It is amazing the extent to which San Franciscans have mis-attributed good behavior by driverless vehicle.  Waymo was chided for stopping and not driving into fog. Cruise was belittled for operating only at night instead of praised for operating when MUNI is getting a good night’s sleep and completely blowing off any desire that someone might have of needing to get from A to B in some way better than walking or crawling.  How entitled are SF’s self-appointed influencers?   


Advice to Cruise & Waymo…  the sooner you leave SF (and don’t expect anything better in Santa Monica) the better.  You’ve done a great “proof-of-technology”.  It is now time to do a “proof-of-market”.  Your value proposition is that you can readily become THE mode of choice, the savior, the appreciated vendor to those who are in need of a ride.  Seems as if very few, and certainly no influencer, needs a ride.  They can all drive-themselves, scooter- themselves, have a limo waitingand/or, are visionHoles who aren’t going anywhere ever again, especially after only spending $3,500 (Actually very inexpensive:  History of VR, Here’s what you didn’t know about the history of Virtual Reality


It is time for you, Cruise,   to take a MOVES-style deployment and operational approach that, in my opinion, will lead you to be successful in “proof-of-market” deployments that allow you to take advantage of your unique value attribute to deliver affordable, demand-responsive mobility to those in need of a ride.  For many trips, you are “head-and-shoulders” better that all of the other options to crawl, walk, use conventional transit o  bum-a-ride, and ride-hail  to those who need a ride and find ride-hailing beyond their means for this trip. those that don’t have their own car waiting around, nor have a  scooter or a bike, nor have the “ stretch” and its driver waiting outside. 


For those that have “those”, seemingly that’s everyone in SF, you don’t have a chance of besting.  Those needing a ride.. piece of cake.   Come to Jersey.  We have many (more than 50%of all personTrips made today) that are in the “need a ride” category to which you could become an instant hero.  Call me if you need help seeing the details J!  Alain


  The $9 million global Challenge to help cities move more safely, inclusively, and sustainably.

Staff, June 12, ‘“The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Challenge Works and World Resources Institute, is announcing the Sustainable Cities Challenge.  This $9 million global Challenge will act as a catalyst. It will bring cities and innovators together to enable safe, inclusive and sustainable mobility solutions fit for the future. We aim to transform the lives of millions of people around the world….”      Read  more  Hmmmm… The good news here is  that foundations/non-profits are trying to improve how people get around in existing cities, a job that has been traditionally the purview of the public sector.


Since the public sector has vastly more financial resources than the philanthropic sector, and the public sector’s primary, if not sole, mission is safety and secondly with sustainability, philanthropy should focus its limited resources on inclusivity and explicitly on delivering high-quality mobility, affordably without subsidy. 


Philanthropy can more readily partner with the private sector to focus its vast development efforts to deliver disruptive solutions that would achieve those ends.  Philanthropy has the flexibility to be extremely more productive in such initiatives than the rightfully-so over-regulated public sector.  Alain


  GM Discloses Tesla Deal Details, TSLA Record Streak, Highland Rumors

R. Maurer,  June 12, ➤ TSLA stock sets a new record ➤ Charging companies hop on board with NACS ➤ GM comments on structure of NACS agreement ➤ Project Highland rumors in China ➤ Shanghai FSD reports ➤ Tesla opens ‘Giga Lab’ store ➤ Nuevo León governor comments on Giga Mexico timeline ➤ Giga Texas receives new machine ➤ Tesla updates referral points ➤ New software update ➤ KGI Securities upgrades TSLA stock ➤ Ford CEO comments on VW ➤ Nio drops prices, free battery swaps Read  more  Hmmmm…  An impressive run   Alain


 Self-Driving cars are not yet on our roads, but Assisted Driving Systems are already supporting drivers’ safety today

Press release, June 7, “Many consumers believe self-driving cars and the possibility to purchase them is just around the corner, but as yet they are not available to buy on the European car market. However, many new cars are already fitted with the forerunner technology that enables the successful operation of automated cars. This technology exists as an Assisted Driving option in around 90% of new cars and is helping car drivers to stay safe. As part of its rating programme, Euro NCAP has been evaluating Assisted Driving systems for the past three years, and the latest batch of gradings reveal just how good these systems are. Today, Euro NCAP releases the results of gradings for three vehicles – the Renault AustralNissan Ariya, and the Alfa Romeo Tonale….”    Read  more  Hmmmm…  Yes, of course, assisted driving cars, what I’ve called Safe and Self-driving cars, were supposed to improve safety  (and comfort & convenience).  It is excellent that they have been in the show rooms, bought by consumers, are on the road and achieving their original objective. 


