Sunday, July 21, 2019
Tesla Vehicle Safety Report
Tesla, July 16, "At Tesla, we believe that technology can help improve safety. That’s why Tesla vehicles are engineered to be the safest cars in the world. We believe the unique combination of passive safety, active safety, and automated driver assistance is crucial for keeping not just Tesla drivers and passengers safe, but all drivers on the road. It’s this notion that grounds every decision we make – from the design of our cars, to the software we introduce, to the features we offer every Tesla owner.
Model S, X and 3 have achieved the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the U.S. government’s New Car Assessment Program.
… In the 2nd quarter, we registered one accident for every 3.27 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 2.19 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.41 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 498,000 miles…. " Read more Hmmmm…. This summary uses "accident" for Teslas and "crash" for NHTSA. This may suggest that the Tesla and NHTSA are not comp[arable… Tesla is reporting about apples and NHTSA is referring to "oranges". That notes; however, it does seem that for Teslas with and without AutoPilot and the other active safety features, there is consistency in the measure. A more detailed question arises about the equivalence of the driving domain for each category as well as who is at fault in each of these situations. Even in light of these issues and details, the large variation in the rates: 3.27 v 2.18 v 1.41 is very significant among Teslas. Seems as if AutoPilot and Tesla’s other active collision avoidance safety features are improving safety of Teslas. The spread from the 0.5 value for NHTSA is really astonishing making Teslas much safer than the average of all other cars. Unfortunately these numbers only scratch the surface and beg for more details. In the past I have called for an independent evaluation of the Tesla crash statistics and I do that again there today. I’ll offer to do it. Tesla should encourage someone to do it. As it stands today, not enough people believe or trust Tesla (see below) Tesla. That’s unfortunate because improved safety is THE major objective of SmartDrivingCar technology. Alain
Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 116 – Jerome Lutin
F. Fishkin, July 20, "Can technology dramatically improve the safety of bus transportation for pedestrians, riders and drivers? The lead investigator in a national study, Jerry Lutin, joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin on episode 116 of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast. Plus…Tesla’s new safety report, the latest from Lyft, Aptiv and a NY Times report on why driverless cars are taking longer than expected. Tune in and subscribe!." Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!". Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay … Alain
Apollo 11 Anniversary: Everything You Need to Read on the Moon Landing
NY Times, July 17, "…Fifty years later, the amazement caused by Apollo 11 has not worn off. The New York Times has been covering the anniversary of the moon landing, looking back at the event’s meaning, and forward to humankind’s next giant leaps in space.
Here is a roundup of some of our reporting this year on Apollo 11…." Read more Hmmmm…. Kitty and I watched the launch from the viewing area near Pad 39A @ Cape Canaveral and the landing with my parents in Miami Beach. That and Sputnik were enormously significant in my life. Enjoy this and the other linked articles. Unfortunately, as is stated in the articles, this was a race; once won, there was little reason to continue. Quite different for Driverless cars… It is not a race nor a demonstration. The objective is the development of sustainable mobility that delivers improved quality-of-life for many years to come. Alain
Building Trust in Autonomous Vehicles
M. Scrudato, July 17, "1. Why do you trust?, 2. Why can’t we trust? …" Read more Hmmmm…. Fundamentally important elements needed for us to begin to actually capture the benefits of this technology. Alain
SAFETY FIRST FOR AUTOMATED DRIVING
M. Wood, July 2019, "This publication summarizes widely known safety by design and verification and validation (V&V) methods of SAE L3 and L4 automated driving. This summary is required for maximizing the evidence of a positive risk balance of automated driving solutions compared to the average human driving performance. There is already a vast array of publications focusing on only specific subtopics of automated driving. In contrast, this publication is a comprehensive approach to safety relevant topics of automated driving and is based on the input of OEMs, tiered suppliers and key technology providers. The approach of this publication is to systematically break down safety principles into safety by design capabilities, elements and architectures and then to summarize the V&V methods in order to demonstrate the positive risk balance. This publication is intended to contribute to current activities working towards the industry-wide standardization of automated driving. …" Read more Hmmmm…. A must read. Extensive publication by traditional auto OEMS and their suppliers. It is focused on Self-driving and vehicles that are going to be owned and operated by individual consumers. Unfortunately its extensive list of authors and contributors does not include anyone from Tesla, Waymo GM/Cruise, Argo, or others that are focused on providing Driverless shared mobility as a service. Alain
Pedestrian collision puts Vienna’s driverless bus trial on hold
J. Porter, July 19, "A self-driving bus trial taking place in Vienna, Austria, has been paused after an incident occurred between a pedestrian and one of the vehicles, reports Bloomberg. On Thursday morning a 30-year-old woman collided with the bus, which is operated by the self-driving startup Navya, sustaining minor injuries. The city’s transit authority has paused the trials of the two autonomous buses while it awaits the results of an investigation into the incident.
