10th edition of the 7th year of SmartDrivingCars

Friday, March 1, 2019


March 1, "Improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. …44% of rides start or end in low income areas…. Just think what that number could be if the rides were even cheaper and you didn’t have to deal with driver apprehensions… . 30.7M Riders, 1.9 M Drivers, $8.1B Bookings, $2.2B Revenue, 1+B Rides, 300+ Markets in US & Canada…

We are laser-focused on revolutionizing transportation and continue to lead the market in innovation. We have established a scaled network of drivers and riders, or users, brought together by our robust technology platform that powers millions of rides and connections every day. We leverage our technology platform, the scale and density of our user network and insights from over one billion rides to continuously improve our ridesharing marketplace efficiency and develop new offerings. For example, we pioneered a shared ride offering, or Shared Rides, providing lower-cost rides to riders traveling similar routes while improving the efficiency of our network. More recently, we were the first to launch a publicly-available commercial autonomous offering in the United States…"  Read more  Hmmmm…."… A commercial autonomous offering" … Talk about an "offering" that is un-scalable without a non-trivial pivot.. elimination of the attendant.  Oh well… Lots to learn in the filing.  The very brief and necessarily shallow CliffNotes are at LYFT’S IPO FILING SHOWS RIDERSHIP IS SURGING—SO ARE LOSSES ..  Alain  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 93

March 1, F. Fishkin, " What does Lyft’s filing to go public have to do with autonomous vehicles? Everything. That plus Tesla, artificial intelligence and the autonomous local delivery move by FedEx in Episode 93 with co-hosts Alain Kornhauser of Princeton and tech journalist Fred Fishkin."  Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain

The Symposium on the Future Networked Car 2019

Geneva on 7 March 2019


GPU Technology Conference

March 17 -> 21

Silicon Valley

25% Discount Using SmartDrivingCar VIP Code: NVDASHAPIRO

3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Apply to Participate; Reserve your Sponsorship


cid:part25.8D6AD13F.8CBDD94B@princeton.eduAutonomous Vehicles

Feb 25, " This workshop brought together experts in cyber-physical systems, machine learning, transportation engineering, and applied mathematics, both from academia and from industry, to help bridge the technical gaps and to facilitate exchange and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries…"  Read more  Hmmmm…. Slides and videos of the presentations are available here.   In particular, see..:

cid:<a”>OEM De-fossilization and Automation Programs II (& more)

M. Sena, March 1, "THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY is in the throes of wrenching changes…

In this issue we will look at Fiat, Ford and GM. My objective is to try to determine which companies are likely to still be around in ten years, which companies will find it necessary to merge with rivals …  and which companies are likely to just goaway…

When I grew up in post-WWII America …Me too…, every car buyer knew the GM pecking order. You came into it as a Chevy buyer. You moved up to Pontiac when you got the first promotion, and then moved to an Oldsmobile when you got your own office. As a young lawyer or doctor, you might be able to afford a Buick, but you were going to have to wait until you owned the firm, became chief surgeon or owned the major department store in town before you could buy a Cadillac… Sometime during the 1970s, GM lost track of its story line.

…More had two recommendations that the company did not follow:  Do not develop and apply any new technologies…

…Either it finds a way of building cars people want to buy, or it finds another business….

Ford cannot be a company for everyone….

He knew that FCA would live if people—not Waymo or Uber—bought his company’s cars…."

No, it is not going to charge an entrance fee at its border or add a congestion charge in the city. Starting in March 2020, it is going to set up park-and-ride facilities at the major roadways entering the country and make all mass transit free…."Read more  Whoa….!   Enjoy!! A must read. Alain


A. Marshall, March 1, " IT’S ON. AFTER months of speculation, Lyft took the wraps off its filing for an initial public offering Friday. The ride-hail company got a jump on its rival Uber, which reportedly plans to file for its own IPO soon.

The filing did not specify a valuation for Lyft, which was last valued in a private financing round in June 2018 for $15.1 billion. Uber raised its last private financing round at $76 billion, and will reportedly seek $120 billion valuation when it files for IPO.

Lyft’s filing tells a nuanced story about the company—and the ride-hailing industry at large, which is pulling in plenty of money even as it struggles to stem its losses…. Read more   Hmmmm….  These are the CliffNotes.  See above S1 for many details.  Alain

cid:<a”>  Tesla Model 3 driver again dies in crash with trailer, Autopilot not yet ruled out

F. Lambert, Mar 1, "Earlier today, a Tesla Model 3 owner died in a tragic accident with a semi truck. The Model 3 went under the truck’s trailer resulting “in the roof being sheared off as it passed underneath,” which is known as a “side underride” accident.