What Euro-NCAP calls “Self-driving” , what I’ve called “driverless”,  are not on the road yet (except SF & Phoenix), but they weren’t supposed to really improve safety.  They need to be safe!  They were supposed to improve mobility.  Indeed, they haven’t shown to be able to do that.


What is unfortunate is they’ve yet to try to do that where they have a ghost of a chance of doing that. I suggest, that they try to do that where they have the best opportunity to be successful.  Alain


  Uber Wants To Take Turo’s Whole Thin

Al Kalmowitz, June 8, “Uber is doing what all tech companies do best: taking another company’s idea. It’s reportedly launching a peer-to-peer vehicle-sharing service that’ll let users earn money by renting out their car to strangers. You know, like what Turo has been doing for all these years…”.””Read  more  Hmmmm… Not a surprise.  Uber thinks it is a platform for anything andis  desperately trying to survive as a platform.   Unfortunately, many platforms exist that have more eyeballs and Uber’s uniquenesses are nowhere near what they could have been if they also could themselves deliver on-demand driverless mobility or have any chance of “platforming” Tesla’s vision of AirB&Bing FSD Teslas??? Alain


   Tesla (TSLA) stock is on an incredible run, here’s why

F. Lambert, June 12, “ Tesla’s stock (TSLA) is up more than 50% over the last month in one of the company’s best runs in value ever.

Here’s an idea of why Tesla’s stock is gaining momentum.

Macroeconomics has a big impact on large stocks, like Tesla, and improvements on that front have helped the automaker, but the NASDAQ is up 10% while Tesla’s up 51% over the last 30 days.

A string of good news seems to have helped Tesla push higher at a faster rate than the rest of the market..…. “  Read  more  Hmmmm.  It doesn’t surprise us.  Alain 


   Mercedes-Benz is first to get approval to sell partially autonomous vehicles in California

Andrew Hawkins, June 8, “Mercedes-Benz is the first company to receive approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to sell or lease vehicles with an automated driving system to the public, according to the agency.

The DMV issued an autonomous vehicle permit to the company, authorizing Mercedes-Benz to sell vehicles with its Drive Pilot highway driving feature for use on public roads. Drive Pilot is described as a Level 3 system, in which the car does all the driving but the human driver needs to stand by to take control at a moment’s notice.

Drive Pilot is similar to “hands-free” highway driving systems like GM’s Super Cruise, Ford’s BlueCruise, and Tesla’s Autopilot, in so far as it allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and feet off the pedals under certain conditions. But unlike Level 2 systems, in which drivers are required to keep their eyes on the road, Mercedes’ Level 3 system has a few more allowances.

The car does all the driving, but the human driver needs to stand by to take control at a moment’s notice

For example, the driver must keep their face visible to the vehicle’s in-car cameras at all times but can also turn their head to talk to a passenger or play a game on the vehicle’s infotainment screen. (Tetris, for example.),…”  Read  more  Hmmmm.  Wow, this is totally crazy.  It better be better than FSD; else, the can of worms that “playing Tetras” is going to open is going to be crazy.  Do people rich enough to pay for this option play Tetras?.  At least they aren’t young. I’m not a fan of “Level 3”.  This is going to be interesting to watch. Alain 

  Save the Date: 

6th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:

Postponed until further notice; stay tuned


TRB Automated Transportation Symposium

San Francisco, CA, July 9-13


Bridging Transportation Researchers (BTR) Conference

Paper Submission deadline: April 30

August. 9 & 10

On-line Conference


Isabelle Ducharme, Sylvain Tousignant, Adam Cohen, Rupal Bapat, Jarvis Murray, Cammie Chaumont Menendez