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Friday, August 25, 2023

SmartDrivingCar.com/11.33-Advice: Move on… -08/25/23

33rd edition of the 11th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter

[log in to unmask]">‘This Experience May Feel Futuristic’: Three Rides in Waymo Robot Taxis

T. Mickie, Aug 21, “ “Hello, Tripp,” a disembodied woman’s voice said through the speakers of a driverless taxi that was about to pick up a fare near the colorful Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies.

“This experience may feel futuristic,” the voice said. “Please don’t touch the steering wheel or pedals during the ride. For any questions, you can find information in the Waymo app, like how we keep our cars safe or clean.”

For several years, San Francisco’s hilly and congested streets have doubled as a test track for hundreds of driverless cars operated by Waymo, an autonomous vehicle company owned by the Google parent company Alphabet, and General Motors-owned Cruise…. “   Read  more  Hmmmm…  Although I included this article in the body of SDC 11.32, I am repeating it here so that I can include a letter-to-the editor that I sent the NY Times, which is unlikely that the NYT will publish, so I’ll just include it here as follows…

 

To the editor: 

 

While I applaud the Times for their seriousness of purpose in sending three reporters to determine, for themselves, if the driverless rides offered by Waymo in San Francisco actually work without smoke, mirrors, or snake oil, and for their un-sensationalized, balanced assessment, it is a shame that the PR around the enhanced  quality-of-life opportunity for this form of mobility remains overlooked.

 

Instead of focusing on the tourist experience for those who already have the wherewithal of time, money, and physical ability to be chauffeured around, I recommend that for the next article you get the opinion of a formerly incarcerated individual who could have a night job, but can't get there because Muni operates but 2 bus routes between midnight and 5 am, or a single parent who can't leave work to give their kids a ride to the doctor or to cello lessons. Or to the many people who find themselves in the unenviable position of having to ask a friend, let alone a stranger, for a ride. I urge you to talk with people whose lives would be fundamentally improved if they had easy access to safe, equitable, demand responsive, affordable mobility 24/7/365, just like, maybe even better, than having their own car to drive themselves. 

 

By the way, we compute that in the 49 square miles of San Francisco there is a demand for about 2.1 million person trips every day.  About 30% are well served affordably by Muni (but require a subsidy that is 4x the affordable fare) and about 10% can afford the luxury of being chauffeured by Uber/Lyft/taxi/limo.  That leaves more than 1 million that prefer to drive themselves or get a ride from a family member, friend or neighbor or don't improve their lives by going because, Muni's rides aren't suitable, Uber/Lyft/taxi/limo are too expensive, or they can't convince someone to take them.  Waymo (and Cruise) can safely serve all 2.1 million; however, they can make life changing differences to this last group that can’t afford to go.   With casual ridesharing, Waymo/Cruise could achieve a 100 personTrips/vehicleDay productivity and break-even average cost, without subsidy,  of less than $2.50 /personTrip (~$2.43/personTrip, Public Comment to the California Public Utility Commission, August 10, 2023 by Dr. Alain L. Kornhauser, Princeton University, also attached).

 

Now that’s high-quality, affordable mobility that delivers quality-of-life  throughout the city.  The city should be begging them to so enhance SF’s Quality-of-life.  

 

Alain L. Kornhauser, PhD

…  Alain

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  [log in to unmask]" align="left" hspace="12" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_5"> SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 332 / PodCast 332 Right Market w/ Bryce Rasmussen’25
F. Fishkin,  Aug. 24, “How can communities plan for autonomous mobility systems? There's a new Interactive Person Trip Visualization tool developed at Princeton University and Bryce Rasmussen, class of '25, shows us how it works. Episode 332 of Smart Driving Cars with Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin. Plus.. Cruise, Waymo, San Francisco, Tesla and more.

0:00 open

0:41 Creation of Interactive Person Trip Visualization in Tampa with Bryce Rasmussen, Princeton class of ‘25

11:20 NY Times has three reporters ride in Waymo robotaxis

16:42 Politico reports Gavin Newsom sides with the robots in autonomous vehicle debate

20:43 Cruise bringing robotaxis to Raleigh

22:40 Beginning October 1 Pinellas’ SunRunner will no longer be free to ride. Why?

27:50 Results and demo of Interactive Person Trip Visualization in Tampa with Bryce Rasmussen

56:00 Visualization tool will be demonstrated at upcoming Florida AV conference and will become available to all

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[log in to unmask]">  Robotaxi Companies in the Driver’s Seat in SF After Spending Millions on Lobbying Here’s How Much Robotaxi Companies Spent to Influence California Regulators

J. Koehn,  Aug. 23,  “… . Cruise spent more than $804,000 on lobbying efforts in Sacramento from the beginning of 2021 through June, according to records filed with the California Secretary of State’s Office. Meanwhile, Waymo spent more than $1.2 million in Sacramento and plunked down almost half a million dollars in the months leading up to the commission’s Aug. 10 vote. This isn’t an earth-shattering sum, but it was enough for the companies to become players in Sacramento....."  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Agreed, this is really peanuts, given the amount that these companies have invested to date in doing “testing” aka “proof-of-concept”.

That said, why did they have to spend anything on lobbying?  If the value proposition of this ”concept” is anywhere near able to justify the enormous investment that’s been spent to achieve its  “proof-of-concept”,  then it should have been these legislators who should have been doing everything that they could to convince Cruise & Waymo to successfully deploy a “proof-of-market” in order for SF to benefit from the value proposition that motivates the enormous technological investment.

These systems have the opportunity to deliver safe, high-quality (demand-responsive), sustainable rides affordably and without subsidy to anyone and everyone 24/7/365.  How is it that Cruise and Waymo had to spend money to lobby public officials that the ability to offer such rides is not a bad idea, but in fact, about the best thing that could have happened to San Francisco since the introduction of the cable cars 150 years ago on August 2, 1873???

 

 C’mon SF public officials.   My advice to Waymo and Cruise…  Take what you’ve learned in SF about how to safely deliver high-quality (demand-responsive), sustainable rides affordably and without subsidy to anyone 24/7/350 to do repeated “proof-of-markets” in the many communities across North America that value what you’ve accomplished and quit trying to convince folks who don’t see it your way.  San Francisco is obviously happy with the mess they have, so move on and don’t look back.  SF isn’t worth it!  It’s them and not you.  Evidently, it’s too rich, too smart, too happy with things as they are.   Alain

 

[log in to unmask]">  Starting Oct. 1, Pinellas’ SunRunner will no longer be free to ride

J. Koehn,  Aug. 23,  “The county’s transit authority voted Wednesday to accelerate its timeline on charging for the downtown St. Petersburg-to-beach bus service….

The move comes in the wake of pressure from St. Pete Beach residents, who have complained about homeless people riding the bus into their community, and from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. The sheriff said he saw imposing a fare as the only way to stem an increase in activities such as panhandling, sleeping on the beach and shoplifting......"  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Unbelievably UGLY!

 

...  For a year,  3/1/78 -> 2/28/79, Mercer Metro (bus company running buses in Trenton NJ to Princeton, eventually folded into NJ Transit) had a free-fare demonstration.  Not so much “Fun Fact”:  Off-Peak Fare-Free Transit: Mercer County, New Jersey, p 9: … About 60 percent of the merchants” … which included Nassau Street merchants… ”responding to a survey said they did not support system-wide fare-free bus service. Common complaints centered around a lack of buying power among farefree users and perceived increases in loitering, shoplifting, and vandalism during fare-free hours”. ….  Very UGLY then.  Very UGLY now!   C’mon, Tampa!! Alain

 

  GM's Cruise begins testing all-electric driverless taxis in Raleigh 

M. Talhelm,  Aug. 22,  “… . The North Carolina Department of Transportation is not required to get a permit to test driveless technology on the roads in Raleigh. A state law passed in 2017 regulates fully autonomous vehicles in North Carolina. It states:

·        No driver's license is required to operate one, but there is a minimum age of 12 to ride in one unsupervised

·        The registered owner of a driverless car is responsible for any violations

·        The vehicles are required to meet federal safety regulations.

...."  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Seems like the same business model as in SF. Seems like they are in Raleigh to do “proof-of-concept” aka “it works”, rather than a “proof-of-market”  aka “oh my goodness, there are so many people in Raleigh who could really benefit every day by having Cruise given them an affordable ride.”  Hasn’t San Francisco taught them anything?   Alain

 

[log in to unmask]">  Tesla Teases Cybertruck Delivery Event & Production Candidate +Berlin Production Report, Texas VPP  

Rob Mauer, Aug. 23, “ Tesla teases Cybertruck delivery event Tesla Cybertruck production candidate driven by Elon Musk Delivery event rumors NVDA reports strong earnings Giga Berlin production report Texas approves Tesla VPP FSD branch merge Starship prepares for second orbital test flight...."  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Very interesting and informative, as always. Alain

 

 [log in to unmask]">  Are self-driving cars kosher? San Francisco rabbis weigh in as robotaxis flood the city’s streets

M. Mirsky, Aug. 24, “Ask a rabbi about self-driving cars and you’d better be ready for a long answer....

And yet the all-electric fleets offer intriguing Shabbat possibilities — not least for observant Jews who traditionally refrain from driving and using electricity on the day. So what do local rabbis say?...