It’s currently unclear who was at fault for the collision. State broadcaster ORF reported that the bus was moving at about 7.5 miles an hour when it struck the knee of a woman, according to Bloomberg. In a statement given to The Verge, Navya claimed that witnesses had seen the pedestrian wearing headphones and looking at a mobile phone as she crossed the street and “walked against” the side of the bus. Golem reported a similar account from an eyewitness. Navya said the woman suffered “minor scratches” as a result of the incident…." Read more Hmmmm…. This isn’t easy!! Alain
Driverless Cars Are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why.
C. Haberman, July 14, " Now we are at the dawn of the driverless car, also often described as autonomous. Perhaps in time — as was the case with the radio, the automobile and the mobile phone — it will acquire an appellation of its own that is not so ungainly. Much may depend on how far beyond infancy this technology goes. It is an essential question and, setting aside the matter of language, it underpins the latest offering from Retro Report, a series of video documentaries exploring major news events of the past and their lasting impact.
“I have to confess, I’m actually really torn,” said John Leonard, a robotics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Part of me feels that self-driving is impossible,” he continued, “but things that I think are impossible are happening today.”
As things stand, partially autonomous vehicles are already on American roads, rigged out with features like automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings. But a lot of work remains to be done to make fully self-operating cars a fact of everyday life, and Retro Report explores some of the remaining obstacles: Streets and highways need to be mapped, down to a few centimeters. The machines must learn to grapple with snow or rain, which can throw their sensors out of whack. They will have to step up their game if they are to be able to respond instantly to the unexpected, be it a falling tree branch or a child darting into the road from between parked cars…." Read more Hmmmm…. See video. What is really needed is what Mike Scrudato presented above. We need to build trust. The technology is largely there; trust isn’t. Alain
Luminar eyes production vehicles with 100M round and new Iris lidar platform
D. Coldewey, July 12, "Luminar is one of the major players in the new crop of lidar companies that have sprung up all over the world, and it’s moving fast to outpace its peers. Today the company announced a new $100 million funding round, bringing its total raised to more than $250 million — as well as a perception platform and a new, compact lidar unit aimed at inclusion in actual cars. Big day!
The new hardware, called Iris, looks to be about a third of the size of the test unit Luminar has been sticking on vehicles thus far. That one was about the size of a couple hardbacks stacked up, and Iris is more like a really thick sandwich.
