Saturday, May 7, 2016

  Beverly Hills to Develop Autonomous Vehicles

M. Walker April 15, "The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously this week to adopt a resolution to develop driverless vehicles that will provide public transportation throughout the city.

The program is part of Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch’s plan for a municipally owned fleet of autonomous vehicles that would function as an on-demand car shuttle service to and from any address in the city. .." Read more  Hmmm…Communities all around the nation should follow what BH, Austin and a few other communities are doing.  There is an opportunity to begin on-demand shared-ride "21st Century Public Transit" mobility using volunteer drivers to initiate and thoroughly demonstrate this low-cost mobility in preparation for a massive roll-out that can take place once driverless cars can extend/replace the volunteer drivers. Staff report on the matter; another article; landing page for the program.  Alain

The driverless truck is coming, and it’s going to automate millions of jobs

R. Peterson, Apr 25 "A convoy of self-driving trucks recently drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck.  Shipping a full truckload from L.A. to New York costs around $4,500 today, with labor representing 75 percent of that cost. But those labor savings aren’t the only gains to be had from the adoption of driverless trucks.  Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost….

Yet the benefits from adopting it will be so huge that we can’t simply outlaw it. A 400 percent price-performance improvement in ground transportation networks will represent an incredible boost to human well-being. Where would we be if we had banned mechanized agriculture on the grounds that most Americans worked in farming when tractors and harvesters were introduced in the early 20th century? Read more Hmmm…This IS a tough one.  ("millions" might be overstating it, but it is non-trivial. How many MBA jobs has Msft’s Excel put out of work?)  The economic forces are really big here and technologically this is very doable. In fact, railroad intermodal services have been putting drivers out of work for years.  If the RRs really got their act straight, they could TODAY do most of what is proposed above.  This is a tough one!  The answer may lie in retraining and then using the driver to perform corporate services other than driving while he/she accompanies the freight down the road.  Since the cab of a truck could now become an office work-space, in many ways better than many cubicals  occupied by other white collar professional (they have windows and often beautiful scenery). Maybe not so tough!  Alain

Tesla Motors Autopilot Feature Previews Driverless Future

V. Thompson, May 2, "Tesla Motors’ Autopilot data previews suggest that the company’s first step toward self-driving is already significantly reducing accidents on the highway…According to the data accumulated so far, with Autopilot on the probability of having an accident is 50 percent lower…."
Read more Hmmm…I have no reason to doubt the claim; however, I certainly would love to do an independent analysis of the data because the policy implication of this finding is so poignant: Our highway transportation system is unnecessarily unsafe! Demonstrated, on-the-shelf technology can substantially improve that safety whose incremental cost (to the consumer) (or its availability) does not deter the purchase of the underlying product (even without Madison Avenue and Insurance weighing in to promote this add-on feature).  This safety improvement is being achieved without public sector (NHTSA, DoTs, DMVs) involvement or appropriation of public funds.   While even better technology may lie ahead (as the next article proclaims), "safety officials" (whose other data point is that death went up 8% while VMT went up only 3.5%) would be foolish (and potentially liable) if they were to impeded the roll-out to and broad adoption by the motoring public of this and/or similar safety technology.  Alain

Volvo autonomous car engineer calls Tesla’s Autopilot a ‘wannabe’

J. Golson, Apr 27, "While Tesla says its technology is Level 2 autonomous — a combination of two technologies designed to make driving easier — some automotive industry experts, including Ford CEO Mark Fields, believe Autopilot is a Level 3 technology. That means it’s designed to take over "safety-critical functions" from the driver. That’s my impression from testing the system on a long road trip last month.Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo, …Victor says that Volvo believes that Level 3 autonomy, where the driver needs to be ready to take over at a moment’s notice, is an unsafe solution." Read more Hmmm…What are they arguing about?? Something that exists and demonstrates that it reduces crashes by 50% is unsafe??   This deserves a C’mon Man!! Alain

Are the Solutions to Distracted Driving Really What We Want?

