J, Yoshida, Nov 15, "…Qualcomm’s pending takeover of NXP Semiconductors isn’t making the path to V2X any clearer.
NXP remains a staunch advocate for DSRC-based V2X (as demonstrated via truck platooning on Munich roads last week during Electronica). Qualcomm, a leading voice and force behind the progress of the cellular standards, is sticking to its cellular radio technology-based V2X evolution…We see this as a continued cellular revolution with new elements coming in… " Read more Hmmm…V2X is important, but primarily as a complement to vehicle-centered automated collision avoidance and not as a centralized orchestration of individual vehicles. Finally seeing this as: "We see this as a continued cellular revolution with new elements coming in…" may bring some reality to V2X. Alain
J. Burf, Nov 08, "…At the Electronica show in Germany this week, NXP official unveiled a new automotive radar microcontroller (MCU) that they said is four times faster than its predecessor in making safety-related decisions such as collision avoidance, lane changing and automatic braking. In addition, the company demonstrated a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications solution designed to enable the platooning of autonomous trucks….The group, which includes the scientific organization TNO and vehicle company Ricardo, is now working on technologies that will reduce the minimum distance between trucks by 40 percent—to 0.3 seconds, or almost 23 feet at about 50 mp…" Read more Hmmm…And the reason to have trucks operate at such a short headway is?? The aerodynamics aren’t worth the risk and it won’t save DSRC. Wouldn’t it be better to perfect Automated Collision Avoidance (ACA) so that trucks no longer cause crashes rather than freak-out everybody by having them so close together. Just because you might be able to do it is not reason enough. Alain
T. Waldow, Nov 4, "For the first time in Switzerland, autonomous shuttles are running in a city centre and moving passengers as part of the existing transport system. The two shuttles, created by the French manufacturer Navya are part of the project lead by PostBus and bringing together the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and BestMile..Read more Hmmm…And the reason to ave trucks operate at such a short headway is?? The aerodynamics aren’t worth it and it won’t save DSRC. Wouldn’t it be better to perfect Automated Collision Avoidance (ACA) so that trucks no longer cause crashes rather than freak-out everybody by having them so close together. Just because you might be able to do it is not reason enough. Alain." Read more Hmmm…Another low-speed shuttle test in a largely restricted area. This is prudent progress. Alain
N. Boudette, Nov 15, "…A passenger in one car, a teenager, recorded a Snapchat video showing her vehicle traveling at 115 m.p.h. just before the collision….Insurance companies, which closely track auto accidents, are convinced that the increasing use of electronic devices while driving is the biggest cause of the rise in road fatalities, according to Robert Gordon, a senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America…" Read more Hmmm…Duh! Are you sure??? We need to perfect Automated Collision Avoidance Systems! And have insurance companies offer two prices for insurance: one with and one without ACAS as they do when they offer home-owners insurance with and without ‘knob & tube wiring‘. Also… Why does NHTSA allow car manufacturers to have speedometer dials that display speeds up to 160 mph?? Talk about a false sense of performance which is being implied. No wonder millennials are taking those Snapchats. Alain
D. Shepardson, Nov 10, "A major auto trade group on Thursday urged President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to revise fuel efficiency mandates that could cost them billions of dollars and called for a full-scale review of the Obama administration’s autonomous vehicle policies….Read more Hmmm…???? See also Automotive News and Detroit News. Alain
Tesla’s Autopilot chip supplier NVIDIA on new self-driving system: ‘It’s basically 5 yrs ahead and coming in 2017’
F. Lambert, Nov 11, "NVIDIA reported its financial results for the last quarter yesterday and surprised Wall Street. The chip maker, which is now becoming an “AI company” according to its leadership, reported revenue of $2 billion on expectations of $1.7 billion and they also surpassed earnings expectations by a similar margin.
