Friday, April 5, 2019
15th edition of the 7th year of SmartDrivingCars

cid:<a”>  Congestion Pricing Plan for NYC is Coming!

M. Daus, Esq, April 1, "Over the weekend, the New York State legislature agreed to pass congestion pricing legislation as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget bill for FY 2020. The legislation was finalized in the early hours today, and the Governor is expected to sign the bill into law immediately. The toll is intended to reduce traffic congestion while raising $15 billion between 2020 and 2024 to fix NYC subways and commuter rails.  Starting no sooner than December 31, 2020, motorists will be charged a toll to drive into Manhattan south of 60th street, excluding the FDR Drive and the West Side highway….

Only two categories of vehicles are specifically exempt from the law: emergency vehicles and qualifying vehicles transporting a person with disabilities. The law does not specify what qualifies as a “vehicle transporting a person with disability,” leaving any such determinations to the TBTA. A recent Bloomberg article discusses exemptions for people with disabilities (click here to review full article)…"  Read more  Hmmmm… Congratulations NYC!!! I’ve never understood why this isn’t called "Value Pricing".  Was it the SAE??? or is it just that I don’t seem to ever like the semantics used by others? This has been a long time coming and is a tribute to William Vickery, the Canadian-born Columbia University Professor of Economics and Nobel Laureate who tragically passed away shortly after being announced as the winner of the 1996 award in Economics.  Alain  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 98

April 5, F. Fishkin, "Here comes congestion pricing in New York City…but what will it mean? Former city Taxi and Limousine Commission head and transportation expert Matthew Daus joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin. Also…Tesla, VW and even Brexit! All on Episode 98 of Smart Driving Cars."  Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!" .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain


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



cid:<a”>  Tesla confirms new full self-driving computer is in production, will demonstrate capability this month

F. Lambert, April 3, "Tesla announced today that its new full self-driving computer, previously known as the Autopilot Hardware 3.0 upgrade, is now in production and the company will hold a demonstration of the new capabilities later this month.
As we previously reported, Tesla is working on an important new product that it claims will enable them to bring full self-driving capability to its vehicles: a new AI chip, or “neural net accelerator’, to be released in the Autopilot Hardware 3.0 computer upgrade.

Last year, Pete Bannon, Tesla’s chip architect in charge of the project, said that they were ramping up their manufacturing effort and aiming to start production of the Autopilot Hardware 3 computer around the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Now a few days after the end of the quarter, Tesla announced that the new computer is now in production:…"  Read more  Hmmmm… This seems totally irresponsible of Tesla and enormously dangerous for everyone in the SmartDrivingCar community.  What the heck is "full self-driving" and how long will it take for some "White Hat" or whatever to let their Tesla go by itself down some road without anyone in it and kill someone???  If Tesla fails to put sufficient safeguards on their "full whatever" system to ensure that irresponsible behavior by any of its owners is completely precluded, then Tesla should be held responsible for not only any liability resulting from such irresponsible behavior, but also be held liable for any and all lost valuations suffered by anyone in the SmartDrivingCar market place.  If Tesla fails to behave in a totally responsible manner here they are about to irresponsibly deliver a Fukushima style disaster to this industry.  Alain

cid:<a”>  Daimler Trucks agrees to acquire majority stake in Torc Robotics to create technology powerhouse for automated trucks

Press release, March 29, "Daimler Trucks, a division in the Daimler Group, the inventor of the truck and world’s largest manufacturer of heavy and medium trucks, and Torc Robotics, a pioneer in autonomous driving solutions, are joining forces in a one-of-a-kind combination to commercialize highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) on U.S. roads. Going beyond an OEM/supplier relationship, the companies signed an agreement today for Daimler AG’s subsidiary Daimler Trucks and Buses Holding Inc., to acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics for an undisclosed sum. Closing of the acquisition is subject to approval from U.S. authorities…."  Read more  Hmmmm… Congratulations Michael!! This makes a lot of sense.  Alain

