Saturday, December 4, 2021

44th edition of the 9th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter



Press release, Dec. 6, “///////… “Read more  Hmmmm… Expecting a Press Release, but it hasn’t hatched, so I’m not counting the chicken. 🙁 Maybe Monday. 😎 Alain

SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 244, Zoom-Cast Episode 244 w/Michael Sena… Germany’s Automotive Industry in Transition

F. Fishkin, Dec. 2, “Germany’s Automotive Industry in Transition…  Consultant and The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena shares his insights on the rapid shifts taking in place in Germany and globally and what they will mean for mobility and transportation.   Join us for episode 244 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin”.

   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 provides technical support

  December 2021 Issue: Germany’s Automotive Industry in Transition

M. Sena, Dec. 1, “Germany’s automotive industry is important for the country’s economy, the welfare of a large number of its citizens and for the prestige of the nation. It is also very important for Europe as a whole. VW, DAIMLER and BMW had total 2020 revenue of €476 billion and hold respectively positions 2, 3 and 8 amongst the largest companies in the EU…

Hydroelectric power has not disappeared, but it isn’t directly driving machines; it’s driving turbines to generate electricity. If you are among those who classify hydroelectric power as a renewable energy source (a club in which I am not a member), then it is interesting to note that hydropower accounts for 70% of global electricity production from renewable sources. But it definitely is not top of the list of investments recommended for high returns. Solar and wind are the darlings of investors. But imagine what would have happened if electricity had not been invented and we got stuck on steam. Hydropower would have disappeared completely. Now imagine if the internal combustion engine didn’t make it out of the lab and electric- and steam-driven engines continued to compete for investments. What happens to TESLA’s stock, which is now trading at just over a $1,000/share (it was up to $1,239 on the 4th of November!) if the U.S. decides that it will stop financing its rival’s military buildup by banning the sale of all battery electric cars using lithium-ion batteries or any other material on which its rival holds a monopoly. Or, what happens if the country that currently has the monopoly decides not to sell batteries or allow the sale of any of the raw materials that are used to make batteries?

Steam trains got the chance to pull coal cars when the price of oats that fed the horses became prohibitively high due to the wars in which Britain was engaged. Anybody who owned stock in a steam engine company did very well at that point. But if that company tried to buck the ICE trend and continue to build steam trucks, like SENTINEL and FODEN, the paper was eventually worthless…”    Read more  Hmmmm… Once again,excellent fundamentals here.  Read, learn and enjoy!  Also check out our  SmartDrivingCars Pod-Cast Episode 244, Zoom-Cast Episode 244 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher,  Alain

  2021 FAV Summit  NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 1

The 9th Annual Florida Automated Vehicles Summit will be hosted by the Central Florida Expressway Authority in Orlando, Florida November 29- December 1, 2021….. ”  Read more  Hmmmm…  I really enjoyed my 1st live conference in two years (which was FAV 2019).  The conference was well attended and included primarily substantive discussions on the opportunities and reaming challenges of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance), Driverless mobility of both people and goods and EVs. 

Highlights included Alex Roy’s “Who will Win the Self-driving car Race” ( that I hope he’ll repeat in my class on Monday 😎), Carla Bailo’s “Lessons in Automotive Research” (one of her tildes showed New Jersey tied with Mississippi for last in the nation in AV achievement boxes checked.  Hopefully that slide will be in need of some updating in the near future) ,  an excellent panel on “Future of Agriculture” moderated by Jay Rogers and the several panels moderated by Grayson Brulte.  Hopefully presentations and recordings of free flowing discussions will be made public.

Warmest congratulations to Senator Jeff Brandes and everyone else on an excellent conference.  Alain

  Building for Scale: When it comes to safety, it’s important to plan for expansion

Nat Beuse, Dec. 2, “… No company that’s serious about pulling its driver and delivering this technology at scale can move forward without having a clear roadmap for safety. It’s not enough to just talk about safety, and it’s not enough to just have any Safety Case Framework (though that’s a great first step). A robust framework needs to be both comprehensive and built for scale. It needs to support the product and the company from early development to large-scale deployment. Ours does.

