39th edition of the 6th year of SmartDrivingCars

Saturday, September 22, 2018

cid:<a”>BMW Develops New Insurance Concept, Aims at Future of Car Insurance

G. Nica, Sept 17, "With the BMW Group’s technical know-how and Swiss Re’s expertise as a reinsurer, an algorithm has been developed that is capable of representing the complex effects of driver assistance systems on the safety of BMW vehicles as a score. This score facilitates calculation of an individual vehicle-specific insurance premium…." Read more Hmmmm….  Wow, can this really be true.  I’ve been calling for this for at least 4 years.  Have they really "developed" the algorithm??  Hope they publish it.  I’d love to see it. To what extent does expected liability become independent of expected driver behavior?  How does improvement in "BMW vehicle score" correlate with both reduced insurance premiums and the incremental  cost of the incremental Driver Assistance System.  What "Driver Assistance System" yields the Minimum { insuranceCost + incrementalCapitalizedSafetySystemCost} for each model???  Can’t wait to learn the details.  Hope it is not all smoke & mirrors.  Alain

imap:// Driving Cars Podcast Episode 58

F. Fishkin, Sept 22  "In this edition of the Smart Driving Cars Podcast, Alain Kornhauser of Princeton University and co-host Fred Fishkin are joined by the founder of the Superbike School, Keith Code. Keith is an instructor, coach, author and researcher into motorcycle safety…and a champion racer. Beyond that….he’s an old high school friend of Alain’s! And there’s more on BMW, Apple, VW and more! . Tune in and subscribe!"  Hmmmm…. Now you can just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay.  Alain
Real information every week.  Lively discussions with the people who are shaping the future of SmartDrivingCars.  Want to become a sustaining sponsor and help us grow the SmartDrivingCars newsletter and podcast? Contact Alain Kornhauser at!  Alain

cid:<a”>U.S. cities building on Las Vegas’ success with autonomous buses

P. Comfort, Sept 14, "Last November, Las Vegas launched an autonomous bus route along a tourist-heavy stretch of Fremont Street, sponsored by AAA and using a Navya AV operated by Keolis Transit.

Why it matters: Cities across America are beginning to test driverless buses — including pilots in Austin and Detroit — but Las Vegas was the first to deploy them on public streets in mixed traffic, and its program is now the largest AV bus pilot in the U.S. Other than a first day snafu, when another truck ran into the AV, the service has run safely and without incident.

The details: The AV shuttle is a free service for Las Vegas visitors and residents that provides transit between the Downtown Container Park and the Fremont Street Experience. Passengers traverse eight city intersections, six traffic lights, and two stop signs — all without a driver, though the bus does host an onboard "attendant" who acts as an ambassador, educating riders on how the AV technology works.

Since launch, the service has transported more than 35,000 passengers, helping to test the acceptance of AVs in public transit. Early signs are positive: It has earned a passenger rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars for its driving, according to Francis Julien at Keolis Transit…"   Read more Hmmmm…. The "Why it Matters" and the "Details" are important.  Operating on public streets in mixed traffic is no small accomplishment!.  I does have an "ambassador" on board.   All systems will/do have them in the beginning.  The record so far is impressive. As more experience is gained, it will be able to scale to provide mobility to the many that don’t need an attendant but need to be able to get from where they are to where they are going when they want to go affordably.  Wouldn’t that be something.  A transit system that caters to serve the demand of its customers rather than demanding that the rider is forced to adhere to the system’s fixed routes (of which there are few) at fixed times (which are certainly not 24/7 and widely separated).    When combined the scheduled service actually end up serving so very few.  Alain   MODEL 3 CRASH TESTING HAMMERS HOME TESLA’S SAFETY EXCELLENCE

A. Davies,, Sept 21, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the arm of the federal Department of Transportation charged with reducing the number of people killed on US roads, yesterday released the results of the crash test for the Tesla Model 3: The car earned five stars in every category.

