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16th edition of the 5th year of SmartDrivingCars

[log in to unmask]" height="38" width="34">  Announcing:

 Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit

Buyers, Sellers, Facilitators
May 17, 18
(In less than three weeks)
 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Last Chance for Early Bird Registration
Visit Landing Page for registration and sponsorship opportunities. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Exploring the Bear Case: Distracted Driving + ADAS = $7 Trillion of Used Values at Risk

A. Jonas, Feb 1 "A sharp rise in traffic death & rapid growth of semiautonomous tech as standard equipment can accelerate the obsolescence of used cars, with potentially negative implications for secondhand values, auto credit & SAAR. We see elevated auto credit risk & avoid used car exposure....
...One could reasonably argue that if a technology can save 10k or 20k lives and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year in the US it should be (1) affordable and (2) not be optional equipment. Contrary to this, we found the majority of models currently available either do not offer active safety features or offer them only as optional equipment at prohibitively high costs. Our key takeaways are summarized below:..." Read More Hmmmm... First, sorry that I just saw this excellent report.  On top of the enormous substance, this report doesn't mention that some/many of these systems don't work as well as they should.  Some don't brake if the the object ahead is stationary, others get confused with white back-lighting, others only apply the brake after the driver starts applying the brake and others only apply the brakes up to a 50% level.  Here we are trying to let drivers take hands of wheels and feet off pedals, yet we don't have Safe-driving Cars that actually work (...experiencing essentially no false positives or false negatives) .  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Why AI researchers like video games

May 11, "LAST year Artur Filipowicz, a computer scientist at Princeton University, had a stop-sign problem. Dr Filipowicz is teaching cars how to see and interpret the world, with a view to them being able to drive themselves around unaided. One quality they will need is an ability to recognise stop signs. To that end, he was trying to train an appropriate algorithm. Such training meant showing this algorithm (or, rather, the computer running it) lots of pictures of lots of stop signs in lots of different circumstances: old signs and new signs; clean signs and dirty signs; signs partly obscured by lorries or buildings; signs in sunny places, in rainy places and in foggy ones; signs in the day, at dusk and at night.

Obtaining all these images from photo libraries would have been hard. Going out into the world and shooting them in person would have been tedious. Instead, Dr Filipowicz turned to “Grand Theft Auto V”, the most recent release of a well-known series of video games. “Grand Theft Auto V” is controversial because of its realistic portrayal of crime and violence—but from Dr Filipowicz’s point of view it was ideal, because it also features realistic stop signs. By tinkering with the game’s software, he persuaded it to spit out thousands of pictures of these signs, in all sorts of situations, for his algorithm to digest.  Read More Hmmmm...   Except for the fact that Artur is a graduating Senior (Class of '17) in Operations Research & Financial Engineering @ Princeton.... :-)  Alain 

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Watch the highlights of NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference keynote

S. Buckley, May 11, "Under NVIDIA founder Jensen Huang's iconic leather jacket is one of the tech industry's sharpest CEOs -- a man who can not only talk eloquently about GPU architecture, machine learning and the limits of Moore's Law, but do so for hours without a strict script. It's an impressive feat, but if you're not well versed in the technology of server GPUs, his talks can be a little hard to digest. That's why we cut Huang's two hour GTC keynote into an easily digestible clipshow. ..

Still, most of the presentation was focused on how the company's latest supercomputer GPU facilitates deep learning artificial intelligence -- the kind of algorithmic wizardry that lets computers teach themselves how to identify and touch up photos, play golf and autonomously drive cars." Read More Hmmmm...  I sat through the whole thing and was totally blown away for more than 2 hours. Watch the 13 minute summary video; the whole thing (go to bottom of link for entire video). How much did nVIDIA stock jump (Interesting on how it jumped before the talk.  I guess the real money got a preview?  Whatever.)  ... I continued my infamous  'buy high sell low" investment strategy and Sold IBM and Bought nVIDIA.  I'm incorrigible!  :-(    Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="37" width="87"> Chris Urmson Reflects On Challenges, No-Win Scenarios And Timing Of Driverless Cars

