Monday, July 24, 2023

28th edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

    Exclusive: Disability advocates push for robotaxi expansion
M. Dickey, July 21,  “San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is among a group of community organizations urging state regulators to approve Waymo’s permit that would enable the self-driving car company to receive payments for its around-the-clock service in San Francisco.

Why it matters: Community organizations that advocate on behalf of people with disabilities argue autonomous vehicles are safer and provide more accessibility and independence than traditional ride-hailing services, and hope the permit will encourage expanded services.

What’s happening: In an open letter posted Friday, more than a dozen community advocacy groups urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to “approve Waymo’s permit at the earliest possible opportunity,” arguing driverless cars “can ensure this next generation of transportation is more inclusive than ever.”

In addition to LightHouse, other groups include the San Francisco LGBT Center, Self-Help for the Elderly and the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California.
Read  more  Hmmmm…  Excellent! Thrilled to see that communities are advocating for MORE Waymo/driverless services, and that their requests are getting at least some media attention. We are hoping that many more groups follow suit. Wouldn’t it be great if  companies like Waymo focused on the needs of similar community groups AND did a better job publicizing their progress in terms of delivering safe, affordable demand-responsive/high-quality rides?  All too often the stories intended to catch the public eye are written by those who don’t actually need a ride and who don’t seem to care about the potential of driverless services to disrupt the giving rides  market for the betterment of society [see below].  The fact that “more than a dozen” advocacy groups are joining to lobby for Waymo’s permitting is proof that they (and Cruise) meet the Caudill Corollary: “Proof-of-Community Value & Sustainability”.  Alain

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 326 / PodCast 326 San Francisco robotaxis gain support from disability advocates
F. Fishkin,  July 24, “Some disability advocates are voicing support for expanded robotaxis in San Francisco, a SF paper pits Uber against Waymo in a race, Cruise begins testing in Miami, Tesla begins production of DOJO supercomputer and talks to a major automaker about licensing Full Self Driving. That and more on episode 326 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin.

0:00 open

0:28 Disability advocates push for robotaxi expansion in San Francisco

8:08 San Francisco Standard pits Uber against Waymo in race. Clickbait.

12:40 Cruise begins initial testing for robotaxis in Miami

18:49 NY Times reports .. Watching for the Bus Stop Gallery

21:19 IATR Annual Conference in fall will have Waymo as an official sponsor

24:30 John Deere Moves Further in the Field of Autonomy

25:36 DOT accepting applications for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program

28:00 Tesla begins production of DOJO Supercomputer

31:10 Tesla in discussion to license full self driving to another major automaker

36:20 Washington Post piece on Tesla owners using steering wheel weights


Watching for the Bus Stop Gallery

J. Finkel, July 19, “…  Starting Aug. 9, the artist [Felipe Baeza], whose home base is Brooklyn, will be giving people something to think about during their own public transportation journey, or purgatory as the case may be. As part of a Public Art Fund program designed to reach people where they live or commute, Baeza will have eight of his mixed-media, collagelike paintings reproduced on some 400 JCDecaux bus shelters in New York, Boston and Chicago as well as Querétaro and Léon in Mexico. They will also appear on digital kiosks and newsstands in Mexico City.

“People assume I don’t drive because of my illegal history,” said Baeza, who immigrated from Celaya, Mexico, undocumented, when he was seven and now has DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. “I just never had the desire or interest. I like walking or taking the bus or train. Navigating a city by public transportation changes the way you experience the landscape, the world.”…”  Read  more  Hmmmm…  What an ideal person to work with communities to make their aTaxi kiosks cherished neighborhood assets.  And this initiative aligns perfectly with the MOVES vision of empowering those who actually live in MOVES ODDs to design the kiosks in their neighborhoods. Alain

    We Raced a Waymo Against an Uber. Here’s Which One Was Faster

M. Kupfer, July 21, “There’s just something fascinating about autonomous vehicles. 

These eerie white chariots of the tech revolution now cruise the streets of San Francisco, ferrying passengers around town or simply circulating through the city, totally empty of people.

