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   What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?

W.  Langewiesche, Sept 20, "…The 737 Max remains grounded under impossibly close scrutiny, and any suggestion that this might be an overreaction, or that ulterior motives might be at play, or that the Indonesian and Ethiopian investigations might be inadequate, is dismissed summarily. To top it off, while the technical fixes to the MCAS have been accomplished, other barely related imperfections have been discovered and added to the airplane’s woes. All signs are that the reintroduction of the 737 Max will be exceedingly difficult because of political and bureaucratic obstacles that are formidable and widespread. Who in a position of authority will say to the public that the airplane is safe?…

These broader implications, however, have been lost in the noise. After President Trump weighed in on the basis of no perceptible knowledge, and the F.A.A. was forced to retreat from its initial defense of the airplane, Boeing had to accept a public onslaught. The onslaught has included congressional hearings, federal investigations, calls for the criminal prosecution of Boeing executives, revelations by whistle-blowers, attacks in the news media, the exploitation of personal tragedy and the construction of a whole new economic sector built around perceptions of the company’s liability. Boeing has grown largely silent, perhaps as much at the request of its sales force as of its lawyers. To point fingers at important clients would risk alienating not only those airlines but others who have been conditioned to buy its airplanes, no matter how incompetent their pilots may be."   Read more  Hmmmm…. A must read and many lessons to be learned about organizations, public oversight, safety, perceived safety and the fact that nothing is perfect.  Alain

  Short-Term Impact on Oil Prices Seen After Attack on Saudi Facilities

C. Krauss, Sept 15, "The drone attack on one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil facilities could cripple a portion of Saudi petroleum exports for days or even weeks, and oil futures prices briefly spiked 20 percent when markets opened on Monday in Asia. But experts say that a severe shock to energy markets and the world economy is unlikely.

… The country produces about 10 percent of the world’s oil supplies. The disruption could slash Saudi Arabia’s daily oil exports of 7.4 million barrels by as much as three-quarters, taking roughly 5 percent of global supplies off the market, unless the facility is quickly repaired. … how does 3/4 of 10% = 5%, but whatever??? … The 3/4 is more likely 1/2, which is also likely high, but whatever??? 

… Only a decade ago, the attack would probably have sent oil prices soaring. But that was before American oil production climbed with the shale drilling frenzy. The United States now produces roughly 12.1 million barrels a day, double what it produced in 2012 and 1.4 million barrels more than only a year ago.

The United States imports about 630,000 barrels of Saudi oil a day, down about half from 2017…. " Read more  Hmmmm….  Why do we import any??  I can’t help but think… "Is this another "Gulf of Tonkin"!??   Alain 

Top Safety Pick + 2019 Tesla Model 3

IIHS/HDLI, September, "…

Front crash prevention
System details
standard Automatic Emergency Braking
Applies to 2017-19 models

Overall evaluation
This system meets the requirements for forward collision warning.
In the 12 mph IIHS test, this vehicle avoided a collision.
In the 25 mph IIHS test, this vehicle avoided a collision…."  Read more   Hmmmm…  See imapes, video.  Pretty impressive. Alain

  The Shift to Electric Vehicles Propels a Strike Against GM

A. Davis, Sept 17, "When United Automobile Workers members walked off the job at 33 General Motors sites around the US on Sunday morning, perhaps the most … striking detail was that they only numbered 46,000. The last time the UAW’s GM workers went on strike, in 2007, they were 73,000 strong. And that was a fraction of the 259,000 US hourly production workers GM employed in 1991…

The electric car may be great for the planet and glorious for drivers, but it’s no good for jobs…. Last year, a study by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO found that by 2030, a moderate shift to electric propulsion could leave 75,000 Germans out of work—even accounting for the creation of 25,000 new jobs. That’s because batteries and motors are far simpler machines than internal combustion engines, and require a few hundred parts instead of a few thousand. That’s the same reason maintenance costs for EVs are so low—a problem for dealerships that rely on servicing cars for profits. Fewer parts mean fewer people…. " Read more  Hmmmm…. Simpler motor, no transmission, no drive shaft, no fuel pump, no…. 🙂 Pain in the butt battery 🙁.  Alain

  Uber, Lyft drivers snarl Brooklyn Bridge and FDR traffic at rush hour to protest pay changes

t. Tracy, Sept 17, "They wanted to drive their point home, but they ended up driving New Yorkers crazy.

Hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers created massive traffic snarls in downtown Brooklyn and along Manhattan’s East Side Tuesday morning as they formed a slow-moving caravan over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest new measures by the two app-based companies that could affect drivers’ income…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. The fat lady is signing.  Alain

  How men and women differ in their travel patterns

M. Sivak, Sept 16, "In this analysis I examined gender differences in travel patterns. The data came from ATUS—the American Time Use Survey.  ATUS provides nationally representative estimates of the amount of time people spend doing various activities. It is an annual time-diary study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The analysis used the following two variables from ATUS:

  • Average percentage of persons traveling (using any travel mode) per day by activity.
  • Average hours spent traveling per day by activity for persons who traveled in connection with the activity.

Weekday and weekend activities are combined in each of these two variables. Therefore, the information is an average applicable to every day. The data are for persons 15 years of age and older, and they are applicable for 2018.  The results are shown in the following table…." Read more  Hmmmm….  Michael, very interesting!  Alain 

  TuSimple adds another $120 million to its self-driving trucks war chest

K. Korosec, Sept 17, "Self-driving truck startup TuSimple  has added another $120 million to a Series D funding round led by Sina,  operator of China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo, bringing the total haul to $215 million as it seeks to expand.

The company, which launched in 2015 and has operations in China, San Diego and Tucson, Ariz., hit unicorn status in February when it raised $95 million in the Series D round with a post-money valuation of $1.095 billion. This additional funding includes investment from UPS, which announced in August that it had taken a minority stake in TuSimple just months after the two companies began testing the use of autonomous trucks in Arizona…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. Congratulations.  A V trucking is hot.  Alain

  Taiwan unveils first homegrown self-driving electric minibus

G. Liao, Sept 15, "The Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), a government-sponsored vehicle testing and R&D institute in Taiwan, recently unveiled Taiwan’s first indigenous self-driving, purely electric minibus — the WinBus — said a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) news release.

The WinBus meets the Society of Automotive Engineering’s (SAE) level 4 autonomous-driving (high-automation) standard, according to the ARTC. “In fixed or closed fields, the self-driving electric vehicle can fully accomplish all environment-monitoring and self-driving tasks without human intervention,” the center said…"  Read more  Hmmmm….Maybe one of a growing list of shuttles with attendants.  Alain

  Life, death, and spontaneous combustion — here’s why the debate about Tesla fires just got more fierce

L. Lopez, Apr 26, "There was yet another Tesla fire, this time in Shanghai.  It broke out as a Tesla Model S was sitting in a parking garage. The car had not just suffered an impact, as in previous fire cases, and it was not charging. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The company is investigating the incident.

In the world of Tesla, fires have become a battleground for the company’s supporters and detractors. Supporters accuse the media of making too much of the sometimes grisly incidents. They point out that combustion-engine fires happen all the time without garnering any attention.

Detractors accuse the company of not being open enough about the cause of the fires and why they sometimes occur even though a car has not appeared to have sustained any kind of impact…."  Read more  Hmmmm…. Very interesting.  Alain

Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Woodside Capital Partnes, September 2019, " ….In this industry report, we look at where Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at present, what countries are becoming key players, the state of technologies available, and a look into a new paradigm shift from hardware to software. The report also discusses opportunities and threats that are available at present, market participants and M&A market placements, and the different companies and their profiles…. "   Read more  Hmmmm….  Some very interesting charts in this slide deck.  Alain

Voyage Snags $31 Million As It Targets A Self-Driving Niche: Retirement Communities

A. Ohnsman, Sept 12, "oyage, a Silicon Valley self-driving vehicle startup focused on using the technology to provide transportation at retirement communities, has landed $31 million of new funding to expand its robotic fleet and engineering team.

Led by 31-year-old CEO and cofounder Oliver Cameron, a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum, Voyage said Franklin Templeton was the lead investor in its Series B round, which was also backed by Khosla Ventures and Jaguar Land-Rover and Chevron tech investment funds. The Palo Alto, California-based company, spun out of online university Udacity in 2017, has raised a total of $52 million to date.

That’s a fraction of the billions of dollars invested in R&D by Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, General Motors’ Cruise and Uber, but Voyage has been building up real-world experience ferrying riders in low-speed autonomous vehicles for two years in programs at The Villages retirement communities in San Jose and central Florida, near Orlando. That particular niche market aligns with where the technology is at the moment, Cameron says. Read more  Hmmmm….   Congratulations Cameron.  Alain

  Rivian is going to make 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon

F. Lambert, Sept 19, "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced Rivian, an electric vehicle startup that took a $700 million investment from the online retailer, is going to make 100,000 electric delivery vans for them.