Chunka Mui, May 8, "When Chris Urmson talks about driverless cars, everyone should listen. This has been true throughout his career but it is especially true now...." Read More Hmmmm...  True!!  Read the whole thing.  Chunka, very nice article as usual. Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> NVIDIA's first Volta-powered GPU sits in a $149k supercomputer

 S. Buckley, May 10, "If you've been waiting for NVIDIA to finally take the lid off of Volta, the next generation of its GPU technology, your day has finally come. Today at its GPU Technology Conference, the company announced the NVIDIA Tesla V100 data center GPU, the first processor to use its seventh-generation architecture. Like the Tesla P100 the processor it's replacing, the Volta-powered GPU is designed specifically to power artificial intelligence and deep learning so, naturally, it's flush with power. Built on a 12nm process, the V100 boasts 5,120 CUDA Cores, 16GB of HBM2 memory, an updated NVLink 2.0 interface and is capable of a staggering 15 teraflops of computational power. It's also the GPU that drives the company's updated DGX-1 supercomputer, too...."   Read More   Hmmmm...  I want one!! These are going to change everything.  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="33" width="132">  U.S. judge calls for criminal probe into trade secrets theft raised in

May 12, " A U.S. judge on Thursday called for an investigation into allegations of trade secret theft that were raised in a court battle between Silicon Valley giants Uber and Alphabet over their rival self-driving car programs.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco also partially granted Alphabet's self-driving Waymo unit's bid for an injunction against Uber's self-driving efforts, and rejected Uber's arguments that Waymo's trade secret allegations should proceed in private arbitration. Read more  Hmmmm...  Ouch!  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="">NVIDIA and Toyota Collaborate to Accelerate Market Introduction of Autonomous Cars

Press release, May 11, "NVIDIA today announced that it is collaborating with Toyota to deliver artificial intelligence hardware and software technologies that will enhance the capabilities of autonomous driving systems planned for market introduction within the next few years. ..." Read more  Hmmmm...  Very interesting.   Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="39" width="50"> Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars

M. Issac, May 14, "...Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft, according to two people familiar with the agreement who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts, these people said...

“Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement.

A Waymo spokesman said, “Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.” ..." Read More Hmmmm...Seems strange.  Waymo hitching up with Lyft/GM.  Is this something that Henri Ford would have done?  Alphabet/Waymo can readily replicate, even leap frog, Lyft's technology and if Waymo is still interested in Driverless, GM may not be the best manufacturer.  Is this largely about their confrontation with Uber??? Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Beyond Speculation:Automated Vehicles and Public Policy, An Action Plan for Federal, State, and Local Policymakers

May 2017, "...As part of Eno’s Digital Cities program, Eno crafted a multifaceted set of recommendations that address the most pressing policy issues for AVs. If applied and executed properly, these recommendations will help guide this technology towards safe, efficient, and sustainable deployment.

AVs are upending the traditional definitions of licensing, liability, and insurance for automobiles. In a future where computers are increasingly responsible for operating cars, determining blame in a car crash has become less clear. In response, Congress should pass legislation allowing NHTSA to create AV system certifications and should support the harmonization of state tort laws that explicitly align liability with the certifications and roles of the automated features and the human driver. For their part, states should create stakeholder working groups to oversee the development of state and local laws...." Read More Hmmmm...A broad report that obviously comes out of Washington.  Words used are 'deployment' as opposed to market adoption seem to imply that the public sector will be leading this r/evolution.  Yes, some new legislation may be needed because the driver was conveniently placed as the center of responsibility early on in the evolution of the automobile.  It may just be that the designee of the driver is the responsible liability entity as long as that responsibility has been exercised without product malfunction.  We have long legal experience with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.  That experience needs to be leveraged here.  The report seems to be overly occupied with cyber security without a substantive basis.  Yes, it could be a problem, but no where near the top of any list.  The report shows little appreciation of the fundamental difference between car-sharing and ride-sharing (which it doesn't even mention).  It ascribes to car-sharing benefits that can only be captured by ride-sharing and it doesn't seem to understand the vast differences between self-driving & driverless.  It also continues to suggest that there are near-term benefits associated with promoting connected cars.  It is worth a critical read.  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="32" width="129"> Mapped: The Top 263 Companies Racing Toward Autonomous Cars

 J. Stewart, May 10, "Forget dot coms and social networks. The hotspot for research and investment in Silicon Valley right now is the future of transport. Convince the valley you have a new way to create a brain for a self-driving car, help people find parking, detect a drowsy driver, or build a personal electric plane, and you’ll find yourself showered in VC funding.