The circumstances are extremely similar to the famous 2016 fatal Autopilot crash. …It sparked a federal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system and eventually, NHTSA closed its investigation without finding any defect or issuing any recall…." Read more Hmmmm….Tragic!  History does repeat itself.  Hopefully, this time NTSB and NHTSA will focus on the root-cause of these crashes… SAE, NTSB and NHTSA reluctance to address the "false alarm" problem with respect to stationary objects ahead.  To date, the fear/risk of causing a rear-end crash because brakes  were automatically applied by a false alarm (triggered by the automated identification of stationary object in lane ahead that can’t be passed under when, in actuality the car could have passed underneath with no problem, or there wasn’t even anything of substance in the lane ahead) has been viewed as an unacceptable design condition.  Consequently, some, many (maybe even every) object that is detected as being stationary in the road ahead is disregarded by Tesla’s (and maybe everyone else’s) Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system.  SAE, NTSB, NHTSA must determine, clearly report to owner/users of these vehicles and even do a recall of the cars/systems that are afflicted by this fundamental design flaw. This is NOT about AutoPilot or Self-driving cars.  It is about Safe-driving cars.  Cars must and deserve to be Safer  way before we should be able to have the comfort and convenience of taking our hands off the wheel, even for sort periods of time. 

This is about the inability of the Automated Emergency Braking system to reliably determine if the car can pass under a stationary object detected in the lane ahead.  The lack of reliability in the determination of the "pass-under-ability" of some/all? stationary objects ahead IS the problem.  Since essentially all  such objects are "pass-under-able" (overpasses, traffic lights, signs, trees), a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers doesn’t feel compelled to design a system that would apply the brakes in the rare instances when the "pass-under-ablity" was misdiagnosed.  All those false brake activations wold cause the car to be deemed a "lemon".  Hence, let’s just assume that we can always "Pass-under".  Consequently the AEB is not made aware of any stationary object ahead.  No brakes are ever automatically applied and …  horizontal Guillotine.  So sad.  So tragic. 

(This is , of course, not true for non-stationary objects ahead (if a car is coming at you or there is a slow car ahead, then brakes are applied (because it it very rare that you can pass under those objects.) Alain

cid:<a”>  Tesla starts charging $7,000 to add Full Self-Driving features post-delivery

J. Condtt, Feb 28, "Tesla is splitting its self-driving function into two tiers — Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability — and charging a few thousand extra dollars for Navigate on Autopilot, Autopark, Summon and other features coming out later this year.

If you buy a new Model S, Model X or Model 3 today, it’s $3,000 to add Autopilot and $5,000 for Full Self-Driving Capabilities. The manufacturer says Autopilot "enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane." …

Note that’s the price for these tiers if you’re buying a new vehicle. If you already own one of these Models, or buy one without selecting a self-driving tier, you can pay to add the features later on. It’s $4,000 to add Autopilot and $7,000 to add FSD Capabilities…." Read more Hmmmm…. Very interesting.   besides the pricing, I believe that this is the first time that any of these features have been available as "aftermarket" on any vehicle by any OEM .  Someone please correct me.  Alain

cid:<a”>Tesla Shutting Stores Worldwide to Deliver a $35,000 Model 3

D. Hull, Feb 28, " Tesla Inc. will shut many of its stores worldwide and shift to online-only ordering to help deliver Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s long-promised $35,000 electric car.

Moving all sales online allows Tesla to lower vehicle prices by about 6 percent on average, the company said in a blog post Thursday. It also announced a $35,000 version of its Model 3 sedan is now available, almost three years after Musk started taking orders.  Read more  Hmmmm…. Very interesting.   I guess that Elon is serious about a $35k electric car.  The stores are an expensive luxury because they only sell cars.  Since the Tesla has such low maintenance, there isn’t much of a "service/maintenance center" revenue opportunity so the entire cost of the "dealership" falls on the new car sales ledger.  The concern with on-line sales is the "trade-in" (Never Mind!!… We now have CarVana aiding the disruption) and the "easy financing".  Alain

cid:<a”>This Is What Peak Car Looks Like

K. Naughton, Feb. 28, "After one too many snowstorms, Boston tech executive Larry Kim had had it with shoveling out his car and struggling to find parking. So in 2014 he ditched his Infiniti luxury sedan and began commuting by Uber and Lyft—at an annual cost of as much as $20,000. “I would never go back to owning a car,” says Kim, chief executive officer of MobileMonkey Inc., a Facebook Messenger marketing platform, who says he’s recovered an hour a day by not driving. “Your time is not free, right? Your time is worth more than $20 an hour. So in my case, why not spend $15,000 to $20,000 a year to get all of that time saved?”