This perfect score is a welcome ray of sunshine during a (tweet)stormy stretch for Tesla. Also yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the automaker’s supply chain manager had left the company. But it’s hardly surprising. Without an engine to work around, Tesla’s engineers can essentially make the whole front of the car a crumple zone, and having the heavy battery just inches off the ground limits the risk of rollovers. Tesla’s cars have always shown themselves to be safe. A few years ago, the Model S proved so strong, the testing equipment broke before it did. The Model X SUV put up a perfect score in its latest exam as well…."  Read more Hmmmm….  This is really good news founded on excellent fundamentals as stated above.  With no engine to go through the firewall and chop my legs off and a low CG (Center of Gravity) making it hard for me to roll it, the mitigation of safety is substantially better.  And if the AEB (Automated Emergency Braking) system actually works, along with the AutoPilot Lane Centering and Intelligent Cruise Control, then you have the makings of a car that also avoids crashes and running into "trees" on top of its ability to mitigate crashes.  No wonder people are buying this car.  Alain

cid:<a”>  Envisioning a Future City with Autonomous Vehicles

B. Liu, 2018, "The evolution and formation of our urban fabric have an inextricable relationship with transportation and urban mobility. The revolution in speed and power of transportation as a result of the automobile in the early 1900’s brought about radical changes in how cities were designed and constructed. City streets, previously built for horse-drawn vehicles and foot traffic, were modernized with asphalt and segregated for the sake of speed and convenience. Parking lots, garages and gas stations were carved out of the city fabric to support the population’s addiction and dependence on it as the ultimate form of movement. Expansive highways and extensive networks of arterial thoroughfares were put in place as cities began to undergo urban sprawl.  As North American cities have evolved and developed around the use of automobiles, the requirements to support its use have become increasingly oppressive to other forms of city life. However, an upcoming revolution in transportation and urban mobility, ushered in by the development of autonomous technology, willpresent urban designers with new opportunities to re-evaluate the relationship between motorists and the city. …"  Read more Hmmmm….  Well worth reading and pondering!  Alain


Press release, Sept 18, "The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a five-year, $5,250,000 initiative that brings residents to the center of self-driving vehicle pilot projects happening in five U.S. cities: Detroit; Long Beach, California; Miami; San Jose, California; and Pittsburgh.

The investment is the largest of Knight Foundation’s efforts to develop people-centered Smart Cities, which aims to harness the growth of digital technology to improve how communities respond, connect to and engage with residents.

The pilot projects will be designed to engage local residents around self-driving car deployments to ensure that they reflect community input and meet local needs… " Read more Hmmmm….  In a large sense, exactly what we are trying to do in Central Jersey focused on serving the needs of the Mobility Disadvantaged… Those that are poor, don’t have access to a car and aren’t served by transit.  The service of the mobility needs of these folks  should/must be the initial focus of Driverless cars.  If you wish to interactively investigate where these households are located in New Jersey launch this viewer in Chrome or Edge and cut & paste this file. ( Launch this file in your browser, save it someplace (desktop) and then use the viewer’s browse capability to paste it in the viewer).   Displayed (with interactive and mouse-over capabilities) are the number of households per 1/4 sq. mile area in NJ that are in the lowest decile of Mobility Index = f{HH income, autoAvailability, proximity2NJTransitStop}.  One can see that people who could most benefit from this mobility don’t just live in "cities".   The Knight Foundation should also pay attention to Central Jersey and in fact all of New Jersey.  Alain

cid:<a”>US lawmakers say AI deepfakes ‘have the potential to disrupt every facet of our society’

J. Vincent, Sept 14, "US politicians are getting increasingly worried about deepfakes — a new type of AI-assisted video editing that creates realistic results with minimal effort. Yesterday, a trio of lawmakers sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, asking him to assess the threat posed to national security by this new form of fakery.