That explains the madness of the above chart (desktop users: mouse over for a zoomed in view). The “Future of Transportation Stack,” produced by VC firm Comet Labs, counts 263 companies, most of which you’ve probably never heard of, all of them vying to cash in on the nascent automotive revolution..." Read More Hmmmm...It's a Gold Rush 2017 style.  :-)  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> SoftBank confirms it’s putting $5BN into Didi Chuxing, the ‘Uber of China’

N. Lomas, May 10, "Japanese telco giant SoftBank has confirmed the size of its investment into Didi Chuxing, aka the Uber of China, and the figure is $5 billion (~¥550,000M).  The last item in SoftBank’s fiscal year 2017 earnings report, ended March 31 2017 and released today, lists the investment into Xiaoju Kuaizhi Inc. — the former name for Didi — as the sole ‘significant subsequent event’ for SoftBank’s business at close of the full year..." Read More Hmmmm...Didi could revolutionize mobility in China even without driverless cars. Why does anyone own a car for mobility in Beijing.  (Status, maybe, but to get around?? Seems like Didi should be killing it. Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="42" width="72"> Intel Unveils Latest Autonomous Driving Lab in Silicon Valley

Press release, May 3,  "Intel today unveiled its Advanced Vehicle Lab in Silicon Valley, providing insight into the company’s cutting-edge R&D efforts underway to push the boundaries of driverless cars and the future of transportation.

The announcement was made during the company’s first Autonomous Driving Workshop held in San Jose, California. The company’s Silicon Valley Lab joins Intel’s other labs in Arizona, Germany and Oregon. They have been created specifically to explore and better understand the various requirements related to self-driving vehicles and the future of transportation, including sensing, in-vehicle computing, artificial intelligence (AI), connectivity, and supporting cloud technologies and services... "Read More Hmmmm...Is this simulator better than GTA V for DeepDriving?? Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="23" width="169">Tesla Wants Drivers to Share Autopilot Driving Videos to Help Self-Driving Cars

S. Edelstein, May 9, " Since the launch of its Autopilot driver-assist system, Tesla has asked customers for permission to gather car data in order to help improve the system. As part of a recently-launched Autopilot software update, Tesla is expanding that data-collection effort to include video...." Read More Hmmmm... A very wise request.  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="31" width="129"> Proterra to test self-driving bus in downtown Reno

D. Baker, May 2, "...Proterra, the Burlingame electric bus company, has partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno to develop and test autonomous buses in the heart of Reno’s downtown.  Step one involves outfitting a Proterra battery-powered bus with the sensors needed to scan the street. That work is already under way at a facility near the city’s airport. Then the bus, driven by a human, will spend day after day plying a route along Reno’s Virginia Street, picking up passengers and gathering data on the pedestrians, traffic and streetscape."..." Read More Hmmmm... Why not.  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Groupe PSA and nuTonomy Form Strategic Partnership to Test Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Singapore

Press release, Mar 5, "nuTonomy, the leading developer of state-of-the-art software for self-driving cars, and Groupe PSA today announced a strategic partnership through which nuTonomy will seamlessly integrate its sophisticated software system into customized PEUGEOT 3008 SUVs for on-road testing of fully autonomous cars in Singapore.  The PEUGEOT 3008 SUV was recently named 2017 European Car of the Year.
Under the initial phase of the partnership, nuTonomy will install its software, along with specialized sensors and computing platforms, into PEUGEOT 3008 SUV vehicles that have been customized by PSA’s innovation teams. nuTonomy expects to complete the integration of its autonomous vehicle (AV) system this summer, with on-road testing of the self-driving 3008s beginning in Singapore in September."...  Read More Hmmmm... Another partnership from a couple months back.   Alain

Some other thoughts that deserve your attention 

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> SNL just came up with a hilarious version of Alexa designed for senior citizens

