Press Release, June 19, "…Collisions that result in injury can often be caused by a delay in a driver’s recognition of the situation and his or her ability to react accordingly.
In a move to help prevent such accidents before they happen, the Lexus Safety System+ will be a standard feature in all US Lexus vehicles starting with the 2020 model year. “We are working toward preventing crashes before they happen,” said David Christ, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division.“ That’s why we have developed some of the most advanced safety features on the road today, and now those systems will be standard equipment on every model we sell. ..Nice!…
Designed to help protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians, the Lexus Safety System+ is an integrated suite of four advanced active safety packages anchored by automated pre-collision warning and braking. They include:
- Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection
This system is engineered to help detect a preceding vehicle or a pedestrian … why not also a stationary fire truck, or a car stopped at a controlled intersection, or a brick wall, or…??? NotGoodEnough!… Below see Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: The ADAS Road to AV Reality – #SmartDrivingCar… in front of the Lexus under certain conditions . Should the system detect a pedestrian or a potential frontal collision, it’s designed to activate an audible and visual alert while automatically preparing Brake Assist for increased braking response… why not also begin immediately to brake and slow down ? (Hint…"not sure" is not the right answer.) If the situation is sufficient for you to alert the driver why isn’t it good enough to immediately start to reduce the speed of the car. Worse case is that you added a couple of seconds to the trip. The driver can always override the brakes by pushing harder on the gas pedal if the driver insists on tailgating or is committing suicide or ???. NotGoodEnough!…. If the driver does not brake in time,… are you kidding?? You knew a crash was impending, and you waited until it was too late??? NotGoodEnough!… the system is designed to automatically begin braking before impact… and then you’ll slam on the brakes??? NotGoodEnough!… and, in some cases… Not most/many cases; just some cases??? NotGoodEnough!…, can even bring the vehicle to a stop
- Lane Departure Alert …OK, but not Lane Centering…
- Intelligent High Beams … Great…
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
This system uses radar and camera technology to help maintain a preset speed and following distance from the vehicle ahead. If driving at highway speeds and the road ahead clears, the vehicle returns to its preset speed. …. Great, but a couple of questions… 1. If the system is on and I tap the brakes, does the system turn off just the acceleration function because it understands that I tapped the brakes because I felt that I was going too fast so the system should not override my explicit signal. Nice!! However, does it also assume that I really know what I’m doing? Consequently, it also turns off the brake function even in situations in which I am not applying enough brake forces and a crash is imminent? Does it again wait until it is too late and and refuse to help me in those critical moments? Then you’ll slam on the NotGoodEnough! (Note… my S Anti-lock Braking ystem explicitly overrides the way that I’m applying the brakes and keeps me from doing the wrong thing. Thank you ABS! What makes the AEB situation different when the system knows better and could really help me in an as critical situation?
2. What happens if the system is on and I’m following a car at my preset distance going 10 mph under my desired speed. The car ahead changes lanes because she sees that a parked fire truck is in our lane ahead. Once her car clears my lane ahead, does the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system take into account the existence of the parked firetruck ahead and brings me to a smooth stop before hitting the Firetruck? Or, does the system begin to accelerate to my desired speed and simply leave it to the Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection system to try to "save the day" after it is too late?…….."
Read more Hmmmm… Again, very nice that these features will be standard. It is really unfortunate that they are not better. Hopefully, since the limitations that I expressed above are all software related, Lexus will be able to do over-the-air (or otherwise) updates of the software as soon as Lexus has put more effort into the "intelligence" that uses the data streams generated by their cameras and radars Alain
F. Fishkin, June 21, "With new European and Japanese car maker alliances, is Waymo throwing in the towel on driverless transportation? Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser wonders out loud. That and more on Lexus, Local Motors and others with co-host Fred Fishkin on the Smart Driving Cars podcast. " Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" . Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay … Alain
K. Pyle June, 2019, "The Wednesday morning sessions covered changing demographics, equal opportunity of driverless mobility, ADAS update, TNCs, serving the mobility disadvantaged from the beginning, inclusive design and the Washington perspective on driverless…." See more Hmmmm… Thank you Ken!