cid:<a”>Beyond Speculation 2.0: Automated Vehicles and Public Policy

P. Lewis, April 1, "This report updates Eno’s 2017 Beyond Speculation publication and discusses the current and future state of AVs, as well as the existing, proposed, and expected implications for federal, state, and local policy. It does not intend to summarize all the research nor provide new analysis of the potential implications of AVs. The goal is to provide an overview of the current policy arena and posit concrete and substantive recommendations for policymakers to responsibly test and deploy AVs on public roads…." Read more  Hmmmm… Read the full report.  It is an update but continues to fail to realize the fundamental difference between Safe/Self- driving cars and Driverless Cars (and continues the separable Connected Car issue).  Safe & Self-Driving cars are essentially cars as we known them but with some additional technology that allows them to be safer and provide comfort and convenience (allows you to text).  Ownership, use and regulatory oversight doesn’t really change.

Driverless is a whole different story both in terms of opportunities and responsibilities.  I’ll claim that Driverless cars will not be owned by individuals, either because of the enormous responsibility burden or because of regulation.  These vehicles will be "mobility machines", not personal toys.  Consequently there is a completely new regulatory oversight that is needed to enable society to make best use of these "mobility machines".  This report simply does not address this view of the future of Automated Vehicles & Public Policy.  I guess we’ll have to wait for version 3.0  Alain

cid:<a”>  Tesla deliveries fall sharply in the first quarter, especially for its highest-margin cars

R. Mitchell, April 3, "Electric-car maker Tesla Inc. delivered sharply fewer vehicles to customers in the first three months of the year, raising questions about the strength of demand for its product lines as it ramps up assembly of the newest sedan….

The first-quarter numbers were partly affected by the decreasing federal tax credits available for electric-car purchases, which pulled deliveries into the fourth quarter, Tesla said. But the decline also came despite the company cutting prices and offering incentives on some models.

The numbers were “shockingly bad,” said Mark Spiegel of hedge fund Stanphyl Capital Management, which holds a significant short position in Tesla, meaning the firm is betting on the company’s stock price falling.  Totally self serving!!!!… Totally disregard….

Disorganized delivery in Europe and China hurt sales, analysts said. But Tesla skeptics believe the fundamental problem is flagging demand…." Read more  Hmmmm… This points out how enormously challenging it is to go against Big Oil and Big Auto.  Technically, Teslas are enormously better cars; however, Range Anxiety and Fill ‘er up Anxiety are killers!!! Alain

cid:<a”>  Self-driving cars are now on the streets of Hamburg

C. Riley, April 3, "Five electric Volkswagen cars fitted with the latest in autonomous technology are now driving a section of Hamburg’s streets.

The carmaker announced Wednesday that its first tests of vehicles with Level 4 automation in a major German city are underway.
The e-Golf cars Volkswagen is testing are designed to handle complex urban traffic patterns without help from drivers, although they must be ready to intervene. Level 5 automation, the only higher category, requires the vehicle to perform all tasks, turning every rider into a passenger.
The cars are driving three kilometers (1.9 miles) of urban Hamburg roads where new signals and other traffic management systems have been installed to facilitate autonomous driving…." Read more  Hmmmm… Seems like what has been going on in several US cities for some time.  Attendants are on-board so it is Self-driving and we’ll see to what extent these are focused on creating Driverless mobility machines to enhance mobility for all or just new toys for traditional VW customers (for which the number of LiDARS and gizmos is totally over-done. Seems like this is all about justifying the sale of Traffic Control gizmos. Alain


A. Marshall, March 28, "So for the public sharing the roads with these things, a few long lurking questions are now more pressing than ever: How do we know these things are safe? The companies say they are, but how can they prove it to us?

One thing is for sure: The way we certify human drivers ain’t going to cut it. Just because software can pull off a three-point turn once doesn’t mean it will be able to do it every time, in variable conditions. Or that the people who built it even know why it worked. Algorithms are black boxes; developers can see whether a computer is doing something right, but they can’t necessarily tell if the computer understands why it’s right. If something goes wrong with self-driving software, though, researchers are going to need to understand how it works—so they can fix it.

