44th edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

The impact of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on insurance claims (True Impact of ADAS Features on Insurance Claim Severity Revealed)

J. Kanet, Nov 9, “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have improved automobile safety by minimizing the factor most frequently associated with car accidents – human error. The conventional wisdom has been that ADAS technologies should mitigate the number of insurance claims, but the impact of ADAS on claim severity has been less clear. ADAS features include expensive and complex technical components and are often installed on exposed areas of vehicles, making them susceptible to damage from a collision.

This white paper examines the multivariate effect of ADAS features on claim severity. It is a follow up to our earlier report, ADAS Analysis Creates Path for Auto Insurance Rating, which analyzed the impact of ADAS systems on claim frequency. For both analyses, LexisNexis Risk Solutions considered the same sample of 11 million vehicles from model years 2014-2019, and reviewed industry-wide claims loss data for bodily injury, property damage and collision coverages.  For this follow-up report, we looked at the interactions between a core list of ADAS features and quantified the claim severity differential across all 648 possible combinations of those features. … ” Read more  Hmmmm… Excellent.  Finally there is data that supports that ADAS is indeed fundamentally good for the insurance industry in that it allows them to make more money.  Not to be crass, but “crash mitigation” (airbag, energy absorbing car design, …) has been great for safety… saving lives, reducing occupant severity , … but, the liabilities associated with crash  mitigation have increased.  Claim Severity for both Physical Damage and Bodily Injury have gone up.   Cars are more expensive to repair and it costs more if you live than if you die.  🙁,.

For years I’ve been arguing that ADAS focused squarely on Crash Prevention {automated collision avoidance (that actually works well… does kick automatically to avoid collision 😎), not just “warning” (that is annoying.  Because since it is just a warning there is no pressure to make it work well… just cover your butt!  So, no pressure to make it work well. Consequently, “everyone” turns it off to avoid being annoyed… 🙁}   is Automation’s best opportunity to deliver real safety…  Save lives, …,  and make $$$ for the Insurance industry! 

For years, I’ve postulated that as soon as {“the expected liability savings for ADAS (the difference in the expected liability for me with&without…)” < (less than) “incremental cost of ADAS on the price of a car that I am about to buy (difference with&without)”},  my insurance agent (the Gecko, Flo, NJM, or ???) should insist on picking up the tab on the price difference as long as I continue to pay my existing premiums!  Nothing but a win-win!  I win because the probability that I die… is lower and the Gecko, Flo, NJM, or ??? smile all the way to the bank😎.   These are real market forces.  

This is the first report that I’ve seen that begins to quaintly the reduction in “expected liability” of ADAS based on real experiential data. To me, this is major!

Be sure to see the white paper True Impact of ADAS Features on Insurance Claim Severity Revealed and listen/watch the SDC Pod/ZoomCast 242. Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 242, Zoom-Cast Episode 242 w/Gabe Hinton & Dick Mudge

F. Fishkin, Nov. 16, “LexisNexis Risk Solutions has determined that advanced driver assistance systems are helping insurers.   Should they lower premiums? Senior Scientist and researcher Gabe Hinton joins Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser, co-host Fred Fishkin and Dick Mudge from Compass Transportation and Technology for a look at the issues.

   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: www.motoetf.com.  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

  We tried Tesla’s ‘full self-driving.’ Here’s what happened

M. McFarland, Nov. 18, “… Asking “full self-driving” to navigate Brooklyn felt like asking a student driver to take on a road test they weren’t ready for yet…. ”  Read more Hmmmm… There are many other good quotes in this article and the video is a must watch reality check. Brooklyn is tough! Can you imagine Manhattan???

On the other hand, it is really impressive in what it does do.  It has come a long way AND has a long way yet to go.  That is the reality… We still have much more to do before society begins to really reap any of the  benefits of this technology.  So let’s get out of Silicon Valley’s swashbuckling “fake it till you make it” culture, put our heads down, and keep working.  I’m still confident we can make it and let’s absolutely stop faking it!  Alain

  Elizabeth Holmes Begins Her Defense in Fraud Trial

E. Griffin, Nov. 19, “… And on Friday, the person whom prosecutors have been making their case against — Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing start-up Theranos — took the stand to defend herself. She faces 11 counts of defrauding investors over Theranos’s technology and business in a case that has been billed as a referendum on Silicon Valley’s start-up culture. She has pleaded not guilty….”  Read more Hmmmm…  “If convicted, Ms. Holmes, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison. While high-profile start-up founders from Uber’s Travis Kalanick to WeWork’s Adam Neumann have experienced swift falls from grace over ethics scandals, Ms. Holmes may become one of the few to go to jail for it.” …. Interesting that the women go to jail and the men … Whew!  Alain

  Solutions for the Shortage of Truck Drivers

Opinion, Nov. 20, “… The current truck driver shortage is rooted in sweatshop working conditions imposed by the trucking industry, not a lack of qualified drivers….”  Read more Hmmmm… I support Jane Claybrook’s Opinion and Automated Driver Assistance (ADAS) for truckers as the real opportunity to improve working conditions and attract new drivers.  Drivers need help in order to be able to notDie and feed their families.  That should be THE primary focus of automated technology.  NOT…  taking the driver out of the truck.  Way too early to even think about that.  Sorry Ariel and all of the “SoftBanks” of this world. 