On a conference call with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang following the results, analysts were particularly interested in the company’s push in AI and the automotive industry, especially since Tesla’s started delivering every single one of its vehicles with NVIDIA’s Drive PX2 supercomputer…" Read more Hmmm…Impressive! Alain
M. Alexander, Nov. 18, "…To that end, the Center for American Progress reviewed the existing literature on the environmental impacts of automation in the light-duty vehicle sector. We found that existing research does not draw clear and consistent conclusions about the impact of autonomous vehicles on the environment generally and climate specifically. In particular, the research reviewed shows that:.." Read more Hmmm…I am thrilled that right up front they emphasize that it makes an enormous difference if ‘Self-driving’ are being consumed by individuals rather than ‘Driverless’ fleet vehicles where rides are shared. Alain
Reuters, Nov 18, "… The two companies decided to end the cooperation, which involved testing in the United States and China, because they held different opinions on how to proceed with research, BMW’s China CEO Olaf Kastner told Reuters at the Guangzhou auto show, which began on Friday.
“We now have found that the development pace and the ideas of the two companies are a little different,” Kastner said, without specifying the exact point of disagreement….Read more Hmmm…Very interesting! Alain
Nov 16, " Baidu Inc, the Chinese internet search giant, has been showing off its new driverless cars, during a trial run in Wuzhen in Zhejiang province, the eastern river township which is hosting this week’s World Internet Conference.
Without drivers, a fleet of 18 autonomous vehicles drove along the city’s Ziye Road, as a demonstration for the technology gurus arriving from around the globe for the three-day event, which started on Wednesday. The cars will be available for delegates to try out throughout the week….Besides their guest passengers, the cars’ drivers’ seats were occupied by monitoring staff to ensure safety…Read more Hmmm…The hype continues. These are ‘Self-driving’ NOT ‘Driverless’ since: "the cars’ drivers’ seats were occupied by monitoring staff to ensure safety". Alain
Before you hit send on that text, you might want to make sure the person you’re sending it to isn’t driving
F. Kumkle, Nov 10, "Before you hit send on that next text, you might want to make sure the person you’re sending it to isn’t driving. Under a novel legal theory on distracted driving moving through the courts, a person who texts a driver could be held liable for a crash, too.
The idea that the sender is no less responsible than the driver first surfaced in New Jersey. Now it’s being tested in a lawsuit arising from a fatal crash in western Pennsylvania that prompted lawmakers to impose stricter penalties for distracted driving. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a measure into law last week that could add five years behind bars for a driver involved in a fatal crash who was texting and driving…." Read more Hmmm… Interesting! Alain
E. Fitzsimmons, Nov 16, "…Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said he had been briefed by the safety board and the railroad administration about the Hoboken investigation on Wednesday. If the train’s engineer had a chronic condition that contributed to the crash, he said in a statement, it would reinforce the need for a safety technology, known as positive train control, that can automatically stop or slow a speeding train…" Read more Hmmm… Bob, Why wasn’t that done years ago??? Alain
Two New Reports from Karen Kockelman and the team at UT Center for Transportation Research,
• Implications of Connected and Automated Vehicles on the Safety and Operations of Roadway Networks: A Final Report U. of Texas, Center for Transportation Research, FHWA/TX-16/0-6849-1, Oct 2016
• Best Practices Guidebook for Preparing Texas for Connected & Automated Vehicles U. of Texas, Center for Transportation Research 0-6849-P1, Oct 2016
Hmmm… Haven’t had a chance to go through them in detail, but they look very good and are very timely; however, the concept of ‘Connected’ is in flux and, at least from my perspective, is evolving to be one in support of automation rather than and alternative to automation. As such the titles should use ‘ACV’ rather than ‘CAV’ (not a big deal). More importantly, trying to put all of ‘Automation’ in one category is challenging. There is such an enormous difference between ‘Automated Collision Avoidance’ (Safety), ‘Self-driving’ (Personal Utility) and ‘Driverless’ (Equity) that not highlighting the differences is unfortunate. Alain
A. Wilson, Nov. 21, "The single biggest risk to franchised dealerships in the next 10 years is a potential change in vehicle ownership patterns as self-driving cars and mobility services converge, says a consultant hired by the National Automobile Dealers Association to study the future of auto retailing…. His other conclusions:
Read more Hmmm… ‘Self-driving’ cars will be great for dealers. Everyone will want one. ‘Driverless’…will never make it to the dealerships. Fleet operators will scoop them up. Consumers won’t bother buying them. Alain
Some other thoughts that deserve your attention
Half-baked stuff that probably doesn’t deserve your time:
