Saturday, September 18, 2021

36th edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

  A Stanford Proposal Over AI’s ‘Foundations’ Ignites Debate

W. Knight, Sep. 14, “LAST MONTH, STANFORD researchers declared that a new era of artificial intelligence had arrived, one built atop colossal neural networks and oceans of data. They said a new research center at Stanford would build—and study—these “foundational models” of AI. …” Read more Hmmmm… More fundamental than arguing about the term ” foundational” would be to argue about throwing around the term “Artificial Intelligence”.  Sure, what’s been “founded” is “artificial”, but is it anywhere near anything deserving the word “intelligence”. Elon’s use of the terms “autoPilot” and “Full Self-driving” to over-promise and over-hype his reality is grade school compared to Stanford’s “foundational Artificial Intelligence”.  Maybe this is all fine in Silicon Valley speak, but at some point reality rears its ugly head.  Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 233, Zoom-Cast Episode 233 w Prof.  Adriano Alessandrini at the U. of Florence

F. Fishkin, Sept. 18 “What will it take to deliver autonomous mobility for all?  For one thing, improved road systems,  says Professor Adriano Alessandrini at the University of Florence.   The author of The Role of Infrastructure for a Safe Transition to Automated Driving joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin for a spirited discussion on that, plus Waymo and new details on bringing new mobility to New Jersey and the upcoming Princeton Smart Driving Car Summit.”

   The SmartDrivingCars eLetter, Pod-Casts, Zoom-Casts and Zoom-inars are made possible in part by support from the Smart Transportation and Technology ETF, symbol MOTO.   For more information:  Most funding is supplied by Princeton University’s Department of Operations Research & Financial Engineering and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE) research laboratory as part of its research dissemination initiative

5th Annual SmartDrivingCars Summit:  Deployment of High Quality Affordable Mobility for All throughout New Jersey.

Thursday evening Nov. 18, through Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Live (Covid permitting) Trenton, New Jersey.  This 5th Summit is inspired by the many levels of public-sector, community and neighborhood welcoming and support that now exists in New Jersey for the deployment of high-quality affordable mobility.  Mobility made possible by technology to especially those in New Jersey that, for what ever reason, don’t have access to their own personal car.  

As Robin Chase presented in one of her slides in my course this past week, right now, this instant, 180 million Americans, more than 50%, don’t have access to a car.  All 16 and under, most above 85, the many too poor, half of two person households with one car… That’s more than 50% of our US population.  The mobility equity afforded by this technology can substantially improve the quality-of-life of so many, immediately.

We envision the initial deployment along the lines of what was presented at the end of the 4th SDC Summit this past Spring, in Trenton, the State Capitol, where 70% of the household have access to at most one car.  We believe that this is a perfect Operational Design Domain (ODD) to successfully deploy with the opportunity to expand throughout Mercer County and replicate the  deployment throughout the State.  The welcoming environment now exists in New Jersey to enable a successful Public-Private Partnership to deliver this enhanced mobility to the residents of Trenton and all New Jersians.  The 5th Summit will focus directly on the initial phases of this most equitable mobility deployment in Trenton. Alain

  The Major Problems Blocking America’s Electric Car Future

D. Yergin, Aug. 31, “…Recently, I asked Wagoner about that conversation. “The focus then was on making the internal combustion engine better,” he replied. “I was asking, ‘If we were starting the industry today, what would be different?’”

A pretty clear answer about how different came earlier this month from President Joe Biden when he issued an executive order setting out the goal that “50 percent of all new passenger cars and light vehicles sold in 2030” should be electric. In the order, he instructed government agencies to implement regulatory policies to achieve that goal. “There’s a vision of the future that is now beginning to happen,” said the president. This vision clearly does not involve making the internal combustion engine better….

The third challenge involves the public — the people who buy automobiles….” Read more Hmmmm…  Amazing… This article assumes that electricity that goes through the chargers into the batteries that requires all that mining, transport and processing to capture that electricity and trickle it out as we are leisurely going to grandma’s house, magically appears.  Where does electricity come from?  How is it manufactured, by whom, with what equipment.  What is produced today has persistent customers that aren’t going to go away.

All of our nice ways (solar, wind, hydro and nuclear) to make electricity (electricity is made) are at capacity and we are still using bad ways (coal) and not so bad ways (natural gas) to serve existing customers.

It was hoped that better efficiency and more makers of the nice ways could ween out the bad and not so bad; however, Hydro is capped by: only so much water falls so far, and “everyone”  is afraid of nuclear.  That places the burden directly on solar & wind to make the electricity that’s now made from coal.

A “>10x” improvements in solar & wind is needed to replace the bad ways (coal) and another “>10x” to replace natural gas as a maker of electricity.

And we haven’t begun replacing the gasoline with electricity that produces our mobility.  To do that is going to require another 2 “>10x”s.  (The energy required to move us is approximately equal to all the energy procured by electricity today. (There are many details here having to do with rejected energy).