There is one existing piece of technology that might offer a clue, he said. It’s the Shabbat elevator, which automatically stops and opens its doors at each floor, negating the need to press a button….  "  Read  more  Hmmmm…  What??? all elevators use electric motors to open & close the doors and are  involved in moving elevators or counter weights up.  I buy it, as well as letting me mix some baking soda in my matzo meal so that my Passover matzo balls are light ad fluffy and not lead sinkers.  I love it!!!  (You can’t make up this stuff. J , plus Elizabeth and I still argue if one is really allowed to eat any wheat at all during Passover.  What are the ingredients?  Is it all about puffiness or the lack thereof??? All too difficult for me. Thank goodness I still go to Temple. Thank you,  Marty M.  Alain


2023 FAV Summit

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Tampa, FL

Sept. 6 -> 8, 2023

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IATR 2023 36th Annual Conference

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Scottsdale, AZ

Sept. 27 -> 30, 2023

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Conference
San Jose, CA
Nov. 30 -> Dec. 1, 2023

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Previous SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast/PodCasts

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 331 PodCast 331 Wrong Market
F. Fishkin,  Aug. 21, Following a crash with an emergency vehicle and a request from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, GM Cruise cuts San Francisco robotaxi fleet in half. What Princeton's Alain Kornhauser suggests they should do next, plus Cruise losses, automated vehicle legal issues, Tesla and more. Tune in to Alain and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest.

0:00 open

0:24 Next Big Future piece on apparent 2 billion dollar GM Cruise loss this year

9:20 Cruise agrees to cut robotaxi fleet in half in San Francisco. Alain says should end service there to focus elsewhere

17:00 Alain’s response to those who point to the robotaxi collision with an emergency vehicle

20:00 The Verge has a report headlined Robotaxis are Driving on Thin Ice

22:00 GM Authority says Cruise is now testing in Charlotte

28:00 A diversion onto The Dinky

33:11 Juris report spotlighting potential criminal liability for operation of automated vehicles

36:27 Tip of the hat once again to Tesla Daily

 

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 330 / PodCast 330  CPUC decision
F. Fishkin,  Aug. 12, “Robotaxi service in San Francisco gets the green light from the California PUC.  Princeton's Alain Kornhauser outlines his testimony, where services go from here and more on episode 330 of Smart Driving Cars with co-host Fred Fishkin.  Plus...the big UPS contract, Tesla and the continuing efforts develop automatic emergency braking that works.

0:00 open

0:22 California PUC okays around the clock robotaxi service in San Francisco

14:50 Alain hearing statement to California PUC in support of the deployment

20:23 More on the benefits of safe, affordable, driverless mobility and thoughts on how best to deploy

29:00 Robotaxi operators should be able to deny service to riders who misbehave

34:24 Coverage of the robotaxi issues needs to change. Too much clickbait.

41:00 Ride hailing model not the right focus

45:07 New UPS contract has created lots of demand for jobs there….but…

48:30 Reports and video of Tesla vehicles on autopilot crashing into police and the automatic emergency braking issue

1:02:27 How can automatic emergency braking be improved?

 

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 329 / PodCast 329  w/FL Senator Jeff Brandes & DASH’s Shuan Drinkard
F. Fishkin,  Aug. 7, “Tampa Downtown Partnership head Shaun Drinkard and Florida Policy Project Founder Jeff Brandes join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for a look at the new Tampa DASH service that will provide affordable mobility with a Tesla fleet of vehicles. Plus a preview of the Florida
AV Summit, the latest headlines on Cruise, Waymo, Tesla, Luminar, NuView and more. Smart Driving Cars 329!

0:00 open

0:25 Tampa to use Tesla Model Ys for new mobility service. Shaun Drinkard Tampa Downtown Partnership.

15:06 former Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes on the Tampa DASH project

18:41 Cathie Wood speaking at up Florida Automated Vehicles Summit

30:00 WSJ headline: America’s Most Tech Forward City Has Doubts About Self Driving Cars

32:47 Slate headline: As Cruise Expands to Los Angeles, Self Driving’s Breakout Moment Has Arrived

33:29 Brandes on what AV activities are going on now in Florida

36:40 Cruise reaches union agreement with electrical and janitorial workers in San Francisco

37:25 Luminar AI push

40:02 NuView plans space based LiDAR to map earth in 3D

40:35 On the Tesla Front.. Highland production, Pepsi Tesla Semis and Texas Tesla customers are being offered unlimited overnight charging for 25 dollars a mon” 

 

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 328 / PodCast 328  w/ Wm. Cariss, Holman Growth Ventures +

Fishkin,  Aug. 3, “On episode 328 of Smart Driving Cars, we're at the Holman Emerge conference in NJ focused on start-ups and the future of driving, dealerships and mobility. Guests include Holman CEO Carl Ortell, President Chris Conroy, Homan Growth Ventures CEO Bill Cariss and Spiffy founder Scott Wingo.

0:00 open

0:50 Overview of Holman

1:50 Fleet business expanding in robots, etc.

3:00 role of autonomy and investment in autonomous trucking firm, Gatik

5:44 future of cars, driving, dealerships

9:00 Types of start-ups that are of interest

10:20 Decision to go outside company to find worthwhile technology

11:30 upcoming book from Alain and Michael Sena focused on new mobility

14:00 Continuing reinvention necessary

15:30 Scott Wingo, CEO of Spiffy, app-based mobile auto repair and washing

17:00 What is Spiffy doing that competitors aren’t

19:50 Growth of service area and franchising

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 327 / PodCast 327  Han’s the Best!
F. Fishkin,  July 29, “A SF Taxi Alliance Board member takes a Waymo ride and says he felt extra safe! That's on top on episode 327 of Smart Driving Cars. That plus the latest from Cruise, Tesla, Uber, SpaceX and more. Join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest in autonomous mobility.

0:00 open

0:37 SF Standard takes Taxi Worker’s Alliance Board member for Waymo ride and he says he felt “extra safe”

09:40 Waymo focusing efforts on ride hailing

20:00 Cruise expanding to Nashville and more

21:10 Wired report on legal saga of Uber fatal crash coming to end

28:45 TorqueNews report on Musk confirming Tesla FSD v12 Alpha using new single AI model

33:15 SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch 36:25 GM launching Hands Free Eyes On education program

39:56 The Verge reports driverless car legislation still stuck in neutral

49:03 Alain adds one more pitch for new mobility in NJ”

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 325 / PodCast 325 Turing (Kornhauser) Test

F. Fishkin,  July 14, “Following a trip to the TRB Symposium in San Francisco and robo-taxi rides with Cruise and Waymo, Princeton's Alain Kornhauser declares they have passed the Turing (Kornhauser) Test of Proof of Technology. Now, he says, it is time for Proof of Market. How? Episode 325 of Smart Driving Cars with co-host Fred Fishkin. 

0:00 open

0:30 Alain editorial on Cruise and Waymo passing the Turing (Kornhauser) Test..proof of technology

2:20 Super impressed with accomplishments of Cruise and Waymo 10:10 More on “Turing” test

15:46 Continuing battle for acceptance of robotaxis in San Francisco

26:30 Now need Proof of Market for robotaxis

38:14 Cruise takes out ads while Waymo posts about faulty human drivers

46:15 U.S. News reports from TRB on new self driving regulations coming

57:30 VW begins autonomous ID.Buzz rides in Munich


SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 323 / PodCast 323 w/Russ Mitchell, LA Times Correspondent
F. Fishkin,  June 26, “Robotaxis and first responders. The San Francisco situation with Waymo and Cruise. And focusing on solving mobility needs could generate more public support. Russ Mitchell of the L.A. Times joins Princeton's Alain Konrhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 323 of Smart Driving Cars.

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 322 / PodCast 322 w Ken Pyle & Bryce Rasmussen’25 Investigate MOVES-style deployments anywhere in US

F. Fishkin,  June 20, “What were the takeaways when a Nissan Leaf owner picks up a Model 3 from a Hertz rental counter? Ken Pyle, managing editor of Viodi, tells us first hand. Plus more on Tesla, Mobileye, Cruise and Waymo and an interactive data visualization demo on mobility demand from Princeton student Bryce Rasmussen. Episode 322 of Smart Driving Cars.
0:00 open
0:50 Ken Pyle…a Nissan Leaf owner…on experience with Tesla Model 3 rental
21:29 Mobility needs unmet in Little Rock, Arkansas?
26:00 Princeton student Bryce Rasmussen demos software he has worked on that can show mobility logistical needs on the fly. A MOVES Interactive Data Visualization.
1:10:33 Mobileye blog post on new taxonomy for automated driving 1:12:24 Brad Templeton Forbes piece.. Is the Personal Self Driving Car for City Streets a False Early Dream?
1:14:03 Fleet News.. Connected and Autonomous Vehicles are Here..but What Does That Mean for Fleets?
1:14:50 More Tesla news.. Supercharger Monitoring System… Hyundai looking at Tesla charging standard.. and Model Y second only to Ford 150 as best selling vehicle overall in U.S.. 1:20:25 Waymo brings customer to Costco..
 
SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 321 / PodCast 321 A look at the innovative Cruise Origin
F. Fishkin,  June 14, “A look at the innovative Cruise Origin from CARTS Mobility's Jerry He, dissecting the market for autonomous mobility, Tesla's rocket ride and more. Join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 321 of Smart Driving Cars.
0:00 open
0:25 CARTS Mobility gets look at Cruise Origin at Axios event 05:15 Dissecting the market for autonomous mobility and more
10:50 Inside EVs headline on Cruise not blocking responders in San Francisco
14:45 Alain will have more to say in upcoming book he is co-authoring with Michael Sena
20:38 Ken Pyle at Viodi posts on mobility need in Little Rock
26:17 Toyota Mobility Foundation backing sustainable Cities Challenge
28:24 I-95 Philadelphia closure

31:30 More n moility in cities 42:15 Tesla shares have rocketed 45:10 Uer reportedly launching peer to peer vehicle sharing

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 320 / PodCast 320 w Roger Lanctot, Director, Auomotive Connected Mobility @ TechInsights

F. Fishkin,  June 2, “NHTSA begins the rule process to require automatic emergency braking that works even at highway speeds. That and more on episode 320 of Smart Driving Cars. Guest Roger Lanctot, director Automotive Connect Mobility, Global Automotive Practice at TechInsights joins Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin.
0:00 open
00:53 NHTSA proposing rule requiring automatic emergency braking for passenger cars and light trucks
39:20 NHTSA remains without a confirmed administrator
42:35 NHTSA criticized for moving too slowly in Inspector General report
50:29 NHTSA ends investigation of Tesla in vehicle gaming and value of over the air updates
1:00:40 Takeaways from conference in Israel
1:09:45 ARS Technica piece The Death of Self Driving Cars has Been Greatly Exxagerated -Alex Roy
1:13:26 Einride to deploy in UAE
1:17:19 The best market for autonomous technology

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 319 / PodCast 319 w Michael Sena, publisher The DispatcherF. Fishkin,  May 29, “vehicle to vehicle communication needed? Ford's electric vehicle issues even as it strikes a deal with Tesla. The Model Y becomes a global top seller while Elon Musk's Neuralink wins FDA approval for chip implant trials. The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for those stories and more on episode 319 of Smart Driving Cars.