See also: “The Supply-Chain Crisis Is Creating a Rare Opportunity for Truck Drivers  Alain

  TuSimple readies autonomous runs to UPS hubs in Florida, North Carolina

S. Fuller, Nov. 3, “TuSimple is working with UPS Supply Chain Solutions to expand its Autonomous Freight Network and begin commercial runs to UPS North American Air Freight terminals in Orlando, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, TuSimple announced Wednesday….”  Read more Hmmmm… Surprised to not see the word “driverless” between “begin” and “commercial”.  ???? (my italics above).  See also the “Drive Insight” piece of the above. Alain

Prepare to pay more for electricity after Pennsylvania approves Peco rate increase

A. Maykuth, Nov. 18, “Peco Energy electric bills will increase about 6.6% on Jan. 1 under a proposal the state approved Thursday, which also enhances the Philadelphia utility’s support for electric vehicle charging infrastructure….” Read more Hmmmm…Can you imagine the headlines in 2030 when “20%” of rich people and “40%’ of environmentalists own electric cars and we’ve stopped using coal to create the electrons and …  Again we are going to need to get from the existing LL Energy Chart to one without coal and ??.??% less petroleum on the left and roughly the same right hand side.  If Supply of electricity doesn’t keep pace with that kind of increasing Demand, then what does the 2030 electricity situation look like compared to the Gas Shortages in 1970s America? 😭 Alain

  Race to the Future: What to Know About the Frantic Quest for Cobalt

E. Lipton,, Nov 20, “The clean energy revolution is replacing oil and gas with a new global force: the minerals and metals needed in electric car batteries, solar panels and other forms of renewable energy.

Places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produces two-thirds of the world’s supply of cobalt, for example, are stepping into the kinds of roles once played by Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations. And a race between China and the United States to secure supplies could have far-reaching implications for the shared goal of protecting the planet.

An investigation by The New York Times drew on interviews with more than 100 people on three continents and thousands of pages of financial, diplomatic and other documents. Here are some of the findings….” Read more Hmmmm… Does the Congo become the new Saudi Arabia of 2030 and beyond?????  Alain  

  Bill Gates’ TerraPower aims to build its first advanced nuclear reactor in a coal town in Wyoming

C. Clifford, Nov. 17, “TerraPower, a start-up co-founded by Bill Gates to revolutionize designs for nuclear reactors, has chosen Kemmerer, Wyoming, as the preferred location for its first demonstration reactor. It aims to build the plant in the frontier-era coal town by 2028… ” Read more Hmmmm… Or… Does Does Bill Gates become the knight in shining armor that save’s the day.  I’ve “always” been a big fan of “neighborhood nukes“.  Alain  

  Apple hits record high on report that it’s targeting a 2025 rollout of an autonomous electric vehicle

Staff, Nov. 18, “Apple stock surged 3% to a record high and eclipsed Microsoft in market cap on Thursday after Bloomberg reported that the iPhone maker is accelerating its development of an electric car that is fully autonomous…” Read more Hmmmm…  Will there ever be any real substance behind this initiative or is it all about bling?  Alain

  Miami commission votes to banish electric scooters from its streets

A. Hawkins, Nov. 19, “The Miami City Commission has voted to end its multiyear experiment with shared electric scooters. In a four to five vote, the commission approved a “pocket item” (a last-minute legislative maneuver) to end the Miami scooter pilot. The ordinance went into effect at midnight November 18th….”  Read more Hmmmm…  Yea!!! One almost ran me down on the sidewalk along Nassau Street!.  Since I’d probably kill myself and others if I tried one, I’m one of the old guys yelling… Yea!!! 😎 Alain

  Uber One bundles rides, deliveries, and food for $50 per year

A. Hawkins, Nov. 17, “… Uber One members won’t have to pay a delivery fee for takeout and groceries, will have priority access to top rated drivers and couriers, and get $5 cash back on late deliveries. They’ll also get other “exclusive perks,” such as various promotions and “invite-only experiences.”…”  Read more Hmmmm…  Great idea if your fundamental product scales… unit costs of production gets cheaper the more you sell.  Unfortunately, not true with labor intensive products such as home delivery and chauffeuring.  These costs get higher because those willing to gig for little or nothing is a very limited resource.  At some point one needs revenue to cover their cost of living. 

However, this is a great idea if folks just pay for the membership and never use it.  This is successful if Uber shrinks.  Alain

  Tesla has a serious phantom braking problem in Autopilot

F. Lambert, Nov. 15, “Tesla is seeing an increase in complaints over serious and dangerous phantom braking events plaguing Autopilot in the latest software updates.