A. Strange, Nov 19, ".. The first video, set to the theme song of The Benny Hill Show takes us on a ride with a self-driving Tesla as the passenger sits in the driver’s seat, hands on his lap and feet away from the gas and brake pedals…" Read more Hmmm…See the video as well as the one on the Tesla site. See also electrek. The videos are impressive; however, this is VERY serious business. Why make it into a circus with the choice of music?? Also, somehow ‘fun‘ doesn’t seem to be the right word to use to characterize self-driving. ‘Really safe and lets you do what you’d rather do without worry‘ seems to be a much better characterization if and when it actually works. Or, does this mean that it doesn’t really work well enough yet so let’s brain wash folks to think that it’s fun; else, you’ll be holding your breath while totally terrorized the whole way. Alain
M. Geuss, Now. 10, "startup Hyperloop One announced that it had signed a deal with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to conduct a number of feasibility studies on potential Hyperloop routes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Earlier this year, the company agreed to develop a Hyperloop cargo offloader at the port and later received $50 million from Dubai’s port operator, DP World. These new feasibility studies commissioned by RTD seem aimed at transporting humans as well as cargo, however…." Read more Hmmm…See the video. Best part is that it has PRT systems at both ends to Hyperloop capsules. Capacity in slugs per unit time is what??? I continue to be skeptical. Alain
C’mon Man! (These folks didn’t get/read the memo)
Calendar of Upcoming Events:
Recent Highlights of:
S. Helpen, Nov 24, " Review of Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurma, MIT Press, 312 pp..." Read the review and the book. Hmmm… This book is really about ‘Driverless’ and differentiates it well from ‘Self-driving’, kudos for that. So while it has no equations, it precisely address the issues. I enjoyed Ch 6, First there were Electronic Highways, especially pages 116,7 and, of course, Chapter 7, Build Smart Cars, not Smart Highways. especially pages 137,8 and the subchapter The value of dumb highways. Chapter 10 Deep Learning: The Final Piece of the Puzzle is a very nice background while much is being advanced ‘as we speak’. The book appropriately ends with a chapter about hype, Ch 12 The Ripple Effects which references the Zero Principle, addresses local goods movement and lists the potential losers in this technological revolution. The book ends by supporting the argument that this technological transition is more about the rapid evolution of algorithms than hardware. Bravo! Alain
B. Grush, Oct. 2016, "Two contradictory stories about our transportation infrastructure are currently in circulation. One is that Ontario’s aging, inadequate and congested infrastructure is perennially unable to catch up with a growing and sprawling GTHA. The other is that vehicle automation will soon dramatically multiply current road capacity by enabling narrower lanes, shorter headways and coordinated streams of connected vehicles to pass through intersections without traffic signals to impede flow.
Since the premature forecast of peak car in 2008 and now the hype surrounding the automated vehicle, we are often told that we have enough road capacity; that shared robotic taxis will optimize our trips, reduce congestion, and largely eliminate the need for parking. This advice implies we need wait only a few short years to experience relief from our current infrastructure problems given by decades of under-investment in transportation infrastructure.
This is wishful thinking. Vehicle automation will give rise to two different emerging markets: semi-automated vehicles for household consumption and fully automated vehicles for public service such as robo-taxi and robo-transit. These two vehicle types will develop in parallel to serve different social markets. They will compete for both riders and infrastructure. The purpose of this report is to look at why and how government agencies and public interest groups can and should influence the preferred types and deployment of automated vehicles and the implication of related factors for planning…" Read more Hmmm…Bravo! The Key Findings & Recommendations are excellent. This is an excellent report (but it largely misses goods movement.) Especially 5.1 (read ‘semi-autonomous’ as ‘Self-driving’ and ‘full-automation’ as ‘Driverless’. My view: Driverless may well be at the heals of Self-driving because it is a business play rather than a consumer play. Driverless will be ordered by the hundreds or thousands rather than individually.) and, of course Ch 10: Ownership (the business model) is more important than technology. Alain
M. Gurman, Oct 17, "Apple Inc. has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.
Hundreds of members of the car team, which comprises about 1,000 people, have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months, the people said, asking not to be identified because the moves aren’t public.
New leadership of the initiative, known internally as Project Titan, has re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future, the people also said. Apple has kept staff numbers in the team steady by hiring people to help with the new focus, according to another person….