0:00 open
1:00 vehicle to vehicle communications
21:30 Catalytic converter theft could have been prevented 34:30 The EV energy issue
46:00 Zoox self certification
1:03:23 Guest author in Musings section
1:04:30 Tesla Model Y global sales leader and what to make of Tesla data leak
1:10:25 Neuralink brain computer interface trials coming
1:11:35 Uber adding Waymo vehicles to its app

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 318 / PodCast 318
F. Fishkin,  May 19, “On episode 318 of Smart Driving Cars: Futurist Chunka Mui says don't fall for the hype on generative AI...but don't be complacent. Plus the Mobileye deal with Porsche, Tesla's driver monitoring, Elon's CNBC interview and headlines from Waymo, Cruise and Lyft. Join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest.
0:00 open
0:30 Futurist Chunka Mui says don’t fall for the hype on generative AI.. and don’t be complacent
12:44 Mobileye deal with Porsche
15:30 Tesla makes driver monitoring more strict
22:13 Elon Musk CNBC interview wide ranging
25:16 Tesla robotaxis..coming or not?
27:26 Waymo/Cruise robotaxis to charge in SF
28:45 Brad Templeton piece on robotaxis
36:15 Lyft discontinues shared rides
44:00 Even investors seem bored with autonomous cars
46:00 Army moves forward with autonomous vehicle transport
48:15 EcoMotion Week conference coming in Israel

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 317 / PodCast 317
F. Fishkin,  May 12, “Smart Driving Cars episode 317 Waymo, Cruise, Elon and more. Join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for the latest on autonomy, mobility and more.
0:00 open
0:30 Waymo expands robotaxi service
6:26 Lyft shares struggle
10:45 GM Cruise expanding service in Texas
17:30 Neighborhoo
18:45 Time to go beyond proof of technology
23:52 Nuro pulls back
25:55 And TuSimple threatened with delisting
26:40 Consumer Reports’ Chris Harto on can the grid handle EVs
32:13 Elon Musk finds new CEO for Twitter
33:00 Musk’s Boring Company expanding operations in Las Vegas
37:12 Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit postponed, EcoMotion taking place in Tel Aviv

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 316 / PodCast 316 w/Grayson Brultye, CEO, The Road to Autonomy
F. Fishkin,  May 3, “Grayson Brulte, head of The Road to Autonomy, selects S&P Dow Jones to be the custom calculations agent for indices. He joins Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin to discuss that plus the outlook for autonomous mobility and industry, trucking and more. Plus the latest Smart Driving Cars Summit news. Tune in and subscribe.
0:00 open
0:49 Grayson Brulte Road to Autonomy selects S&P Dow Jones for new indices.
2:57 Autonomy will drive growth for range of companies and industries
9:05 Perception that it has been a rough year for companies in the space
11:00 What about using the technology to provide mobility for all?
26:46 Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit hits logistics challenges
29:45 Jalopnik reports on autonomous cars getting in way of emergency responders
33:55 Kodiak says it will have autonomous truck in fleet next year
35:46 Will autonomous trucks cost jobs?
38:15 Grayson invokes elevator analogy

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 315 / PodCast 315 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin,  April 27, “There's a new book on the way from Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and Michael Sena, publisher of The Dispatcher.  Plus, Alain on what was learned from the SpaceX Starship launch, Cruise is now offering driverless transportation around the clock in San Francisco and more details on this spring's Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit.
0:00 open
0:49 Alain thoughts on his being there for the inaugural Starship launch and what was learned
5:55 The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena on new book coming co-authored with Alain on Mobility for the Non-mobile and what will be coming at the May Smart Driving Cars Summit
14:14 Alain experiences lack of mobility in Texas for the Starship launch.
22:20 Changes coming after The Dispatcher reader poll
26:50 New pollution guidelines from the EU and the EPA 40: 30 Musings section of The Dispatcher has guest author this month
42:30 Cruise self driving taxis now operating around the clock in San Francisco
44:44 Cruise meanwhile had loss of 561 million dollars in last quarter
48:00 Michael on evolution of buses
56:35 More on the upcoming Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit
57:30 Motortrend reports BYD says self driving technology “basically impossible”.

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 314  / PodCast 314 Starship Launch
F. Fishkin,  April 20, “A step towards our journey to Mars.   And it relates to mobility.  Princeton's Alain Kornhauser was there for the inaugural launch of #Starship from Starbase in Texas.  His thoughts on the achievement by SpaceX and Elon Musk as Alain joins co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 314 of Smart Driving Cars.

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 313  / PodCast 313
F. Fishkin,  April 15, “Some praise for Cruise and the voluntary recall, a battle for Waymo and Aurora, Didi Robotaxis, Tesla, Space X and the coming Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit. All in episode 313 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin.
0:00 open
1:00 Cruise recall
11:00 Jalopnik report on Waymo problems with San Francisco fog
15:00 Didi Robotaxis
20:45 TWU opposing waiver for Waymo and Aurora
24:12 EPA unveils new standards pushing EVs
32:00 Tesla Daily
32:43 Upcoming Princeton Smart Driving Cars Summit
46:30 SpaceX readies Starship
48:30 Musk launching new AI company

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 312 / PodCast 312 w/Helen Pen, GM of Baidu Apollo Autonomous Driving USA
 F. Fishkin,  April 3, “#Baidu #Apollo is now operating in three cities in China including Beijing, providing fully driverless rides to passengers. Helen Pan, GM of Baidu Apollo Autonomous Driving USA joins Alain and and Fred and Jerry He of CARTS to discuss the progress and plans. Join us for the wide ranging discussion plus the latest on the upcoming 6th Annual Smart Driving Cars Summit! For more information about the 6th #SmartDrivingCars Summit: https://www.cartsmobility.com/summit
0:00 open
1:10 Helen Pan outlines status of Baidu’s autonomous mobility efforts in China
3:50 Pan says Baidu Apollo has paying customers
11:52 Alain asks how Baidu is operating the services
21:07 What are hours of operation and where are vehicles able to operate
28:14 Pan outlines advantages of autonomous mobility and the business model 50:38 Helen on Apollo going Open Source with Apollo Open Platform
55:00 Apollo's hardware & software integration + OEM partnerships
58:00 Who will operated the service?
1:01:00 6th Annual Smart Driving Cars Summit is approaching
1:03:20 Alain on object of summit

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 311 / PodCast 311 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher
F. Fishkin, March 30, “With Elon Musk and others joining the Future of Life Institute in calling for a pause in AI development, what's next? The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin from Sweden to discuss that plus a freeze on ICE, Ford, Bill Gates and more. Episode 311 of Smart Driving Cars.
0:00 open
0:45 Future of Life Institute calls for pause in further development of AI
27:00 EU Big 3 Countries want to freeze the ICE ban
37:00 Mind your own business but know who your customer really is.. railroads, cars.. mobility
1:04 :00 upcoming Smart Driving Cars Summit
1:04:30 Ford CEO says new electric truck will allow you to nap, use phone, on highways in good weather
1:04:57 Bill Gates posts about going for a ride in a self-driving vehicle in the U.K.

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 310 / PodCast 310
F. Fishkin,  March 24, “Where does autonomous mobility go from here? Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin explore...plus Ford's EV losses, SMART grants fail to fund autonomous mobility, Waymo, drones & more. 0:00 open
0:35 Princeton basketball
1:25 More thoughts in aftermath of ITU 2023 Future Networked Car .”Symposium. Where does autonomous mobility go from here?
29:26 SMART grants from DOT fail to fund autonomous mobility
31:55 Ford’s EV losses
32:57 Ford updates on BlueOval City mega site in West Tennessee
4:46 Waymo takes on task of writing the safety case for Avs. Alain emphasizes that companies shouldn’t compete on safety
39:25 The Street headline… Four reasons self driving cars, not drones, will deliver your packages.

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 309 / PodCast 309 w/ Michael Sena, ITU 2023
F. Fishkin,  March 19, “Following The Future Networked Car ITU Symposium, committee member and moderator Michael Sena joins Alain and Fred for episode 309 of Smart Driving Cars. And a National Disability Institute study on how autonomous mobility could help millions join the workforce. Plus GM Cruise, Gatik and Krogers, Baidu and more.
0:00 open
0:53 Princeton sports!
1:40 ITU Symposium
4:35 Chat GPT 6:00 Missy Cummings at ITU
9:38 Safety systems not interconnected
13:45 ITU Symposium takeaways
30:40 UN regulations & autonomous vehicles Cruise and more 4
0:29 National Disability Institute report 5:11 Krogers and Gatik test autonomous trucks in Texas
54:30 Baidu reported offering driverless rides in Beijing

 SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 308 / PodCast 308 On the road at Starbase @ Boca Chica, Texas
  F. Fishkin,  March 11, “In this special edition of Smart Driving Cars, Princeton's Alain Kornhauser takes us to Boca Chica, Texas and pays a visit to Starbase, the SpaceX Spaceport.”

