Thursday, February 18, 2016

Motor Vehicle Deaths Increase by Largest Percent in 50 Years

Press Release Feb 16 "With continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy resulting in an estimated 3.5% increase in motor-vehicle mileage, the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2015 totaled 38,300, up 8% from 2014.

The 2015 estimate is provisional and may be revised when more data are available. The total for 2015 was up 8% from the 2013 figure. The annual total for 2014 was 35,398, a less than 0.5% increase from 2013. The 2013 figure was 3% lower than 2012. The estimated annual population death rate is 11.87 deaths per 100,000 population, an increase of 7% from the 2014 rate. The estimated annual mileage death rate is 1.22 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, an increase of 5% from the 2014 rate. Read more  Hmmmm…This is REALLY BAD news.  Come on insurance. This is costing you money!  Accident rates going up means that your actuarials are behind, your regulated pricing lags and you are losing money.  To get ahead of your actuarials, you MUST incentivize the adoption of automated collision avoidance systems.  You’ll then do very well, thank you AND help society.  Alain

  Auto industry, regulators move slowly on automatic braking

AP,  Feb 17 "…The minutes from the fourth session, on Dec. 9, indicate that some automakers say they won’t be ready to include the technology in 95 percent of their vehicles until model year that begins in September 2025. NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety objected, saying such a long timeline "was too late for this effort to be seen as a serious effort." Automakers are now being polled to see if they can equip 95 percent of their vehicles by the model year beginning in September 2022…"   Read more  Hmmmm…Forget the regulators, an insurance leader should just step in over this impasse by using the reduced liability risk associated with automated collision avoidance systems that actually work and use some of that saving to encourage the consumer to buy cars and keep the remainder to become richer.  Then you wouldn’t need all those meetings. 🙂   Alain

Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State

Feb 5, "…What’s with all the truck drivers? Truck drivers dominate the map for a few reasons…." Read more  Hmmmm…Look at the listing and the map!  What is not said is that driving is one of the most dangerous occupations (1, 2, 3, 4).  Why isn’t there more being done to make this occupation safer, especially when technology can help.  Why hasn’t OSHA weighed in and DoT not addressed it?  Alain


Jan. 28  " nuTonomy Inc., developer of advanced software for autonomous vehicles, today announced it has closed a $3.6M seed funding round, with investments from Signal Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and Dr. Steven LaValle. The funding will help support nuTonomy’s continued work in the U.S. as well as in Singapore, where industry and government are jointly piloting autonomous vehicle technology. nuTonomy’s software is currently being integrated and tested by automotive partners in both the U.S. and Europe, with the goal of deploying self-driving features within the next few years…" Read more  Hmmmm…Very exciting!  Alain

  Ford leader discusses the future of transportation

S. Hill Feb 9, "The way people and things move around will change significantly the next few years, and that change will be as dramatic as the switch from horses to automobiles, Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford said Wednesday.  “The mobility revolution is going to affect all of us personally and many of us professionally,” said Ford…" Read more  Hmmmm…Yup! Alain

Why Driverless Cars Will Screech to a Halt

Feb 17, "…It’s time to hit the brakes for a reality check…." Read more  Hmmmm…Presented here to balance out much of the hype, but this hypes the other end of the spectrum. Sure this will take time and there is much to do, but the business case is so strong, it will happen sooner rather than later.  Way too much money and societal benefits on the table.    Alain

Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

Uber’s CEO says regulators doomed a company just like his 100 years ago — and he won’t let it happen again

C. Cutter, Feb 16, "… Maybe so, but the man who has critics everywhere — taxi unions, UberX drivers, local governments, even logo designers — made a case to the audience assembled at the TED conference in Vancouver that he and his company should be viewed more as reformers than bullies. Regulators are the real problem, he argued.

To illustrate his point, he spent much of his talk comparing his company to a historical innovation: the first jitney bus, which began operating in Los Angeles in 1914 as a response to overcrowding on the local trolley system.  The jitney soon gained in popularity, attracting more riders, and spread to other cities. In its first year, 157,000 people per day were riding the buses in LA; Uber is currently doing about 150,000 rides per day in the city, Kalanick said. .." Read more  Hmmmm…I do love Uber; However, there are roughly  15 million vehicular trips per day taken by LA’s 3.8 million residents.  So Uber is skimming the "one-percent" cream without being burdened with any crap.  Now that’s a nice business!  Alain

NHTSA Request Tops $1B; Big Push for Driverless Cars

M. Barash., Feb 9, "The safe integration of connected and autonomous vehicles is one of NHTSA’s priorities under President Obama’s $1.18 billion fiscal 2017 budget request for the agency.

