26th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars
Monday, August 7, 2017
Cadillac’s Super Cruise ‘autopilot’ is ready for the expressway
M Burns, Aug 3, "Cadillac is about to start selling vehicles with an autonomous driving mode …Once the light bar on top of the steering wheel turns green, the driver can let go…
“Wait for the green light and let go,” the Cadillac engineer instructed. That’s it. The car was driving itself. I, the person behind the steering wheel, was no longer the driver. Cadillac’s Super Cruise system was driving. The 2018 Cadillac CT6 sped along US-23 under the direction of Super Cruise. Traffic was light and the weather was perfect. The system held the Cadillac sedan in lane and responded appropriately to traffic. I spent an hour on the expressway and touched the steering wheel and pedals only a few times. Super Cruise made the drive boring. I think that’s the point….
When active, Super Cruise controls the steering and speed, but again, only on an expressway. This is done through on board sensors and using GPS and mapping data. GM employed GeoDigital, a startup in GM Venture’s portfolio, to map 160,000 miles of expressways in the U.S. and Canada. The car company then used Super Cruise-equipped vehicles to test each mile.
Cadillac’s system also lacks several autonomous features found on Autopilot including the ability to pull the car out of a garage and change lanes by using the turn signals. Hmmmm… fluff features with little value.
Super Cruise’s IR sensors tracks eye location and head movements. As long as the driver looks at the road every seven to 20 seconds, the system works as expected. Hmmmm… Fantastic!
General Motors will have to rely on independently owned dealerships to correctly position this product and train buyers on its capabilities. Hmmmm… Yup!
For better or worse, Super Cruise is built into the CT6 like a standard system and not something a driver must use every time they’re on an expressway. This should help timid buyers. Super Cruise feels like a feature ready for the masses. The system is deeply integrated into the vehicle and using it is akin to using cruise control or turning on the lights. There’s a button for Super Cruise on the steering wheel. Press the button when the system is available and it works. It’s that easy to turn a driver into a passenger. Read more Hmmmm… Over the air updates? See also Motor Trend’s view: "… a stand-alone option (as yet unpriced) on CT6 models with the premium luxury trim package and as standard equipment on top Platinum models (the price of which went up $500 for 2018, if that’s any indication)…." Finally, I guess that I’ll have to go test drive one. Alain
Smart Driving Cars podcast episode 3
F. Fishkin, Aug 3, with Michael Sena about what to expect in 2030 Listen to Hmmmm… We are still at the very beginning. Alain
Researchers Find a Malicious Way to Meddle with Autonomous Cars
M. Harris, Aug 4, "While automakers focus on defending the systems in their cars against hackers, there may be other ways for the malicious to mess with self-driving cars. Security researchers at the University of Washington have shown they can get computer vision systems to misidentify road signs using nothing more than stickers made on a home printer. UW computer-security researcher Yoshi Kohno described an attack algorithm that uses printed images stuck on road signs. These images confuse the cameras on which most self-driving vehicles rely…." Read more Hmmmm… Well, that’s not quite right. It confused "one road sign classifier… consisting of three convolution layers followed by a fully connected layer trained over 100 epochs using the LISA data set". So, this result is far from "most" of anything. Given that the original model was ‘only’ 91% correct, its testing set identified perfectly good examples of miss-classifications.
The paper "Robust Physical-World Attacks on Machine Learning Models" by I. Evitimov is interesting because it lays out approaches to generating robust realistic adversarial examples of real objects but the title should, at best, start with the word ‘Toward‘. Let’s wait to see if the findings/results are reproducible for this specific classifier before we jump to ‘robustness’ and ‘all’ ML models. Alain
Caltrans has begun modifying California roads for self-driving cars
R. McDermid, Jul 18, "… “They can’t follow the Botts’ Dots, so we’re actually changing our delineation standards to go away from the Botts’ Dots which we’ve been using for decades because AVs have a difficult time following those.”…Dougherty said that the lane modification will happens as roads and highways get new construction or standard re-striping done…" Read more Hmmmm… This is REALLY valuable. Improving lane markings (and signage) so that BOTH humans and imaging systems can ‘read’ them. Yes DoTs, better ‘paint’ should be one of your TOP priorities! Alain
Driverless Cars and the City: Sharing Cars, Not Rides
W. Cox, Vol. 18, No. 6 "Some forecasts of the driverless car era suggest an ultimate future in which virtually all personal mobility will be by a vast ridesharing, or carpool, system. People would travel around the city with whoever happened to get into the car. Ridesharing with strangers would become the norm. This vision presents problems. Because not all passengers would start and stop at the same place, trips would likely often be longer and include more stops, making sharing less attractive. Lower prices from ridesharing may not be enough to entice significant numbers of travelers. The experience with carpooling in the United States may be instructive. Despite the considerable cost savings available from commuting by carpool and improved computer matching systems, carpooling is in the midst of a decades-long decline.