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 307 / PodCast 307 w Jason Ditman, Chief Engineer GM
F. Fshkin,  March 7, “GM says Ultra Cruise will arrive with the 2024 Cadillac Celestiq and will ultimately enable hands free driving in 95 percent of driving situations.  Ultra Cruise chief engineer Jason Ditman joins Alain and Fred for episode 307 of Smart Driving Cars.  He tackles the tough questions and issues.  Plus Cruise Robotaxi unit cutting costs, NHTSA probing Zoox self certification and Embark winding down.
 0:00 open
0:40 GM Ultra Cruise Chief Engineer Jason Ditman introduction
1:55 How did development go during Covid?
4:32 Announcement that Ultra Cruise will first arrive on 2024 Cadillac Celestiq
8:45 Alain comments on Super Cruise 9:50 How does Ultra Cruise availability figure into route planning
13:40 Why is hands off is important and not feet off 16:45 If using intelligent cruise control…why does it disengage when brakes are tapped?
25:29 System is separate from automated emergency braking…how do they talk to each other
28:43 Response to Missy Cummings headlines that people using automated systems involved in crashes were speeding more often than people driving without automated systems engaged.
33:24 GM Cruise says focused on cutting costs this year according to Reuters
37:25 NHTSA opens probe, reportedly, into self certification of the test procedures at Zoox
41:08 Embark winding down operations, laying off most employees
44:41 Kudos to GM Ultra Cruise team
49:24 Here comes Alain’s spring break

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 306 / PodCast 306
F. Fishkin,  March 3, “Waymo passes a million miles with Waymo Driver and issues a safety report. Tesla addresses investors and the future, Ford creates Latitude AI and more. Join Princeton's Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin for episode 306 of Smart Driving Cars.”
0:00 open
0:44 Waymo Driver performance report
14:15 More layoffs at Waymo
15:00 Tesla Investor Day-what we learned
16:18 Adam Jonas at Morgan Stanley impressed with Tesla Investor Day
23:05 Ford creates Latitude AI after demise of Argo AI
29:40 Guidehouse Insights research report
34:35 Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association seeks modernization of vehicle exemption process
39:05 Diane Gutierrez Scaccetti to chair Transportation Research Board Executive Committee

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 305 / PodCast 305 w/Michael Sena
F. Fishkin, Feb. 27,  ” With shrinking populations and vacant office space, Michael Sena says the de-industrial revolution has begun. "The Dispatcher" publisher and consultant joins Alain Kornhauser & Fred Fishkin for episode 305 of Smart Driving Cars. Plus...run flat tires, GM's Cruise Origin, Locomation, Tesla and more.
0:00 open
1:00 Is it time we admitted the world will change: the de-industrial revolution has begun
21:00 Impact on transportation, automakers
28:40 Run flat tires..from Michelin and more
35:25 GM’s waits for NHTSA okay for deployment of Cruise Origin autonomous mobility
46:00 Locomation denies reports of its demise 47:08 The Insider report on Tesla… and upcoming master plan. Alain’s comments not what were reported. 

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 304 / PodCast 304 w/Missy Cummings, Prof. George Mason Uni"F. Fishkin, Feb. 16  ”She was among the first female fighter pilots in the Navy, was recently a senior NHTSA safety advisor, and is a professor of engineering and computer science. Missy Cummings is worried that ADAS technology is causing more people to speed. What to do? Dr. Cummings joins Alain and Fred to discuss. Plus the latest from Zoox, Tesla and more.

0:00 open 1:00 Missy Cumming pushing for limits on autonomous tech9:30 hands free, feet free driving dangers
15:00 Should tech be used to block speeding and reckless driving?
32:00 Issues with intelligent cruise control
40:30 Is the battle for cars that would forbid speeding winnable?
44:00 Are vehicle safety systems not communicating with each other?
50:00 Is the problem with vehicles identifying stationary objects being addressed?
55:20 Zoox begins carrying passengers on public roads in vehicles without steering wheels
57:17 Rob Mauer’s Tesla Daily
58:30 Ken Pyle’s ViodiTV compiles autonomous round up from CES
59:25 Brad Templeton launches Robocars podcast
59:48 Alain will lead off MIT Mobility Forum series Frida

 SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 303 / PodCast 303 w/Kelly Funkhouser, Consumer Reports
"F. Fishkin, Feb. 9,  ” Ford's BlueCruise comes out on top in an evaluation of active driving assistance systems by Consumer Reports. Manager of Vehicle Technology Kelly Funkhouser joins us for a look at what car makers are getting right and getting wrong. Plus.. Tesla, Mobileye, autonomous planes and more.
0:00 open 0:48 Active Driving Assistance Evaluation Report from Consumer Reports
2:53 Ford’s BlueCruise ousts GM as top in ADAS
10:33 What is the value of being able to drive hands free and pedal free
16:40 Why doesn’t the technology prevent speeding and misbehavior
21:08 Are consumers using the safety features..
27:14 Pro active braking assist coming to more vehicles and is a great feature
36:00 Should there be a light or mechanism that shows others whether cars are being controlled by human or automated system?
43:43 Are there things that carmakers are really getting right or really getting wrong?
51:00 Corvette on top in CR report on vehicle owner satisfaction
52:43 Navya
53:00 Axios reports autonomous passenger planes inching closer to takeoff
54:00 a fight against sludge…from NY Times 54:51 Mobileye post advocating simpler language for autonomy levels
56:47 Waymo named Super Bowl officials autonomous technology partner”

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 302 / PodCast 302 Autonomous chaos in San Francisco?...
"F. Fishkin, Feb. 3,  ” Robotaxi chaos in San Francisco? Tesla boosting production in China. Level 3 launch from Mercedes. Layoffs at Rivian. More SpaceX success! Join us for episode 302 of Smart Driving Cars with Princeton's Alain Kornhauser & co-host Fred Fishkin.
0:00 open
0:55 Autonomous chaos in San Francisco?”
6:28 National Safety Council marks anniversary of national roadway safety strategy
9:41 Tesla boosts production at Giga Shanghai & more
11:25 More SpaceX success
14:05 Mercedes launch of level 3 systems in U.S.
19:12 U.K. Unveils First ”Fully” Autonomous Bus Service
23:11 Layoffs at Rivian
24:35 Data Centers on Wheels: Emissions From Computing Onboard Autonomous Vehicles
27:47 Ford boosts production of Mustang Mach E touting 0-60 thrills in press release
30:54 Justice Department urged to look at leaders of TuSimple and alleged transfer of tech to Chinese start-up “

SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 301 / PodCast 301 w/Michael Sena, Editor of The Dispatcher
"F. Fishkin, Jan.27, ” Driverless work vehicles advance while driverless passenger cars seem stalled. The Dispatcher publisher Michael Sena joins Alain and Fred on episode 301 of Smart Driving Cars for that, plus Tesla rebounds, Ford's Blue Cruise impresses and more. “
0:00 open
1:00 Driverless Work Vehicles discussion
20:45 Stellantis Reaching for the Data Star
23:27 Winters can be cold, EVs like it hot
36:11 Tesla earnings, news and rebound
38:39 Layoffs hitting Waymo? And other tech companies too.
47:30 Ford’s Blue Cruise top rated by Consumer Reports in active driver assistance

Link to  previous 276 -> 300  SDC PodCasts & ZoomCasts
Link to 275 previous SDC PodCasts & ZoomCasts


Recent Highlights of:

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Monday, August 21, 2023

[log in to unmask]">  GM Cruise and Lidar Robotaxi’s Business Model Is Go Through $100 Billion in Losses to Try to Reach Profitable Scale

B. Wang,  Aug. 15, “GM’s Cruise robotaxi service has expanded from 70 to 300 robotaxis operating in San Francisco and will soon expand to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Austin and Dubai. GM Cruise had increasing losses of $561 million in the first quarter of 2023. This will be over $2 billion in losses in 2023. GM Cruise will having increasing billions in net losses until they reach profitable scale. IF GM Cruise grows revenue by 1000 to 2000 times (100,000% to 200,000%) by 2030 and achieves operational and financial efficiency then it would become very profitable. Robotaxi’s must continue to undercut Uber, taxi and public transit pricing to get the market share. This will take perhaps $100 billion or much more cumulative losses to finally reach profitability.

Waymo financials is in Google Other Bets and were a lot of the Other Bet losses of $4.8 billion in 2020 and $5.2 billion in 2021 and $6B in 2022. Morgan Stanley analysts valued Waymo at $175 billion in 2018, $105 billion in Sept 2019 and the Waymo valuation estimate in 2023 is $30 billion….”  Read  more   Hmmmm… All the more reason that focusing on serving the folks whom Uber/Lyft serve amounts to chasing the wrong customers. Those customers are simply too diffuse spatially and too needy to justify their high price.  Being marginally cheaper (~20% discount) isn’t sufficiently disruptive to expand this customer base and is inconsequential to the bulk of valued ride-hailing customers - those taking longer trips who tip well.  Even if Cruise & Waymo got’em all, the financials aren’t pretty. Too few, too needy to end up contributing anywhere near enough to have any hope for profit, even after bankruptcy, let alone an RoI on the initial investment.

Proof-of-market only makes sense when the fundamental advantages of driverless’  on-demand, spatial land temporal  flexibility can be leveraged to  offer really good mobility at a very low price within sufficiently concentrated areas to people who need a ride within that concentrated area and are willing to put a little shoe leather into the game. 

Such market disruptions happen every day in even not-so-tall buildings. Just think: if getting around in tall buildings required a “ride-hailing” service model, we would have no tall buildings.  You’d need an app, an elevator operator, a rating system, layers of public oversight, … but, you could go directly from the front door to your room… maybe???   No reason why the elevator service (easily accessible pick up and drop off, on-demand 24/7, casual rid-sharing attendant/driver-free service) model can’t be enormously disruptive in attracting the loyalty of the vast number of people who need a ride and, also,  to the many who find themselves forced into giving themselves a ride and even some who can readily give themselves a ride. 