At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Bezos announced plans to address climate change, and the new electric delivery vehicles were part of the announcement.  The CEO said that the agreement was made official, and Amazon is committed to buying 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian to be deployed between 2021 and 2024.

To date, Rivian has only announced plans to build an electric pickup truck, the Rivian R1T, and an electric SUV, the Rivian R1S.  It looks like Bezos jumped the gun and announced that Amazon was buying a product that hasn’t been announced yet, but we are told that Rivian is going to announce more details next about its electric van.. …."  Read more   Hmmmm…  Will they end up being driverless???   Alain

  Rivian unveils first picture of new electric van

F. Lambert, Sept 19, "Rivian is unveiling the first picture of its new electric delivery van — the company’s third electric vehicle — as it already has over $4 billion in orders from Amazon for it. …."  Read more   Hmmmm…  Will they end up being driverless???   Alain

Tesla V10: first look at release notes and features of the massive update

F. Lambert, Sept 15, "The automaker has recently added Xbox controller support for its Tesla Arcade games and you are probably going to want to use one for this game. You are going to want an Xbox controller with a USB cable for it. …."  Read more   Hmmmm…  Some/much of this is really distracting to driving and may be more dangerous than AutoPilot.   V10 seems to be making driving a Tesla like vegging on the sofa in your parent’s basement.  Not good!!   Alain

Paris tests new bubble-shaped water taxi

AP, Sept 18, "Paris is testing out a new form of travel: an eco-friendly bubble-shaped taxi that zips along the water up and down the Seine River.  Organizers are holding test runs this week on one white, oval-shaped electric hydrofoil boat that resemble tiny space shuttles gliding past Paris monuments.

The boats can fit four passengers, and if they get approved, can be ordered on an app like land taxis, shared bikes or other forms of transport.  Its designers hope to run the so-called Seabubbles commercially in Paris and other cities starting next year.  Read more  Hmmmm….  On-demand Ferry service; On-demand Driverless Ferry Service???  Why not??? Alain 


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

  This Electric Smart Car Racing Crash Is Both Adorable And Extremely Intense

E. Blackstock, Sept 20, "I didn’t know that an electric Smart car racing series existed until last night, … I didn’t either.  … and I’m absolutely heartbroken that I didn’t get to see the series’ Vallelunga race live… I can’t go that far.   …. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, then strap in and get ready to see the most absurd racing accident you’ve ever seen…."  Read more   Hmmmm… Enjoy the videos.🙂  Alain

  Why China Could Be Tesla’s Undoing

Motorhead, Sept 20, "Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA, VIA PUTS. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. … I buy high and sell low so you should be careful of my Hmmmm…s  … Tesla (TSLA) is preparing to start Model 3 production at its Shanghai Gigafactory 3 (GF3) by year-end and Tesla fans are excited about China becoming the EV maker’s next pillar of growth. China is the world’s largest EV market and, by producing its cars locally, Tesla can avoid high import tariffs and enjoy the benefits of cheaper labor and component costs.

Tesla has also received yet-unseen, powerful support from China’s government, which has allowed Tesla not only to be the first foreign carmaker to own 100% of its Chinese operations but also lined up domestic banks to lend Tesla over a half a billion dollars to help finance the GF3’s build-out…."  Read more   Hmmmm… There is information here, but as with everything, read carefully.  Alain

  Ride-pooling found to be more effective than driverless cars at reducing congestion

J. Loughran, Sept 11, "Ride-pooling mobility systems could offer “substantial benefits” if they are able to attain sufficient market share, the researchers said. Moreover, these systems do not require self-driving vehicles but simply centralized fleet coordination, which is achievable with today’s technologies…. "  Read more   Hmmmm… True, they don’t require Driverless; however, getting drivers, especially gig workers, to actually implement the instructions generated by the "centralized fleet coordination " system is non-trivial task.  The failures in human implementation of those instructions may likely null much of their potential advantages.  Uber/Lyft drivers tend to abhor ride-sharing (less tipping, more argueing).  That may be why ride-hailing hasn’t achieved much ride-sharing.  Alain

  Self-driving cars increase safety but require trust

M. Malmstedt, Sept 20, "…But lack of …  trust can put this development at a halt…"  Read more   Hmmmm… I strongly agree, the rest… ??  What really struck me was the image.  Is that really aspirational???  Everyone living in towers, SegHoles, phones-in-face, no adults… I give up!! Alain

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

Simply ClickBait

 Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Changing the way we get around!

Can we become a welcoming community to new technology?

Saturday, September 28, 2019
Princeton Public Library

Beginning at 9:00 AM

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020