J. Kitman, May 2, "…The self-driving features in today’s cars are safety advances that allow carmakers and technologists to let everyone bring their phones into their cars…a variety of partial solutions to the hazards of distracted driving." Read more  Hmmm…At least they are partial solutions and they aren’t wont be expensive.  Who is asking for the "trillion-dollar-plus"?  Certainly not Google, Apple, Baidu and anyone that is making all of this happen.  Only people asking for this are those that are vying for the "high-speed" trains and the ITS/connected gizmos. Alain

Google Inks Driverless Car Pact With Fiat Chrysler

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) have inked a deal to collaborate, with Fiat Chrysler putting Google’s self-driving car technology into 100 of its Pacifica minivans, the companies announced Tuesday afternoon…." Read more  Hmmm…What happened to Ford (…By teaming up to promote regulations that favor fully-autonomous vehicles, Ford and Google may be moving toward closer cooperation on the actual development of driverless models…)?  Seems strange.  Just for a minivan (see next article)?!   Alain

Google to Get Fiat Chrysler Minivans for Self-Driving Tests

B. Vlasic, May 3, "…But that dynamic changed markedly on Tuesday, when Google said it would expand its testing of autonomous vehicles by installing its technology in a fleet of minivans made by Fiat Chrysler…No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which calls for Fiat Chrysler to provide Google with 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans built specifically to accommodate self-driving features.." Read more  Hmmm…This is substantial because it implies that Google is able to easily retrofit its "self-driving" technology into vehicles rolling off of the assembly line.  (I could be reading much more into this than I should, but this is basically what Google did with Priuses and Lexuses until it became obsessed with removing the steering wheel.  Minivans have a nice roomy compartment with easy access and non-swinging doors. Seems logical in order to be able to serve shared-ride opportunities; else too much crawling over people  🙂 See also Fiat’s view.  Alain

NTC@Maryland Cohost Workshop on Automated Vehicle Policy and Regulation

Press release, May 1, "The focus of this workshop is to identify key principles the states will need to wrestle with in order to craft effective policy to enable the safe operation of advanced automated vehicles (sometimes called autonomous, self- driving, or driverless vehicles) on their roadways. The current approach is unsystematic considering the huge impact this new technology will have on our roads.  A few states permit testing of these vehicles either through legislation or order of the governor, while others are testing without official approval.  In the interim states are relying on their existing vehicle laws to govern automated and autonomous vehicle operations until appropriate policy and regulations are identified…" Read more  Hmmm…Worth attending. Alain 

Google, Ford, and Uber just created a giant lobbying group for self-driving cars

Press release, Apr 22, "China’s leading search engine, today announced it has formed a self-driving car team in Silicon Valley focused on research, development and testing. The team will be part of Baidu’s newly-created Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU). Baidu plans to grow the team to over 100 researchers and engineers by the end of the year…Baidu’s self-driving car vision is based on an incremental approach, which includes starting with small "autonomy-enabled" regions and designing autonomous cars to be clearly recognizable." Read more Hmmm…Playing catch-up or do they see a leap-frog opportunity?  Alain Brings Deep Learning to Self-Driving Cars

E. Ackerman, Apr 26, " is the 13th company to be granted a license to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. This is exciting news, especially because we had no idea that even existed until just last week. The company has been in stealth mode for the past year, working on applying deep learning techniques to self-driving cars. We spoke with two of’s co-founders, Sameep Tandon and Carol Reiley, about why their approach to self-driving cars is going to bring us vehicle autonomy that’s more efficient, more adaptable, more reliable, and safer than ever. came straight out of Stanford’s AI Lab about a year ago. Its core team is made up of experts with a wealth of experience developing deep learning systems in all kinds of different domains, including natural language processing, computer vision, and (most recently) autonomous driving. “This team helped pioneer how to scale deep learning, which is one of the reasons why deep learning has been successful as of late,” says Tandon, the company’s CEO., Read more Hmmm…We agree… Image-centered Deep Learning is a very interesting approach to all of this!   🙂  Alain

Baidu Announces New Self-Driving Car Team in Silicon Valley; Plans to Grow to 100+ in 2016

A. Hawkins, Apr 26, "…announced Tuesday the formation of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a lobbying group with the express purpose of advocating autonomous driving. It’s a power move by some of the most high-profile names behind the still nascent technology, made at a time when regulators and policymakers in Washington, DC are still wrapping their heads around the concept of self-driving cars.  The coalition will be headed up by David Strickland, a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He will serve as the group’s counsel and spokesperson. In essence, Strickland will be lobbying his former agency,…" Read more Hmmm…Congrats David!!!  (But why does The Verge display an image of connected cars instead of automated cars. I can’t imagine that this group is going to be lobbying for the federal deployment of "V2V".  David knows very well the difference between "Connected" and "Self-driving".)   Alain

Data Privacy and Connected Vehicles

M. Sena, May 2016, "…It is often the case that laws regulating how companies have to behave toward
their employees and their customers end up having unintended side effects. It is my opinion that these effects will end up being good for consumers and for the mobility industry. ." Read more Hmmm…Very interesting discussion of Data Privacy and mobility.  Se also section on G7 and EU on Autonomous Driving and the side-bar on INRIX.  Alain