…Iris will cost less than $1,000 per unit for production vehicles seeking serious autonomy, and for $500 you can get a more limited version for more limited purposes like driver assistance, or ADAS. …" Read more Hmmmm…. And, instead of creating a largely useless 360 degree view, it is focused on the road ahead where the real action is. I’ve never appreciated the need for the uniform 360 view of spinning LiDARS. At speed, the needs ahead are by far the most important. The rear is somewhat important and the sides.. not so much. When stopped or going slow needs are very different than at speed and one has the benefit of time. Elon may well be right. Alain
Lyft Is Testing Its Self-Driving Cars on Blind Passengers
G. Barkho, July 10, "Lyft’s has accessibility in mind while developing its driverless program. This week, the rideshare company announced it has expanded its autonomous vehicle trials, in partnership with auto parts company Aptiv, to include blind and low-vision riders. The test drives, a collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind, are taking place in Las Vegas during the organization’s annual conference…." Read more Hmmmm…. Very nice!! Alain
Ohio driverless vehicle test-track, touted as industry’s biggest, now open
A. Tobias, July 10, "A new state-funded facility for testing driverless cars and other “smart” vehicles has opened in the latest expansion of Ohio’s Transportation Research Center. The new Smart Mobility Advanced Research Test, or SMART, Center, in Logan County about 40 miles northwest of Columbus, includes a six-lane, high-speed “smart” intersection, complete with a traffic light, that companies and researchers can use to test new vehicle technology…." Read more Hmmmm…. Since I tried to create such a "test-track" at Fort Monmouth and failed miserably (and maybe even deservedly), I extend kudos to Ohio; however, Driverless has to be tested with attendants on real roads in real traffic conditions and stress tested in simulators/virtual reality environments. Alain
Elon Musk announces another price hike for “full self-driving” package
T. Lee, July 16, "On August 16, Tesla will begin charging an additional $1,000 for the "full self-driving" upgrade, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Tuesday. The option currently costs $6,000. It’s the latest in a series of price changes for a package whose main function—"full self-driving"—is still largely aspirational.
The price hike reflects Musk’s view that Tesla is less than 18 months away from delivering full self-driving technology to customers and that this capability will drastically increase the value of Tesla vehicles. "That’s approximately date when we expect Enhanced Summon to be in wide release," Musk explained. "It will be magical."…" Read more Hmmmm…. Price increases tend to imply high demand. Congratulations. However, "Enhanced summon" better not extend to public streets; else, things may get very ugly very quickly. Do what you want on your own private property; that’s your problem. If you bring it to public roads/spaces, then it’s my problem and "you can’t do that!"! Alain
Discussing Safety First For Automated Driving With Aptiv’s Karl Iagnemma
L. Elliot, July 19, "Safety in the self-driving car realm is a top concern and one that I wanted to discuss with Karl Iagnemma, President of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility and founder of NuTonomy, when we met recently.
We were both at the TechCrunch TC Sessions: Mobility summit in San Jose, California this month, and carved out some riveting moments to collegially chat and engage in an energetic dialogue on the all-important topic of safety of autonomous cars, doing so among the noisy hubbub and frenetic activity that’s a hallmark of these kinds of gatherings. Dovetailing into our discussion was the recently released white paper entitled “Safety First For Automated Driving,” which many are referring to as SaFAD as a handy acronym…." Read more Hmmmm…. Interesting. Alain
Tesla hater gets caught and charged for harassing Model 3 owner thanks to TeslaCam
F. Lambert, July 21, "A pickup truck driver who seemingly hates Tesla got caught and charged for harassing a Model 3 owner thanks to TeslaCam, Tesla’s onboard dashcam feature utilizing Autopilot camera. A Tesla Model 3 driver going by Arti on Youtube wrote about a situation he ran into last week in British Columbia:
“The gentleman in this white truck decided to tailgate, pull into the shoulder to intimidate, give me the finger, call me a “Tesla fag”, and run a red without stopping.”
Some of those behaviors were caught by Tesla’s dashcam feature, which uses both a front-facing and 2 side-facing cameras to record when needed."… Read more Hmmmm…. Jus think of what a few might do to Driverless cars. Thank goodness for these imaging systems. Hopefully the courts will deal seriously with such behaviors and get everyone to behave and show respect; else, we have a real societal challenge. Alain
Tesla updates map of upcoming Supercharger stations – showing where it’s going next
F. Lambert, July 19, "….Tesla appears to have added several upcoming stations around the world, including in Iceland, Central and Eastern Europe.
Here are screenshots of a few specific markets:" Read more Hmmmm…. See maps. Impressive! Alain
Intel’s ultra-efficient AI chips can power prosthetics and self-driving cars
S. Dent, July 15, "…Intel is still working on hard on its Loihi "neuromorphic" deep-learning chips, modeled after the human brain. Now, it has unveiled a new system, code-named Pohoiki Beach, made up of 64 Loihi chips and 8 million so-called neurons. It’s capable of crunching AI algorithms up to 1,000 faster and 10,000 times more efficiently than regular CPUs for use with autonomous driving, electronic robot skin, prosthetic limbs and more.