Reactions are mixed. Some San Franciscans are excited about the prospect of a driverless robotaxi taking them out for a night on the town. Others oppose the idea. Some are “coning” the Waymo and Cruise cars to protest their presence in the city. 

Regardless, the robotaxis are here. … 

But how do they stand up functionally to the previous “innovation” in hired vehicles: so-called “ride-share” apps like Uber and Lyft? Two journalists from The Standard, Matthew Kupfer and Han Li, decided to find out.  …Great, Matt &Han agree as I editorialized last week: Waymo and Cruise have passed with flying colors the Kornhauser “Turing Proof-of-Technology” test! 

…. They planned an itinerary that took them from Franklin Square in Potrero Hill to Sunnyside Playground, onward to Devil’s Teeth Baking Company in the Outer Sunset, and then to the famous Painted Ladies near Alamo Square. Matt took a Waymo, while Han got an Uber.. …  Nice test.  Random ODs at random times.  Not walkable and likely unserved by public transit.  If you don’t have your car to drive, you need a ride. 

The results? If you want to get somewhere quickly, Uber is still the way to go. …  What??? “ Quickly” is the definitive aspiration?  Maybe by those where affordability doesn’t matter or have never faced rejection because of what they look like.  Whatever??? .   …

The Verdict

Both Uber and Waymo offered smooth rides across San Francisco om… Enough said!  Fantastic endorsement!…   . But despite the novelty of riding in a driverless vehicle, Waymo just couldn’t keep up with Uber. The driverless cars avoid the freeway, and the wait times can often be long. 

Although Waymo currently is not charging users for rides, its projected prices were also higher than those of Uber.

Here’s how the timing and price of the two options compare….”

Read  more  Hmmmm…  Much as I dislike dignifying click-bait journalism, there are some important takeaways here worth interrogating.


Good news:  These two individuals present as though they can already get around town quite well, and express no hesitation to take a series of driverless rides. Implicitly they trust that Waymo is safe. This is huge!  Moreover, they reported no service disruptions, awkward drop-offs or pickups, or any glitches whatsoever.  Good job, Waymo!


More Good news: Matt and Han’s primary complaint, time, [time spent waiting for a vehicle, and journey time, given these vehicles are not yet utilizing freeways] is/will soon be completely irrelevant

  • The authors were looking to “race” to get someplace as opposed to getting someplace faster and better than walking or taking existing public transit.  If one can afford a ride given by conventional limo/taxi/Uber/Lyft and tip the drivers sufficiently well so the driver can really earn a living wage for the time and expense they had to incur to reposition themselves to get to you, wait for you and drive you to where you want to go, then you should continue to contribute to their well-being.  But if you need a ride and can’t afford to fully contribute to the living wage of a driver, then you’ll appreciate the quality, safety, and affordability of a Waymo ride. My understanding from one of my former students is that Waymo in Phoenix is half the price of Uber,  and I can’t imagine that Waymo accepts tips.  With scale, Uber can’t compete on price.  With increasing  scale Waymo gets cheaper (Moore’s Law) while Uber incurs more overhead and higher compensation to entice additional drivers.
  • The wait time is due in large part to the fact that  Waymo doesn’t have a license to provide mobility for paying customers, so the demand for free rides simply outstrips the supply. We’re hoping for a positive vote on August 10, which will enable Waymo build a business to serve the demand that exists in SF, leading to negligible wait times.
  • Yes, we see Waymo vehicles “totally empty of people” as they reposition for pickup and to go to the next customer after the dropoff.  Same for Uber.  The Ubers that came to pick up Han were therefore as functionally empty as the Waymos.  As I’ve pointed out, in Princeton and most other communities, roughly one third of the cars on local streets have a single guardian returning home from dropping off a kid who needed a ride to school – repositioning.  Those cars are coming back home functionally empty, just like the Waymos, except the Waymos are likely being substantially more efficient in their vehicle utilization and can have much higher average vehicle occupancies.
  • The writers characterize those San Franciscans who are excited about driverless rides as looking forward to  having an even better “night on the town.”  I suspect that 50% of San Franciscans  have more acute and more basic mobility needs, because the public transit system doesn’t match up well with where and when they need to travel, and they don’t have access to their own car to drive themselves.  These folks are in need of over 1,000 rides a year, and are the folks that Waymo should focus on rather than those looking to race against Ubers, knowing full well in advance that Waymos don’t yet drive on the freeways. With Waymo continuing to demonstrate high safety benchmarks, it can now focus on serving repeat customers who will be happy to choose them for 100, 300, or  even 1,000 rides per year. 