T. Lee, June 20, "Waymo announced early Thursday morning that it was forming a self-driving alliance with Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi—a trio of car companies that already have strong financial ties to one another. Under the deal, the companies will "explore driverless mobility services for passengers and deliveries in France and Japan." Renault is based in France while Nissan and Mitsubishi are Japanese companies.
The deal solves a couple of problems for Waymo.
Over the last three years, major car companies have been forging strong alliances with leading self-driving technology companies. GM bought self-driving startup Cruise, then accepted a major Cruise investment from Honda. Ford invested $1 billion in self-driving startup Argo AI and is reportedly negotiating to sell an Argo stake to Volkswagen. Toyota invested in Uber’s self-driving project. Last week, Hyundai announced it was investing in self-driving startup Aurora.
If Waymo had met its goal to launch a fully driverless taxi service in the Phoenix area last year, the company would have had its pick of manufacturing partners to help scale the technology globally. But Waymo’s technology has developed more slowly than expected. As a result, there was a danger that by the time Waymo’s technology was ready for commercialization, most of the world’s car manufacturing technology would be committed to rival self-driving companies." Read more Hmmmm… I have a different take. on this. This is the first sign that Waymo has thrown in the towel on "Driverless" and has decided to cash in now on Self-driving. So much for MaaS served by fleets of Waymo vehicles. Waymo will now earn its first dollar in Self-driving and no need to continue bleeding $1B/year on the visions of the $10T/year global MaaS market. Waymo just gave up their independence. Instead of Waymo calling the shots, it will be RNM and RNM’s business is to sell cars for personal use to individual consumers. This has enormous implications. Alain
B. Trompeter, June 20, "Vehicles on military bases conjure up images of rumbling tanks, noisy supply trucks and equipment-laden Humvees. But for the next 90 days, personnel and visitors at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington can be ferried about in a pair of quiet, futuristic-looking autonomous mini-buses. Base leaders on June 19 kicked off a three-month pilot program with Local Motors Industries to see how well the company’s “Olli” vehicles perform. The initiative is intended to provide convenience for passengers, reduce traffic congestion on the base and improve mission readiness, they said.
“This opens up the door to many technological advances,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Funkhouser, deputy commanding general for military and international operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “You can take this technology into the battlefield.”
The electric mini-buses, which can seat up to eight people and have space in the center for additional passengers, will be manned by operators (“stewards,” in the company’s parlance) to give riders additional peace of mind. The firm eventually hopes to switch to remote “tele-operators” and then finally to fully autonomous operation, said Jay Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Local Motors Industries." Read more Hmmmm…Great place to start. More photos. Alain
M. Phelan, June 10, "…Automakers are increasingly offering various ADAS features on all or most models to keep up with safety regulations and demand from safety-conscious shoppers. Unfortunately, each automaker has its own name for the systems, complicating comparison shopping. …" Read more Hmmmm… Nice that these articles are beginning to appear with more regularity, but we must address the "unfortunately…". Backup cameras are of little use when you are not looking…. the situation that is supposedly addressed. What is needed is Automated Backup Braking that doesn’t let you hit stuff when you are backing up without looking. Also note… no mention of "SAE Levels" Yea! Alain
IIHS & HLDI June 20, "Vehicles are getting increasingly sophisticated, with more and more of them able to stay in a lane and maintain a set speed and following distance with minimal driver input. But this kind of automation has limitations that can be tricky for drivers to grasp, and two new IIHS studies highlight misperceptions or gaps in drivers’ understanding.