In case I haven’t been clear, the ride-haling service model is not a sufficiently disruptive business model to afford the investment that driverless requires.  Had it been easy to do driverless and the Elaine Herzberg crash had not occurred, then maybe Uber/Lyft would be financial darlings.  Unfortunately, driverless has proven to be really tough and Uber/Lyft are but taxis with a really nice app, but are forever burdened with providing a living wage to an individual who services but one rider at a time, not only for that ride, but also the time waiting around for that rider and the time getting to that rider.  The driver has very little opportunity to be more productive, since, apparently, ride-sharing destroys ride-hailing’s service concept to an extent that is greater than can be restored by a cheaper price to the valued ride-hailing customers.  Thus, no ride sharing,  Moreover, the non-constant demand throughout the day induces a substantial amount dead time further challenging driver productivity.  Thus, as with taxis and limos, Under/Lyft ride hailing can’t be less substantially less expensive than taxis/limos and given the expected returns and life-styles of the Silicon  Valley inventors of ride-hailing it is not the right disruptive business model for driverless.  The elevator business model of making it easy for anyone to get a ride any time from and to many places, with or without others, no app required and is such a good way to go that those benefiting from that equitable accessibility might be willing to pitch in an make it even free because in the end it is so inexpensive to deliver. Now that’s disruptive! 

If you want to learn more about the wrong business model for driverless, see Brian being interviewed in Tesla Expert: Why Cruise and Waymo Will Go Bankrupt   Alain

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Robotaxis: California Regulators OK 24/7 Self-Driving Car Expansion in San Francisco

M. Kupfer & I. Mojadad,  Aug. 10, “San Francisco will enter a new era of driverless cars—whether residents and city leaders like it or not—after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gave autonomous vehicle companies Cruise and Waymo the green light for unlimited expansion on Thursday.

In a 3-1 vote, the commission ruled to allow the companies to operate across the city 24/7 and charge passengers for the ride.

Commission President Alice Reynolds and commissioners Darcie Houck and John Reynolds voted in favor of resolutions allowing the companies to expand their operations. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma opposed the resolution, saying that the CPUC lacked sufficient information to evaluate the safety of autonomous vehicles and their impact on first responders.

Driverless Cruise and Waymo cars have long circulated through San Francisco and even ferried passengers through the city streets. But, until now, their operations have remained limited.

Cruise has been allowed to charge fares for rides between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and offer free rides at all other times. Waymo has only been allowed to charge for rides with a human safety driver in the vehicle.

Now both companies will be able to grow their operations in San Francisco....

A Long Meeting With Passionate Comments:
Thursday's session started at 11 a.m., with the commission hearing hours of public comment and ultimately voting on two resolutions to allow Cruise and Waymo to operate across the city 24/7 and charge passengers for rides.
A long line of supporters and opponents waited on Van Ness Avenue to enter the commission building ahead of the meeting.

.….”  Read  more   Hmmmm…  Listening to almost 4 hours of one-minute public comments from those in-house @ the CPUC meeting, I was deeply moved by the challenges and acute mobility needs facing many San Franciscans. While it's true that a segment of the community can drive themselves or afford, without a second thought, to just pull out their cell-phone to receive instantaneous gratification via Limo/taxi/Uber/Lyft, there is a significant population that continues to be overlooked. And as I have been saying over and over again, part of the incredible potential of driverless is to provide everyone with safe and affordable means of getting from point A to point B.

I also heard substantial fear in the public comments. Fear of marginalization ("I use a wheelchair; how can a driverless vehicle be useful to me?"), fear of unemployment ("I have been working as a taxi/Uber/Lyft driver for years. How will I feed my family if driverless cars expand service?"), and safety fears (collisions, interference with emergency vehicles). These fears are real and important to address. So what I cannot fathom is why the PR departments of Waymo, Cruise, etc. are not doing a better job educating the public.  I understand why The San Francisco Standard, WSJ, and any for-profit media repeatedly highlights slick, easy stories (at the best) and click-bait at the worst to elicit emotional responses and continued readership, but where is the professional journalism? Nuanced, thoughtful reporting exists, but is seriously overshadowed by the glib (like today's sensationalized non-news about sex in mobility systems.). Where are the discussions about how driverless car companies are not trying to eliminate taxi services or put working people out of business or neglect the physical mobility needs of many riders, but instead are seeking to be one of many mobility choices? Where are serious investigations of what current car companies and law makers are doing to address human misbehavior in typical cars - texting/distracted driving, driving while under the influence, jay walking, speeding, tailgating, and any other number of unlawful activities that imperil us? How do, say, last year's avoidable collisions that resulted from driver misbehavior compare with all driverless "misbehaviors" of the past 5 years? I implore those who are interested in technology, public safety, environmentalism, smart cities, and mobility rights, to spend the necessary time to consider the actual potential societal benefits that driverless vehicles might afford and to collaborate in designing safe, equitable, affordable systems that benefit the collective.

 

OK, rant over, climbing down off that particular soap box.... :-)

 

Once the proceedings allowed remote comments, I contributed a one minute summary of the following, which I submitted in writing:

Public Comment to the California Public Utility Commission, August 10, 2023
by
Dr. Alain L. Kornhauser, Princeton University

My name is Alain Kornhauser. I am Professor of Operations Research & Financial Engineering at Princeton University, and Faculty Chair of its Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering activities. The application of automation to improve mobility and quality of life in cities has been the hallmark of my career as a teacher and researcher, which started in January 1971. I am about to start my 52nd year at Princeton.

 

I speak today in support of the deployment of safe, affordable, equitable, sustainable, and high-quality mobility to improve the lives of all San Franciscans. Such mobility is not widely available today, neither in San Francisco nor anywhere else in the world.

 

It can be delivered only through the deployment of vehicles that remove the high cost of the driver, which represents more than 50% of the cost of a ride, whether it is in a taxi or a bus.

 

Operation of driverless mobility has been demonstrated by Cruise and Waymo. They have shown that vehicles without drivers can deliver safe demand-responsive rides 24/7, but thus far have focused only on the technical solution, not on the real value to society.

 

Affordability is the real value proposition, because the cost, at scale, for driverless mobility is really inexpensive, especially in comparison with the true cost of a driver to wait around to be summoned, then to get to a customer, and finally to give that customer a ride.

 

Ride sharing further cuts the cost in half, which I strongly recommend that you endorse.

 
This low cost of giving a ride can enable a fare structure that supports a profitable operation that is attractive to all but the very poorest residents, for whom free service could readily be afforded by philanthropy.

 

We find that on a typical day, San Franciscans would like to take about 2.1 million personTrips that originate and terminate in this 7-by-7, 49 square mile city.  Each is longer than a 10 minute walk (one-half mile). The average length is 2.9 miles; the 90th percentile is 5.4 miles, and the longest is 8.5 miles.

 

We estimate that roughly 50% of these trips can and are taken by people who have the wherewithal to drive themselves. Of the other 50%, less than 10% take transit/taxi/Uber/Lyft/Limo. The rest “get a ride” from a family member or friend or many don’t go because they can’t get or can’t afford a ride. 

 

The biggest societal reason for the CPUC to approve this service is the improved quality-of-life that driverless mobility services can deliver to those who can’t afford a ride, can’t get a ride from a family member, or who find themselves in the unenviable situation of having to ask for a ride from a neighbor or stranger.  (Another substantial benefit comes from reducing the dead-heading that is incurred by taking someone someplace and then having to go back and pick them up.) 

 

We believe that a well-managed fleet serving these customers can achieve vehicle productivities of 100 personTrips/day, with Average Vehicle Occupancies of 2.0, total costs of under $0.85 per personTrip mile, and a break-even fare, without subsidy, of $2.43 per personTrip.  

 

A fleet of 5,000 vehicles could readily serve 500,000 personTrips or 25% of the daily San Franciscan personTrips (excluding tourists).  

 

With respect to impact on labor, by far the largest elimination of driving by humans is to the family and friends who would have given most of the rides that would switch to this service.

 

Those who now use taxi/Uber/Lyft/Limo can largely afford those services today and will likely continue to use those services.

 

Those customers who are conveniently served by public transit will continue to use public transit.

 

Moreover, there may not be any loss of existing jobs, while many new jobs are going to be created to maintain and oversee driverless vehicles that will enhance the quality of life for all members of the community, especially those who, today, do not have access to affordable high-quality mobility.

 

Most relieved are the family members and friends now giving the many rides.  

In summary, this is why I believe the City of San Francisco should approve the 7x7 deployment of driverless vehicles.
1.      They are the best way to provide high-quality mobility to the large percentage of the population who cannot drive or who cannot afford to own a car and drive themselves. Taxis are too expensive, and public transportation does not serve their needs to get where they need to go when they need to get there.
2.      Improved mobility for those who are unserved today means that more people can get to jobs, health care, educational opportunities, and all the services that improve people’s lives.
3.      Making good transportation affordable is better than using tax money to subsidize transportation solutions that do not meet the needs of the city’s citizens.
4.      Driverless vehicle technology employs all of the sensing equipment that is making cars safer than they have ever been. Driverless vehicles are already well on the way to being ready to deliver safe rides within urban areas. With the proper guidelines in place for where, when, and how these cars can operate, they will become even safer.

 

Thank you...  "  Alain

 

Monday, August 07, 2023

Tampa adds fleet of Tesla SUVs for new mobility option around city

Andrew Harlan,  July 31, “The Tampa Downtown Partnership announced the launch of DASH, a new service featuring Tesla SUVs that will carry folks to 20 different spots around Tampa. The trip will cost just a few dollars, and an official route map will be revealed later in August.