Regardless of Apple’s struggles, established carmakers have recognized the threat posed by new entrants and have embarked on a hiring and acquisition splurge to beef up their software capabilities. They are wary of allowing technology companies to own the lucrative software component of new cars…" Read moreHmmm… Very interesting!) Alain
D. Victor, Oct. 5, "Traffic deaths in the United States rose 10.4 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015, maintaining a steady climb….
The numbers were released on Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which noted that Americans drove about 50.5 billion more miles in the first six months of 2016 than in the first half of 2015, an increase of 3.3 percent….Officials have not identified a specific cause for the most recent increase… " Read moreHmmm…worst kept secret…Texting!!! It is an epidemic and the way to address it begins with Automated Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS)…what is on the shelf today (if it only really worked), and a necessary foundation for Self-driving (which improves Quality-of-Life for some but increases VMT) and Driverless (which improves Quality-of-Life for all and decreases VMT). Alain
H. Grabar, Sept 29, "One possibility is that easy mobility—driverless cars, on-demand deliveries, and the like—will dull the pains of suburban life. The long commute, the wasted driving time, the difficulty of running out for a carton of milk—the inconvenience and expense of the subdivision will be melted away by hot new technology. Milk by drone, what a concept!
Another is that easy mobility produces greater advantages in the city. Carless living is better than ever. NIMBY battles don’t happen because parking and congestion aren’t problems. Wasted auto infrastructure, like lots and curbside parking and garages, is converted towards better uses like housing and restaurants. Maybe a central highway, once evidence of a city’s essential unpleasantness, becomes a park…. Read more Hmmm…VERY interesting. My view: There is essentially zero consumer demand for Driverless car ownership. Without a substantial mobility alternative, suburbanites will buy and love Self-driving cars. Driverless is a useless upgrade.
However, fleets of Driverless vehicles can provide a compelling alternative. They have a much better opportunity to thrive (be a profitable fleet business) if Driverless makes sharing rides "consumer acceptable/desirable". This may be achieved through price, amenities, ease-of-use, marketing, ???. Moderate density generates demand that can be readily served with moderate ridesharing that is substantially better than individual car ownership or car-sharing. This kind of elevator-like mobility is better in terms of service, price, overhead, environment, … and it substantially enhances the fundamental attractiveness of medium density urban lifestyle. Thus, ride-share Driverless favors moderate urban while Self-driving favors status quo. Alain
September 2016, "Executive Summary…For DOT, the excitement around highly automated vehicles (HAVs) starts with safety. (p5)
…The development of advanced automated vehicle safety technologies, including fully self-driving cars, may prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago. (p5)
…The benefits don’t stop with safety. Innovations have the potential to transform personal mobility and open doors to people and communities. (p5)
…The remarkable speed with which increasingly complex HAVs are evolving challenges DOT to take new approaches that ensure these technologies are safely introduced (i.e., do not introduce significant new safety risks), provide safety benefits today, and achieve their full safety potential in the future. (p6) Hmmm…Fantastic statements and I appreciate that the fundamental basis and motivator is SAFETY. We all have recognized safety as a necessary condition that must be satisfied if this technology is to be successful. (unfortunately it is not a sufficient condition, (in a pure math context)). This policy statement appropriately reaffirms this necessary condition. Alain
"…we divide the task of facilitating the safe introduction and deployment (…defines “deployment” as the operation of an HAV by members of the public who are not the employees or agents of the designer, developer, or manufacturer of that HAV.) of HAVs into four sections:(p6) Hmmm…Perfect! Alain
"…1. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p6)…" Hmmm… 15 Points, more later. Alain
"…2. Model State Policy (p7) The Model State Policy confirms that States retain their traditional responsibilities…but… The shared objective is to ensure the establishment of a consistent national framework rather than a patchwork of incompatible laws…" Hmmm… Well done. Alain
"…3. NHTSA Current Regulatory Tools (p7) … This document provides instructions, practical guidance, and assistance to entities seeking to employ those tools. Furthermore, NHTSA has streamlined its review process and is committing to…" Hmmm… Excellent. Alain
"…4. New Tools and Authorities (p7)…The speed with which HAVs are advancing, combined with the complexity and novelty of these innovations, threatens to outpace the Agency’s conventional regulatory processes and capabilities. This challenge requires DOT to examine whether the way DOT has addressed safety for the last 50 years should be expanded to realize the safety potential of automated vehicles over the next 50 years. Therefore, this section identifies potential new tools, authorities and regulatory structures that could aid the safe and appropriately expeditious deployment of new technologies by enabling the Agency to be more nimble and flexible (p8)…" Hmmm… Yes. Alain
"…Note on “Levels of Automation” There are multiple definitions for various levels of automation and for some time there has been need for standardization to aid clarity and consistency. Therefore, this Policy adopts the SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. ) Hmmm… I’m not sure this adds clarity because it does not deal directly with the difference between self-driving and driverless. While it might be implied in level 4 and level 5 that these vehicles can proceed with no one in the vehicle, it is not stated explicitly. That is unfortunate, because driverless freight delivery can’t be done without "driverless"; neither can mobility-on-demand be offered to the young, old, blind, inebriated, …without "driverless". Vehicles can’t be "repositioned-empty" (which (I don’t mean to offend anyone) is the real value of a taxi driver today). So autonomousTaxis are impossible.