A different sort of test, then, is in order. One made not for people, but for machines. That’s why some people in the self-driving space are talking about setting a new kind of standard…"  Read more  Hmmmm… Seems like one needs to begin with a simulator.  (Yes, not the real world, but breadth has value.) Alain

cid:<a”>  Smart is Not Enough

N. Cohen, April 4, "Imagine a city where subway cars connected to each other, synchronizing transfers based on average transport time between arrival of one train and the departure of another; where streetlights varied in brightness based on ambient light and population presence, saving the city millions of dollars and decreasing energy requirements; where your phone could direct you to the nearest parking spot to your next meeting….

For years, smart city vendors, engineers of many stripes, and thought-leading urbanists have been telling us a wonderful story about the smart cities to come. These stories are filled with efficiencies and savings, targeted and personalized services, frictionless interactions and payments, and infrastructure that learns and adapts to changing usage and needs. We are not there yet—important technologies required for this vision at scale remain just over the horizon. And some of the challenges are as much political and cultural as technical—how to deliver last mile fiber effectively in many places, for example, is still an open question, as is the challenge of automating or computerizing aging and poorly maintained infrastructure…." Read more  Hmmmm… Read, but read with an even more critical eye.  True, Smart is not enough, but neither is this paper.  This is largely a continuation of a 1984 techno-view of life which seems to equate a monolithic digital technology with intelligence.  One beauty of cities/communities is diversity, which is non-existent in these optimized enclaves.  Where is any semblance of enhancement of the individual’s quality-of-life according to the individual’s own perception of his/her quality of life.  As opposed to some "imagined" quality of life of some (hopefully) benevolent central planner’s optimal orchestration of everyone else.  Yuk!!!  No thank you.  Maybe this is good for the Chinese or "San Francisco/Silicon Valley".  No thank you for New Jersey.  We have home rule. Worth the cost!  Alain


B. Cramer, March 28, "American motorists set another record in 2018, driving 12.2 billion more miles than they did in the previous year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported last week. Think Uber, Lyft, Amazon deliveries and a whole lot more. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is connecting the dots from higher utilization to safer, well-maintained roads.

“Record-setting vehicle miles traveled reflects a robust economy, lower gas prices, and is another reason to ensure that America’s roads and bridges are well-maintained and modernized to improve safety,” the Secretary said in a release…"  Read more  Hmmmm… Essentially all drive with an average vehicle occupancy (excluding people who are just riding along on a family outing) of 1.0  . We so desperately need casual ride-sharing so that we can continue to enjoy the quality-of-life afforded by the Personal Miles Traveled but achieving it in many fewer Vehicle Miles Traveled.  Alain

cid:<a”>  Aptiv to share its self-driving car data to help other researchers

J. Holmes March 29, "Automotive technology company Aptiv wants to help advanced research into computer vision and autonomous-driving technologies by sharing some of the information it has already gathered in the real world. Aptiv announced this week it will share what it’s calling the largest public dataset to date of autonomous driving data. The data is open-source and free to use.

The data-sharing project is called nuScenes and consists of data that Aptiv gathered in the real world on roads in Boston and Singapore, meaning both left- and right-hand-drive traffic is covered. nuTonomy, an Aptiv company, has operated self-driving test cars in both Singapore and Boston, which is most likely where the data comes from.

The database consists of 1,000 scenes each 20 seconds long, with a total of 1.4 million images, 390,000 lidar scanner outputs and 1.4 million human-annotated objects. Aptiv says it gathered the data from six cameras, five radar units and one lidar unit on each car, giving a 360-degree field of view around the vehicle…." Read more  Hmmmm… This is good. Alain

cid:<a”>  Unencrypted Video and Personal Data Stored on Teslas Raise Significant Privacy Concerns: Report

R. Stumpf, March 31, "As cars continue to become more advanced and stuffed full of technology, they’ve begun to catch the attention of security researchers. One analyst in particular recently purchased a salvaged Tesla Model 3 in order to conduct a series of tests, ultimately determining that the vehicle stores massive amounts of unencrypted personal data, accessible to any individual who has physical access to the car.

A researcher and self-proclaimed white hat hacker who goes by GreenTheOnly often takes advantage of Tesla’s advantageous bug bounty program. The mutually beneficial strategy helps Tesla to patch serious security bugs while rewarding the researchers who find them with thousands of dollars in reward. Recently, the researcher spoke with CNBC under the condition of anonymity, showing just how much personal data he was able to extract from salvage vehicles….