F. Tepper, May 14, "While the White House was definitely the focus of tonight’s episode of Saturday Night Live, the show managed to fit in a great sketch on Amazon’s Alexa. The sketch was an advertisement for a (faux) device called Alexa Silver, touted as the only smart speaker built specifically for “the greatest generation."..."  See video Hmmmm...Enjoy!!!. Alain


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Artur Filipowicz'17, Virtual Environments as Driving Schools for Deep Learning Vision-Based Sensors in Self-Driving Cars, April 2017

Nayan Bhat'17, DeepFollowing: Vision-Based Distance Estimation on Synthetically-Generated Driving Video using 3D Convolution, April 2017

Antigone Hope Valen'17, The ATaxi Revolution: Autonomous Vehicle Implementation and Ride-Sharing Optimization in the United States and China, April 2017

Keith Gladstone'17, The Search for the Sustainable Fleet: Driverless Taxi System Simulations , April 2017

Rebeca De La Espriella'17,  Developing the Regulatory Environment for Autonomous Vehicles: Historical Lessons for the Socio-technical Transition, April 2017

Thomas P. Byrne '17,  Commercial Auto Insurance Risk Management Strategies, April 2017

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Kara Kockelman,Appendices, Ensuring the Benefits of a Connected and Auto ,  April2017

Half-baked stuff that probably doesn't deserve your time

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> The toughest challenge for self-driving cars? Human drivers

AP, May 11, "...In Los Angeles and other places, for instance, there's the "California Stop," where drivers roll through stop signs if no traffic is crossing. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, courteous drivers practice the "Pittsburgh Left," where it's customary to let one oncoming car turn left in front of them when a traffic light turns green. The same thing happens in Boston. During rush hours near Ann Arbor, Michigan, drivers regularly cross a double-yellow line to queue up for a left-turn onto a freeway...."Driverless cars are very rule-based, and they don't understand social graces," says Missy Cummings, director of Duke University's Humans and Autonomy Lab...."  Read More Hmmmm... Actually, probably NOT.  The "rules-based" AI is currently way out of fashion in favor of the Deep Learning approaches that may well find it easy to learn these social graces and out-of-the-cage behaviors and be able to appropriately co-exist in these situations.  There aren't that many of them, many don't coexist in the same geographical areas (so it is parallelizable)  and it is likely that AI/DeepDriving developed by nVIDIA (rather than Intel) and others will be able to do it as well as the best of us can do it.  Alain

[log in to unmask]" alt=""> Tesla Leapfrogs Self-Driving Competitors With Radar That's Better Than Lidar

T. Eady, May 9, "...The market has yet to fully grasp how far ahead Tesla (TSLA) is in self driving and the ramifications for the company’s future financial performance. Here’s what is important to know:..." Read More Hmmmm... I guess Consumer Reports  ("...Consumer Reports' decision to lower its ratings on Tesla's Model S and Model X.  The genesis of this was Tesla's failure to provide models made since October 2016 with automated emergency braking (AEB.)..." ) didn't read this column.  Alain

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

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="27" width="164">Elon Musk Demos Futuristic Car-Transporting Sled

T. Ghose, May 14, "Instead of being stuck in traffic for hours on the I-5 in Los Angeles, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk wants everyone to hop in their car and then zoom on a sled at heart-pounding speed to their destination.   Musk posted a demo of one of these car-carrying electric sleds..."  See video Hmmmm...This isn't funny, nor SNL.  It is just: C'mon Man!  Who pays for the tunnel?? Aren't you invested in enough negative cash flow ideas?   Alain

Calendar of Upcoming Events:

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AV Policy Series

May 15, 2017
American Institute of Architects,
1735 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

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Princeton SmartDrivingCar Summit
May 17 & 18, 2017
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
Save the Date

Recent Highlights of:

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Monday, May 8, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="24" width="156"> Walt Disney World plans to deploy driverless shuttles in Florida

R. Mitchell, Apr 28, "Walt Disney World in Florida appears poised to launch the highest-profile commercial deployment of driverless passenger vehicles to date, testing a fleet of driverless shuttles that could cart passengers through parking lots and around its theme parks.