Bad news: the media continue to treat driverless vehicles as a “novelty” rather than imagine and promote their incredible potential as mobility machines for large segments of our communities who do not have on-demand access to or who cannot operate personal vehicles.


Waymo is trying to be in the business of providing safe, high-quality, affordable, sustainable rides to people who need rides to improve their everyday lives.  Hans & Matt are looking for thrill rides.  Let them go to Six Flags . C’mon man!  Alain



   Cruise starts initial robotaxi testing in Miami

R. Bellan, July 20, “Cruise, the self-driving arm of General Motors, has begun initial testing and data collection in Miami, the company said in a tweet Wednesday.

“Phase 1 is to familiarize our fleet with additional, diverse road conditions while collecting data,” the company said.

Cruise declined to provide any further information, like what Phase 2 entails and when it will begin, how many Cruise vehicles are currently in Miami and when the company plans to start testing.

The news comes two months after Cruise expanded to Houston and Dallas, where the AV company has begun supervised testing and is on track to begin driverless ride-hail service for members of the public “soon,” according to a Cruise spokesperson. Supervised testing just means there’s a human safety driver in the car. Cruise will switch to driverless testing before opening up the service for riders….

Read  more  Hmmmm…  Nice!  Hopefully they’ll come north to New Jersey, where we have customers, and last winter Trenton had zero snow days, just like Miami. Alain


  IATR is Proud to Announce that WAYMO is an Official Sponsor for the 36th Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this Fall

Staff, July 20 , “…As a sponsor of the IATR 36th Annual Conference, Waymo is excited to collaborate with industry leaders and policymakers to shape the future of transportation. Together, we are forging new paths and creating a safer, more efficient, and sustainable world for all.” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Congratulations, Matt!  Alain


   John Deere moves further in the field of autonomy

Staff, July 6, “Since its Precision Ag Group was started in 1993, John Deere has steadily increased the level of automation in its products, edging further and further forward along the path to full autonomy. It’s now closer than ever to that goal, thanks to technologies being applied across multiple solutions within its Precision Ag portfolio.

“As we talk about increasing levels of automation leading to ultimate autonomy, we’ve been preparing for the autonomous tractor solution… since we started with AutoTrac back in 2002,” Matt Olson, Precision Ag product marketing manager, John Deere, said of the company’s field guidance system. “We started in 2002 making customers more aware of the value of precision and how overlap control can really help not only increase the productivity per day, but also decrease the costs… relative to the inputs of their operation. Olson is interviewed in Diesel Progress, the interview gives a good outlook on the plans of John Deere….” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Driverless Proof-of-Market in ODD exclusively on private property where Proof-of-Technology is Q.E.D.  Alain


  Autonomous Taxis May Have The Most Impact On GDP Of Any Innovation In History

T. Keeney, July 14, “Autonomous vehicles could be one of the most productive innovations of all time, impacting global gross domestic product (GDP) by approximately 20% over the next decade, according to ARK’s estimates shown below. Previously, ARK has shown that autonomous cars potentially could reduce[1] accident rates and cut[2] transportation costs. In this piece, we examine the outsized impact that autonomous taxis could have on the global economy. …”  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Maybe?  Although, the biggest impact may well come from serving l;atent demand… Giving people safe, affordable, high-quality rides to improve their lives instead of staying home.  Alain


  Biden-Harris Administration Announces New, Streamlined Funding Application Process for Infrastructure Projects That Reconnect Communities

Press release, July 5, “Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that the Department of Transportation is now taking applications for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program, an unprecedented effort to build good transportation infrastructure to reconnect communities to economic opportunities.