A much larger barrier looms. As long as personal security concerns remain (and they seem to be becoming more, not less, of a concern), broad adoption of the ridesharing model—at least with strangers—will be unlikely. Prescreening and security cameras can reduce risks; however, the potential for breaches of personal security remain. Many people may not be willing to share rides with people they do not know…" Read more Hmmmm… A lot to disagree with here. Ridesharing with strangers is the norm in elevators and existing automated people movers, moving walkways, all of mass transit, Amtrak and all airlines. We also sit with strangers in movie theaters, "the opera", Starbucks, McDonald’s and essentially every restaurant. The car and the toilet may be the only entities where we demand this privacy. One is understandable… the other ??? Madison Avenue brainwashed us to accept it because the car needed to enslaved us in order to be of any value. It’s not that the privacy offered by the car has enable us to stretch out or to doze off or let our minds wander. What is all this aversion to strangers? Where is the fundamental behavioral research on this. It is not referenced in this paper. Comparisons with today’s carpooling is inappropriate. Taking advantage of catching a ride when one needs it, irrespective of who else might be in the vehicle is completely different than the process involved in being a member of a carpool. The death knell of carpooling is its process, not the fact that you will be riding with someone. How large is the incremental utility of privacy?? How often do you pass up an elevator ride because there is one or a few people about to get in with you? Rarely?! How often does someone going to the "12th floor" get off at the 5th when the elevator stops to pick up someone going up? Never?! Only 1%ers have their own Gulfstream and shun "Southwest" or demand a private room at "The 21 Club". What is the utility value of privacy in mobility? "What Is Privacy Worth?" begins to addresses it wrt data. What about in Transport??? Alain
Five actions Congress may take on self-driving cars
M. Zanona, Aug 6, "… Here are five actions Congress may take on self-driving cars…." Read more Hmmmm… Not much new here. Let’s wait until September and watch the details to avoid the monkey wrenches. Alain
As Uber grows, SEPTA to rethink bus service
J. Laughlin, July 23 "…Compared with 2013, the last full year SEPTA operated without ride sharing in the city, the 2016 ridership loss is even more significant. Last year’s more than 161 million ride trips on both buses and trolleys was about 14 million shy of the ridership three years earlier…" Read more Hmmmm… What are the implications on SEPTA when autonomousTaxis come to Philly? Alain
How Will Autonomous Vehicles Change Public Transit?
C. Nichols, Jul 24 "…Here are the main takeaways:
1. Shared autonomous vehicles are an opportunity to grow transit ridership
Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in the San Francisco Bay Area, sees AVs as more than just shiny new objects. He sees AVs as the solution to the first/last mile problem for suburban transit systems…" Read more Hmmmm… and more. It is the NEW public transit! Alain
Minnesota planners begin to envision driverless future
E. Roper, July 31, "Minnesota is beginning to confront what promises to be the biggest shift in urban living since cars arrived in cities a century ago: The moment drivers let go of the wheel for good…" Read more Hmmmm… The beginning of some ideas here. Alain
Driverless electric bus EZ10 to be on trial in Taipei City
A. Hwang, July 27. "…The EZ10 driverless vehicle will run on a bus lane from 1:00-4:00 am every day during August 1-5…" Read more Hmmmm… Bus lanes. OK. It is another attempt at a start, which is good. Alain
Daimler gets onboard the Volocopter flying taxi
N. Lavars, Aug 3, "At what point do zany flying taxi concepts become feasible urban mobility solutions? Daimler seems to have seen enough from e-volo’s Volocopter to believe this 18-rotor autonomous flying machine is the real deal, with the company among a set of investors to pump more than US$29 million in total into the aviation startup…." Read more Hmmmm… It’s August. Nothing but the crazy stuff. 🙂 Alain
The hyperloop just had its fastest test yet, nearly hitting 200 mph
A. Hawkins, Aug 2, "After over a year of incremental progress and underwhelming, low-speed tests, the hyperloop is finally starting to show us what it can do. On July 29th, Hyperloop One’s prototype pod accelerated down the length of its 500-meter-long test tube in the Nevada desert, reaching a top speed of 192 mph before gliding to a stop. The company claims it was the fastest hyperloop test yet, which isn’t a tough sell considering Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that we know of with a full-scale hyperloop…." Read more Hmmmm… We built an Alaskan Pipeline, I guess we can build a Hyperloop (which needs 2 tubes and who knows what at stations and ??? I sure hope Elan also gets his tunnel boring machine working also??? Alain
Italian Tesla drivers set distance record after driving Model S 670 miles on a single charge
A. Liptak, Aug 6, "…They used a normal production vehicle outfitted with low rolling resistance tires with the air conditioning turned off. Five drivers completed the task in southern Italy in 29 hours, and noted that the drive was made easier with the car’s autopilot turned on, which “helped us keep a constant speed in the middle of the lane.”…" Read more Hmmmm… And they started at the top of the Alps. 😉 Alain
Some other thoughts that deserve your attention
An Electrifying People Moving Alternative – Part 1
K. Pyle, "…within the next few years that electric buses will represent the largest market for advanced and post-Li-ion batteries. With orders from over 30 transit agencies, one of the driving forces behind the demand for electric buses is Proterra…." Read more Hmmmm… Interesting. Alain
On the More Technical Side
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
August AutoTalk Webinar: Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel
August 15, 2017 at 10:00 am
Click here to register
2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 16 & 17, 2018
Save the Date
Recent Highlights of:
Monday, July 31, 2017
What the World and Transport May Be Like in 2030
M. Sena, Vol 4, issue 9, "UNCERTAINTY IS TROUBLING for businesses, individuals and governments…. In one way or another, all businesses, including and especially transport, are completely reliant on four macro factors:.. I’d add one more: where are children learn and play …. A United Nations study projects world population to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, up from 7.5 billion today, driven by growth in developing countries…India will have traded places with China as the world’s most populous country in around seven years…So the large bulk of those additional one billion inhabitants of the planet by 2030 will be looking for places to live in Mumbai, not in Madrid. The takeaway from this is that the so-called ‘developed’ countries, with a few notable exceptions, are either losing population due to not producing enough children or seeing their populations staying basically stable. In 2030, Tokyo will still be the most populated city with an estimated population of 37.2 million.