New law cracks open Florida self-driving car research

J. Ruiter, Apr 20, "…The transportation bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month explicitly allows riderless cars to hit public roads for research. The bill brings the idea of autonomous cars, still under a controlled setting, closer to reality in the state, if not the country.." Read more Hmmm…See also B. Simpson.  Nice to see Florida moving forward.  New Jersey… not so much!!.  🙁 Alain

SMRT and 2getthere partner to bring automated vehicles to Singapore

L. Chia, Apr 20, "Automated vehicle systems providing seamless first-and-last-mile connectivity for commuters in Singapore could soon become a reality with the announcement of a joint venture (JV) between SMRT Services and Dutch company 2 Getthere Holding (2getthere) on Wednesday (Apr 20).  The Singapore-based JV, called 2getthere Asia, will market, install, operate and maintain automated vehicle systems for customers in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific, according to both parties during a press briefing.  The aim is to commercialize 2getthere’s third-generation Group Rapid Transit vehicle system in Singapore by the end of the year, both parties added…" Read more Hmmm…See embedded video.  Alain

This city embedded traffic lights in the sidewalks so that smartphone users don’t have to look up

R. Noack April 25, "…city of Augsburg became concerned when they noticed a new phenomenon: Pedestrians were so busy looking at their smartphones that they were ignoring traffic lights.  The city has attempted to solve that problem by installing new traffic lights embedded in the pavement — so that pedestrians constantly looking down at their phones won’t miss them…" Read more  Hmmm…You can’t make up this stuff.  On one hand, we have below in C’mon Man comments that cities can’t handle the most basic infrastructure needs; yet here,  install infrastructure to allow pedestrians to bury their faces in their mobile devices.  (and this isn’t even an approach that can also help the visually challenged.  I give up! Alain

Some other thoughts that deserve your attention

How the Daily Commute Is Going to Change

A. Lazoi, Apr 24, "Ride-sharing firms Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are experimenting with carpooling services that are changing how people get to work…" Read more  Hmmm…As far as I’m concerned, Ride-sharing delivers enormous benefits.  In fact it is the real value proposition of "Driverless". (Don’t worry, we are far away from "all" cars responding to the same information.  And we’ll never be there because "all" cars wont have the same driving algorithm nor be managed by a single "Marxist" control center  🙂  Alain


On the More Technical Side

Automated and Connected Vehicles

Summary of the 9th University Transportation Centers Spotlight Conference November 4–5, 2015 Washington, D.C. Read more  Hmmm…Heavily focused on Connected rather than Automated simply because that’s been Fed DoT’s focus which is the overwhelming source of funding for University Transportation Centers. Alain

Recompiled Old News & Smiles:

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

5 big challenges that self-driving cars still have to overcome

B. Plumer, Apr 21  "…So what are the big hold-ups, anyway? After watching Urmson’s presentation, I called two experts — Edwin Olson of the University of Michigan and Nidhi Kalra of the RAND Corporation — to dive more into the obstacles that stand between us and our glorious self-driving future. None of these things are deal-breakers per se, and there are tons of smart people working on these problems. Instead, think of this as a big to-do list:…"  Read more Hmmm…Some (maybe only #2) of these may be challenges that "Driverless cars" need to overcome. None are challenges that "Self-driving Cars" because there is always a driver capable of filling in. (which in the end is a real limitation of "Self-driving".  Alain

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

Why Cities Aren’t Ready for the Driverless Car

H. Petroski, Apr 22, "..What will cities have to do to get ready for the transition to the autonomous car? For starters, they will have to maintain everything from complex intersections to lane markings to the specifications expected by vehicle software designers. Without a city’s commitment to certain standards, self-driving autos might freeze in place on streets lacking clear lane markings. Similarly, unmanned vehicles might proceed at speed through an intersection where a stop sign has been removed by college students or knocked down the night before by an impaired human…" Read more  Hmmm… Soooo wrong for so many reasons; only have room for 2:    Today’s "software engineers" (educated at good institutions) are focused on making the cars work in the existing environment and fully realize that is impossible to get a "city" to do anything.  It is so much cheaper and easier to write the software that works with what is there, than to have cities maintain "clear lane markings". (Think of it… "clear lane markings" benefit human drivers, yet "cities" and "DoTs" can’t even apply paint to help all of us drive better.  Not a chance that they are going to do it for the first few driverless vehicles.  This is has been obvious to even the most casual "software engineer". They also know that they’ll only get paid for their software is if it works without asking "cities" and "DoTs" for anything other than "please, stay out of the way,thank you".)  2. If a Stop sign is remove, human drivers kill people (and arguably do so at a higher rate because the driverless car has a digital map database that likely remembers that a stop sign existed at this location and therefor approaches it cautiously if it doesn’t "see" one!)  C’mon WSJ!  How about just sticking with your in house journalists.  Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