The streamlined program, which combines two different programs created in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, will make it easier to submit an application and increase opportunity for communities that are seeking funding for projects that address harm from past infrastructure planning decisions, accelerate equitable community revitalization, and improve access to everyday destinations… “  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Sounds perfect to fund kiosk and sidewalk infrastructure for MOVES-style aTaxi deployments in the many communities that need rides.  It could also help fix local street infrastructure where safety of the affordable, equitable and sustainable driverless mobility deployments is  most challenged.  Alain


  Tesla starts production of Dojo supercomputer to train driverless cars

Andrew Hawkins, July 19, “Tesla says it has started production of its Dojo supercomputer to train its fleet of autonomous vehicles.

In its second quarter earnings report for 2023, the company outlined “four main technology pillars” needed to “solve vehicle autonomy at scale: extremely large real-world dataset, neural net training, vehicle hardware and vehicle software.”

“We are developing each of these pillars in-house,” the company said in its report. “This month, we are taking a step towards faster and cheaper neural net training with the start of production of our Dojo training computer..”…”  Read  more  Hmmmm…  I am such a fanboy of Dojo.  The choke point of current approaches to AI is the solving the optimization problem that finds the values of the coefficients that gets a perfect score for the training set (the global optimum).  Dojo may be the tool that does that best.  If so, Tesla wins!  Alain


Tesla in discussion to license Full Self-Driving software to another automaker

Andrew Hawkins, July 19, “Tesla is in “discussion” to license its Full Self-Driving (FSD) driver-assist technology to another major automaker, Elon Musk said in an earnings call Wednesday. He did not reveal the name of the company, though he did say that licensing FSD was always part of the plan.

“We’re not trying to keep this to ourselves,” Musk said on the call. “We’re more than happy to license it to others.”

Musk has spoken about licensing FSD to competitors in the past. Last month, he tweeted that “Tesla aspires to be as helpful as possible to other car companies” — adding, “Also happy to license Autopilot/FSD or other Tesla technology.”…”  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Why not?  MobilEye licenses theirs.   Maybe Elon will spin off FSD and compete directly with MobilEye.  That would be interesting.  Dojo could be a difference maker.  Alain


  Tesla Earnings Worse Than We Thought?

Rob Mauer, July 21, “ TSLA stock drops after Tesla earnings report and call
Further discussion on earning report
Analyst reactions
FSD transferability update
Distribution center
Twitter subpoena

Read  more  Hmmmm…  Interesting!  Oh well, shows how little I know.  Alain


Podcast: Tesla Cybertruck update, TSLA earnings, F150 Lightning price cut, and more

F. Lambert, July 21, “On the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy. In this week’s episode, we discuss the Tesla Cybertruck update, the TSLA earnings, Ford slashing the price of the F150 Lightning, and more… “; Read  more  Hmmmm…  Interesting!  Alai


  Tesla owners are using steering-wheel weights to drive hands-free

F. Siddiqui, July 7, “ The devices are marketed for a variety of innocuous uses — a cellphone holder, for instance, or a safety hammer. One promises to relieve shoulder pain. Others ditch the pretext and list simply as “wheel weights” or “wheel knobs.”

They all have a common purpose: to let Tesla drivers take their hands off the wheel.

Steering wheel weights have become a popular commodity as Tesla has expanded its “Full Self-Driving” technology from around 12,000 vehicles to more than 400,000 over the past year. While the electric car manufacturer has adopted measures to discourage their use, the devices have been involved in at least two recent traffic incidents.

In March, a Tesla plowed without slowing into a teenager getting off a school bus in North Carolina, police said, causing severe injuries…. “ Read  more  Hmmmm…  This is just tabloid click-bait!