Delhi will be in second place with 36.1 million, up from 3.5 million in 1970! (How has it coped?) Shanghai will be in third place and New York/Newark will have dropped off the top ten list. But what will it be like to live in these cities? The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks cities as the most and least liveable. … It ranked Melbourne, Australia as number one, … Melbourne’s density is 460 persons per km2 compared to 6,158/km2 for Tokyo and 2,059/km2 for Shanghai…. None of the most liveable cities is among the top ten places where venture capitalists have been placing their money bets during the past year….These four city regions are ranked below 30th place on the EIU Liveability Index. In other words, they may be successful, but not that liveable… (in US) 50% live in rural or less urban areas occupying more than 90% of the land area. Is there any wonder why over 50% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. are not passenger cars but SUVs and pick-up trucks?…If everyone who lived in the dense urban areas stopped buying cars, there would still be over 50% of the population who would continue to be car purchasers.
Can we conclude from this that the exodus from city regions to the suburbs of both jobs and families has now stopped and central cities once again will be where people live and work? No, not unless people will be willing to give up everything they have come to value in terms of living standards and will accept being packed into sardine can-sized apartments stacked a mile high…. Living in a central city in the most desirable neighborhoods will continue to be the privilege of the wealthy and very wealthy…They also have homes and dachas in the Hamptons, Vinyard and Vermont, else they couldn’t stand it. … When younger people build families and need more space, preferably with a yard, and that space is too expensive in the city, they find it further out…Visions of young professionals dashing around in robotic cars gobbling up mobility as a service are, to put it kindly, a bit fanciful. Read more Hmmmm…I love it!! So many good one-liners. Alain
Monday, July 24, 2017
Introducing Level 5 and Our Self-Driving Team
L. Vincent, Lyft, "For a long time, we at Lyft have shared our plan to help end car ownership in order to usher in a transportation revolution that improves our communities and quality of life. To do so we need to build an ecosystem that offers a variety of ride types, including both rides with drivers as well as rides from self-driving vehicles…
This news builds on the announcement we made earlier this year, when we created the world’s first open self-driving platform. Lyft’s self-driving vehicles will operate on that network, alongside vehicles introduced by Lyft partners. In the years ahead, we will continue to bring the world’s leading automotive and technology companies onto this single platform to serve a nationwide passenger network. And together, we will continue to drive toward a single, shared objective: to build the world’s best transportation ecosystem.
To be clear, we aren’t thinking of our self-driving division as a side project. It’s core to our business. That’s why 10% of our engineers are already focused on developing self-driving technology — and we’ll continue to grow that team in the months ahead. Their efforts will be housed in a brand-new development facility in Palo Alto, which we are calling the Level 5 Engineering Center…
We believe Lyft is in the best position to demonstrate what a great overall user experience can be. Lyft is also uniquely positioned to build technology in collaboration with partners in a way that makes it possible to roll out self-driving cars at scale in the fastest, safest, most efficient way.
