Saturday, November 16, 2019

PyTorch at Tesla

A. Karpathy, Nov. 6, "Hear from Andrej Karpathy on how Tesla is using PyTorch to develop full self-driving capabilities for its vehicles, including AutoPilot and Smart Summon. …" Read more  Hmmmm…  Worth watching the video, (except for the StupidSummon part)  Alain

  Smart Driving Cars Podcast Episode 132

F. Fishkin, Nov. 16, "Tesla shows off its autonomous technology as it readies a new pick up truck. Voyage unveils Voyage Deep Driver while Nuro keeps delivering in Houston. Those and more in the latest Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin."  Just say "Alexa, play the Smart Driving Cars podcast!".  Ditto with Siri, and GooglePlay …  Alain


SAE DEMO DAYS SURVEY:  Public Perceptions & Preferences for Self-Driving Cars

M. Hineman, Oct 2019, "Background: Public acceptance is critical to the long-term success and near term testing of self-driving cars….

The Data:   The data from all four demos was compiled to create a discussion starter for industry, regulators, technology suppliers, vehicle makers and others impacted by self-driving technology and those seeking to understand public sentiment….

Methodology:  Design of the SAE Demo Days survey was a collaborative effort between SAE and its strategic partners. Questions were added and removed for each event based upon participant feedback, partner ideas and value of collected responses.  Surveys were collected on-site via electronic tablets connected to a cloud instance to store replies as they were entered both before and after the self-driving demo ride. Proctors oversaw and offered assistance with use and ensured the responses were collected independent of any other participant’s opinions….

Survey Results:  The Public Is Enthusiastic About Self-Driving Cars…

If you would like to learn more about SAE Demo Days, or how you can get involved visit…"  Read more   Hmmm… Very interesting:  If you would like to learn more about SAE Demo Days, or how you can get involved visit and/or attend the upcoming 7th Annual Florida Automated Vehicles Summit.  Alain 

  Introducing Voyage Deepdrive

D. Gray, Nov 13, "Our team has been quietly working on a project and now we are thrilled to unveil it. Today we are announcing the release of Voyage Deepdrive — our free and open-source self-driving car simulator. To lead this effort, we have brought Craig Quiter on board. Craig is a long-time open source developer in the industry and he’s also the creator of upon which Voyage’s platform is based… " Read more  Hmmmm…  Very interesting! Must read/learn.  (Just a note on the images selected to be included in this article.  The first image shows the "autonomous vehicle" violating the rules of the road by crossing a double centerline.  The 3rd image of the simulator shows red lights all around yet two cars are running the light.  Are they simulating Boston drivers? Alain

Another company is dialing back expectations for self-driving taxis

T. Lee, Nov. 14, "Daimler is planning to "rightsize" its spending on self-driving taxis, Chairman Ola Källenius said on Thursday. Getting self-driving cars to operate safely in complex urban environments has proved more challenging than people expected a few years ago, he admitted.   "There has been a reality check setting in here," Källenius said, according to Reuters. … "  Read more  Hmmmm…  I don’t believe that Daimler was ever really committed to aTaxis  (autonomousTaxis) for everyone.  That would be too different from their business model of selling expensive cars to rich people.  Daimler will be most happy if the technology stalls on Self-driving cars and never gets to Driverless which could completely dismantle their comfortable business of selling exclusivity.  Making commodities that equally delivers mobility to everyone is simply not in Daimler’s DNA.  Alain

  Tesla (TSLA) surpasses Daimler in market value as it invests in German automaker’s backyard

F. Lambert, Nov. 13, "Tesla’s (TSLA) market capitalization has now surpassed Daimler’s again as the electric automaker announces a big investment in the German automotive industry’s backyard…."  Read more  Hmmmm… Maybe Daimler’s business model needs more than a little adjustment.  Maybe  they should embrace aTaxis???   Alain

   The job impact of automated trucks

ikerobotics, Nov. 2019, "… In the future, trucks powered by Ike’s technology will navigate the highway without a driver, handing off loads to truckers for the more complex part of the journey on either end.  It means more jobs for truckers that keep them closer to home, using their skills and expertise whee it matters…" Read more  Hmmmm…  Maybe… Simply scroll through presentation of their case.  Maybe… Alain

  The future of autonomous delivery may be unfolding in an unlikely place: Suburban Houston

P. Holley, Nov 13, "On the muggy streets of suburban Houston, amid McMansions, bright green lawns and stately oak trees, a futuristic race is quietly afoot.