DASH is described as an innovative new option to travel around fast-growing Downtown Tampa. This service will zip passengers through the city with low-cost shared rides between more than 20 different hubs located across Downtown….”  Read  more   Hmmmm…  Fantastic!! Tampa becomes the first MOVES-style mobility system in the world to ”…zip passengers through the city with low-cost shared rides between more than 20 different hubs located across Downtown…” providing “Safe, Affordable, Equitable, Sustainable, High-quality” rides.  Hopefully, Trenton can become the 2nd where We’ve caledl the Hubs “Kiosks” (or “Hubs” or ??) with a vision to evolve to driverless operation so that the cost to operate the service becomes truly Affordable. 😊 Alain

Monday, July 31, 2023

We Took a San Francisco Cabbie for a Driverless Car Ride. He Had Opinions

H. Li, July 27, “Barry Taranto doesn’t feel any immediate threat to his livelihood from the rise of the driverless car. But this long-time San Francisco taxi driver is still angry that they exist.

As a board member of the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance, Taranto has been an outspoken critic of Uber and Lyft. But now, he finds himself again besieged by brand-new technology on the road.

“The city is a mess,” Taranto said. “Adding these autonomous vehicles is going to cause more congestion.”

As part of The Standard’s series on the rising trend of driverless cars in San Francisco, we took Taranto on a ride—his first—to see what he thought about the experience.

As part of The Standard’s series on the rising trend of driverless cars in San Francisco, we took Taranto on a ride—his first—to see what he thought about the experience.  …  here we go again, Han is trying to sabotage Waymo & Cruise again.  So sad!...

“I’m interested to see how this particular vehicle handles different situations,” he told The Standard, “especially during the daytime.” …

Amid busy daytime traffic, the ride was a bit challenging, but the small SUV traveled smoothly and slowly through San Francisco’s complex topography.

“I've dealt with [passengers] getting upset that you are driving so cautiously that you're stopping at practically every light,” Taranto said, criticizing the Waymo’s slow speed— most of the time under 30 mph. In San Francisco’s dense area, many streets have a 25 to 30 mph legal speed limit.  …  What does Taranto do to not stop for red lights, go through them?  I’m sure he doesn’t! He likely works hard to reassure his customer to relax and that they’ll be fine!   …

However, Taranto admitted to a feeling of extra safety… Wow!  Bingo!!! “Turing Proof-of-Technology” passed by Taranto with an “extra safe”! Wow!!... (my emphasis).  " Read  more  Hmmmm…  Never mind!  My bad!! Han, you’re the best!!!  After arranging such a great testimonial, how can the CPUC not vote approval on August 10.  Taranto’s other challenges are all readily solvable… more Waymos, less wait; recommendations of better routes can easily be incorporated; doing kiosks instead or hailing can vastly improve boarding and alighting by everyone, especially those that have special needs; and, as far as congestion goes, ride sharing and the opportunity to fleet manage the “getting to the next ride and from the end of the last ride” will incur fewer non-rider miles than Taranto, the members of the San Francisco Taxi Worker Alliance and Uber/Lyft drivers can do on their own as they move around rider-empty as they, today, seek their next customers.  Han, Thank you!! You arranged THE best testimonial! Alain

Monday, July 24, 2023

  Exclusive: Disability advocates push for robotaxi expansion

M. Dickey, July 21,  "San Francisco's LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is among a group of community organizations urging state regulators to approve Waymo's permit that would enable the self-driving car company to receive payments for its around-the-clock service in San Francisco.

Why it matters: Community organizations that advocate on behalf of people with disabilities argue autonomous vehicles are safer and provide more accessibility and independence than traditional ride-hailing services, and hope the permit will encourage expanded services.

What's happening: In an open letter posted Friday, more than a dozen community advocacy groups urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to "approve Waymo's permit at the earliest possible opportunity," arguing driverless cars "can ensure this next generation of transportation is more inclusive than ever."

In addition to LightHouse, other groups include the San Francisco LGBT Center, Self-Help for the Elderly and the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California.
Read  more  Hmmmm…  Excellent! Thrilled to see that communities are advocating for MORE Waymo/driverless services, and that their requests are getting at least some media attention. We are hoping that many more groups follow suit. Wouldn’t it be great if  companies like Waymo focused on the needs of similar community groups AND did a better job publicizing their progress in terms of delivering safe, affordable demand-responsive/high-quality rides?  All too often the stories intended to catch the public eye are written by those who don’t actually need a ride and who don’t seem to care about the potential of driverless services to disrupt the giving rides  market for the betterment of society [see below].  The fact that “more than a dozen” advocacy groups are joining to lobby for Waymo’s permitting is proof that they (and Cruise) meet the Caudill Corollary: “Proof-of-Community Value & Sustainability”.  Alain

Friday, July 14, 2023

Editorial: Cruise and Waymo have passed the “Turing (Kornhauser) Test” for Proof-of-Technology

A. Kornhauser, July 14,”Happy Bastille Day!  ” What a day for me to write my first editorial.  Fane 24 begins its Bastille Day: A brief history of France’s July 14 national holiday… Bastille Day” is known in France simply as “le Quatorze Juillet”, a reference to the date on which it is held. July 14 became an official national holiday in 1880 to commemorate key turning points in French history.   …  Today, July 14, 2023, commemorates for me the turning point in autonomousTaxi (aka aTaxi, roboTaxi) history to commemorate aTaxi’s passage of the “Turing (Kornhauser) proof-of-technology” test, as written in Wikipedia“The Turing test, originally called the imitation game by Alan Turing in 1950,[2] is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Turing proposed that a human evaluator would judge natural language conversations between a human and a machine designed to generate human-like responses. …”   …

 

Kornhauser’s "Proof-of-Technology” version of the Turing Test, as it might appear in Wikipedia, would be “… a machine's ability to give a ride equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Kornhauser proposed that a human evaluator would judge rides given in an Operational Design Domain between a human and a machine designed to generate human-like rides given in that Operational Design Domain. …”  

 

After spending three days in San Francisco listening to and engaging in discussions describing the testing of driverless cars by Cruise and Waymo, and getting rides given by humans and by machines designed to give human-like rides, I've come to the conclusion that, if I kept my eyes closed, I could not tell if a human or a machine was giving me the ride. Rides were indistinguishable.  Furthermore, since their simulations and data-supported real-world testing experience have more than satisfied the safety equivalence condition by exceeding it, I can declare that both Cruise and Waymo have passed the “Turing (Kornhauser) Proof-of-Technology Test”

 

That is an enormous accomplishment.  I for one/many/most/essentiallyAll New Jerseyians can’t wait for Cruise and/or Waymo to assemble sufficient machines, adjust them to address some of the quirks of a Trenton/Mercer County ODD, a Perth Amboy/Middlesex County ODD, a Patterson/Pasaic County ODD, a Newark/Essex County ODD… and offer human-like rides to us.  I’m certain Cruise and/or Waymo will find us grateful, thankful, appreciative of the improved quality-of-life that they’ll be able to profitably deliver to so many of us in New Jersey.  By coming to New Jersey,  they'll go beyond the “Turing (Kornhauser) Proof-of-Technology" test to pass the “Kornhauser Proof-of-Market" Test.  Alain

Friday, July 7, 2023

Should your car prevent accidents, period?

F. Fishkin, July 4, “Would you want to own a car that would simply stop most accidents from happening?   What about having that kind of car for your children?   At Princeton University, the faculty chair of autonomous vehicle engineering, Alain Kornhauser, my co-host on the Smart Driving Cars podcast…says many vehicles today are equipped with enough technology or could be equipped with enough technology,  to simply not permit excessive speeding, tailgating and other forms of reckless driving and could prevent the vast majority of collisions…along with the associated deaths, injuries and costs.     The question to ponder is….is that something we want as a society?    The technology is ready and waiting.   The many who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones…would likely say yes.   What about you?   What about regulators and carmakers?   …” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Of course.  Fred and I have for years said there are 3 groupings of SmartDrivingCars:

*  SafeDrivingCars… exactly what Fred is talking about.  Their value proposition is they keep the driver from misbehaving if that misbehavior is likely to lead to a crash of any kind.

*  SelfDrivingCars… that perform the driving functionality when the driver remains engaged in overseeing the automated driving and remains completely capable of reengaging in the driving process within very short notice.  Their value proposition is the delivery of comfort and convenience to the driver.

*  DriverlessCars… that performs all of the driving functionality.  No assistance is required or desired to be done by any of the vehicle occupants.  These operate as well with or without any person in them.  Everyone inside is a passenger.  Their value proposition is purely an economic one in which no human labor expense is incurred in the provision of mobility.  This economic benefit can be profound in not only substantially reducing the cost of mobility but also enabling levels of service and vehicle utilization that are substantially better than can otherwise be achieved.  Alain

Monday, June 26 2023

Should your car prevent accidents, period?

F. Fishkin, July 4, “Would you want to own a car that would simply stop most accidents from happening?   What about having that kind of car for your children?   At Princeton University, the faculty chair of autonomous vehicle engineering, Alain Kornhauser, my co-host on the Smart Driving Cars podcast…says many vehicles today are equipped with enough technology or could be equipped with enough technology,  to simply not permit excessive speeding, tailgating and other forms of reckless driving and could prevent the vast majority of collisions…along with the associated deaths, injuries and costs.     The question to ponder is….is that something we want as a society?    The technology is ready and waiting.   The many who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones…would likely say yes.   What about you?   What about regulators and carmakers?   …” Read  more  Hmmmm…  Of course.  Fred and I have for years said there are 3 groupings of SmartDrivingCars:

*  SafeDrivingCars… exactly what Fred is talking about.  Their value proposition is they keep the driver from misbehaving if that misbehavior is likely to lead to a crash of any kind.

*  SelfDrivingCars… that perform the driving functionality when the driver remains engaged in overseeing the automated driving and remains completely capable of reengaging in the driving process within very short notice.  Their value proposition is the delivery of comfort and convenience to the driver.