This is true for a few reasons. First, Lyft has significant scale, which enables us to rapidly train our self-driving system. Every day, there are over one million rides completed on our network in over 350 cities. This translates into tens of millions of miles on a daily basis…
Lyft will always operate a hybrid network, with rides from both human-driven and self-driving cars. When a passenger requests a ride that a self-driving car can complete, we may send one to complete the trip. If that person needs to go somewhere self-driving cars are unable to navigate, or their needs call for a different level of service, they will have a driver. But in either event, we’ll make sure everyone can get where they need to go. …" Read more Hmmmm…Luc, congratulations! At least you’re calling it "Level 5…" so that there is little doubt that you are focusing on "Driverless" and that what seems to be the auto industry’s view of "Self-driving" doesn’t cut it, which is why one gets the confused reporting in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I agree that Lyft (and everyone else) will always need a hybrid fleet, serving rides using both "Driverless Cars" for trips that can so be served and human-driven "Safe-driving Cars" for those trips that haven’t been certified as capable of being served safely with "Driverless Cars". The fundamental economic advantage of "Driverless Cars" (substantially lower labor cost per person trip served) fuels this investment initiative. Moreover, its operational simplification enables it to scale such that once it becomes technologically achievable Lyft’s share of the rides market will explode. With "Driverless Cars" Lyft will achieve, in the words of Joseph Schumpeter, “… [I]n capitalist reality…, it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology…- competition which commands a decisive cost or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.” Alain
Sunday, July 09, 2017
The Maturation of the Autonomous Vehicle Space
K. Pyle, July 14, "Reflecting upon the comments and insight from this week’s Automated Vehicle Symposium 2017, the automated vehicle space feels like the Video on Demand space did a couple of decades ago. The technology wizards are making great progress and its obvious the industry is maturing because there are multiple companies addressing both mainstream challenges, as well as corner cases. Still, like video on demand, technology will probably not be the biggest hurdle to autonomous vehicle adoption, but ease-of-use and trust in the technology will probably represent the biggest challenges…." Read more Hmmmm… A thoughtful reflection on the Symposium. Thank you Ken. Alain
Active Safety-Collision Warning Pilot in Washington State, IDEA Program Final Report
J. Lutin, May 19 "The Rosco/Mobileye Shield+ system is a collision avoidance warning system (CAWS) specifically designed for transit buses. This project involved field testing and evaluation of the CAWS in revenue service over a three-month period. The system provides alerts and warnings to the bus driver for the following conditions that could lead to a collision: 1) changing lanes without activating a turn signal (lane departure warning was disabled for this pilot), 2) exceeding posted speed limit, 3) monitoring headway with the vehicle leading the bus, 4) forward vehicle collision warning, and 5) pedestrian or cyclist collision warning in front of, or alongside the bus. Alerts and warnings are displayed to the driver by visual indicators located on the windshield and front pillars. Audible warnings are issued when collisions are imminent. …" Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting. This is the first substantive report of realities of retrofiring existing transit buses with active safety collision-warning technology. Anyone in the public transit industry should be paying attention to this report. This is the very beginning of actually implementing safety-oriented automated technology in transit buses and it was motivated and led by insurance (Jerry Spears & Al Hatten @ WSTIP + Mike Scrudato @ Munich Re). Insurance finally stepping up and leading. Alain
Sunday, June 25, 2017
NTSB Opens Docket on Tesla Crash
Press release, June 19, "As part of its ongoing investigation into the fatal 2016 highway crash involving a Tesla Model S and a tractor-semitrailer truck near Williston, Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday opened the accident docket, releasing more than 500 pages of information.
System performance data downloaded from the Tesla revealed that the driver was operating the car using automated vehicle control systems: Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane keeping systems.
The docket includes reports that cover various aspects of the investigation, including highway design, vehicle performance, human performance, and motor carrier factors. The crash reconstruction report, also included in the docket, provides a description of the crash sequence. The docket also includes interview transcripts and summaries, photographs, and other investigative material. The docket contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators; it does not provide analysis, findings, recommendations, or probable cause determinations. No conclusions about how or why the crash occurred should be drawn from the docket. Analysis, findings, recommendations, and probable cause determinations related to the crash will be issued by the Board at a later date.
The docket material is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xNvaE" Read more Hmmmm… A few comments…
1. Since lateral control (swerving) couldn’t have avoided this crash (the truck is almost 70 ft long (6 lanes wide) stretching broadside across the highway) , it doesn’t matter if Josh Brown ever had his hands on the steering wheel. That’s totally irrelevant.
2. Why didn’t autobrake kick in when the tractor part of the tractor-trailer passed in front of the Tesla?
3. How fast was the truck going when it cut off the Tesla. I couldn’t find the answer in 500 pages.
4. With sight distances of greater than 1,000 feet, why didn’t the truck driver see the Tesla? Was it the drugs?
5. This intersection invites "left-turn run-throughs" (no stop or yield and a 53 foot median and turn lane need to be crossed before one slips through a gap in two traffic lanes. So you certainly roll into it, (plenty of room to stop if you see something coming) and if you don’t see anything, you hit it. If you’re in the Tesla, you think you’ve been clearly seem, you expect the truck to stop, it doesn’t, you can’t believe it, BAM! All in probably a second or so.
6. The head injury description (Table 1 p2 of 3) certainly suggests that Joshua Brown was seated upright facing forward at impact. The bilateral lacerations on the lower arm from the elbow to the wrist may indicate that he saw it coming in the last second and raised his arms in an attempt to protect his head. The evidence reported doesn’t seem to suggest he saw this early enough to bend toward the passenger seat and try to pass underneath.