According to sources with direct knowledge of Disney’s plans, the company is in late-stage negotiation with at least two manufacturers of autonomous shuttles – Local Motors, based in Phoenix, and Navya, based in Paris. It’s unclear whether contracts would go to both or just one of the companies...." Read More Hmmmm...This is exciting and substantial especially if it will be justified purely on its ability to deliver mobility, not entertainment, and will be financially self-sufficient.  Since it will be operating on Disney property, Disney can pretty much do as Disney wishes without having to be burdened by regulation meant to alleviate anxiety about the new and unfamiliar.  This is really exciting! Alain

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="32" width="129"> Senseless Government Rules Could Cripple the Robo-Car Revolution

R. Hagemann, May 1, "...Now, there’s little doubt that autonomous vehicles are the next frontier of transportation. ...however, there are a number of roadblocks to surmount: infrastructure issues, restrictive state licensing policies, driver education, cybersecurity and privacy vulnerabilities, and more. For innovators, regulators, and policymakers, solving these problems will involve a long to-do list, but a pointless regulatory scuffle over technology standards should not be on it.
So why is the federal agency responsible for our road safety looking to introduce a totally avoidable roadblock to automotive innovation by mandating a severely flawed technological standard for vehicle communications?...". Read More Hmmmm... I love it..." a pointless regulatory scuffle" and "a severely flawed technological standard".  Only DSRC. could engender such criticism....  "...Imagine if the government had demanded that Henry Ford equip every one of his Model Ts with telegraph machines that could only communicate with other Model Ts. A 19th century communications technology mandated for use in a 20th century innovation would have been a crushing blow to innovation and competition in the emerging automobile industry. That’s precisely what is happening with the DSRC mandate, and the same potential for future innovation is at risk with its implementation...". Alain

Thursday, April 27, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="39" width="50"> Waymo to Offer Phoenix Area Access to Self-Driving Cars

D. Streitfeld, Apr, 25, "...On Tuesday, the company was to announce the next phase of testing: putting ordinary people inside its Chrysler minivans and Lexuses....Only those who live in Chandler, Mesa, Tempe and Gilbert — roughly the southeastern Phoenix area — will be eligible for the program. And the cars, for that matter, will not take them anywhere else — no weekend jaunts to the Grand Canyon. Read More Hmmmm... Here we go!  Very conservative, but the path ahead is clear.  In 2013 they said that they were going to do this in 2017!   This is the beginning of real commercialization. Congratulations!  This is a major milestone.  Alain

Tuesday, April 17, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="32" width="84"> Don't Worry, Driverless Cars Are Learning From Grand Theft Auto

D. Hall, Apr 17, "In the race to the autonomous revolution, developers have realized there aren’t enough hours in a day to clock the real-world miles needed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Which is why Grand Theft Auto V is in the mix.
The blockbuster video game is one of the simulation platforms researchers and engineers increasingly rely on to test and train the machines being primed to take control of the family sedan. Companies from Ford Motor Co. to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo may boast about putting no-hands models on the market in three years, but there’s a lot still to learn about drilling algorithms in how to respond when, say, a mattress falls off a truck on the freeway....The idea isn’t that the highways and byways of the fictional city of Los Santos would ever be a substitute for bona fide asphalt. But the game “is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” said Alain Kornhauser..."  Read More Hmmmm... Well...we have a slightly different view of history wrt to GTA5.  The 'Alain view' is that Chenyi Chen*16 independently started investigating the use of virtual environments as a source of Image - Affordances data sets to use as the training sets in a 'Direct Perception' approach to creating a self-driving algorithm.  Images of the road ahead are converted into the instantaneous geometry that is implied by those image.  An optimal controller then determines the the steering, brake and throttle values to best drive the car.  The critical element in that process are the Image - Affordances data sets which need to be pristine.  Chenyi demonstrated in his PhD dissertation , summarized in the ICCV2015 paper,  that by using the pristine Image - Affordances data sets from an open-source game TORCS one could have a virtual car drive a virtual race course without crashing.  More importantly, when tested on images from real driving situations, the computed affordances were close to correct.