The automobile—once both a badge of success and the most convenient conveyance between points A and B—is falling out of favor in cities around the world as ride-hailing and other new transportation options proliferate and concerns over gridlock and pollution spark a reevaluation of privately owned wheels…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. Yup!  This seems to be happening even without "the Advent of Virtual Reality" and employers realizing that their employees are interacting with screens essentially all the time and not the people that are in their physical proximity.  Why do employers insist that they work in the same place?  Alain

cid:<a”>  Seeking Ground Rules for A.I.

C. Metz, March 1, "About seven years ago, three researchers at the University of Toronto built a system that could analyze thousands of photos and teach itself to recognize everyday objects, like dogs, cars and flowers.

The system was so effective that Google bought the tiny start-up these researchers were only just getting off the ground. And soon, their system sparked a technological revolution. Suddenly, machines could “see” in a way that was not possible in the past.

This made it easier for a smartphone app to search your personal photos and find the images you were looking for. It accelerated the progress of driverless cars and other robotics. And it improved the accuracy of facial recognition services, for social networks like Facebook and for the country’s law enforcement agencies…

This week, at the New Work Summit, hosted by The New York Times, conference attendees worked in groups to compile a list of recommendations for building and deploying ethical artificial intelligence. The results are included here…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. Certainly a very high-powered group.  Not surprising, Transparency is #1 need.  Alain

cid:<a”>The Self-Driving Car Companies Going The Distance

N. Mccarthy, Feb 25, Read more  Hmmmm…. Reported on this in issue 7.8; however, the graph in this is very nice and  Mario Heger put together a unifying table. Alain

cid:<a”>  FedEx’s new autonomous delivery bot has iBot wheelchair DNA

K. Korosec, Feb 27, "… The bot, which will be tested this summer in select markets including FedEx’s hometown Memphis, is being developed in collaboration with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen,  who invented the Segway  and iBot wheelchair.

…FedEx says the proprietary technology is the secret sauce that makes the bot highly capable and allows it to navigate unpaved surfaces, curbs, and even steps for an extraordinary door-to-door delivery experience. That’s an important feature for businesses and their customers, who might not want or be physically able to fetch a package at the bottom of stairs.”’" Read more  Hmmmm…. Interesting.  Local delivery may, and probably should. well lead Driverless deployment.  No one to injure inside and , if done between "1am -> 5am", then no kids playing stickball in the streets. Alain

cid:<a”>Tesla’s promise of ‘full-self-driving’ angers autonomous vehicle experts

M. McFarland, March 2, "…  Experts say Tesla’s "full self-driving" feature is really a partial self-driving feature that handles minor driving tasks such as keeping pace with other cars on a highway and still requires diligent human oversight. To most autonomous vehicle experts, "full self-driving" means a car in which a person could safely fall asleep behind the wheel, and the steering wheel and pedals aren’t even needed…

Dean Pomerleau, of Carnegie Mellon University, who in 1995 drove a minivan that steered itself across the country, told CNN Business he has "grave concerns" about Tesla’s practices on autonomous driving.

Part of the problem, according to experts, is that governing bodies haven’t standardized a definition for self-driving vehicles… Read more  Hmmmm…. What is worse is that the developers of this technology chose definitions in the form to techno mumbo jumbo of "Levels" that have zero semantic meaning.  So here we are.  Total confusion on terminology.  Alain

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

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

Simply Click Bait

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

The Symposium on the Future Networked Car 2019

Geneva on 7 March 2019

GPU Technology Conference

March 17 -> 21

Silicon Valley

25% Discount Using SmartDrivingCar VIP Code: NVDASHAPIRO

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3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Apply to Participate; Reserve your Sponsorship

Catalog of Videos of Presentations @ 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
Photos from 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Program & Links to slides from 2nd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

September 4-6, 2019
Pocono Manor, PA

  On the More Technical Side