  • Headline:  “Tesla owners…”  trying to imply many, all.  Really?  Cut it out!  Unfortunately, a few car owners misbehave.  Tell us something we don’t know.  C’mon Man!
  • The folks that promote these devices may well have cut their teeth on Mercedes owners when they promoted the hanging of Diet Coke cans to fool Dystronic before AutoPilot ever existed.
  • Having one’s feet near the brake and then using it to depress the brake or take it off the throttle to enable regenerative braking and aerodynamic drag are ways slow an EV.  Having one’s hands on or off a steering wheel is irrelevant to a car not being able to slow down. 
  • While there is some substantial correlation between having “hands on wheel” to having “eyes on road”, the best way to ensure that drivers are seeing the road ahead is an eye monitoring system like the one introduced by GM in its SuperCruise system back in 2016. 

Sure some totally irresponsible individual can probably figure out a way to circumvent eye trackers; however, with over-the air updating, Tesla wins that “nuclear arms race”.  Plus, insurance companies can ensure that no one misbehaves in this way twice by revoking their coverage for modifying the operation of the steering wheel causing their first incident.  Alain





AS far as I’ve gotten





  Past the limit: Studying how often drivers speed in San Francisco and Phoenix  

The Waymo Team, July 11, “Speeding is one of the leading causes of death on the road. In 2020, speeding was a contributing factor in 11,258 deaths and 308,013 injuries, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities and 13% of injuries in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. Safety initiatives such as Vision Zero have been instrumental in helping cities design streets, set speed limits, and implement policies to reduce speeding and lessen the likelihood and forcefulness of crashes. The Waymo Driver can help achieve that important goal.

We recently analyzed the aggregated speeds of cars on the streets of San Francisco and Phoenix, and our study revealed that speeding is, unfortunately, a very common behavior. During the 10-day study period, we observed vehicles speeding up to almost half (47%) of the time, including instances of extreme speeding with cars going more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit. This shows a disturbingly high percentage of people ignoring the posted speed limit and putting themselves and others at risk. We are sharing our findings to help shed light on how pervasive this safety issue is and Waymo’s role in supporting safer streets.

Unlike humans, the Waymo Driver is designed to follow applicable speed limits. Our Driver can also detect the speed of other vehicles on the road. Doing so helps the Waymo Driver predict the likely next maneuvers of the vehicles around it and respond accordingly. This has important safety benefits: for example, if the Waymo Driver detects a car accelerating instead of slowing down for a red light, it will prepare to yield to it.


Speeding is one of the leading causes of death on the road. In 2020, speeding was a contributing factor in 11,258 deaths and 308,013 injuries, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities and 13% of injuries in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. Safety initiatives such as Vision Zero have been instrumental in helping cities design streets, set speed limits, and implement policies to reduce speeding and lessen the likelihood and forcefulness of crashes. The Waymo Driver can help achieve that important goal.

We recently analyzed the aggregated speeds of cars on the streets of San Francisco and Phoenix, and our study revealed that speeding is, unfortunately, a very common behavior. During the 10-day study period, we observed vehicles speeding up to almost half (47%) of the time, including instances of extreme speeding with cars going more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit. This shows a disturbingly high percentage of people ignoring the posted speed limit and putting themselves and others at risk. We are sharing our findings to help shed light on how pervasive this safety issue is and Waymo’s role in supporting safer streets….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…   A stark, substantive, data-supported revelation about what most of us already know so well from just driving around.  It is what every highway patrol officer monitoring traffic speed knows from looking at the display of speed and radar guns.  Thank you for divulging summaries of the data that enables the safe operation of the Waymo driver while clearly revealing the misbehavior of some human drivers.  Inrix and others have been harvesting speed data from various sources for almost 20 years.  They know this.  As does US DoT who implicitly has chosen to tolerate it.  