Also, these levels do not address Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) Systems and Automated Lane Keeping Systems which are the very first systems whose on-all-the-time performance must be perfected. These are the Safety Foundation of HAV (Highly Automated vehicles). I understand that the guidelines may assume that these systems are already perfect and that "20 manufacturer have committed" to have AEB on all new cars, but to date these systems really don’t work. In 12 mph IIHS test, few stop before hitting the target, and, as we may have seen with the Florida Tesla crash, the Level 2/3 AutoPilot may not have failed, but, instead, it was the "Phantom Level 1" AEB that is supposed to be on all the time. This is not acceptable. These AEB systems MUST get infinitely better now. It is a shame that AEBs were were not explicitly addressed in this document.
"…I. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles (p11) A. Guidance: if a vehicle is compliant within the existing FMVSS regulatory framework and maintains a conventional vehicle design, there is currently no specific federal legal barrier to an HAV being offered for sale.(footnote 7) However, manufacturers and other entities designing new automated vehicle systems
are subject to NHTSA’s defects, recall and enforcement authority. (footnote 8) . and the "15 Cross-cutting Areas of Guidance" p17)
In sum this is a very good document and displays just how far DoT policy has come from promoting v2v, DSRC and centralized control, "connected", focus to creating an environment focused on individual vehicles that responsibly take care of themselves. Kudos to Secretary Foxx for this 180 degree policy turn focused on safety. Once done correctly, the HAV will yield the early safety benefits that will stimulate continued improvements that, in turn, will yield the great mobility, environmental and quality-of-life benefits afforded by driverless mobility.
What are not addressed are commercial trucking and buses/mass transit. NHTSA is auto focused, so maybe FMCSA is preparing similar guidelines. FTA (Federal Transit Administration) seems nowhere in sight. Alain
N. Boudette, Aug 16, "In the race to develop driverless cars, several automakers and technology companies are already testing vehicles that pilot themselves on public roads. And others have outlined plans to expand their development fleets over the next few years. At a news conference on Tuesday at the company’s research center in Palo Alto, Calif., Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive, said the company planned to mass produce driverless cars and have them in commercial operation in a ride-hailing service by 2021….
“That means there’s going to be no steering wheel. There’s going to be no gas pedal. There’s going to be no brake pedal,’’ he said. …." Read more Hmmm…This is significant because it implies that Ford, (or an entity under its control) will operate and deliver on a day-to-day basis MaaS (Mobility as a Service). In other words it will both build/assemble and operate mobility’s "Cloud". The scale economies of such a mobility "cloud" are arguably much more substantial than that of the data storage & computing "cloud". Think about it! Alain
Hmmm…What we know now (and don’t know):
Chenyi Chen PhD Dissertation , "…the key part of the thesis, a direct perception approach is proposed to drive a car in a highway environment. In this approach, an input image is mapped to a small number of key perception indicators that directly relate to the affordance of a road/traffic state for driving….." Read more Hmmm..FPO 10:00am, May 16 , 120 Sherrerd Hall, Establishing a foundation for image-based autonomous driving using DeepLearning Neural Networks trained in virtual environments. Very promising. Alain
Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities
U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles
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
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