One study revealed how the names manufacturers use for these systems can send the wrong messages to drivers regarding how attentive they should be. Another found that drivers don’t always understand important information communicated by system displays. … Next, this report starts talking about "Levels of automation" Please NO!! That’s the source of much of the confusion!! Who cares what "Level"!! … For the survey, more than 2,000 drivers were asked about five Level 2 system names currently on the market… None of these systems reliably manage lane-keeping and speed control in all situations. Read more Hmmmm… why the "in all situations" . Nothing does anything "in all situations". Talk about laxed use of language. Beyond that, who were these "2,000 drivers" ??? Did they own or have ever experienced any of these systems? "Asked about "Level 2 system names" What the heck is Level 2 again.?? What?? Then go on and imply that, if Joshua Brown had his hands on the wheel he might still be alive today??? Maybe if he had his feet on the brake pedal. What?? and make some big deal about the "6%" side of a result rather than the 94% side??? This deserves to be in Half-Baked, if not C’Mon Man! Sure, ‘AutoPilot’ is not the best name, but it is the name used in aviation for a system that everyone in the passenger compartment believes means that both pilots aren’t taking a nap at the same time. Please ask that question. Yes, MUCH more work needs to be done by the OEMs on "Level 2" systems and OEMs are up to their old tricks again by over-selling what they’ve got. Buyer Beware! Alain
T. Lee, June 20, "Does the name "Autopilot" cause people to overestimate the abilities of Tesla’s driver-assistance technology? It’s a question that comes up in the Ars comments almost every time we write about the feature…." Read more Hmmmm… Tim’s take on the above, plus more evidence.. "People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway"… although drivers that fall asleep driving non-Teslas tend to end up in the hospital, or worse. "I fell asleep" is the "cause" in about 6% of crashes , Higher or lower than Tesla’s ???? Tim also has…"People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway"… Where he notes "…We should be crystal clear about one point here: the problem of drivers falling asleep isn’t limited to Tesla vehicles. To the contrary, government statistics show that drowsy driving leads to hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of deaths every year. Indeed, this kind of thing is so common that it isn’t considered national news—which is why most of us seldom hear about these incidents. …" Alain
R. Mitchell, June 20, "For years, automakers have been offering driver-assist technologies on many new cars. The software and sensors can help drivers stay in their lane, maintain a steady speed and, in some cases, change lanes to avoid other vehicles.
But drivers don’t fully understand the technologies’ capabilities and limitations, according to a study released Thursday by a leading insurance industry group…
That disconnect between what tech can do and what people think it can do leads to risky driver behavior that has resulted in crashes, injuries and deaths, and it could provoke a backlash against potentially life-saving driverless cars, said the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is funded by auto insurance companies. “Driver assistance systems show safety benefits. The last thing we want to see is those benefits eliminated by the automakers introducing other risks into the vehicle,” IIHS President David Harkey said.
Tesla Inc., which is mentioned prominently in the study, disputed the findings. “This survey is not representative of the perceptions of Tesla owners or people who have experience using Autopilot, and it would be inaccurate to suggest as much,” the electric-car company said in a statement. “If IIHS is opposed to the name ‘Autopilot,’ presumably they are equally opposed to the name ‘Automobile.’ ”…" Read more Hmmmm… Russ’s take on the IIHS study involving "2,000 people. Alain
Webinar, June 11, "Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck and Alain Komhauser will discuss mathematical approaches that inform transportation policies and improve transportation networks." Read more Hmmmm… Slides, video to be posted soon. We had only 15 minutes each so hardly enough time to even begin to scratch the surface. Alain
The Conversation, June 21, "As driverless cars become more capable and more common, they will change people’s travel habits not only around their own communities but across much larger distances. Our research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift, and found a new potential challenge to the airline industry.
Imagine someone who lives in Atlanta and needs to travel to Washington, D.C., for business. This is about a 10-hour drive. A flight takes about two hours, assuming no delays. Add to that the drive to the airport, checking in, the security line and waiting at the gate. Upon arrival in D.C., it may take another 30 minutes to pick up any checked bags and find a rental car – and even more time to drive to the specific destination. The average person would estimate a total travel time of four to five fours. Most people would choose to fly instead of driving themselves.