In order for me, or any of us, to drive safely, I/we must sense the environment around us.  We measure the speed of the cars that we pass, drive along or pass us as well as assess qualitatively the driving behaviors of each. The Waymo and Cruise drivers also sense the environment around each of their cars.  The “only” difference is they do it quantitatively, precisely and places those values in memory for future recall.  Consequently, they know and can precisely recall the behavior patterns of drivers around as well as themselves.  They know when they misbehave and know the extent to which others misbehave, vandalize, cause mischief and/or provide assistance.  I applaud Waymo for the posting of his data sourced information.  Alain


  Waymo And Cruise Push Back In Battle With San Francisco 

B. Templeton, July 14, “The annual TRB ARTS self-driving conference is the oldest conference in the field, and it took place in San Francisco this week. The hot topic was surely the brewing battle between the city of San Francisco and the two companies doing robotaxi pilots in that city, Waymo and Cruise. While there was no direct debate between the parties, the conference was opened by Jeffrey Tumlin, head of the San Francisco MUNI transit agency which included a fair bit of complaint about problems with the robotaxis. The reaction from Cruise and Waymo speakers was less confrontational, but nonetheless included some smoke from the battle.

At the same time, Cruise this week ran full page ads in major newspapers describing the bad safety record of human drivers and stating that Cruise vehicles were doing much better. Waymo has said this in the past, and earlier in the week released a study they did of just how much it is that people speed. While everybody knows that speeding is very common, Waymo vehicles are always watching the roads in detail and were able to quantify that typically half of all cars are speeding, some doing as much as double the limit. Waymo and Cruise cars do not speed — though there is considerable debate over whether they should at least try to match the typical speed of traffic, even if that means speeding. At present, companies are wary of programming their vehicles to speed the way people do, even if that means better road citizenship.

San Francisco is frustrated by various incidents where robotaxis had stalled on the streets, sometimes blocking transit vehicles, or had bad interactions with emergency crews, delaying them on their way or getting confused at emergency scenes. Initial reports of these incidents were extremely rare, but the city claims the numbers have increased a lot recently, and they demand that the companies provide data on just how often things are happening.

The real frustration, though is that the city does not have authority to regulate the roads — that belongs to the state, including the DMV and the public utilities commission. General feeling is that allowing each city to set its own rules of the road and regulation of services on the road would result in an unworkably complex regulatory regime. As such, the city has been limited to writing letters to the California PUC, asking them to scale back robotaxi operations, and to deny the requests of Waymo and Cruise to expand their pilot service.….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…   Thank you, Brad, for putting out one of the few internet reports that I could find that made any mention of what I found to be an extremely good conference focused on automated driving.  In my view, it was the best of the 12-year run, and I’ve attended in person or on Zoom all of them.  Thank you, Jane Lappin, for doing much of the heavy lifting needed to make each happen and especially this one.  Thanks also goes out the Steve Shladover, who has been very instrumental in all, and, of course, to Brad, who has been a most active participant in most, if not all.  Alain


  NHTSA Announces New Autonomous Driving Regulations

S. McElligott, July 13, “The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to make a move that may hasten the deployment of driverless cars onto our roads but wants more data from the automakers in return….


“We believe AV STEP is a way to open up a wealth of data and allow for deployment of noncompliant vehicles,” Carlson was quoted in the Automotive News piece. “Where we can benefit from, learn from and enhance our research into automated-vehicle safety and performance,” she reportedly added while speaking at the Automated Road Transportation Symposium on July 12. “This is a new and exciting opportunity for all of us,” she said….