The letter says “hyper-realistic digital forgeries” showing “convincing depictions of individuals doing or saying things they never did” could be used for blackmail and misinformation. “As deep fake technology becomes more advanced and more accessible, it could pose a threat to United States public discourse and national security,”…

In a press statement, Curbelo said: “Deep fakes have the potential to disrupt every facet of our society and trigger dangerous international and domestic consequences […] As with any threat, our Intelligence Community must be prepared to combat deep fakes, be vigilant against them, and stand ready to protect our nation and the American people.”…"  Read more Hmmmm….  While not directly related to SmartDrivingCars, the hardware (Computers  Memory) and Algorithmic advances (Convolutional Neural Networks and the like)  developed for Driverless Cars are enabling this stuff. This is a bigger challenge than cyber security.   Alain

cid:<a”>  Bpifrance invests €6.5m in EasyMile, the leader in autonomous vehicle solutions, to speed up its development

Press Repease, Sept 17, "Bpifrance is supporting the growth of EasyMile, a pioneer in the development
of autonomous vehicle solutions, by investing €6.5 million in the company, joining the founders as well as
industrial shareholders, Alstom and Continental….EasyMile is best known for its fully-electric autonomous shuttle, the EZ10, which transports up to 15 people and has been successfully rolled out in over 200
sites worldwide…."  Read more Hmmmm….  Congratulations Gilbert.  Aa most well-deserved investment.  Compared to the valuations/investments in the Driverless Car world, this is indeed a bargain for Bpifarance.  Alain

cid:<a”>Apple’s autonomous vehicle fleet swells 27% in four months

K. Korosec, Sept 12, "The company now has 70 autonomous vehicles permitted to test on public roads, Mac Reports first reported. The permits, which are issued by CA DMV, require a safety driver to be behind the wheel.

Over the past 18 months, Apple has gone from just three autonomous vehicles to 27 by January, 55 by May and now 70. GM Cruise has the most permitted autonomous test vehicles at 175, followed by Waymo with 88. Apple has the third-largest fleet… There was just one accident involving a self-driving vehicle (that one was owned by Delphi) reported to the DMV in 2014. So far this year, there have been more than 40 accidents. "    Read more Hmmmm….  None of the 40 crashes were the fault of the "self-driving" car. Looks like Apple is serious, but very little else is known.  Where is Amazon testing??? Alain

cid:<a”>VW wants automakers to team up for self-driving standards, report says

A. Krok, Sept 14. "… Volkswagen is in the process of developing an "industrywide alliance" in the self-driving space, Automotive News reports, citing comments from an anonymous VW executive. VW Group’s board of management could have options for such an alliance in front of them as soon as October, but it’s unclear what the timeline would look like beyond that.

While some partnerships are meant to benefit the consumer, Automotive News’ report seems to paint this potential partnership as one meant to benefit the companies behind it all. The unnamed VW executive told Automotive News as much: "The question is: How do we bring products to market that guarantee we made ourselves as small a target for damage claims as possible?"… "   Read more Hmmmm…. What????  The way that WV can make itself " as small a target for damage claims as possible "  is to make products that don’t crash and don’t cause damage. C’mon VW!!! It’s not like you’re suggesting  re-insurance.  Is VW up to its old tricks again?  Alain

cid:<a”>  The Auto Industry’s VHS-or-Betamax Moment

M. Gardiner, Sept 20, "The auto industry has a choice to make: Which language will cars speak when they talk to one another?

Until a couple of years ago, automakers agreed on one vehicle-to-vehicle communications platform, called dedicated short-range communications, or DSRC, based on the technology used for Wi-Fi. But some car companies have begun to favor a competing protocol, known as Cellular V2X, which is based on a next-generation version of the technology used by your mobile phone.  So far, the federal government has held back on enforcing a standard. A proposed rule mandating deployment of DSRC equipment in new vehicles has languished for nearly two years, and critics say the delay is making motorists less safe. But supporters of the competing standard say something better has come along.