However, if they could have a fully driverless car take them there, the choice changes. Passengers could eat, drink, work and sleep during the 10-hour drive. They could leave whenever they want, and pack whatever they want – including liquids and pocketknives – with no searches or scans. When they get to D.C., they wouldn’t have to find a rental car and navigate to the actual place they’re going…. " Read more Hmmmm… More to the point, read "aTaxis vs. Airlines: The Fall of Domestic Air Travel in an Autonomous Ridesharing Transportation System" Hunter Johnson’19’s Senior Thesis. He inspects the venerability of mode-shift from today’s short-haul trips. Alain
S. Roberts, June 20, "Gary Burrell, who with a fellow engineer founded Garmin, the navigational device company whose products can direct pilots in fog, prevent hikers from getting lost and help insomniacs track their sleep, died on June 12 (… my birthday 🙁… ) at his home in Spring Hill, Kan. He was 81.
Mr. Burrell (pronounced burr-ELL) was vice president of engineering for King Radio, an avionics company that made navigational devices, when he recruited Dr. Min H. Kao from Magnavox, another defense contractor. Dr. Kao had been instrumental in developing a GPS receiver for aircraft. At the time, the government was opening up its Global Positioning System for civilian use, and the two men saw possibilities.
In 1989, they pooled their savings and persuaded Dr. Kao’s Taiwanese relatives to invest seed money. With $4 million and an office with two folding chairs, they started what would become the world’s largest maker of consumer navigation devices.
Garmin — a coupling of the partners’ first names — now has 13,000 employees at 60 sites around the world. Last year it reported revenue of more than $3.3 billion from selling GPS devices to automotive, aviation, fitness, marine and outdoor recreation customers…." Read more Hmmmm… So sad. :'( R.I.P. Gary. Alain
C. McDonald, May 23, "JERSEY CITY — Mayor Steve Fulop announced plans Monday to create an innovative public transit system that would function similar to popular ride-hailing apps. Think Uber for public transportation.
The system, which the city said would be a first of its kind in New Jersey, would allow users to request rides from their smart phones or by making a phone call. Fulop said the city will issue a request for proposals to form “a unique vendor partnership to create an innovative transit system with virtual stops and routes based on passenger demand."
“Typical bus systems are tailored to regulated routes and schedules, which can leave passengers waiting due to delays or having to walk blocks to their bus stop if there is not one close,” Fulop said in a press release announcing the plan. “We want to bring technology into the City that creates a fully dynamic, on-demand transit network. This ultimately will make rides faster, more convenient and connect the North and South parts of the City.” …" Read more Hmmmm… Excellent concept; however, to do it affordably, reliably and sustainably you can’t do it on the backs of gig workers. It requires algorithms (for reliability) and automation (for affordability; and both for sustainability/longevity). Alain
A. Glaser, June 13, "Cars that drive themselves—really drive themselves, without a human supervisor in the passenger seat—are coming. It won’t happen tomorrow or even next year. But Chris Urmson, the CEO of Aurora, a company that makes self-driving car software for automakers, says he expects that in about five to 10 years, Americans will start seeing robots cruising down the road in a handful of cities and towns across the country. It will be about 30 to 50 years, he says, until they’re everywhere…" Read more Hmmmm… Listen to PodCast… Unfortunately, more bad news for Driverless. This interview is mostly about Self-driving, (not Driverless). It and the partnerships with OEMs indicate to me that Aurore, as with Waymo above, has put Driverless on the back-burner.
(Self-driving… substantial near term revenue, essentially zero regulatory risk (proof… regulations have not stopped Tesla and their sales have soared, QED)
Driverless… zero near-term revenue, enormous public perception problem, "I’m a man, I love to drive", NIMBY and nobody really wants to serve the Mobility Disadvantaged.) So depressing!! 🙁 Alain
E. Mulero, June 19, "A proposed rule meant to update hours-of-service guidelines for truck drivers will be announced in the near term, the country’s top trucking regulator told a Senate panel June 19…. The long-anticipated proposed rule on HOS policy had a release date of June 7. Martinez explained the Office of Management and Budget is reviewing it.