This encouraged us to look for more appropriate virtual environments. For many reasons, including: "wouldn't it be amazing if 'Grand Theft Auto 5' actually generated some positive 'redeeming social value' by contributing to the development of algorithms that actually made cars safer; saving grief, injuries and lives".  Consequently, in the Fall of 2015, Artur Filipowicz'17 began to investigate using GTA5 to train Convolutional Neural Networks to perform some of the Direct Perception aspects of automated driving.  With Jeremiah Liu, he continued his efforts in this direction last summer which were presented at TRB in January.  Yesterday, he and Nyan Bhat'17 turned in their Senior Theses focused on this topic.

Indeed, GTA5 is a rich virtual environment that begins to efficiently and effective address the data needs of Deep Learning approaches to safe driving.    Alain

Monday, March 20, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="22" width="94"> Uber’s autonomous cars drove 20,354 miles and had to be taken over at every mile, according to documents

J. Bhuiyan, Mar 16, "Some of Uber’s self-driving cars aren’t driving as smoothly as the company hoped they would. Documents circulated throughout the company’s self-driving group, which Recode obtained, gives us a first look at the progress of the ride-hail company’s robot cars in Pennsylvania, Arizona and California.
The top line: Uber’s robot cars are steadily increasing the number of miles driven autonomously. But the figures on rider experience — defined as a combination of how many times drivers have to take over and how smoothly the car drives — are still showing little progress....
For example: During the week ending March 8, the 43 active cars on the road only drove an average of close to 0.8 miles before the safety driver had to take over for one reason or another...
The good news is the number of miles between these “critical” interventions has recently improved. Last week, the company’s cars drove an average of approximately 200 miles between those types of incidents that required a driver to take over..." Read more Hmmm... Waymo is so incredibly far ahead.  Even with these statistics, it depends on when and where the miles were drive.  It is relatively unchallenging in some places at some times, especially if you've experienced it many times before. Its all about being able to handle the unexpected to achieve Driverless. Uber accrues no substantive value until it reaches Driverless.  Self-driving's only value is as a way/process to achieve Driverless.  Alain

Friday, March 10, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="24" width="156"> Robot cars — with no human driver — could hit California roads next year

R. Mitchell, Mar 10, "California is back on the map as a state that’s serious about welcoming driverless cars.Truly driverless cars — vehicles with no human behind the wheel, and perhaps no steering wheel at all — are headed toward California streets and highways starting in 2018...
The regulations lay out “a clear path for future deployment of autonomous vehicles” in California, said Bernard Soriano, deputy director at the Department of Motor Vehicles...." Read more Hmmm... Congratulations Bernard!  This is fantastic news on the road to providing high-quality mobility for all.  It squarely addresses the fundamental need to efficiently re-position vehicles so that they can get to even those who can't drive.  This is a real turning point for automated vehicles from self-driving toys for the 1% to affordable, environmentally friendly mobility for everyone.  Alain

Friday, February 24, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="32" width="84"> Alphabet's Waymo Alleges Uber Stole Self-Driving Secrets

M. Bergen, Feb 23, "It took Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo seven years to design and build a laser-scanning system to guide its self-driving cars. Uber Technologies Inc. allegedly did it in nine months.
Waymo claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that was possible because a former employee stole the designs and technology and started a new company....Anthony Levandowski, a former manager at Waymo, in December 2015 downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary and confidential files, including the lidar circuit board designs, according to the complaint. He also allegedly created a domain name for his new company and confided in some of his Waymo colleagues of plans to “replicate” its technology for a competitor...." Read more   Hmmm...This is very serious.  So unfortunate.  :-(   Alain

Friday, February 17, 2017

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="46" width="49"> Motor Vehicle Deaths in 2016 Estimated to be Highest in Nine Years

Press release, Feb. 15, "NSC offers insight into what drivers are doing and calls for immediate implementation of proven, life-saving measures...