Aurora’s Safety Case Framework is the first Framework that applies to both autonomous trucks and passenger vehicles, and the only one that’s been shared publicly. A unique property of our Safety Case Framework, we believe, is that it is not targeted at just being able to conduct a safe demo once or twice; it’s about safely launching a commercial fleet and growing that to a very large scale. …”  Read more Hmmmm…  This perspective is VERY important.  In order to have any hope of scaling driverless mobility, one must deliver mobility without incurring anything but modest incremental labor costs.  Hence safe mobility must be delivered without  a human driver or attendant. Nat presents a potential framework for achieving the expectation that safe mobility can be delivered with the presence of a driver or an attendant.  Alain

San Francisco agency opposes Cruise robotaxi application, citing safety

P. Dave, Dec. 1, “San Francisco’s public transit operator has challenged an application by Cruise to charge for robotaxi rides, saying on Wednesday promotional videos from the General Motors Co (GM.N) unit show Cruise passengers illegally hopping in and out of vehicles in the middle of the street instead of at the curb.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said in a 24-page letter that the recent videos from Cruise show the self-driving technology company is allowing unlawful behavior that also endangers people nearby and slows down buses, agency director Jeff Tumlin said. The agency also blasted Cruise’s application for failing to plan service in low-income and minority neighborhoods or to accommodate wheelchairs…. ” Read more  Hmmmm…  In New Jersey we want to start by providing transit in “low-income and minority neighborhoods😎. Maybe GM-Cruise should seriously consider coming to New Jersey.  Alain

  Nuro, Waymo bring autonomous deliveries to California

B.  Wessling, Dec. 1, “Nuro and Waymo are launching two of the first ever autonomous delivery services in California. Nuro’s self-driving delivery service launched today, and Waymo plans to launch its self-driving grocery delivery service in early 2022.

Nuro is starting deliveries with its self-driving Prius’, which will operate autonomously but have a human safety driver behind the driver’s seat just in case. The company plans to eventually deliver with its R2 delivery vehicles…. ”  Read more Hmmmm… Nuro with a safety driver and Waymo in early 2022, so both are gonna be autonomous deliveries, aka very expensive deliveries, for the time being.  When will these deliveries become affordable aka … cost less than what customers are happy to pay?  Alain

  Waymo has tens of thousands people on San Francisco robotaxi waitlist, co-CEO says

P. Dave, Dec. 3, “Waymo has given hundreds of people robotaxi rides since its test rollout in San Francisco in August, with tens of thousands more residents on a waitlist, the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) company’s co-chief executive said on Friday at the Reuters Next conference.

Waymo is among a small number of companies around the world that have billions of dollars in financing to develop self-driving cars and trucks.

But progress toward wide-scale service has been slow. San Francisco, a city of nearly 900,000 people, … ”  Read more Hmmmm…Excellent!  but (10s of thousands)/900,000 =~ single digit % … but it is a start.  I wonder what is that ration in Chandler?  Alain

  Miami rescinds its short-lived ban on shared electric scooters

A. Hawkins, Nov. 29, “The Miami City Commission voted to end its short-lived ban on shared electric scooters Monday after some new safety measures were put in place…. ”  Read more Hmmmm… OK  Alain

  Tesla announces all-electric $1,900 Cyberquad for kids

T. Warren, Dec. 2, ” Tesla has quietly launched a $1,900 four-wheel ATV for kids. The Cyberquad for Kids is available to order right now from Tesla’s website, and will begin shipping in two to four weeks. The surprise announcement comes more than two year after Tesla announced a fullsize Cyberquad ATV to compliment its futuristic Cybertruck. The Cyberquad has not yet shipped.

This new pint-sized Cybersquad is designed for kids 8 years old and up, and ones that have parents that can afford to buy them a $1,900 ATV. It includes a steel frame, cushioned seat, and adjustable suspension with rear disk braking. There’s even LED light bars to complete the cyberpunk aesthetics. This all-electric ATV has a top speed of 10mph, and the battery will power up to 15 miles of range…. ”  Read more Hmmmm…  As if rich kids didn’t have enough toy options.   Alain

Tesla pushes new Full Self-Driving Beta update with improved object detection

F. Lambert, Dec. 4 “.Tesla has started to push a new Full Self-Driving Beta software update (version 10.6) to its fleet with improved object detection.

It’s the latest step in the long road to improve the FSD package and deliver on a promise to customers that has been delayed several times….” Read more Hmmmm…  Seems as if Tesla’s FSD team should be doing more internal testing and spreading out their releases until they can demonstrate substantive improvements rather than a high frequency “…two steps forward, one step back” type of program …”  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 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?

    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 

Spring 2022

Thursday (evening), May 5, Welcome Reception (Registration required)

Friday, May 6, Equitable Mobility Innovation Forum (Registration required)

Saturday, May 7, Equitable Mobility Festival (Open to All)

Trenton, NJ
Live in Person

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