The contestants are not people but late-model Toyota Priuses outfitted with an array of sophisticated sensors. Despite fierce competition and unending pressure to perform, the nearly silent electric vehicles do not speed. They move cautiously, rigorously following traffic laws and never topping 25 mph.

Their goal is not an easily discerned finish line but to map large swaths of the nation’s fourth-largest metropolis, a sprawling patchwork of neighborhoods, mini-cities, strip malls, gridlocked superhighways and mazelike gated communities — an area so prodigious in size it easily could swallow Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island whole.

The vehicles are owned by Nuro, a Silicon Valley robotics company with an ambitious goal — to become the world’s preeminent autonomous delivery service, allowing millions of people to have groceries and other goods delivered by robots instead of making trips to the store, potentially reducing traffic and kicking off a new chapter in our relationship with machines. For months now, Nuro’s robotically piloted vehicles have been successfully, if quietly, delivering groceries to restaurants and homes around Houston, the vehicles’ sensors mapping the city as they go…."  Read more  Hmmmm…  Maybe…Houston has already been mapped many times.  What hasn’t/can’t be mapped are the parked cars, pedestrians and vehicles moving around when the AI is driving the car.  The Driverless car can’t run into those things.  They are the tough things.  So all of this isn’t being done to "map" but to "learn"  and as is pointed out in the article … "…  To get there, they will first have to run their autonomous vehicles, or AVs, through millions of miles of driving tests in cities such as Houston until they are glitch-free and unquestionably safe…." and  "…As the country’s most ethnically diverse large city — and with a foreign-born population of 1.4 million — Houston also is a place where Nuro officials could probe fundamental questions about its business model.

“The big question for us is: Who is going to use this service, and how often will they do it?” said Sola Lawal, a Nuro product operations manager based in Houston who formerly worked for Uber. “Our robots don’t care who they’re delivering to, but we want to understand how different demographics interact with and feel about the robots. Houston allows for this broad swath of experience in one city.”…"  A Driverless vehicle that delivers groceries, Amazon packages, US Mail, … doesn’t need to be able to overcome misbehavior by human riders nor endure ride quality and comfort nuances.  These vehicles will have their own access and, especially, egress challenges.  Moving goods instead/before people is not a bad way to start for no other reason than goods/things don’t have their own way to move.  They must be chauffeured in one way or another.  (Note… while "safety" is an absolute necessity, selling all of this on "safety" and "visions of zero" is naive.)  Alain

  Two Peas in a PodCar – Brief Overview of Podcar City 2019

K. Pyle, Nov. 13, "It is important to build autonomous transportation systems that meet the needs of individuals while reducing congestion and pollution by sharing vehicles is the message from Princeton Professor Dr. Alain Kornhauser. Reflecting on day 1 of the Podcar City 2019 Conference, Kornhauser emphasized that whether these systems are on existing roadways or, in some cases, guideways, automating the driver promises to reduce the cost of mobility and improve safety. …"  Read more   Hmmm… Thank you Ken.  Alain

  From Lone Survivor to No Driver

A. Roy, Nov. 11, "The director of Friday Night Lights, Patriots Day, Very Bad Things and Deepwater Horizon joins Alex & Bryan to discuss what drives the characters in his films, fatherhood, risk, freedom, self-driving cars, and the greatest WW2 movie that has never been made. Also, boxing…"  Read more   Hmmm… Enjoy!  Alain

Human Factors in Automation, DSRC vs. CV2X, Safety Leader & Market Leader – an Impromptu Mini-Panel

K. Pyle, Oct. 5, "n impromptu mini-panel blossoms in front of Viodi’s video camera at the World Safety Summit on Autonomous Technology, as Princeton’s Dr. Alain Kornhauser leads a discussion with Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology for the U.S. Department of Transportation. As with all conferences, some of the best learnings and tidbits are discovered from the informal conversations in the hallways, like the one documented in our video. …"  Read more   Hmmm… Excellent interview with Diana Furchgott-Roth.  Thank you Ken.  Alain

  Uber C.E.O. Backtracks After Comparing Khashoggi’s Killing to an Accident

J. Fortin, Nov. 11, "Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, drew a backlash on Sunday after calling the murder of Jamal Khashoggi a “mistake” by the Saudi government and comparing the killing to the accidental death of a woman hit by a self-driving car, remarks that he quickly walked back.