The appropriations request for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration includes $73 million more than the President requested for operations for FY 2016, plus $200 million for the first year of a projected 10-year autonomous vehicle pilot program.  The program would cost $3.9 billion over the next decade, according to “highlights” prepared by the Transportation Department…." Read more Hmmmm…OK!  Alain

How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015?

K. Lai, Feb 19 "Scientists declared that 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record. In a database of 3,116 cities provided by AccuWeather, about 90 percent of them were warmer than normal. Enter your city in the field below to see how much warmer it was last year.  Read more  Hmmmm…Very interesting interactive site.    Alain

On the More Technical Side

Recompiled Old News & Smiles:

  Meet Zoox, the Robo-Taxi Start-up Taking on Google and Uber

M. Harris, May 20, 2015You wait for years for a self-driving taxi, then four come along at once. Google and Uber’s efforts have been well publicized, and IEEE Spectrum broke the news in February that Nissan was also developing a robotic cab. Now we can reveal exclusive details about a startup that hopes to put fully autonomous taxis on the road by 2020. ".." Read more  Hmmmm…Reasonably thorough description and comments.  Alain

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

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

Nissan’s self-parking office chair is here to make your Monday better

C. Plant, Feb 15, "Inspired by the technology and learning behind its self-parking cars, Nissan designed what it calls the "Intelligent Parking Chair…."  Read more  Hmmmm…Inspired!?? Nissan has nothing better to do?  Even free, would you want it???? C’mon Man!  Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

The Business of Autonomous Vehicles
March 22-23, 2016
Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Francisco Airport

Recent Highlights of:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2017

Feb. 9, "…(3) Accelerate the integration of autonomous vehicles, low-carbon technologies, and intelligent transportation systems into our infrastructure….

  • Providing almost $400 million on average per year in funding over the next 10 years for the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Investments would help develop connected infrastructure and smart sensors that can communicate with autonomous vehicles, support R&D to ensure these vehicles are safe and road ready, and expand at-scale deployment projects to provide “proving grounds” for autonomous self-driving and connected vehicles in urban and highway settings.

Read more Hmmmm…major victory…not only: "…for autonomous self-driving…", bit also stated before: "… and connected…".     Alain

Thursday, January 28, 2016

London’s first driverless cars revealed

The consortium behind the trial has decided to adapt electric passenger shuttles that are currently in service at Heathrow Airport for use in Greenwich.  Unlike the Heathrow pods, they will not need dedicated tracks.
The Greenwich trial is one of four in the UK to test driverless technology and public reaction to it…"This vehicle has millions of miles under its belt and now we have to take it outside of the track and modify it for use on pavements," he added.  The so-called UltraPODs currently in service at Heathrow carry passengers between the car park and Terminal 5. In the five years they have been in use, they have carried 1.5 million passengers and traveled three million kilometers (1.8 million miles)…."   Read more   Hmmm…Wow!! … PRT evolving to be autonomousTaxis!  Wow!!!  🙂    Alain

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Obama’s $4 Billion Plan for Self-Driving Cars Will Make Google Very Happy

M. Bergen, Jan 14 "The Obama Administration has seen the self-driving future, and it’s jumping aboard.  At the Detroit auto show on Thursday morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will unveil a plan to develop a national blueprint for autonomous driving technology within the next six months.  He will also announce that President Obama is planning to insert $4 billion into the 2017 budget for a 10-year plan to support and “accelerate” vehicle automation projects.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. …But here’s the part of Foxx’s talk that really matters for Google: These national rules will allow fully driverless cars..." Read More  Hmmm… A few months ago it was $42M for Connected Vehicles. Today it is 100x for automated vehicles! Finally Secretary Foxx.."YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT" (Blue Brothers)  Yea!!!!!   🙂 Alain

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Google Pairs With Ford To Build Self-Driving Cars

J. Hyde & S. Carty, Dec. 21 "Google and Ford will create a joint venture to build self-driving vehicles with Google’s technology, a huge step by both companies toward a new business of automated ride sharing, …According to three sources familiar with the plans, the partnership is set to be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. By pairing with Google, Ford gets a massive boost in self-driving software development; while the automaker has been experimenting with its own systems for years, it only revealed plans this month to begin testing on public streets in California….

Google already has several links to Ford; the head of the self-driving car project, John Krafcik, worked for 14 years at Ford, including a stint as head of truck engineering, and several other ex-Ford employees work in the unit as well. Former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally joined Google’s board last year.