*  DriverlessCars… that performs all of the driving functionality.  No assistance is required or desired to be done by any of the vehicle occupants.  These operate as well with or without any person in them.  Everyone inside is a passenger.  Their value proposition is purely an economic one in which no human labor expense is incurred in the provision of mobility.  This economic benefit can be profound in not only substantially reducing the cost of mobility but also enabling levels of service and vehicle utilization that are substantially better than can otherwise be achieved.  Alain

Monday, June 26 2023

San Francisco’s fire chief is fed up with robotaxis that mess with her firetrucks. And L.A. is next

R. Mitchell, June 26, “Robotaxis keep tangling with firefighters on the streets of San Francisco, and the fire chief is fed up.

“They’re not ready for prime time,” Chief Jeanine Nicholson said….

State regulators track robotaxi collisions, but they don’t track data on traffic flow issues, such as street blockages or interference with firetrucks.

But the Fire Department does. Since Jan. 1, the Fire Department has logged at least 39 robotaxi incident reports…

State regulators track robotaxi collisions, but they don’t track data on traffic flow issues, such as street blockages or interference with firetrucks.

The Fire Department incidents include reports of robotaxis:…  

Safety data censored

In 2021, the DMV joined with Waymo on a court-approved deal to allow driverless car companies to censor not only trade secrets but basic information on safety performance, including most details of collision reports as well as information on how the company handles driverless car emergencies 

The industry is tight with the information it releases to the public about its operations on public roads.

Waymo won’t say how many cars it runs in San Francisco. Cruise said it operates 150 to 300 cars but won’t be more precise. Neither company will say how large its fleet will grow, or how quickly. Neither Waymo nor Motional will say how many robotaxis they’re testing in Santa Monica and L.A….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…   Devastating in so many ways.  The SF “proof-of-market” is a train wreck!  Time for a major pivot! Watch PodCast 323 with Russ.  Alain

Wednesday, June 21 2023

  A Driverless Contest for Mid-Size Cities

K. Pyle, June 14, “A benefit of travel is the random conversations with strangers that cause one to look at the world in a slightly different way. For instance, standing in the airport security line this week, a lady from Little Rock, AR explained that Uber and Lyft no longer serve the hometown of the Bill Clinton Presidential Library.

[Fact check, according to its website, Lyft and Uber, as well as other local providers serve the Clinton National Airport.]

She said their apps indicated that their respective services were not available. She believes this happened as a result of the pandemic.

[Fact check; Perhaps there still is a dearth of drivers as reported in 2021.]

She described the taxi service in the Little Rock area as “awful”. It takes an hour and a half to get one. She also doesn’t feel safe in a taxi especially compared to Uber/Lyft…

 

If her perception of the limited mobility choices is representative of the population, perhaps Little Rock would be a great use case for a driverless service. I forwarded this question to Princeton Professor Kornhauser and Michele Lee of Cruise for them to ponder and look forward to any feedback they might have (Kornhauser comments about this in the latest SmartDrivingCars podcast).

As background, the three of us serendipitously converged at CES2023 and talked about mobility challenges. In a soundbite from that interview, Lee explains the challenges and opportunities for improving mobility and questions whether she could make the journey to Alain’s house. There are glimpses of her entering and securing her wheelchair in the Cruise, driverless Origin vehicle….  Read  more  Hmmmm…  Check out ZoomCast322 below.  Be sure to also look at Ken’s embedded video with Michelle.  Alain

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

  Watch: A conversation on the U.S. autonomous vehicle industry

Axios events, June,7, “On Wednesday, June 7 in Washington, D.C., Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller and business reporter Nathan Bomey hosted conversations exploring the growth of the American autonomous vehicle industry. Guests included Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), and National Disability Institute director of health equity Elizabeth Layman. A View from the Top sponsored segment featured Cruise chief legal and policy officer Jeff Bleich….

Rep. Bob Latta discussed how driver safety is informing congressional efforts to accelerate autonomous vehicle regulation.

1.      On rising deaths from traffic accidents due to driver error:…

Sen. Gary Peters highlighted strong U.S. ambitions to lead in developing the technologies needed to support the growth of a domestic autonomous vehicle industry.

1.      On competition to be a leader in the future of mobility:…

Elizabeth Layman explained how autonomous vehicles could expand job prospects for people with disabilities in providing more options for transportation.

1.      On a recent National Disability Research report studying the impacts of AVs for people with disabilities:…”    

Read  more  Hmmmm…  Watch attached video, and….  All those initiatives are very important, but the highest value “low hanging fruit” is Origin’s fundamental ability to provide affordable, high-quality mobility to the large number of people who “need a ride”.

Many of those people today, don’t get to go where they wanted to go at the time they wanted to go because, they couldn’t “get a ride”.  Some went through extra-ordinary “pain” to get the ride they got, but unfortunately, the pain they incurred in getting that ride diluted the value and quality-of-life they could have gotten had the ride not been so challenging to get. Those that didn’t go, did something and got some personal value in doing that, but got less value than if they could have gotten a high-quality affordable ride to where they really wanted to go.

 

Origin, properly deployed and operated, especially in MOVES-style fashion, can readily deliver those rides safely and is “Made in America” and environmentally responsible and can readily use its flexibility to better serve the needs of those with disabilities.  Alain

 

Friday, June 2, 2023

NHTSA Proposes Automatic Emergency Braking Requirements for New Vehicles

Press release, May 31, “The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require automatic emergency braking and pedestrian AEB systems on passenger cars and light trucks. The proposed rule is expected to dramatically reduce crashes associated with pedestrians and rear-end crashes.   

NHTSA projects that this proposed rule, if finalized, would save at least 360 lives a year and reduce injuries by at least 24,000 annually. In addition, these AEB systems would result in significant reductions in property damage caused by rear-end crashes. Many crashes would be avoided altogether, while others would be less destructive.   

“Today, we take an important step forward to save lives and make our roadways safer for all Americans,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Just as lifesaving innovations from previous generations like seat belts and air bags have helped improve safety, requiring automatic emergency braking on cars and trucks would keep all of us safer on our roads.” …”    Read  more  Hmmmm… This is substantial and you must read Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which contains the details, especially page 14 (interesting that it states:”… all speeds above 10 km/h (6.2 mph), even if these speeds are above the speeds tested by NHTSA…”.  Does this mean that If I’m doing x over the speed limit, say 100mph, the system must remain  functionable  and very rarely suffer from false positives. Fantastic!

 

Also pay attention to the phase “imminent collision” that is supposed to trigger into action such a system.  One must be very precise in the definition of “imminent” (is it really “1.6 seconds to collision” or ???).  I might suggest that nothing is imminent.  There is a physical process that evolves over time from a state in which everything in “hunk-dory” to a time when one is between the “rock & hard place”.  Maybe the Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS, intelligent cruise control, et al) should be communicating with the AEB so as to avoid, as much as possible, ever getting to that magical “imminent” point.  The more that can be done to prepare and begin to do things as one passes through 2.0, 1.9, 1.8, 1.7, 1,65, 1.625, …  so as to raise back up the time to collision to 1.65, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9. 2.0, .. infinity, the better!

 

If this is done well, the driver may not even be aware that it is happening.  Then: No complaints!  No taking the car back to the dealer and claiming it is a lemon!  No or greatly reduced “false imminent train wrecks” (especially when traveling at high speeds!!!).  Doing this well delivers enormous value to the driver and society!

 

Here is what Neal Boudette of the NY Times and Andrew Hawkins of Verge  wrote about this. Alain

 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Focus Only on V-2-V Communications to Save Lives

M. Sena, May 28, “Forget roadside units and national access points. They are a huge waste of time and tax payers’ money. Any report that claims otherwise is written to justify a pre-determined conclusion. If the European Commission and NHTSA really and truly want to reduce vehicle-related deaths and injuries, they will legislate the fitting of alcohol locks on all cars, trucks and buses; require identification of the driver to prevent vehicles from starting if the driver is not licensed; require the placement of governors on accelerators to prevent vehicles from exceeding the speed limits; and they will require cars to send the basic safety message to other vehicles—but NOT restrict how this should be done….”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Maybe a long time from now when we’ve figured out how to deal with spam should V2V go beyond good old fashioned turn signals, brake lights, backup lights, headlamp flicks, horns and flashing lights.  “NHTSA-type folks”  roll their eyes when I’ve pointed out that express buses in NJ have an extra pair of white taillights that turn on when the accelerator is not depressed to instantly inform trailing drivers that aerodynamic drag may begin to slow down the bus in advance of any brake application. 

 

Which is better than the “No way!” that I get when I suggest that a 4th tail light be placed to indicate that a car is in cruise control so that the trailing driver has a better clue as to what the car ahead  is going to do next.  The light could be green if the car has intelligent cruise control and is maintaining a safe distance while traveling at less than its desired constant speed.  It could turn blue when going at its desired speed and might even turn another color or orientation if it is in “lane-centering” mode and has no intention of changing lanes.  A vehicle so equipped could provide these leading indicators to any/all human-driven trailing cars at zero incremental costs and to all driverless cars with a few lines of additional

 

Friday, May 19, 2023

  Don’t Fall for the Hype or Hysteria About ChatGPT. Don’t be Complacent, Either.

Chunka Mui, April 28, “If you’re trying to decide how to invest in Generative AI and ChatGPT, take special heed of Amara’s Law,

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

This caution is especially warranted for technologies that rocket so quickly from research playthings to media headlines, like ChatGPT. 