“You’ve got public agencies who want to deploy, but we don’t have a standard, so what do I buy?” asked Kirk Steudle, director of Michigan’s Department of Transportation and a supporter of the DSRC standard. “Betamax, or a VHS?”…"  Read more   Hmmmm…. Let’s see, the reason VHS won was because a big industry (the adult film industry) chose VHS.  Has that or any other big industry (other than a few car companies who "will"/ (may) do something "next year"), or any other industry chosen DSRC???  The over/under probability that DSRC = BetaMax is 0.90  (Don’t give up.  Hilary had a 0.99 probability of winning.) Alain


S. Belchler, Sept 2018, "This report was funded by Crown Castle, the nation’s largest provider of communications infrastructure, in an effort to consider and support the needs of carriers, vehicle manufacturers and local governments as they prepare to meet the infrastructure, regulatory, and security requirements of the connected and autonomous vehicles ecosystem. The views, opinions, and recommendations expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Crown Castle….

U.S. DOT Should Require That AVs Are Connected. All respondents of our survey agreed that if
connected vehicle technology were available and reliable that they would use it…. " Read more Hmmmm….  Of course.  Unfortunately, the implied view of this report and, maybe, that of US DoT, was/is that AVs are consumer-owned,  much as today’s conventional cars.  I could not find in this report any inkling of the thought that AVs (Driverless vehicles) will be Fleet-owned and used to provide on-demand mobility to everyone and especially the Mobility Disadvantaged.  In that scenario, yes, they will be connected, but their connection and the communications will be to support the fleet management needs of the fleet operator and the service needs of the traveling public and NOT necessarily that of US DoT or local agencies.  Thus any services or capabilities envisioned in this report will need to piggy back onto what the fleet operator can justify through an RoI and not the other way around.  So this report should be recommending that US DoT figure out how to best achieve its mission using any excess capacity on the Fleet Manager’s Com system rather than unduly burdening the Fleet Operator with its needs.  The Fleet Operator is providing a valuable public service by providing affordable mobility to the general public and should not be unduly burden with alleviating the problems caused by single-occupant drivers of conventional cars.  Alain


Press release, Sept 20, "RoboSense, a leader in LiDAR awareness technology solutions, announced today the revolutionary RS-IPLS Intelligent perception LiDAR system, the first hardware and software algorithm based solution for the mass production of safer autonomous cars. A high performance autonomous driving system, the RS-IPLS features real-time data pre-processing and a “gaze” function similar to human eyes. The RoboSense system is inexpensive, 1/400th the price of traditional 64-line LiDAR systems, and is designed for the mass production of vehicles at a low price. … "  Read more Hmmmm….  Sure sounds good. If it can give me {r,g,b, and d (distance)} instead of just {r,g,b} at each pixel and give it to me cheap (~ no more than 10x of {r,g,b} ???).  Then I’m all in.  Alain

cid:<a”>  BAA- Truck Platooning Early Deployment Evaluation, Phase 1

Sept. 11, "The objective of this BAA is to develop an innovative and synergistic truck platooning pilot deployment concept, to build partnerships among stakeholders, and to prepare a comprehensive deployment plan and proposal that enables the assessment of such a concept. It will accelerate deployment of cooperative automated vehicle technologies to support the freight industry, enabling trucks to safely follow each other at distances that enable the vehicles to save fuel, thereby enhancing the economic competitiveness of freight shippers and lowering the costs of landed goods for consumers…."  Read more Hmmmm….  The last gasp of the Connected Vehicle folks @ USDoT??? Over-under probability on a Phase 2 is 0.10 !?! Alain

cid:<a”>I-5 stretch running through Pacific Northwest is the best route for self-driving trucks, INRIX study finds