7. About 40 feet of tractor and trailer passed directly in front of the Tesla prior to impact. Depending on how fast the truck was traveling, that takes some time. Has NTSB run Virtual Reality simulations of various truck turn trajectories and analyzed what the truck driver and the Tesla driver could/should have seen? Seems like a relatively simple thing to do. We know what the Tesla was doing prior to the crash (going 74 mph straight down the road.) and we know where it hit the truck. How fast the truck was traveling doesn’t seem to be known.
8. Why wasn’t there any video captured from the Tesla. Didn’t that version of the MobilEye system store the video; I guess not, 🙁
Anyway, lots to read in the 500 pages, but there is also a lot missing. I’m not linking the many articles reporting on this because I disagree with many of their interpretations of the facts reported by NTSB. Please reach your own conclusions. Alain
Monday, June 19, 2017
Amazon Deal for Whole Foods Starts a Supermarket War
R. Abrams, June 16, "Shares of Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco, the largest grocery retailers, all tumbled on Friday. And no wonder.. Grocery stores have spent the last several years fighting against online and overseas entrants. But now, with its $13.4 billion purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon has effectively started a supermarket war. Armed with giant warehouses, shopper data, the latest technology and nearly endless funds — and now with Whole Foods’ hundreds of physical stores — Amazon is poised to reshape an $800 billion grocery market that is already undergoing many changes…." Read more Hmmmm… Since Jeff Bezos doesn’t need to have you impulse buy on your walk through the store while you get a quart of milk, he simply has to get you click on organic milk and he’ll present you with everything you absolutely can’t checkout without. All he then needs is to get all those impulse buys (and the quart of organic milk) to your home from the hundreds of physical stores. That’s where low speed driverless local delivery vans come in (operating initially in the early morning hours when the streets connecting those stores to our houses are completely empty and simply drop off everything you’ll need for the day ahead in your "Amazon Box" that’s replaced your 20th Century mailbox). So in the end it will be Jeff Bezos’86 battling Eric Schmit’76 for deploying the first fleets of driverless vehicles sharing our neighborhood streets. If they should decide to join forces and have these vehicles providing mobility whenever anyone wants to travel and moving groceries and other goods the rest of the time, watch-out!!! Then everybody wins!! (except Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco) See also..Amazon and Whole Foods and Self-Driving Cars Alain
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Rethinking Mobility: The ‘pay-as-you-go’ ca: Ride hailing, just the start
S. Burgstaller, May 23,"The c.$7 tn global mobility market is speeding into the era of the “pay-as-you-go” car. Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Didi are pioneering a ‘cloud’ mobility system, which is using data to change
how the wealthiest cities move. In Rethinking Mobility, we model how the ride-hailing opportunity can grow to $285 bn by 2030, and is the precursor to a broader technological and social transformation. We examine how the market might live up to the high valuations of its pioneers, why car sales may prove surprisingly resilient despite the change, and where automakers have a chance to transform their profitability as operators of fleets of autonomous cars…." Read more Hmmmm… Nice to see GoldMine Sachs finally weigh in. The report is chock full of information and there is a lot here to absorb.
The big impact will be if we ever get to Driverless without which you don’t replace even one Uber driver.
Without Driverless, the issue centers on the 8x penetration of hailing rides. At 8x only car rental and little else is effected. At 80x it effects car ownership but there will not be enough gig workers to support it. So it doesn’t scale without Driverless.
With Driverless, then it is all about ridesharing as with elevators. If it is as easy as elevators, then car ownership diminishes greatly.
The report doesn’t respect the enormous difference between Driverless and Non-driversless (Self-driving and Safe-Driving; Levels 0 -> 4). It seems to assumes Driverless, yet it does not deal with the likelihood that Driverless will be achieved and fails to realize/identify the enormous forces that may come to bear that will attempt to derail Driverless at all costs. The strongest of which may well be the "GMs" of this world. GMs are all about Self-driving which REQUIRES a driver ( thus consumer ownership) and perpetuates their 100 year old business model. Driverless scales ‘cloud mobility’ beyond the ‘8x’ limits of a gig economy and enables horizontal ‘cloud mobility’ to become as ubiquitous as the elevator is in vertical mobility. Yes, there are still stair cases, and private ‘cloud-mobility" elevators for the 0.01%, but the masses will just grin&share the on-demand ‘cloud-mobility’ elevators without a 2nd thought. Driverless assuaged vertical mobility anxiety. Driverless is the critical technological element that will assuage horizontal mobility anxiety and enable widespread horizontal ‘cloud mobility’.