Moreover, the use of the nice ways to replace the existing bad/not so bad ways does not require any change by any customer.  They’ve been using electricity to do x,y,z and the new electrons from the new “>10x” nice ways is exactly the same.  They” never know the difference

Not so when replacing petroleum with electricity.  One also needs a new way to create the mobility that the petroleum was delivering to its customers consuming mobility.  A whole new layer is needed (the EV).  So maybe for this challenge we should be focusing on “making the internal combustion engine better”, certainly until we get a lot better at solar and wind, else we won’t be able to turn off those coal and natural gas plants for a very long time.

Use of the 5.850-5.925 GHz Band

A Rule by the Federal Communications Commission on 05/03/2021, “C. ITS in the 5.895-5.925 GHz Band

25. To promote the most effective use of the upper 30 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band, the Commission determined that the ITS service should be based on use of one technology, and concluded that C-V2X technology would provide the best means of achieving its goals for ITS in the coming years. In the First Report and Order, the Commission provided technical flexibility to enable ITS licensees currently using DSRC-based technology to operate in this 30-megahertz ITS band until the time ITS services must operate using C-V2X technology. Because the Commission believed that many, if not most, of the active ITS licensees would want to transition to C-V2X technology as soon as possible to speed development and deployment of ITS services, it decided to permit, through its waiver process, the deployment of C-V2X technology during the transition period in a manner that would not interfere with existing DSRC-based operations…  Read more Hmmmm…An important ruling that I had missed.  Alain

  I’m a Lyft Driver. My Passengers Act Like I’m Part of the App

P. Jakubowicz, Sep 4, “…What disturbs me more is how experiencing life through apps may prompt us to reframe our experiences as something different from what they are, into experiences abstracted from objective reality. A layer is created through which empathy and care don’t necessarily pass. That layer is a product of using services designed to make our lives easier, but it also disconnects us from each other. In my case, I felt as if I was seeing how passengers would act if they were in an autonomous car….”  Read more Hmmmm… Very interesting in many ways with serious implications about the sociology challenges of aTaxis (and Siri/Alexa/…/ourselves). Alain


Tesla will make sure you are a good driver before giving you access to Full Self-Driving Beta

F. Lambert, Sep 17, “Elon Musk said that Tesla will use its telemetry data to make sure customers are “good” drivers before allowing them to access its Full Self-Driving Beta software.

This is a tricky situation since those customers already paid for the software.

Last week, Tesla started pushing its new Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta v10 software update to its early access fleet.

Tesla FSD Beta enables Tesla vehicles to virtually drive themselves both on highways and city streets, but it is still considered a level 2 driver assist since it requires driver supervision at all times. The driver remains responsible for the vehicle, and needs to keep their hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take control…. ”  Read more Hmmmm… Yup!  A very tricky situation.  Since it is a “beta” version, then he can do that, but at some point Tesla has to deliver to its customers what was sold to them.  It may well be cheaper, and better, to refund all customers and start the sales process over again.  The second time around Tesla can ensure that customers realize that they must remain vigilant and they are responsible for any mishap that might occur.  At the same time, change the name so that the driver’s responsibility is crystal clear.  This is actually a “winning” strategy because Tesla has gotten a tremendous amount of buzz; folks have bought Teslas, and “80%” of those that bought FSD will buy it again.  They each believe they are “good drivers”.  I’m a good driver!!!!!😎 They’ll sell it to essentially all of us.  Alain

   NHTSA seeking driver-assist data from automakers in Tesla Autopilot probe

A. LaFOrest, Sep 14, ” U.S. auto safety regulators are requesting substantial amounts of data on advanced driver-assistance systems from major automakers to aid their investigation into 12 Tesla crashes involving Autopilot and first responder scenes.

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation sent letters Monday to 12 automakers, including Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor North America and Volkswagen Group of America, to gather information for comparing vehicles equipped with Level 2 driver-assist systems, where the vehicle has the ability to control steering and braking/accelerating simultaneously under certain conditions.

For each automaker, the agency is seeking the number of vehicles equipped with Level 2 systems that have been manufactured for sale, lease or operation in the U.S. as well as the cumulative mileage covered with the systems engaged and a log of the most recent updates to the systems.

The agency also is requesting all consumer complaints, field reports, crash reports and lawsuits that may relate to the driver-assist systems.

Automakers must describe the types of roads and driving conditions where the systems are intended to be used, and the methods and technologies used to prevent usage outside the operational design domain specified to customers. In addition, automakers must provide an overview of their approach to enforce driver engagement or attentiveness while the systems are in use…”  Read more Hmmmm… Can’t wait to read the responses.  I wonder if any of the OEM even log “mileage covered with system engaged.”  Why would they? …  NHTSA might request it some day. 