Collected information also serves to benefit the automaker directly, protecting it against false claims of Autopilot crashes. Tesla has provided information regarding fatal crashes to the public, which allowed it to both dispel rumors and calm public opinion…  Read more  Hmmmm… Seems like the simple fix is encryption., but privacy is not an simple issue.  Capturing data leading up to a crash is so fundamentally valuable to improving safety that maybe it should be treated as self-incriminating and therefore not admissible in legal proceedings??   Alain

cid:<a”>  The ‘Other’ College Scandal: Grade Inflation Has Turned Transcripts into Monopoly Money

T. Lindsay, March 30, "The blockbuster college admissions scandal continues to make headlines: The rich and powerful are being charged with engaging in fraudulent practices (bribery and fixing test scores) to get their academically unqualified kids into a number of elite colleges. As many have noted, this is far, far worse than the age-old practice of rich parents making sizable donations to a university to grease the skids for their kids’ admission. This is blatant and widespread illegality.

But this scandal, as devastating as it is, has depended for its success on the “other” college scandal: rampant grade inflation.

As one writer wondered, “Wouldn’t admission under false pretenses result in the kids flunking out? Wouldn’t their lack of merit be revealed by the simple pressure of the schooling  is virtually no pressure at all.

Consider these facts: A 50-plus-year nationwide study of the history of college grading finds that, in the early 1960s, an A grade was awarded in colleges nationwide 15 percent of the time. But today, an A is the most common grade given in college; the percentage of A grades has tripled, to 45 percent nationwide. Seventy-five percent of all grades awarded now are either A’s and B’s. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported in 2013 that “66 percent of employers screen candidates by grade point average (GPA).”…"  Read more  Hmmmm…  And we thought that SmartDrivingCars had challenges.   The system is BROKEN! Alain

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

cid:<a”>  Self-driving cars could provide £62bn boost to UK economy by 2030

M. Hawes, April 2019, "…Win the global race to widespread CAV adoption and the economic and social benefits are dramatic. Over the coming decade, today’s driver assistance technology and the next generation of autonomous systems are set to save 3,900 lives and create 420,000 new jobs across automotive and adjacent sectors – with an overall annual £62 billion economic benefit to the UK by 2030. Grasping this prize, however, will not come easy. To capitalise, innovation in Britain must continue. Favourable regulations, investment into infrastructure and ensuring public acceptance of new technologies are just three priorities…"  Read more  Hmmmm…  .  Maybe.  This is another one of these traditional views on AVs about the lives saved (as opposed to the crashes avoided) with a continuation of the traditional personal-car-centric mobility business model.  In that model, it is hard to argue that cars will consume more of the household personal income than it does now, so I’m not particularly sure where the 62B comes from, except being a transfer from what can be saved from whatever crashes are actually avoided.  Also, since the business model doesn’t change, why the new laws, etc… ?? You’ll still have adult supervision behind the wheel.

If the technology goes beyond traditional business model to a Mobility as a Service model with fleet-owned/operated driverless vehicles, then there is more disruption and improvement in quality-of-life but not a substantial net increase in economic benefit.  I must be missing something.  (Same thing that I am missing when I think that if I buy an EV I’ll be using coal as its energy source.  Had I bought a traditional car, I’d be using gasoline.)  Alain 


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

Simply Click Bait

cid:<a”>  Autopilot Into The Wrong Lane

T. Brewster, April 1, "Elite hackers from China have found a way to trick a Tesla Model S into going into the wrong lane by strategically placing some simple stickers on the road.

Keen Labs, widely regarded as one of the most technically ingenious cybersecurity research groups in the world, developed two kinds of attack to mess with the Tesla autopilot’s lane-recognition tech…."  Read more  Hmmmm… This must be April Fools… "technically ingenious cybersecurity".  Talk about an oxymoron.  By not painting stripes, NJ DoT has been able to create fake lanes to cause me to go off course all of my life.  With at least a half a billion people still in poverty in China don’t these "ingenious" folks have something better to do?  And, of course, all of the Chinese products that I buy never break, … NOT!  Alain

 Calendar of Upcoming Events:

imap:<a href=//”>

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