Communities may find, as tall buildings have found, that they really work best (even at all) if they accommodate shared ‘cloud’ mobility and provide it for ‘free’ simply because it is so effective in capturing the enhanced land values that are unlocked by such mobility. We’ve always been able to walk up and down a couple of flights of stair, but once we were easily able to go (via on-demand ‘cloud’ mobility available 24x7x365) more than four or so, then the sky became the limit. Are similar horizontal land values waiting to be unlocked if they simply pick up the tab for that on-demand horizontal ‘cloud’ mobility? If so, then the GMs of this world are in a heap of trouble. Alain
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 18, Enormously successful inaugural Summit starting with the Adam Jonas video and finishing with Fred Fishkin’s live interview with Wm. C Ford III. In between, serious engagement among over 150 leaders from Communities at the bleeding edge of deployment, Insurance struggling with how to properly promote the adoption of technology that may well force them to re-invent themselves and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the various technologies that are rapidly advancing so that we can actually deliver the safety, environmental, mobility and quality of life opportunities envisioned by these “Ultimate Shared-Riding Machines”.
Save the Date for the 2nd Annual… May 16 & 17, 2018, Princeton NJ Read Inaugural Program with links to Slides. Fishkin Interview of Summit Summary and Interview of Yann LeCun. Read Inaugural Program with links to Slides. Hmmmm… Enormous thank you to all who participated. Well done! Alain
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Exploring the Bear Case: Distracted Driving + ADAS = $7 Trillion of Used Values at Risk
A. Jonas, Feb 1 "A sharp rise in traffic death & rapid growth of semiautonomous tech as standard equipment can accelerate the obsolescence of used cars, with potentially negative implications for secondhand values, auto credit & SAAR. We see elevated auto credit risk & avoid used car exposure….
…One could reasonably argue that if a technology can save 10k or 20k lives and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year in the US it should be (1) affordable and (2) not be optional equipment. Contrary to this, we found the majority of models currently available either do not offer active safety features or offer them only as optional equipment at prohibitively high costs. Our key takeaways are summarized below:…" Read More Hmmmm… First, sorry that I just saw this excellent report. On top of the enormous substance, this report doesn’t mention that some/many of these systems don’t work as well as they should. Some don’t brake if the the object ahead is stationary, others get confused with white back-lighting, others only apply the brake after the driver starts applying the brake and others only apply the brakes up to a 50% level. Here we are trying to let drivers take hands of wheels and feet off pedals, yet we don’t have Safe-driving Cars that actually work (…experiencing essentially no false positives or false negatives) . Alain
Monday, May 8, 2017
Walt Disney World plans to deploy driverless shuttles in Florida
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Waymo to Offer Phoenix Area Access to Self-Driving Cars
Tuesday, April 17, 2017
Don’t Worry, Driverless Cars Are Learning From Grand Theft Auto
D. Hall, Apr 17, "In the race to the autonomous revolution, developers have realized there aren’t enough hours in a day to clock the real-world miles needed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Which is why Grand Theft Auto V is in the mix.
The blockbuster video game is one of the simulation platforms researchers and engineers increasingly rely on to test and train the machines being primed to take control of the family sedan. Companies from Ford Motor Co. to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo may boast about putting no-hands models on the market in three years, but there’s a lot still to learn about drilling algorithms in how to respond when, say, a mattress falls off a truck on the freeway….The idea isn’t that the highways and byways of the fictional city of Los Santos would ever be a substitute for bona fide asphalt. But the game “is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” said Alain Kornhauser…" Read More Hmmmm... Well…we have a slightly different view of history wrt to GTA5. The ‘Alain view’ is that Chenyi Chen*16 independently started investigating the use of virtual environments as a source of Image – Affordances data sets to use as the training sets in a ‘Direct Perception’ approach to creating a self-driving algorithm. Images of the road ahead are converted into the instantaneous geometry that is implied by those image. An optimal controller then determines the the steering, brake and throttle values to best drive the car. The critical element in that process are the Image – Affordances data sets which need to be pristine. Chenyi demonstrated in his PhD dissertation , summarized in the ICCV2015 paper, that by using the pristine Image – Affordances data sets from an open-source game TORCS one could have a virtual car drive a virtual race course without crashing. More importantly, when tested on images from real driving situations, the computed affordances were close to correct.
This encouraged us to look for more appropriate virtual environments. For many reasons, including: "wouldn’t it be amazing if ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ actually generated some positive ‘redeeming social value’ by contributing to the development of algorithms that actually made cars safer; saving grief, injuries and lives". Consequently, in the Fall of 2015, Artur Filipowicz’17 began to investigate using GTA5 to train Convolutional Neural Networks to perform some of the Direct Perception aspects of automated driving. With Jeremiah Liu, he continued his efforts in this direction last summer which were presented at TRB in January. Yesterday, he and Nyan Bhat’17 turned in their Senior Theses focused on this topic.
