3rd Summit’s 1st arrival:

Sunday, May 12, 2019
20th edition of the 7th year of SmartDrivingCars

3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Achieving Safe, Inclusive,

Affordable, Energy Efficient, & Environmentally Responsible, On-Demand 24/7 Mobility for All People ,

especially the Mobility Marginalized

evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Register; Sponsor

Latest Draft Program

cid:part14.B04C3F67.2042CD97@princeton.eduSelf-driving car company Cruise raises $1.15bn

S. Bond, May 7, “Cruise, the self-driving division of General Motors, has landed a fresh $1.15bn in funding, boosting its valuation to $19bn including the new funds and giving it additional firepower to launch a planned robo-taxi service this year.

The investment came from T Rowe Price, the mutual fund manager, as well as existing Cruise investors SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Honda and GM, the carmaker said in a statement. Including the latest round, Cruise has raised $7.25bn in equity in the past year, following previous injections from Honda and SoftBank.
.. ”  Read more  Hmmmm…   Refer back to  Inside SoftBank’s push to rule the road . What if SoftBank added Tesla to this chart.  That really creates a 2-person race with Waymo.  Duopolies aren’t bad.  Alain  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 103

April 26, F. Fishkin, “GM’s Cruise gets ready to take on Google’s Waymo and its new partnership Lyft. Meanwhile Uber’s IPO stalls and Tesla restructures its autopilot team. Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for that and more on the coming week’s Smart Driving Car Summit.”  Just say “Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!” .  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain


3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Achieving Safe, Inclusive,

Affordable, Energy Efficient, & Environmentally Responsible, On-Demand 24/7 Mobility for all People,

especially the Mobility Marginalized

evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Register; Sponsor

Latest Draft Program  Uber’s Stock Disappoints, Capping a Rocky Path to Its I.P.O.

M. Issac, May 10, “Over the past decade, Uber changed urban transportation, disrupted entrenched taxi industries, defied regulators the world over and beat back questions about how it was altering the nature of work.

On Friday, it was tamed by Wall Street.

The ride-hailing giant’s first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange began with a drop from its initial public offering price of $45, and its stock closed down 7.6 percent. By the end of Friday, Uber’s market capitalization, accounting for stock options and restricted stock, stood at $76.5 billion — barely above the $76 billion that private investors pegged it at in August. ..”  Read more  Hmmmm… and see next…Alain  Uber’s Dismal Debut Is a Rare Event on Wall Street

S. Grocer, May 10, “Uber has done something that few other big technology companies can claim: open below its initial public offering price.

Shares of the ride-sharing company began trading Friday at $42 a share, down 6.7 percent, and finished the day at $41.57, well below the $45 at which it sold shares to investors late Thursday.

How a stock trades in its debut is often used to gauge the success of the offering and investor sentiment about a company. If a stock falls below its I.P.O. price on the first day or even in the weeks that follow, the offering is considered a flop — a red flag that investors have concerns about a company’s outlook.

Uber’s share performance capped several months of falling expectations for its offering. Investment bankers floated a valuation of $120 billion last fall. A month ago, Uber suggested to some investors that its stock sale might value it at up to $100 billion. About two weeks ago, Uber set an expected price range that would value it at up to $91 billion. (READ MORE: Uber’s Stock Disappoints, Capping a Rocky Path to Its I.P.O.)

Then on Wednesday, the guidance seemed to be that it would be priced in the bottom half of its offering range. On Thursday, it sold the shares at a $82.4 billion valuation, and by Friday’s close, investors were valuing Uber at $76.5 billion. That was not far above the $76 billion that private investors had valued it at in August..”  Read more  Hmmmm…  See also… Uber’s Stock Disappoints, Capping a Rocky Path to Its I.P.O.  especially figure 1 Who’s Getting Rich When Uber, Slack and Other ‘Unicorns’ Go Public and Uber Is Going Public: How Today’s Tech I.P.O.s Differ From the Dot-Com Boom  (has excellent charts).  My view is that the killing of Elaine Herzberg cost Uber at least $45B in valuation. Had it not happened, Uber’s Market cap would be above $120B.  That irresponsible action by Uber (operating its self-driving car in a domain where its Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) System was explicitly turned off allowed possibly the most expensive crash ever to occur.  That’s just the loss to Uber.  The “losses”  experienced by Waymo, GM_Cruise, Ford, … and others adds to that number.  This is why Safety is everyone’s responsibility and why the industry must work together to ensure safety.  Safety is absolutely in the very best interest of each of these companies.   Being irresponsible is very expensive and much more painful than any public sector penalty (more than the $33B VW has had to pay so far for DieselGate).  Hopefully, Elon Musk recognizes this fact.  Alain  Waymo’s self-driving cars are now available on Lyft’s app in Phoenix

A. Hawkins, May 7, “Lyft riders in the Phoenix area will soon be able to summon one of Waymo’s self-driving minivans for a ride, the companies said Tuesday. It’s the culmination of a partnership that was first announced almost two years ago exactly.