M. Nickelsburg, Sept 17, "… INRIX determined that the swath of Interstate 5 stretching from the Canadian to Californian borders is the best route for initial adoption of autonomous trucks in the U.S. Researchers compared 100-mile or longer freight routes, looking for roads with low congestion, high potential to reduce labor costs by eliminating drivers, and high numbers of accidents and incidents that could be reduced by self-driving trucks. The I-5 stretch running through Washington and Oregon scored the highest…."  Read more Hmmmm….  I usually like what INRIX publishes/reports; however, this one has me wondering.  Nice that they looked at routes with "low congestion" (how any section of I-95 could make any list that has low congestion as an attribute baffles me (Its their #2).  There are vast stretches of I-80, … throughout the plains states that are very low volume..).  Also the only way any of theses "reduce labor costs" is if terminals are built at the access points to these "routes" so that a human can jump in and drive these vehicles to and from where they are actually coming from and going to.  There are essentially zero Goods Movement demands between origins & destinations that are located in the close proximity of any of the access points to any of these corridors.  While this may be done at some future time, this is not low hanging fruit for Class 8 vehicles.  How about just putting in real driver assistance functions and improve the work conditions ("the office") of long -haul truckers.  Alain

cid:<a”>Uber to Invest Over $150 Million in Toronto Driverless Car Hub

N. Wong, Sept 13, "Uber Technologies Inc. said it will spend more than $150 million in Toronto to support driverless car research.   The five-year investment includes opening an engineering hub in Canada’s biggest city in early 2019 and an expansion of its Advanced Technologies Group, the unit that’s developing much of the company’s autonomous vehicle technology. Last year, Uber began building an artificial intelligence team in Toronto. Including ride-sharing and food delivery businesses, Uber said it will have more than 500 employees in the city in coming years…." Read more Hmmmm….  Toronto does seem to be a, if not the, leading center for AI so this makes a lot of sense.  Only $150M over 5 years when other reports suggest that Uber’s been spending  >$1M/day on Driverless cars.!?  Is life in Canada that cheap in Canada???  Alain

cid:<a”>  Elon Musk’s Chicago Tunnel: A Breakthrough or a Pipe Dream?

E. Fitzsimmons, Sept. 16, "When Elon Musk agreed this summer to build a futuristic tunnel to Chicago’s busiest airport on his own dime, many Chicagoans voiced doubt.  The idea sounded fanciful: Electric pods hurtling under the city at 150 miles per hour. And experts questioned whether Musk’s company could dig a 17-mile tunnel in a few years. …

“There’s an air of unreality to the project,” said Joseph P. Schwieterman, a public policy professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “There are so many challenges that have to be overcome.”…  “He’s proposing a super-expensive, low-capacity project that is consciously targeted toward the well-off,” said Mr. Orcutt, a former official at New York’s transportation department…"If we succeed, it’s going to be a great thing for the city,” Mr. Musk said at a news conference in Chicago in June."  Read more Hmmmm….  No it’s not.  It might be great for the very few instead of using their Chauffeured limo who really don’t want to go exactly where this thing is going to let them out of the hole.  They’ll still need to have their limo sent ahead to take them "the last mile".  Sorry, travel confined to be between two specific points is never great all by itself.  Alain

cid:<a”>  BMW made a self-driving motorcycle

S. O’Kane, Sept 12, "Motorcycle riders die at a rate 28 times higher than that of people behind the wheel of a car. It’s safe to say, then, that motorcycles theoretically stand to benefit from the recent boom in the development of driver assistance technology. There are unique challenges, to be sure, but the application looks more possible than ever, thanks to a new video of a self-driving motorcycle released by BMW Motorrad, the company’s two-wheeler division.

BMW Motorrad says it’s been working on the technology for more than two years, and the effort shows. The short video showcases a BMW motorcycle cruising around a test track with no driver, starting from a stop, leaning into turns, and braking all by itself…. " Read more Hmmmm…  Couple of comment… 1.  See video.  it is very good.  2.  There are really good reasons why this Safe-driving Motorcycle" is a really good idea, especially the safety reason as to why a cyclist should want this.  and 3.  (The) Anthony Levandowski did this (sort of, or at least wanted to do it) back in the 2005 Grand Challenge  See video Alain


Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time

cid:<a”>  Amazon teams up with Audi to expand Alexa’s automotive presence

N. Levy, Sept 18, "Audi just became the latest carmaker to integrate Amazon’s digital brain Alexa into its vehicles…. The integration allows drivers to do things like check news, weather, sports scores, order groceries, add things to to-do lists, stream music and audiobooks via Amazon Music and Audible and access smart home controls. "  Read more Hmmmm….  Just what we need, more distraction of the driver from paying attention to driving.  Alexa… Please don’t hit me!!!  So Bad!!! Alain

cid:<a”>New Toll Road Idea A ‘Game-Changer’ Say Transportation Leaders

J. Allen, Sept 13, "An app that automatically detects how many people are in one vehicle, could help more drivers take advantage of discounted toll rates for high occupancy vehicles North Texas highways. …  It works by sensing when mobile devices with an installed app, are traveling next to each other down a defined corridor. …   Steinberg said Carma has developed algorithms to try to stop people who try to cheat the technology, by having extra account, carrying two phones or leaving an extra beacon in the car….  "  Read more Hmmmm….  Right!??  How easy will it be to defeat that algorithm, not!!!   So it doesn’t count people and it certainly doesn’t count the number of cars that were left at home, which is the only reason to provide a discount or use of a priority lane because you’ve somehow contributed to the reduction of congestion by leaving a car at home.  Alain

cid:<a”>  Minimising social disruption from ITS and much more on Talking Transport

Sept 20, "Presenter Paul Hutton rides in a driverless pod around the Bella Centre with the CEO of the UK’s Transport Systems Catapult and we talk MaaS with an expert from Atkins…"  Read more Hmmmm…. This is the only thing that I could find that related to AVs/SmartDrivingCars @ the 25th ITS World Congress in Copenhagen this past week. After 25 years, ITS still hasn’t gotten the message.  Glad that I had an excuse that I had to teach classes and couldn’t go, although I hated to miss Richard Bishop’s ITFVHA session last Sunday.  I’m certain there was good information exchanged there and that I’ll be able to link to some of the presentations as soon as Richard puts them online.  Alain

 C’mon Man!  (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)

cid:<a”>  Daimler and Bosch jointly premiere Automated Valet Parking in China

Press release, Sept 14, "Daimler and Bosch have announced the successful premiere of their joint Automated Valet Parking pilot in Beijing. The technology, which debuted in the parking garage at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart in 2017, symbolizes a pioneering effort in infrastructure-supported driverless parking and marks the first pilot of its kind in China. Automated Valet Parking, to the extent legally allowed where used, enables vehicles to proceed to an assigned space and for the user to retrieve the vehicle via their smartphone. …  "  Read more Hmmmm….  Wow!!  How fast can I go to my dealer and overpay to get this feature???  I am so concerned about the abuse of parking valets that I’ve got to have this feature on my car.  Plus, remember what those valets do with cars in  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  It amazes me that Daimler would waste its time with this when there is so much that needs to be done to enable driverless technology to deliver truly safe mobility to all, especially the folks that need it most.  C’mon Daimler!!  Alain

cid:<a”>Self-Driving Cars Can Handle Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow

"…After years of testing, with hundreds of cars and vans deployed on public streets and private facilities, even the best autonomous-driving efforts still struggle with inclement weather. The ultimate hurdle to the next phase of driverless technology might not come from algorithms and artificial intelligence—it might be fog and rain.

Another Boston-area startup is promising a way to solve these weather woes, just as leading players race to launch viable businesses. WaveSense has built a radar system to scan what’s below the road, down where there’s no snow at all, rather than parse wintry mix on top…." Read more Hmmmm…. Cut it out Bloomberg… Since these will be traveling of roads with human drivers, none should attempt to travel in Fog or in any weather that a human can’t handle.  Also, this is the worse back f=dorr way to sell ground penetrating radar so that you know where you are, but you have no idea what you are going to hit.  So bad!!  C’mon Man!!!  Alain   

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

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5th Symposium on
Autonomous & Connected vehicles

October 23-24, 2018
Brooklyn, NY

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3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
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Catalog of Videos of Presentations @ 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
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Program & Links to slides from 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

  On the More Technical Side