Indeed, GTA5 is a rich virtual environment that begins to efficiently and effective address the data needs of Deep Learning approaches to safe driving. Alain
Monday, March 20, 2017
Uber’s autonomous cars drove 20,354 miles and had to be taken over at every mile, according to documents
Friday, March 10, 2017
Robot cars — with no human driver — could hit California roads next year
R. Mitchell, Mar 10, "California is back on the map as a state that’s serious about welcoming driverless cars.Truly driverless cars — vehicles with no human behind the wheel, and perhaps no steering wheel at all — are headed toward California streets and highways starting in 2018…
The regulations lay out “a clear path for future deployment of autonomous vehicles” in California, said Bernard Soriano, deputy director at the Department of Motor Vehicles…." Read more Hmmm… Congratulations Bernard! This is fantastic news on the road to providing high-quality mobility for all. It squarely addresses the fundamental need to efficiently re-position vehicles so that they can get to even those who can’t drive. This is a real turning point for automated vehicles from self-driving toys for the 1% to affordable, environmentally friendly mobility for everyone. Alain
Friday, February 24, 2017
Alphabet’s Waymo Alleges Uber Stole Self-Driving Secrets
Friday, February 17, 2017
Motor Vehicle Deaths in 2016 Estimated to be Highest in Nine Years
Press release, Feb. 15, "NSC offers insight into what drivers are doing and calls for immediate implementation of proven, life-saving measures…
With the upward trend showing no sign of subsiding, NSC is calling for immediate implementation of life-saving measures that would set the nation on a road to zero deaths:…" Read more Hmmm…"Automated Collision Avoidance" or anything having to do with ‘Safe-driving Cars‘ is not mentioned anywhere in the Press Release. One of us is missing something very fundamental here!! So depressing!! 🙁 Alain
Friday, January 27, 2017
Serving the Nation’s Personal Mobility Needs with the Casual Sharing of autonomousTaxis & Today’s Urban Rail, Amtrak and Air Transport Systems
A. Kornhauser, Jan 14, "Orf467F16 Final Project Symposium quantifying implications of such a Nation-wide mobility system on Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO), energy, environment and congestion, including estimates of fleet size, needed empty vehicle repositioning, and ridership implications on existing rail transit systems (west, east, NYC) and Amtrak of a system that would efficiently and effectively perform their ‘1st mile’/’last-mile’ mobility needs. Read more Hmmm… Now linked are 1st Drafts of the chapters and the powerPoint summaries of these elements. Final Report should be available by early February. The major finding is, nationwide there exists sufficient casual ridesharing potential that a well–managed Nationwide Fleet of about 30M aTaxis (in conjunction with the existing air, Amtrak and Urban fixed-rail systems) could serve the vehicular mobility needs of the whole nation with VMT 40% less than today’s automobiles while providing a Level-of-Service (LoS) largely equivalent and in many ways superior than is delivered by the personal automobile today. Also interesting are the findings as to the substantial increased patronage opportunities available to Amtrak and each of the fixed rail transit systems around the country because the aTaxis solve the ‘1st and last mile’ problem. While all of this is extremely good news, the challenging news is that since all of these fixed rail systems currently lose money on each passenger served, the additional patronage would likely mean that they’ll lose even more money in the future. 🙁 Alain
ODI (Office of Defects Investigation) Findings on Tesla AEB & AutoPilot
(Above link should work) Jan 19, "… Summary: … NHTSA’s examination did not identify any defects in the design or performance of the AEB or Autopilot systems of the subject vehicles nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed. AEB systems used in the automotive industry through MY 2016 are rear-end collision avoidance technologies that are not designed to reliably perform in all crash modes, including crossing path collisions. The Autopilot system is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that requires the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes. Tesla’s design included a hands-on the steering wheel system for monitoring driver engagement…
… ODI analyzed data from crashes of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles involving airbag deployments that occurred while operating in, or within 15 seconds of transitioning from, Autopilot mode. Some crashes involved impacts from other vehicles striking the Tesla from various directions with little to no warning to the Tesla driver. Other crashes involved scenarios known to be outside of the state-of-technology for current-generation Level 1 or 2 systems, such as cut-ins, cut-outs and crossing path collisions….