With the upward trend showing no sign of subsiding, NSC is calling for immediate implementation of life-saving measures that would set the nation on a road to zero deaths:..." Read more  Hmmm..."Automated Collision Avoidance" or anything having to do with 'Safe-driving Cars' is not mentioned anywhere in the Press Release.  One of us is missing something very fundamental here!!  So depressing!!  :-(   Alain

Friday, January 27, 2017

[log in to unmask]" height="50" width="44"> Serving the Nation's Personal Mobility Needs with the Casual Sharing of autonomousTaxis & Today's Urban Rail, Amtrak and Air Transport Systems

A. Kornhauser, Jan 14, "Orf467F16 Final Project Symposium quantifying implications of such a Nation-wide mobility system on Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO), energy, environment and congestion, including estimates of fleet size, needed empty vehicle repositioning, and ridership implications on existing rail transit systems (west, east, NYC) and Amtrak of a system that would efficiently and effectively perform their '1st mile'/'last-mile' mobility needs. Read more  Hmmm... Now linked are 1st Drafts of the chapters and the powerPoint summaries of these elements.  Final Report should be available by early February.  The major finding is, nationwide there exists sufficient casual ridesharing potential that a well--managed  Nationwide Fleet of about 30M aTaxis (in conjunction with the existing air, Amtrak and Urban fixed-rail systems)  could serve the vehicular mobility needs of the whole nation with VMT 40% less than today's automobiles while providing a Level-of-Service (LoS) largely equivalent and in many ways superior than is delivered by the personal automobile today.  Also interesting are the findings as to the substantial increased patronage opportunities available to Amtrak and each of the fixed rail transit systems around the country because the aTaxis solve the '1st and last mile' problem.  While all of this is extremely good news, the challenging news is that since all of these fixed rail systems currently lose money on each passenger served, the additional patronage would likely mean that they'll lose even more money in the future. :-(  Alain 

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="36" width="38">ODI (Office of Defects Investigation) Findings on Tesla AEB & AutoPilot

(Above link should work) Jan 19, "... Summary: ...     NHTSA’s examination did not identify any defects in the design or performance of the AEB or Autopilot  systems of the subject vehicles nor any incidents in which the systems did not perform as designed.  AEB systems used in the  automotive industry through MY 2016 are rear-end collision avoidance technologies that are not designed to reliably  perform in all crash modes, including crossing path collisions.  The Autopilot system is an Advanced Driver Assistance  System (ADAS) that requires the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.  Tesla's design included a hands-on the steering wheel system for monitoring driver engagement...
...  ODI analyzed data from crashes of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles involving airbag deployments that occurred while operating in, or within 15 seconds of transitioning from, Autopilot mode. Some crashes involved impacts from other vehicles striking the Tesla from various directions with little to no warning to the Tesla driver.  Other crashes involved scenarios known to be outside of the state-of-technology for current-generation Level 1 or 2 systems, such as cut-ins, cut-outs and crossing path collisions.... 
...The Florida fatal crash appears to have involved a period of extended distraction (at least 7 seconds)..."
.Hmmm... nothing else is written about this nor is a basis given for  the 'at least 7 seconds'.  Possibly the most important information revealed in this summary is Figure 11, p11: "...  Figure 11 shows the rates calculated by ODI for airbag deployment crashes in the subject Tesla vehicles before and after Autosteer installation.  The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation...
...A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted.  Accordingly, this investigation is closed. " 
Read more 
Hmmm... WOW!!! . Every word of this Finding is worth reading.  It basically exonerates Tesla, states that AEBs (Automated Emergency Braking) systems don't really work and aren't designed to work in some scenarios (straight crossing path (SCP) and left turn across path (LTAP), see p 2,3).  ...which suggests, to me, that DoT/NHTSA should be placing substantial efforts on making these systems really work in more scenarios.  And... there is the solid data that 'AutoSteer" reduced Tesla crashes by almost 40%!!! WOW!! Will Insurance now finally get on-board and lead?  Alai

Thursday, October 27, 2016

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="33" width="31"> Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="25" width="27">[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="17" width="70"> Federal Automated Vehicles Policy: Accelerating the Next Revolution In Roadway Safety

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="21" width="113"> May 7 Crash

Hmmm...What we know now (and don't know):

[log in to unmask]" height="50" width="44"> Extracting Cognition out of Images for the Purpose of Autonomous Driving

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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

Sunday, December 19, 2015

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="63" width="96"> 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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