The Loihi chips are installed on a "Nahuku" board that contains from 8 to 32 Loihi chips. The Pohoiki Beach system contains multiple Nahuku boards that can be interfaced with Intel’s Arria 10 FPGA developer’s kit, as shown above… " Read more Hmmmm…. See video (embedded). Impressive! Alain
Tesla Model 3 production at Gigafactory 3 to start in November, says Morgan Stanley
F. Lambert, July 17, " Morgan Stanley visited China to do some channel checks on suppliers for the Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai in order to determine when they could start production. They expect that Model 3 production at Gigafactory 3 as soon as November.
In a note to clients today, analyst Adam Jonas revised the firm’s expectations for when Tesla can bring Gigafactory 3 online after Morgan Stanley’s Chinese auto team visited local suppliers.
Here are the key feedback points from their Chinese supplier visit:…" Read more Hmmmm…. Impressive. Alain
City planners eye self-driving vehicles to correct mistakes of the 20th-century auto
K. Shaver, July 20, "…“This is an opportunity to make our city more beautiful by eliminating huge parking lots and doing something more aesthetically pleasing,” De La Torre said. “It’s an evolution from an auto-oriented society to a more pedestrian-oriented society.”
In Washington’s Maryland suburbs, planners in Montgomery County will try to predict the effects of autonomous vehicles on the local transportation network as they update the county’s 30-year general plan. “We’re trying to be flexible with our thinking,” said David Anspacher, a transportation supervisor for the county’s planning department. “We know a change is coming, but until we actually see a big adoption of the technology, there’s a lot of debate about the changes it will bring.”…" Read more Hmmmm…. Hopefully Driverless cars do a lot more than reducing parking requirements. This is all about revolutionizing mobility for all and fundamentally improving the quality-of-life for many. Those are much more valuable contributions to cities and communities than the implications on "parking". Alain
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time
The Self-Driving Car Is a Surveillance Tool
M. Anderson, Jun 24, "… Now, an American geography researcher is arguing that GPS’s transition from dedicated hardware to smartphone software was even more significant than we realize. He says mobile mapping apps also foreshadow the ultimate transformation of car companies from purely “hardware” manufacturers to hybrid hardware, software, and service providers.…. True!! Your phone is always with you. It is a perfect reflection of you and with GPS & WiFi it knows where you are all the time…
…As cars become more automated, Alvarez León says, they also become more valuable platforms for information and tech companies. …" Read more Hmmmm…. What??? The car, whether it is automated or not, provides essentially no additional useful information. Since you are not always in your car, its data is very much less valuable that the data captured by your phone. Self-driving or not, the car is a very distant second as a surveillance tool. Alain
Uber made a blueprint for safe self-driving cars it wants the rest of the industry to follow
M. Coren, July 18, "Uber’s future depends on safe autonomous vehicles. The money-losing company is attempting to transition from costly human drivers to driverless cars. On July 16, it announced the industry’s first “safety case,” a universal framework for developing safe driverless vehicles, and it wants the rest of the industry to join in.
Uber is still recovering after one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in 2018, one of the first recorded deaths by an autonomous car, despite having a safety driver behind the wheel. That prompted a nine-month shutdown of its self-driving program, two investigations, and a drastic rethinking of the company’s efforts to ensure the public feels comfortable stepping into an Uber vehicle driven by algorithms. “We recognize trust will have to be earned,” Noah Zych, chief of staff for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, said at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in Orlando. “We have to earn back the trust. The first step is to be open, transparent, and sincere about how we do that.”…" Read more Hmmmm…. Uber needs Driverless, not Self-driving, and unfortunately caused the "3-mile Island/Apollo One Fire/Chernobyl" of Driverless mobility. Is anyone going to take their "blueprint" seriously? Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
September 4-6, 2019
Pocono Manor, PA
4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 19 through May 21, 2020
On the More Technical Side