…The Florida fatal crash appears to have involved a period of extended distraction (at least 7 seconds)…" .Hmmm… nothing else is written about this nor is a basis given for the ‘at least 7 seconds’. Possibly the most important information revealed in this summary is Figure 11, p11: "… Figure 11 shows the rates calculated by ODI for airbag deployment crashes in the subject Tesla vehicles before and after Autosteer installation. The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation…
…A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted. Accordingly, this investigation is closed. " Read more Hmmm… WOW!!! . Every word of this Finding is worth reading. It basically exonerates Tesla, states that AEBs (Automated Emergency Braking) systems don’t really work and aren’t designed to work in some scenarios (straight crossing path (SCP) and left turn across path (LTAP), see p 2,3). …which suggests, to me, that DoT/NHTSA should be placing substantial efforts on making these systems really work in more scenarios. And… there is the solid data that ‘AutoSteer" reduced Tesla crashes by almost 40%!!! WOW!! Will Insurance now finally get on-board and lead? Alai
Friday, September 23, 2016
Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution In Roadway Safety
September 2016, "Executive Summary…For DOT, the excitement around highly automated vehicles (HAVs) starts with safety. (p5)
…The development of advanced automated vehicle safety technologies, including fully self-driving cars, may prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago. (p5)
…The benefits don’t stop with safety. Innovations have the potential to transform personal mobility and open doors to people and communities. (p5)
…The remarkable speed with which increasingly complex HAVs are evolving challenges DOT to take new approaches that ensure these technologies are safely introduced (i.e., do not introduce significant new safety risks), provide safety benefits today, and achieve their full safety potential in the future. (p6) Hmmm…Fantastic statements and I appreciate that the fundamental basis and motivator is SAFETY. We all have recognized safety as a necessary condition that must be satisfied if this technology is to be successful. (unfortunately it is not a sufficient condition, (in a pure math context)). This policy statement appropriately reaffirms this necessary condition. Alain
"…we divide the task of facilitating the safe introduction and deployment (…defines “deployment” as the operation of an HAV by members of the public who are not the employees or agents of the designer, developer, or manufacturer of that HAV.) of HAVs into four sections:(p6) Hmmm…Perfect! Alain
"…1. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p6)…" Hmmm… 15 Points, more later. Alain
"…2. Model State Policy (p7) The Model State Policy confirms that States retain their traditional responsibilities…but… The shared objective is to ensure the establishment of a consistent national framework rather than a patchwork of incompatible laws…" Hmmm… Well done. Alain
"…3. NHTSA Current Regulatory Tools (p7) … This document provides instructions, practical guidance, and assistance to entities seeking to employ those tools. Furthermore, NHTSA has streamlined its review process and is committing to…" Hmmm… Excellent. Alain
"…4. New Tools and Authorities (p7)…The speed with which HAVs are advancing, combined with the complexity and novelty of these innovations, threatens to outpace the Agency’s conventional regulatory processes and capabilities. This challenge requires DOT to examine whether the way DOT has addressed safety for the last 50 years should be expanded to realize the safety potential of automated vehicles over the next 50 years. Therefore, this section identifies potential new tools, authorities and regulatory structures that could aid the safe and appropriately expeditious deployment of new technologies by enabling the Agency to be more nimble and flexible (p8)…" Hmmm… Yes. Alain
"…Note on “Levels of Automation” There are multiple definitions for various levels of automation and for some time there has been need for standardization to aid clarity and consistency. Therefore, this Policy adopts the SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. ) Hmmm… I’m not sure this adds clarity because it does not deal directly with the difference between self-driving and driverless. While it might be implied in level 4 and level 5 that these vehicles can proceed with no one in the vehicle, it is not stated explicitly. That is unfortunate, because driverless freight delivery can’t be done without "driverless"; neither can mobility-on-demand be offered to the young, old, blind, inebriated, …without "driverless". Vehicles can’t be "repositioned-empty" (which (I don’t mean to offend anyone) is the real value of a taxi driver today). So autonomousTaxis are impossible.
Also, these levels do not address Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) Systems and Automated Lane Keeping Systems which are the very first systems whose on-all-the-time performance must be perfected. These are the Safety Foundation of HAV (Highly Automated vehicles). I understand that the guidelines may assume that these systems are already perfect and that "20 manufacturer have committed" to have AEB on all new cars, but to date these systems really don’t work. In 12 mph IIHS test, few stop before hitting the target, and, as we may have seen with the Florida Tesla crash, the Level 2/3 AutoPilot may not have failed, but, instead, it was the "Phantom Level 1" AEB that is supposed to be on all the time. This is not acceptable. These AEB systems MUST get infinitely better now. It is a shame that AEBs were were not explicitly addressed in this document.
"…I. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p11) A. Guidance: if a vehicle is compliant within the existing FMVSS regulatory framework and maintains a conventional vehicle design, there is currently no specific federal legal barrier to an HAV being offered for sale.(footnote 7) However, manufacturers and other entities designing new automated vehicle systems
are subject to NHTSA’s defects, recall and enforcement authority. (footnote 8) . and the "15 Cross-cutting Areas of Guidance" p17)
In sum this is a very good document and displays just how far DoT policy has come from promoting v2v, DSRC and centralized control, "connected", focus to creating an environment focused on individual vehicles that responsibly take care of themselves. Kudos to Secretary Foxx for this 180 degree policy turn focused on safety. Once done correctly, the HAV will yield the early safety benefits that will stimulate continued improvements that, in turn, will yield the great mobility, environmental and quality-of-life benefits afforded by driverless mobility.
What are not addressed are commercial trucking and buses/mass transit. NHTSA is auto focused, so maybe FMCSA is preparing similar guidelines. FTA (Federal Transit Administration) seems nowhere in sight. Alain
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
May 7 Crash
Hmmm…What we know now (and don’t know):
Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving
Thursday, March 17, 2016
U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles
Sunday, December 19, 2015
Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars
Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1. Hmmm … Watch Video especially at the 13:12 mark. Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above! Also see his TipRanks. Alain
This list is maintained by Alain Kornhauser and hosted by the Princeton University LISTSERV.
This list is maintained by Alain Kornhauser and hosted by the Princeton University LISTSERV.