To inform the potential efforts to update the policy, the agency received more than 5,200 comments. Throughout the process, regulators sought input on the shorthaul HOS limit, the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions and the 30-minute rest-break provision. The agency also collected input on its split sleeper-berth rule to allow drivers to divide required rest time…." Read more Hmmmm…Very important to the Motor Carrier Industry. Alain
K. Pyzyk, June 19, "The microtransit service replaces Newton’s previous senior-focused mobility option: a taxi voucher program. The contract for that program expired this spring. The new microtransit system is a more convenient transportation option considering the voucher program required passengers to book rides at least 72 hours in advance to guarantee service. Seniors will not have to wait more than 30 minutes for the microtransit service to pick them up.
When modern mobility innovations first launch, they tend to be geared toward younger consumers without mobility restrictions. But as mobility companies mature, they have been adding or expanding services focused on populations with different needs and abilities, such as seniors or people with disabilities. Ford expanded its GoRide non-emergency medical transportation service, Uber launched a similar medical trip service and Lyft has a ride-hailing service for seniors.
Ensuring aging adults — especially those who no longer drive — have access to transportation can prevent isolation. A growing body of evidence shows isolation and loneliness contribute to serious physical ailments including heart disease and dementia." Read more Hmmmm… Very nice. Alain
L. Urlrich, June 20, "… Beyond Mr. Musk, who has said twice this year that Tesla could have a million “robotaxis” on the roads next year, few experts in autonomous cars believe that the technology is ready to safely chauffeur occupants in any and all driving conditions. …doesn’t take an "expert" when you include the caveat "in any and all". Current cars in today’s showrooms can’t either… And that’s before the regulatory hurdles, including a quaint-seeming 1971 New York law that requires at least one hand on the wheel. … That is NOT a bad regulation. The bad one is that there must be a wheel deployed in the car for it to be operation on the public streets. If safe control of the car may require an occupant to intervene, then that occupant must be alert, seated in the proper location with a hand on the wheel. If the car doesn’t desire, let alone need, to have an occupant intervene, then having a "wheel" jutting out in a passenger compartment is simply unsafe and "playing with fire"…
Instead, for the foreseeable future, there are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Think of them as a co-pilot, not the Autopilot of Tesla’s marketing parlance but a wingman that amplifies human skills instead of replacing them. These building blocks of autonomy are becoming common on even the most affordable cars: electronic stability controls, certainly, but now radar, cameras and other sensors that perceive their surroundings and automatically accelerate, stop, steer, follow lanes or take evasive action. And every major carmaker in America has pledged to make automated emergency braking standard on all new models by September 2022.… That is, of course, all great, but make sure the "standard" AEB that OEMs put in cars actually works to avoid crashes, They can’t just wait around doing nothing until just before the crash, slam on the brakes after it is too late and claim that they did us a great favor. AEB is actually the wrong name! Naming it as an "Emergency" system is a convenient, back-handed way to avoid any responsibility. It was an "Emergency"! We did all we could, … sob, sob. Don’t blame us for the carnage of the crash.
No!! "Emergency" situations don’t appear instantaneously. They emerge from safe situation. The fact that the AEB didn’t begin to slow down the car as it transitioned from "A-ok" to "Emergency". These systems are on all the time. Why did it wait? Rules of the road require that we drive "defensively. Why aren’t AEBs designed that way. AEB manufacturers should be held liable for all crashes that resulted from them not beginning to slow down early enough. If the likelihood of a forward collision is high enough to invoke a warning, it should have invoked a decoration that that delays and largely averts getting into emergency situations . Alain
Global giants like General Motors, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen are fully engaged in the self-driving race against the likes of Tesla, Uber and Waymo, a unit of Google’s parent company, and are loath to be outmaneuvered by Silicon Valley disrupters. But traditional automakers are also hitting the brakes, as premature promises run headlong into reality — what Mr. Pratt calls the current “trough of disillusionment” in autonomy. …" Read more Hmmmm… There is no "trough of disillusionment" for these "Global Giants" there is "sizzle in the sauce". They’ve never really wanted to pivot their business models from selling cars to consumers to providing Mobility as a Service (MaaS). They are thrilled to have today’s level of technology (SuperCruise, AutoPilot, etc.) be today’s "Corinthian Leather" and "Chrome & Fins" has consumers buying cars. I suspect that more Teslas are sold because of AutoPilot than because it is an EV. Silicon Valley (Waymo, Uber) may be experiencing disillusionment because the pivot to MaaS is very challenging and Driverless has stumbled badly getting off the ground (Uber/Herzberg). It has yet to sell its first book. Alain
E. Waiz, June 21, "Baidu announced its camera-based Apollo Lite this week. Apollo Lite is a vision-based autonomous driving solution that leverages multiple cameras to achieve Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving. Similar to how Tesla Autopilot works, the camera-based computer vision system does not rely on lidar.