“We believe AV STEP is a way to open up a wealth of data and allow for deployment of noncompliant vehicles,” Carlson was quoted in the Automotive News piece. “Where we can benefit from, learn from and enhance our research into automated-vehicle safety and performance,” she reportedly added while speaking at the Automated Road Transportation Symposium on July 12. “This is a new and exciting opportunity for all of us,” she said…. ” Read  more  Hmmmm…   Carlson’s comments were among the most encouraging statements made at the conference.  As I heard it, the forthcoming program, fully legitimized by NHTSA’s existing legislation,  will allow the deployment of large numbers of “non-compliant” vehicles in tests that mandate the deployment of large numbers of vehicles.  “Proof-of-market” tests  only begin to have the opportunity to make any sense if they involve large numbers of vehicles.  EVs didn’t begin to be thought of as anything more than a toy for the rich until Tesla or anybody else sold way more than 5.000 EVs.  Similarly, the market for safe, affordable, sustainable, demand-responsive mobility can’t begin to be proven until a large number of vehicles are efficiently operated and capture a large number of loyal customers.  Affordability requires scale.  Driverless technology requires scale to be affordable.  If the technology doesn’t yield affordability then it is no better than Uber/Lyft/Taxi and has no hope of passing a Kornhauser “Proof-of-Market” test. Those that can’t afford Uber/Lyft/Taxi and aren’t served by conventional public transit will continue to either walk, b a ride or not go.  


Carlson’s vision opens up the opportunity to conduct substantive “Proof-of-Market” tests that seeks to demonstrate that non-compliant driverless vehicles such as GM’s Origin can indeed attract the substantial number of customers that need the safe, affordable, equitable, sustainable high-quality rides that can only emerge from a large scale deployment.   Alain


  Tesla’s other great achievement

G. Mercer, July 13, “Caveat: “All claims about Tesla are true, both pro and con.” An auto executive told me that once, and it is a very astute observation. Every word of praise for Tesla has an offsetting critique lined up against it, and vice versa. Tesla bulls and bears are thus well-armed with points both for and against, and talk right past each other. To (try to) avoid this happening with this post, please set aside your various biases about the company and just focus on the topic at hand: the Tesla product line. If you want to rant about Elon’s procreation strategy, or who really invented the frunk, there’s always Twitter.1

Most Car People will actually agree on one thing about Tesla: its Supercharger strategy is pure genius, and its execution of that strategy so far has been superb. (I am not so sure how the opening of the Supercharger Walled Garden to the sweaty hordes of EV newbies from GM and elsewhere will work out. Stay tuned.) But in my opinion Tesla’s other amazing achievement is mostly overlooked, and that is the radical simplicity of its product line. To cut to the chase, if Tesla can continue to make this product strategy work, it may redefine the way car companies have competed for the last century or so…..” Read  more  Hmmmm…  This is a brilliant article by someone who well understands the car business.  Read all of it.  Alain



Video of new Tesla people-mover vehicle allegedly leaks

S. Doll, July 14, “A video of what is alleged to be a new Tesla people-mover for the Boring Company has leaked. It could be the real deal.

A Tesla electric van, minibus, or people-mover has been in the works for a long time.  In the “Tesla Master Plan Part 2,” CEO Elon Musk talked about two new segments Tesla is looking to electrify:…” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Very interesting. Alain


   Wynn’s Vegas Loop station near complete; expected to operate early 2024 

A. Roberts, July 12, “A new phase of the Boring Company’s Vegas Loop, connecting the Wynn Las Vegas resort with the Las Vegas Convention Center, is nearly complete

Wynn Resorts announced the completion of a 2,325-foot tunnel in a news release on Wednesday. Work is ongoing on the Wynn passenger station, which will be located near the Encore valet entrance…..” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Nice!   Progress continues to be made.   Alain


  Halo.Car launches driverless delivery of rental vehicles in Las Vegas

Staff, June 29, ” The car-share company Halo.Car says it has launched its first driverless delivery of electric vehicles in downtown Las Vegas.

Safety drivers have been removed from remote-piloted vehicles in a world-first commercial launch, Halo.Car said in a press release.  Customers can book an electric vehicle to their requested location and have it delivered without a driver in the car. A second vehicle will follow to monitor the driverless vehicle to provide support or stop it if necessary.

This comes after four years of testing where safety drivers were inside the vehicles during remote piloting, according to the company.“…”  Read  more  Hmmmm…  OK   Congratulations.  Alain


Bridging Transportation Researchers (BTR) Conference

Paper Submission deadline: April 30

August. 9 & 10

On-line Conference


IATR 2023 36th Annual Conference