“It’s a serious mistake,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said in the interview with Axios on HBO, which aired on Sunday, after he was asked about the brutal killing last year by Saudi operatives of Mr. Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist. “We’ve made mistakes too, right, with self driving, and we stopped driving, and we’re recovering from that mistake. So I think that people make mistakes.”…"  Read more   Hmmm…  The two are not comparable.  Uber did make serious mistakes.  It  has paid and will continue to pay a substantial price for those mistakes (market cap); however, the Herzberg crash was not premeditated.  Alain

  Hyundai puts platooning self-driving trucks to the test

N. Lavaers, Nov. 11, "Autonomous driving technologies could significantly shape the future of trucking over the coming decade, and as we’re continuing to see through various trials around the world, platooning may play a big part in this transformation. By sending a pair of self-driving trucks down a test highway in South Korea, Hyundai has now carried out a platooning trial of its own, in which it says the vehicles successfully demonstrated some key platooning maneuvers….

The test saw two connected Hyundai Xcient trucks take to the highway, along with other autonomous testing vehicles that Hyundai says helped to simulate real-world driving conditions. With platooning mode engaged, the following truck trailed the leading truck by 16.7 m (55 ft), automatically adjusting its braking and acceleration to keep that distance constant. …"  Read more   Hmmm…  Nice that trucks are finally getting what is in Teslas and many cars today without the need for V2V communications. Brake lights actually illuminate slightly before the brake calipers actually begin begin decelerating the truck and at the same time that any V2V brake initiation message might be received by the trailing truck.   Alain


  Driving Tests Coming for Autonomous Cars

J. Hecht, Nov. 12, "…A planning document says AI development should match public expectations so:

• AI never engages in careless, dangerous, or reckless driving behavior
• AI remains aware, willing, and able to avoid collisions at all times
• AI meets or exceeds the performance of a competent, careful human driver…

Read more   Hmmm… The first is easy, the 2nd is impossible because it includes "all times" the 3rd needs something about an Operational Design Domain (ODD), and must measure/quantify the performance of a competent, careful .  I’m not hopeful.  I don’t believe that a "Driving Test" will establish public trust. What will establish public trust is a system that actually delivers driverless mobility and doesn’t crash.   Alain

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

  Facebook says it removed 3.2 billion fake accounts

AP, Nov. 13, "Facebook said it removed 3.2 billion fake accounts from its service from April to September, up slightly from 3 billion in the previous six months. … Facebook estimates that about 5% of its 2.45 billion user accounts are fake…."  Read more   Hmmm…  What???  You claim/admit to have more fake accounts that active accounts.   And,  these fake accounts accumulate every 6 months at a rate that is greater than the total real accounts that you have.  These fake accounts have been accumulating at a  rate of about 10% per week (10.047% = (3.2/2.45)/13)).  Moreover, the claim is that of the 2.45 B users (today?) only 5% are fake, yet September is more than 6 weeks ago which would suggest that 60% are fake today!??   I need Machine Learning to straighten all of this out.  C’mon Mark! Alain

Simply ClickBait

  Tesla Autopilot Detects Ducks Crossing the Highway

A. Moser, Nov 16, "A team of ducks crossing the road in Gisborne, New Zealand were saved when Tesla Autopilot sensed the fowl in the road and swerved at the last minute, narrowly avoiding them…."  Read more   Hmmm…  I watched this several times and I suspect that this is a fake.  The ducks seem to be walking across faster than ducks walk.  This suggests that the video has been sped up.  Plus the brakes don’t seem to have been applied, which suggests that the collision avoidance was done using only swerving.  Luckily there wasn’t a car coming the other way.  I have my doubts.  Hopefully Andrej Karpathy will chime in and correct me here.  Alain



Calendar of Upcoming Events:


7th Annual Florida Automated Vehicles Summit

November 20th-22nd, 2019
MIAMI, FL 33132

4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

evening May 19 through May 21, 2020

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

On the More Technical Side