To start out, just 10 vehicles will be available on Lyft’s app in the handful of towns around Phoenix. Lyft customers will have the option to select a ride in a Waymo self-driving car through the ride-hail company’s app. There will be safety drivers behind the wheel, much like with Waymo One, Alphabet’s commercial ride-hailing service.

But despite looking limited on the surface, it represents a pretty big leap forward for both ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles…” Read more  Hmmmm…  Yup!   To get anywhere, one must first start.  This is a real start.  Waymo would not be wasting its time if it wasn’t a start to something big.  May even have added to Uber’s IPO woes.  Some rideHailing cars will always to have an attendant along for some rides.  Why not it be a gig worker?  Actually, some Waymo Attendants could have just signed up to be Lyft drivers and brought along their Waymo Pacificas.   Lyft might have never known.  Hey, I may begin to do that with my Tesla 3 at the end of 2020 and collect cash from Lyft while I play video games in my parent’s basement.   And I won’t have to deal with Elon.  🙂  Alain  Velodyne Showcases World’s Most Advanced Lidar for Autonomous Vehicles at SmartDrivingCar Summit

Press release, AP, “Velodyne Lidar, Inc. today announced it is sponsoring the SmartDrivingCar Summit, which takes place on May 15-16 in Princeton, N.J. and brings together buyers, sellers, and facilitators of autonomous cars, trucks, and buses. At the summit, Velodyne will discuss and demonstrate their smart, powerful lidar solutions as an essential technology for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Very nice!! Alain  L.A. Drivers Strike Against Uber and Lyft

E. Witt, May 9, “Shortly before noon on Wednesday, several dozen rideshare drivers walked out of Los Angeles International Airport to hold a rally in a nearby park. The sky was gray, and a dull brightness bathed the parking decks and palm trees, the modernist street lamps and knotted traffic. The demonstrators held signs that read “Regulate Rideshares” and “Uber and Lyft Stop Stealing from People.” They waved these slogans toward an endless river of cars delivering passengers to their flights….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Talk about non-smooth Internet IPOs.   Alain  Tesla restructures Autopilot software team, Elon takes the reins

F. Lambert, May 10, “Tesla is again restructuring its Autopilot software team, according to sources talking to Electrek.

CEO Elon Musk is taking the reins with now even more people reporting directly to him and some senior staff being let go while others being promoted….”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Since Tesla is becoming the first true software car company, where the quality of the software is the most critical aspect of the product, it stands to reason that Elon would/should take the reins.  He’s gotten the “car” aspects of Teslas to be as good as any made by the legacy “car companies” (It has styling, comfort, handling, acceleration, “Corintian leather” , and vinyl roof with opera windows as good if not better than any of them).    But Teslas are ahead of all cars in the showroom today in the “software” aspects. Elon has the opportunity to place all legacy OEMs  hopelessly in his dust by putting the “pedal to the software”.  Software is emerging to be the fundamental differentiator. If he puts a conventional engine in Teslas and make an “F-150” version, it would really be lights out for the legacy OEMs.  See also.. Tesla’s software lead is so big it should worry other automakers, AI expert says…   Alain  Two thirds of consumers think connected devices are “creepy”

News, May 7, “Two thirds of consumers (65 per cent) are concerned with the way connected devices such as smart meters and personal digital assistants collect data, a new study finds.

A similar proportion think connected devices are creepy in the way they collect data about people and their behaviours and more than half (55 per cent) do not trust their connected devices to protect their privacy. More than half (53 per cent) also do not trust connected devices to handle their information responsibly…”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Not surprising.  No one likes the prospects of 1984? IoT = 1984?  IoT -> 1984? Alain  Why organizing Uber and Lyft drivers is a big challenge

T. Lee, May 8, “Lyft and Uber drivers around the world are striking on Wednesday to protest low pay, arbitrary terminations, and other concerns. The protest comes just before Uber’s debut as a publicly traded stock on Friday.

The movement is decentralized, with drivers’ groups in different cities organizing strikes and protests. Drivers in some cities plan to disconnect for 24 hours, while in other cities drivers are striking for only a couple of hours. In New York, for example, drivers switched off their apps during the morning rush hour, from 7am to 9am.