Workshop on Automated Vehicle Policy and Regulation:

A State Perspective

The National Transportation Center, University of Maryland

May 18, 2016
Preliminary Program

Recent Highlights of:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

  N.J. superintendent killed while jogging was struck by student late for trip

K. Shea, April 19, "…The Robbinsville High School student who was driving the car that struck and killed the district’s superintendent Tuesday morning was late for a school trip when the crash occurred, according to two sources involved in the investigation.…" Read more Hmmm…Most tragic in so many dimensions!!!  HOWEVER, it was NOT the student that STRUCK the Superintendent, it was the CAR.  AND the CAR needs to start being held responsible for ALLOWING such tragedies to ruin so many lives.  It is very likely that this tragedy could have been averted had the car been equipped with an automated collision avoidance system and/or lane-keeping system.  Given the availability of these "tragedy avoidance systems", we should all be asking why this CAR wasn’t equipped with such a system and why all cars aren’t so equipped.  Certainly innocent runners and dogs need to be asking such questions.  So too, that young lady’s car insurance company; it must be muttering: "shouda bought her that upgrade".  What about the car companies themselves who are largely just sitting on the technology or the dealerships that don’t feel compelled to espouse the benefits of such technology while pushing more "horsepower" and "Corinthian Leather" (and worse yet: "AooleCarXYZ" that distracts drivers).  We all know that Washington is broken.  Them staying out of the way is probably best (although aggressively applying better human-visible paint/laneMarkings and human-readable signs would go a long way to helping both attentive drivers and automated lane-keeping systems).  Everyone else has  fundamental self-interest at stake and each needs to stop pointing the finger to the frail human driver.  We have the technology and the the self-interest to make mobility substantially safer.  Let’s really get on with it.  It’s time!   Alain

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Automated Vehicle Operational Guidance Public Meeting

April 8,"At this meeting, NHTSA sought input on planned operational guidelines for the safe deployment of automated vehicles (AV). Of high importance to the agency is information on the roadway scenarios and operational environments that highly automated vehicles will need to address, and the associated design and evaluation processes and methods needed to ensure that AV systems are able to detect and appropriately react to these scenarios"  Read more  Hmmm…Watch testimony  , especially: testimony of Dr. Jerome Lutin.   Alain 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hearing focus of SF 2569 Autonomous vehicles task force establishment and demonstration project for people with disabilities

March 23 Hmmm… Watch the video of the Committee Meeting.  The testimony is Excellent and very compelling! Also see Self-Driving Minnesota Alain

Monday, March 21, 2016

Uber seeking to buy self-driving cars: source

Reuters, Mar 19, "Ride-hailing service Uber [UBER.UL] has sounded out car companies about placing a large order for self-driving cars, an auto industry source said on Friday.  "They wanted autonomous cars," the source, who declined to be named, said. "It seemed like they were shopping around."  Loss-making Uber would make drastic savings on its biggest cost — drivers — if it were able to incorporate self-driving cars into its fleet….Earlier on Friday, Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Uber had placed an order for at least 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, citing sources at both companies….

The top-flight limousine, around 100,000 of which Mercedes-Benz sold last year, does not yet have fully autonomous driving functionality.."  Read more  Hmmmm…Uber has the current valuation to place the order; however, they aren’t the only ones that will want to place an advance order for such a fleet.  Lyft will want to, Enterprise-Rent -A-Car (remember, they "pick you up" (while incurring an enormous labor expense) and all of the AlainkAutonomousTaxi companies that see the economic opportunity of providing on-demand mobility without incurring labor cost.  It will be interesting to watch the bidding war for these driverless vehicles.   All of this will be going on while Alphabet gobbles up the market with its own vehicle that it keeps for itself.  Advertisers are already in the back seat of conventional cabs.  While that revenue isn’t enough to pay for the driver, it is likely to substantially offset aTaxi’s operating and capitalization costs. What’s Alphabet’s other business?? 🙂  Alain

Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles

Press Release, Mar 17, NHTSA & IIHS "announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process…The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.. Watch NHTSA video on AEB  Download AEB video from IIHSRead more  Hmmmm…Fantastic!  Automakers leading with regulatory process staying out of the way.   Alain

Saturday, March 12, 2016

GM Buying Self-Driving Tech Startup for More Than $1 Billion

D. Patrick Mar 11,"General Motors  GM 1.43%  this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation that the deal is valued at “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.