Phantom braking is a term used to describe when an advanced driver assist system (ADAS) or a self-driving system applies the brakes for no good reason….” Read more Hmmmm…   It is interesting that this only becomes a problem when Tesla’s Automated Emergency Braking system (AEBs) in not disabled.  That’s a real “Hmmmm…  ” Alain

  Tesla (TSLA) is in a position to grab $2.5 trillion of EV market, says top analyst

F. Lambert, Nov. 19, “Dan Ives from Wedbush, one of the top 10 ranked stock analysts in the world, has increased his price target on Tesla’s stock (TSLA) as he believes the automaker will take a significant part of the growing EV market.

In a new note to clients today, Wedbush announced that it is increasing its price target on Tesla from $1,100 per share to $1,400….” Read more Hmmmm…  Wow!! Glad I bought a few shares a month or so ago.  So happy for those who jumped on much earlier than I did (and glad I’ve never shorted anything).  This may end up being my first non-“buy-high-sell-low” investment decision.😁 Alain


5th Annual SmartDrivingCars Summit:  Deployment of Equitable Affordable, High Quality Mobility throughout New Jersey

Date Change:   Thursday evening, May 5, through Saturday May 7, 2022.  Live in Trenton, New Jersey. 

“Everything” was going well wrt the 5th Summit Nov 18->20; however…

Time is very short, we must focus on the election and the realities of where we remain with Covid really put cold water on some aspects of our vision for November.

Consequently. I’ve become convinced that it is very much better, that we take our time and reschedule for the first week on May 2022 rather than rush for what isn’t as good as could be. 

By May we will have received responses to our upcoming RfI for “Equitable … Mobility in Trenton“.  We will thus have a better idea on “Who”,  from the “What & How” communities, “Want & Can” Deploy “Equitable … Mobility” starting in Trenton with real expectations of scaling throughout New Jersey.

In May the 5th Summit can better achieve its fundamental purpose by allowing all of us in New Jersey to better learn from others around the world  the “Whats & Hows” and have the possible “Whos” get a better appreciation of the “Equitable … Mobility” desires of Trentonians and other New Jersians. 

Rescheduling the Summit to be between the RfI and the RfP steps of our Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Deployment Process, will better enable our Community Engagement initiative to shape our ultimate  deployment.  We’ll thus deliver even better mobility equitably and best improve quality-of-life in Trenton and throughout New Jersey.   

Please pencil into your calendar the new dates of  May 5 (Thursday evening) though May 7 (Trenton Mobility Festival Saturday). 😎   Please let me know if these dates work for you.

Sorry about the delay, but many will be relieved by this change. Plus, early May is really nice in NJ.😁


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 equitable, affordable, high-quality mobility. This is now made possible by automated driving technology that is especially targeted to serve those who, for whatever reason, don’t have access to their own personal car.  

The Princeton SDC Summits were initiated in 2017 to provide a venue for the open discussion of how technology, in particular automation, can be shaped to improve mobility of people and goods between and within cities. Early on, we realized that this form of mobility could easily provide yet another alternative to those who are fortunate enough to enjoy one or many high quality mobility options.

But, more importantly, it became obvious that substantial improvement in quality-of-life and equitable mobility can readily be made available to the un-served and under-served.  Those who cannot drive themselves, cannot afford the transport alternatives that exist for them, or who live in areas where, for either economic or other reasons, neither public nor private desirable forms of transport are offered.  Furthermore, such initial Operational Design Domains (OODs) can be readily expanded and replicated to allow the vast investments continuing to be made in this technology to actually yield their envisioned societal and financial benefits. 

The recently completed 4th Summit set the groundwork for these initial deployments to benefit under-served communities. Communities with many households having access to one or fewer cars and with challenged transit alternatives. We concluded the 4th Summit by envisioning a deployment throughout Trenton, NJ, a community where 70% of the households have access to one or fewer cars.

We believe that Trenton is a perfect ODD to begin to deliver Equitable, Affordable, High-quality Mobility, in addition to being environmentally responsible, safe and comfortable.

The opportunity to expand throughout Mercer County and replicate this deployment scenario throughout the State exists.  This deployment will  serves as a blueprint for the future for many other “Trentons” of this world. 

The groundwork set by the 4th Summit and the NJ Autonomous Vehicle Task Force has enabled us to create a “most welcoming environment”  in New Jersey for creating a Public-Private Partnership to deliver this enhanced mobility to the residents of Trenton and all New Jersians. The 5th Summit will focus directly on deployment in Trenton and will take place in Trenton. We also envision its expansion throughout Mercer County and its replication in and around New Jersey’s other major cities.  

The Technical portion of the summit will be in the morning, through lunch, of Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. 
Sessions will be free of charge but will require advance registration, as seating will be limited. 
The Societal portion focused on engaging the customers of this form of mobility, featuring descriptions, discussions, interactions, exhibits and  technology demonstrations, will be free and open to the public, with preference given to Trenton residents on Friday and residents of Mercer County and the rest of New Jersey on Saturday.  Link to Sponsorship Opportunities Link to Draft Program  Link to Registration

 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?
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

On the More Technical Side

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


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

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