Apollo is Baudi’s open autonomous driving platform. The internet search giant is working with over 120 global industry partners on the Apollo platform. The collaboration with partners is designed to speed up the development of autonomous driving technology.
Baidu says that Apollo Lite is China’s only vision-based Level-4 autonomous driving solution in use today. It has the capacity to process vast amounts of data generated from a suite of 10 cameras. The cameras can detect objects as far as 700 feet away. The system provides real-time, 360-degree sensing of the environment around the vehicle…." Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting. Alain
H.Clancy, June 10,"One simple thing any automobile or truck driver can do to improve fuel economy is ensure that the tires on their vehicle are inflated to the proper pressure. It also turns out that letting the air out of them entirely may be one of the next big things in advancing the cause of sustainable mobility.
Last week, iconic French tire maker Michelin disclosed the prototype for a generation of "airless" tires that it will begin testing later this year on passenger vehicles in collaboration with General Motors. Called Uptis (which stands for Unique Punctureproof Tire System), the tires are made up of composite materials and use a unique design to bear the weight of the car at high speeds.
The companies have a goal to introduce the technology commercially by as early as 2024, although the tires will take far longer to show up as an option for larger vehicles, such as Class 8 trucks…" Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting. Good place for innovation.Alain
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time
RBR Staff, May 17, "Bus manufacturer New Flyer this week announced an exclusive partnership with Robotic Research to advance autonomous bus technology by developing and deploying advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in heavy-duty transit bus applications. The goal of the partnership is to have a Level 4 autonomous bus operating on a closed course by 2020.
New Flyer, a subsidiary of NFI Group, said it invested more than two years assessing technology providers for sophisticated autonomous vehicle development. New Flyer said it selected Robotic Research based on the company’s proven artificial intelligence-based technology, coupled with its extensive experience delivering successful Level 5 autonomous vehicle applications for customers within the defense and intelligence community, including the U.S. Department of Defense…." Read more Hmmmm… Half baked because of the excessive hype of the press release in its use of the "SAE’s Levels" that have evolved to become the shorthand for hype, ClickBait and confusion. instead of the precise engineering definitions that they were intended to be.
First, the only domain in which a "Level 5" vehicle may have been "successful" is in a was zone application where safety is barely an afterthought. Ironically, safety is THE dominant challenge in "Level 5". Achieving it in the "defense and intelligence community" is largely irrelevant.
While it is nice that one will get a big bus to operate on a closed course with a driver/attendant inside hardly warrants "Level 4" hype. It is "available on-line from Tesla @ $35,000"-style Self-driving. If they were going to demonstrate it working on the XBL a la what Lou Pignataro and I proposed almost 25 years ago, then I’d be impressed. Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
S, Solomon, June 13, "The Expo Tel Aviv convention center was packed this week with visitors whose name tags bore a who’s who of the giants of the global automotive industry: Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Renault, Nissan. They were there to see the latest developments in the hot field of autotech that the Startup Nation was cooking up.
Among the companies that displayed their wares — as industry heads spoke in the main hall about how important it is for global car makers to team up with startups in a changing industry — were one that makes a flying car for personal use and another that developed a sound bubble for each person in a car to listen to their own music…" Read more Hmmmm… Just in case you don’t see enough clickBait. Since when is crazy stuff "smart"? Now that I’ve had my 39th birthday I must have become old. 🙁 Alain
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
evening May 19 through May 21, 2020