And Ford executives have been clear for years that the company was ready to embrace a future where cars were sold as on-demand services. Ford CEO Mark Fields has repeatedly said Ford was thinking of itself “as a mobility company,” and what that would mean for its business" Read more  Hmmm…Not surprising and not exclusive. 🙂 Alain

Sunday, December 19, 2015

Adam Jonas’ View on Autonomous Cars

Video similar to part of Adam’s Luncheon talk @ 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Symposium on Dec 1.  Hmmm … Watch Video  especially at the 13:12 mark.  Compelling; especially after the 60 Minutes segment above!  Also see his TipRanks.  Alain

Friday, October 02, 2015

"60 Minutes" test-rides Mercedes-Benz self-driving car

Oct 2 "As Google’s driverless cars have logged more then a million miles in the past six years, the rest of the auto industry is racing to keep up. Computer scientist Ralf Herrtwich hits the road with "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker to demonstrate Mercedes-Benz’s most advanced self-driving prototype. Watch the full story Sunday on "60 Minutes."  Watch video and watch 60 minutes on Sunday Oct 4. This is really becoming mainstream.  Congratulations Ralf! Alain

Friday, August 28, 2015

Truck Safety Out of the Box from Autonobox

B Simpson, July 19, 2015 "The premise is promising. Develop and market a plug-and-play, forward-avoidance braking system for the heavy vehicle market that can be installed quickly, upgraded regularly, and even transferred from vehicle to vehicle if necessary.

The Autonobox System essentially is a second braking system for heavy-duty vehicles that addresses the long-standing problem of brakes that overheat after intense use like a panic-stop or sustained use while going downhill…. Read more  Hmmm…A viable after-market retro-fit opportunity.  Alain

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rep. Lipinski Introduces Future Transportation Research and Innovation Act

I. Sancken 03/29/15, "Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has introduced H.R. 2886, the Future Transportation Research and Innovation for Prosperity (TRIP) Act, to support innovative technologies that have the potential to fundamentally alter mobility in America and beyond.

"Surface transportation used to be rather staid and unimaginative, but today the very concept of ‘mobility’ is being reinvented through research, innovation, and entrepreneurship," said Rep. Lipinski. "Rapidly advancing automation, connectivity, and information technologies are creating incredible opportunities for transportation innovation. We need to develop innovative ways to improve safety, ease congestion, improve personal mobility, and cut energy use…"  Read more  Hmmm… Excellent!  Alain

Friday, May 29, 2015

John F. Nash Jr., Math Genius Defined by a ‘Beautiful Mind,’ Dies at 86

E. Goodmay, May 24 "…Dr. Nash and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike in Monroe Township around 4:30 p.m. when the driver lost control while veering from the left lane to the right and hit a guardrail and another car, Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police said.

The couple were ejected from the cab and pronounced dead at the scene. The State Police said it appeared that they had not been wearing seatbelts…. Read more
See also: John, Alicia Nash Remembered After Fatal Crash
A Beautiful Mind Mathematician John Nash and His Wife Killed in N.J. Car Crash ;

Hmmm… So tragic!!! What a crying shame!!! So preventable!!! We will miss them 🙁

Unfortunately, the NYT and others tried but missed the fundamental point by following up with "Deaths of Math Genius John F. Nash Jr. and Wife Show Need to Use Seatbelts in Back, Experts Say ".  Why do we so easily put up with crashes in the first place?  It is as if it is OK to go around crashing, just put on a seat belt.   Technology is available to avoid crashes, but there isn’t sufficient public policy focus on avoiding crashes to accelerate its adoption and enhancement.

The fundamental problem was that the taxi was not equipped with available automated stability control, lane keeping and collision avoidance systems.  This was not an accident, it was a failed public safety policy that refuses to move beyond crash mitigation and its challenged “V2x” initiatives to embrace forthright automated crash avoidance. 

Moreover, there is a failed Taxi regulatory structure that doesn’t even hint that taxis should have electronic stability control, automated lane keeping and collision avoidance.  What is the purpose of taxi regulation, to keep “Ubers” out of business? 

It is time for the nation’s transportation policy to focus intelligence/automation on the vehicle in support of the driver.  Hopefully Congress will restructure the pending transportation legislation to focus automated vehicle technologies that actively assist drivers when they make driving mistakes.  We are not perfect.  We deserve a public safety policy that is more mindful of our imperfections. Policy that isn’t aimed at just warning and scolding us but actively takes over and does the right thing.  We, not the infrastructure, are the cause of most of the the highway carnage.  It is the driver who needs help and our public policy should focus on delivering that help.      Alain

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