There’s a list of driver demands on the website of Rideshare Drivers United, a Los Angeles-based drivers group. …”  Read more  Hmmmm…  True internet companies aren’t supposed to have these kinds of labor challenges.  Without Driverless, Uber needs a 180 degree (or maybe even a 900 degree) pivot in order to survive.  Alain  Watch what Tesla Autopilot can see in a rainstorm

F. Lambert, May 7, “One of the main concerns with self-driving vehicles is how they will react to different climates and weather conditions. Now we get an idea of the potential as we take a look at what Tesla Autopilot can see in a rainstorm at night…. In a new video, verygreen is now sharing footage showing what Tesla Autopilot is able to detect during heavy rain at night:… Those are not perfect representations of what Tesla’s system is able to detect through its sensor suite, but it’s the best we have and it’s coming from a third-party….”  :   Read more  Hmmmm…  Must see video 1, video 2.  Very impressive!  Alain  A BET ON UBER IS A BET ON SELF-DRIVING

A.  Marshall, May 10, “…But the most important activity Friday for Uber’s future may happen 370 miles away, in Pittsburgh, headquarters of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group. If Friday is like any other for ATG, autonomous vehicle safety drivers will pilot a handful of sensor-laden SUVs on short test trips around the city’s Strip District. … “I’m not sure [automated vehicle tech] is necessary for ride-hail companies to get to profitability, but it does feel like once they’re able to achieve that, then they have an opportunity to be wildly profitable,” says Barrett Daniels, a partner in the national IPO practice at Deloitte…”  Read more  Hmmmm…  Without Driverless profitability will require cutting back to serving only “rich guys on an expense account”. The bet if you are a buyer is that Uber will be first with Driverless and that will happen soon; else, you are a shorter.  Alain  Elon Musk is wrong on robotaxi timing, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says

L. Kolodny, May 10, “Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC he agrees with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the future of mobility is electric, but he disagrees with Musk that truly autonomous “robotaxis” will debut next year.

In an interview that aired on Uber’s IPO day on Friday, “Squawk Box ” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him what the future of mobility looks like.  …

When the Uber CEO first heard Musk’s predictions about this, Khosrowshahi said, “I thought: If he can do it, more power to him. Our approach is a more conservative approach as far as sensor technology and mapping technology. The software’s going to get there. So I don’t think that his vision is by any means wrong. I just think we disagree on timing.”…”   Read more  Hmmmm…  Whew!! That is not good coming from Uber leadership.  If he is wrong, Uber loses.  What Elon is foreseeing is an absolute necessity for Uber to scale to become sufficiently profitable.  (I’m assuming there is little likelihood that Uber will beat Elon getting there). 

If he is right, Uber loses.  Uber can’t scale profitably soon enough to survive the hemorrhaging.  ( He never even hinted that he might beat Elon to Driverless.). 

Uber loses both ways.  Not a pretty sight.  Alain‘Uber Was Supposed To Be Our Public Transit’

L. Bliss, April 29, “In 2017, the growing Toronto exurb of Innisfil, Ontario, became one of the first towns in the world to subsidize Uber rides in lieu of a traditional bus. Riders could pay a flat fare of just $3-$5 to travel to community hubs in the backseat of a car, or get $5 off regular fares to other destinations in and around town.

People loved it. By the end of the Uber program’s first full year of service, they were taking 8,000 trips a month. Riders like 20-year-old Holley Hudson, who works for daycare programs at YMCAs around the area, relied on it heavily, since she doesn’t drive. To get to the college course practicums she was taking when the service launched, “I used Ubers on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday basis,” she said.

Now “Innisfil Transit” is changing its structure. As of April 1, flat fares for the city-brokered Ubers rose by $1. Trip discounts dropped to $4, and a 30-ride monthly cap was implemented. Town leaders say this will allow Innisfil to continue to cover costs….“Uber was supposed to be our public transit,” she said. “Now we have to think about whether we can take an Uber or not.”…” Read more  Hmmmm…  Unless it can get to Driverless, its not going to scale.  :-(Alain

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

cid:part77.F5A5C21D.5CD67634@princeton.eduWill this be the world’s most accurate streetmap? Ambitious project launches in UK

S. Ranger, May 7, “…Highly precise maps are vital for everything from 5G deployments to smart city planning and autonomous driving projects.

For example, 5G signals are easily blocked by common street features like signs, hanging baskets, trees or bus shelters….” Read more  Hmmmm… Does anyone really believe such statements?  Vital???  If they are essentially free, then maybe is some “vital” places, but all streets… half-baked.  Alain

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

Simply Click Bait

Hmmmm… Totally irresponsible Click Bait by this site.  Do NOT go there and please, if you happen to land there, boycott all of their advertisers.  Alain

 Calendar of Upcoming Events:


3rd Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Achieving Safe, Inclusive,

Affordable, Energy Efficient, & Environmentally Responsible, On-Demand 24/7 Mobility for All People ,

especially the Mobility Marginalized

evening May 14 through May 16, 2019
Register; Sponsor

Latest Draft Program

September 4-6, 2019
Pocono Manor, PA

  On the More Technical Side