Talks between the two companies originally related to a strategic investment by GM in Cruise, which was planning to raise a new round of venture capital funding. But that quickly morphed into an acquisition discussion with the entire agreement getting hashed out in less than six weeks. Read more Hmmmm…That sets the bar.  Reminiscent of AOL paying $1.1B for MapQuest resulting in NavTeq getting $8.1B from Nokia followed by Here getting $3B from MB et alDeja vu all over again!  Very interesting  🙂  Alain

Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit

A. Robertson, Feb 10 , Feb. "…Half a century after its heyday, the Alden StaRRcar clearly wasn’t made for its world. It looks like a white flatiron with wheels or a sleek, plastic bullet, dwarfed by the regal sedans of 1960s Detroit. It belongs in one of Buckminster Fuller’s domed cities, a vehicle for traveling under the geodesics of a bubble-topped Manhattan. Its future wasn’t one of highways, but of narrow cement tracks looping gracefully between city and suburb, connecting increasingly alienated parts of the American landscape…

Once considered a key to solving urban blight, the StaRRcar was part of a public transit revolution that never was — but one that would help launch one of the weirdest and most politicized public infrastructure experiments of the 20th century. It’s an old idea that today, in an age of self-driving cars, seems by turns impractically retro and remarkably prescient…

PRT’s invention is attributed to a transportation expert named Donn Fichter, but the central idea was conceived, remixed, and adapted by many in the 1950s and 1960s. While the details varied, the prototypical PRT system was a network of narrow guideways populated by small passenger pods. When commuters arrived, they would hit a button to select a destination, calling one of the pods like a taxi. Then, instead of running on a set line, the pod would use guideways like a freeway system, routing around stations in order to take passengers directly to their final stop.

The system was designed to be everything that existing public transportation wasn’t. Pods would carry only as many people as an average car, guaranteeing a nearly private ride. Riders wouldn’t need to follow a timetable or wait for other people to enter and exit the system. Because the pods would only be dispatched on demand, cities could run service to many low-traffic areas without worrying about waste. There were no drivers to train or pay, and the pods could run quietly on electrical power instead of with fossil fuels…

Multiple plans for personal rapid transit fell through, whether because of budget problems, logistical issues, or political power struggles….

And as in the ‘60s, we’re talking about whether self-driving vehicles could spell the end of private cars…." Read more  Hmmmm…A must read.  Pretty much as I remember it.  I lived much of it, including designing 10,000 station, 10,000 mile PRT networks that could serve all of New Jersey’s needs for personal mobility.  The good news was that the area-wide systems would provide great mobility for all.  The bad news: No viable way to start.  The best starting places could each be readily served by conventional systems with no technology risk.  Without a place to start, PRT never got a chance to flourish in the vast areas that are un-servable by conventional technology.  Moreover, PRT needed the diversion of public sector capital funds that weres already in the back pocket of those pedaling the conventional technologies. Consequently, the personal auto has reigned on.

Today is different. With PRT, even the first vehicle needed a couple of stations and interconnecting guideway (and all of the discussion and heartache was about the location and cost of those initial stations and guideway).  With autonomous taxis sharing existing roads, one can begin with a single vehicle capable of serving many existing places without needing to pay-for/justify any infrastructure.   That is today’s fundamental opportunity, in contrast to PRT’s monumental infrastructure burden even for one vehicle.  That’s why aTaxis are destined to finally deliver PRT’s utopian mobility to all and substantially transform our cities and suburbs. Alain

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vancouver councillor wants city to prepare for driverless cars  T. Fletcher, Feb 18 "Driverless cars might seem like a futuristic dream, but a city councillor doesn’t want Vancouver to take a hands-off approach to the emerging technology.  Coun. Geoff Meggs is steering a motion slated for next Tuesday’s council meeting asking city staff to look into the impact of self-driving vehicles and how to maximize the benefits of the technology for Vancouver and the city’s economy.

Although the city’s transportation 2040 plan, which outlines a strategy for how people and goods will move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years, was adopted only four years ago, Meggs said it fails to address driverless technology….  “It may be a powerful tool or there may be problems with it, but at the moment, it’s an empty category in a lot of our thinking,” Meggs told Metro. “We don’t want our (transportation) plan, which we just did, to be obsolete before it even starts.”…"  Read more Hmmmm…Yup!  Obviously, "obsolescence before ribbon cutting" is something all cities should try to avoid.  Alain

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

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

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