What are the privacy implications?  ??? What other data are my car accumulating on how I use it without telling me (Of course, I didn’t read even the big print in my owner’s manual, let alone the fine print.) Alain

  The Disco Ball Is How You Know She Won’t Give You a Parking Ticket

B. Berman, Sep. 16, “Ms. Devine, 54, is among a loose-knit group of a few dozen San Franciscans who are reclaiming former Go-4 and Cushman parking enforcement vehicles for transportation and personal expression. “If there’s more creativity in the way we move in the world, it’s an antidote to the sad and sunken place that many people find themselves these days,” she said.

The vehicles have a distinct practical advantage. Three-wheelers are legally classified as motorcycles, so they can be parked perpendicular to the curb. As a result, drivers of these mini-trucks — a little over four feet wide — find immediate parking throughout the city while four-wheeled cars circle the blocks in vain, their drivers fuming….” Read more Hmmmm… Brings back memories of Dr. Jon Danna Raggett, my grad student office mate @ Princeton, who, after getting his degree, moved to Vegas and did the same thing with a 3-wheeled postal vehicle, a 1963 Westcoaster Mailster.  This was circa, 1970, 50 years ago.  I visited him and we tooled up to Ceasers Palace with me sitting on a stool in the back.  Jon asked the valet to park it carefully, just as in Ferris Bueller’s  Day Off. 😎 Alain

  The SpaceX Inspiration4 mission splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s coast. Its crew of amateur astronauts spent three days in orbit.

M. Roston, Sep. 18, “…” Read more Hmmmm… Nothing but impressive.  Replay @  Alain

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

Sunday Supplement



More On….

Re-see:    Pop Up Metro USA Intro 09 2020

H. Poser’77, Sept 13, 2020.  “Creating Value for Light Density Urban Rail Lines”  . See slides,  See video Hmmmm… Simply Brilliant.  Alain

   4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit  It is over!!!  Now time to actually do something in the Trentons of this world.   

  Making Driverless Happen: The Road Forward (Updated)

K. Pyle, April 18, “It’s time to hit the start button,” is Fred Fishkin’s succinct way of summarizing the next steps in the Smart Driving Car journey. Fiskin, along with the LA Times’ Russ Mitchell co-produced the final session of the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit, Making It Happen: Part 2. This 16th and final session in this multi-month online conference not only provided a summary of the thought-provoking speakers, but also provided food for thought on a way forward to bring mobility to “the Trentons of the World.”

Setting the stage for this final session, Michael Sena provided highlights of the Smart Driving Car journey that started in late December 2020.  Safety, high-quality, and affordable mobility, particularly for those who do not have many options, was a common theme to the 2021 Smart Driving Car Summit. As Princeton Professor Kornhauser, the conference organizer put it,…..” Read more  Hmmmm…. We had another excellent Session.  Thank you for the summary, Ken!  Alain


Ken Pyle‘s Session Summaries of 4th Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit:
15th Session    Making it Happen – Part One: Elected Officials’ Role in Creating a Welcoming Environment in the Trentons of this World

14th Session    What Will Power Safely-driven Cars

13th Session    Improving the Moving of Goods

12th Session    3/18/21 Human-centered Design of Safe and Affordable Driverless Mobility

11th Session    3/11/21  Incentivizing Through Regulation

10th Session    3/04/21  Incentivizing Through Insurance

9th Session    2/25/21  Can Level 3 be Delivered?

8th Session    2/18/21  Who Will Build, Sell and Maintain Driverless Cars?

    Michael Sena’s SlidesGlenn Mercer Slides

7th Session    2/11/21  Finally Doing It
6th Session    2/ 4/21   Safe Enough in the Operational Design Domain
5th Session    1/28/21   At the Tipping Point
4th Session    1/21/21  Why Customers are Buying Them

3rd Session    1/14/21  The SmartDrivingCars We Can Buy Today
2nd Session   1/ 7/21  A Look into the Future
1st Session: 12/17/20  Setting the Stage

Kornhauser & He, April 2021 “Making it Happen:  A Proposal for Providing Affordable, High-quality, On-demand Mobility for All in the “Trentons” of this World” 

Orf467F20_FinalReport “Analyzing Ride-Share Potential and Empty Repositioning Requirements of a Nationwide aTaxi System

Kornhauser & He, March 2021 AV 101 + Trenton Affordable HQ Mobility Initiative

Calendar of Upcoming Events

5th Annual Princeton  SmartDrivingCar Summit 

Fall 2021

Live in Person (Covid permitting)

Trenton, NJ

November 16 (evening) -> 18 2021

On the More Technical Side

K. Lockean’s AV Research Group at U of Texas


 R. Shields, 22 – 25 March, “Recordings from the conference:

Session 1 plus opening: (Regulatory):
Session 2: (Cybersecurity):
Session 3: (Automated Driving Systems):
Session 4: (Communications for ADS) :

Read more  Hmmmm…  Russ, thank you for sharing!  Alain