Don’t succumb to the hype or the hysteria. Don’t be complacent, either. Instead, before making any big decisions or strategic investments, take time to understand the technology and its applications, implications and limitations from your own organizational and personal context. And to really understand it, remember the observation of Marvin Minsky, the cognitive scientist and cofounder of the MIT AI Laboratory:

You don’t really understand something if you only understand it one way….”  Read  more  Hmmmm… Additional good thoughts from Chunka: “We’re just a few days past Mother's Day, maybe that's what brought my mind to the phrase “Ai ai aiii...” in response to all the headlines around AI these days. That was something my mom used to say in exasperation when things got a little carried away around my house as a kid.
Don’t get me wrong, as someone with a front row seat during earlier up and down eras of AI, I find the recent progress and tools amazing, almost even magical. But, both the hype and hysteria are a bit too breathless. As one eminent AI scientist recently said, "Calm down people. We neither have super powerful AI around the corner, nor the end of the world caused by AI about to come down upon us.” 

Hence the theme of three of my recent articles, one on AI in general and the others looking more specifically at AI in Health Care and Insurance is the same: Don’t panic. Don’t be complacent. Instead: think big, start small and learn fast, guided by a robust future history.

1.      Don’t Fall for the Hype or Hysteria About ChatGPT. Don’t be Complacent, Either.

2.      How AI Could Reshape the Future History of Health Care (for the Better and Worse)

3.      6 Words to Focus Your AI Innovation Strategy

Hope you enjoy them. Please like, share and comment if you can. That really helps the bots know to spread the word (and would have made my mom smile).

Cheers, and may every day be a Happy Mother’s Day for all the moms in your life.” 
I couldn’t agree more. Alain

Friday, May 12, 2023

Waymo doubles robotaxi service area in Phoenix in bid to grow driverless trips tenfold

K. Korosec, May 4,  “Waymo is doubling its commercial robotaxi service area in the Phoenix metro area, an expansion that will add new suburbs and connect previously isolated sections of the sprawling and car-dependent desert city.… “ Read  more  Hmmmm… This has the potential to be important news.

 

Phoenix has been a great “Proof of Technology/Safety” for Waymo.  Safe, driverless mobility has been established in a substantial Operational Design Domain (ODD).  The objective of that “Proof of Technology/Safety” was:  operate safely throughout the ODD without attendants. The performance metric was essentially no disengagements and essentially no crashes throughout the ODD with an attendant on board. Then pull the attendant and demonstrate essentially no disengagements and essentially no crashes throughout the ODD.  

 

Proof of Market requires the service be attractive enough such that sufficient individuals choose Waymo One as the means by which they go from point A to point B, leaving at or about time t.  For Waymo One to be the chosen by an individual means it had to be -perceived by the traveler as being THE best way to go for this trip at this time.  Not the 5th best, or the 3rd best or even the 2nd best.  It had to be THE best for that individual for that {A,B, t}. 

 

Users of Waymo One come from an addressable market made up of trips that would be taken by conventional means, had Waymo One not existed, plus the inducement of new trips because Waymo One is so much better than all other options so as to make the destination + the travel so desirable that the individual decides to make the trip rather than not go. 

 

To become #1 in the eyes of a potential customer, Waymo One has many positives:  

1.      It is safe:  OK, but not substantially safer than other ways Arizonians have among their choice set as to how to travel.  Likely not enough to elevate Waymo One above their current way to go.  So safety by itself is not a differentiator. In economic jargon, the demand elasticity of safety is essentially zero at current safety levels.

2.      The technology: OK;  however, this is a “one and done” greatness that generates a “selfie” on the first use and little perceived benefit thereafter.  The cost of customer acquisition is so non-trivial that it needs to be focused on repeat customers and not “one & done”s;  where the service is rarely perceived to be better than one’s own car or an expense account ride hailing, taxi or limousine trip.

3.      Service is inexpensive and can be made affordable with vehicle productivity and scale:  Great!  This is an attribute that is really important at the current moment to folks who don’t have access to their own car and who are paying their own way.

4.      Service is high-quality in that its flexibility can allow it to respond to a customer’s demand rather than having the customer change their desire in order to correlate to a schedule and a route:  Great, especially to those for which affordability is important so there isn’t need to trade off price with service.  Moreover, the service can be made even better in the future such that even car owners may change their car-buying behavior because Waymo’s service has become so good and so affordable that they pivot. 

 

My recommendation would be for Waymo to concentrate their “Proof of Market” on serving customers who currently don’t have access to their own car, can’t readily get a ride from someone, and will appreciate how inexpensively Waymo One can afford to deliver a safe, high-quality ride.  Once focused on serving the mobility desires of this market segment, then Waymo One can pass the “Proof of Market” test by achieving a vehicle productivity of 100 person trips per day per vehicle.  That productivity allows them to scale and be relevant and profitable. Is it any surprise that I am suggesting they work with us in Trenton and on other MOVES-style projects? 😊  Alain

 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

  S&P Dow Jones Indices to Calculate The Road to Autonomy Index Tracking Autonomous Vehicles and Logistics

The Road to Autonomy, April 25. “The Road to Autonomy®, a leading source of data, insight and commentary on autonomous vehicles and logistics, has selected S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) to be the custom calculation agent for The Road to Autonomy Index (ticker: AUTONOMY) and The Road to Autonomy Total Return Index (ticker: AUTOMYTR).  The Road to Autonomy Index, comprised of 38 publicly-traded companies, measures the performance of the autonomous vehicle and logistics ecosystems, including autonomous vehicles, trucks and off-road specialty vehicles, as well as transportation, technology, industrial and services companies that have identified autonomy as a key component of their growth strategies.

 

"The Road to Autonomy Index provides a comprehensive view into this dynamic sector that is poised to shape the future of how we live and work," said Grayson Brulte, founder and chief executive officer of The Road to Autonomy.  "Our unmatched knowledge of the industry and the influences that drive it give us unique perspective into its potential, and our partnership with S&P DJI provides a foundation of integrity and transparency for the Index."… “ Read  more  Hmmmm…  Very interesting.  See ZoomCast 316/PodCast 316 below Alain

Thursday, April 27, 2023

May 2023 Issue of the Dispatcher

M. Sena, April 26, “ I did some spring cleaning of my bookshelves. Before I chucked the ones I had picked out for removal, I leafed through them to be certain I was ready to part with them. Two are in the process of being re-read. One, The Accidental Century, was authored in 1965 by Michael Harrington. He was the founder of the Democratic Socialists of America. The book is a jewel. The second book, The Living End, was written by Roger Starr, a Democratic Realist, a life-long New Yorker, and an avid flyfisher. I have devoted a few pages of Dispatch Central to quotes from these two books.

 

Another book that has been on my shelves since 1997 is Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. I found my way back to it as a reference for a book that I am co-authoring with Professor Alain L. Kornhauser titled Mobility for the Non-mobile. Christensen devoted a whole chapter to why the car companies were getting it all wrong with electric cars—in 1997! There are great lessons for why everyone is getting it all wrong with driverless cars, which is the theme of the lead article.

The moral of this story: Don’t be so quick to throw out old books; you never know when you are going to find them, read them, and appreciate what you didn’t get the first time around..….” Read  more   Hmmmm….. Another enjoyable issue with a very serious message.  Alain

 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

As Appears in the NY Times (& CNN)

April 20, 2023, "...

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" Read more  Hmmmm….. Check out the guy in the Orange shorts.  My 2nd live launch. My 1st was July 16, 1969, Cape Kennedy, Apollo 11.  😎

 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Why We Do AV Software Recalls

K. Vogt, April 7,  “One of our Cruise AVs was recently involved in a minor collision after a city bus slowed and the AV was late to brake behind it. It resulted in minor damage to the front fender of the AV and caused no injuries.  

Fender benders like this rarely happen to our AVs, but this incident was unique. We do not expect our vehicles to run into the back of a city bus under any conditions, so even a single incident like this was worthy of immediate and careful study.

I want to walk you through our investigation of the incident, what we’ve done to address our findings, and why we ultimately chose to file a voluntary recall with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). These actions are a reflection of the rigorous safety culture that we’ve built at Cruise and our deep commitment to improving roadway safety. ….”  Read more  Hmmmm…..  Kyle, thank you for the responsible and timely response to an unfortunate incident.  Thankfully, this minimal incident uncovered and enabled you to fix something which, under the rarest circumstances, might be more serious.  Again, thank you for the post. Alain

 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

  While On-Road Driverless Slows, Ag-Tech Autonomy Players Are Plowing Ahead

R. Bishop, March 30, “The John Deere Company wowed the crowds at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in January with their high-tech agricultural equipment. At their exhibit, heads craned upward in awe to take in the 120 ft boom of their precision spraying technology, straddled atop a massive tractor. At the CES 2022, Deere & Company introduced a fully autonomous tractor.

In the months since CES, we’ve seen multi-faceted challenges for companies seeking to transform road-running Automated Driving Systems (ADS) into a profitable business. ADS developer Embark announced a shutdown and Locomation appears to be on the same path. The mood of investors is uncertain, especially given troubles in the banking sector.

Against this backdrop, the off-road world is becoming increasingly interesting for companies developing autonomy. Caterpillar and Komatsu brought the first commercial ADS’s to mining operations well over a decade ago. At that time, although the tech was very expensive, a business case could be made for equipping the huge mine-hauling trucks at open pit mines.

Since that time, thanks to the tidal wave of AV development for passenger cars, trucks, robo-shuttles, delivery robots, and more, the tech cost has now come down to reasonable levels for other types of industrial operations. Plus, the tech robustness has progressed by leaps and bounds. The result? Use cases are expanding rapidly in areas such as agriculture and construction. For this article, I’ll dig into the Ag space to examine the linkages with on-road autonomy….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  Right on, Dick! Such a timely and excellent post. 

As I wrote last week in SmartDrivingCar.com/11.13-AutomotiveAI-033123 and is repeated below… “ The objective of the 6th SmartDrivingCars Summit will be to put the eventual manufacturers of driverless passenger vehicles together with the eventual operators of transportation services to decide if there is a business to be made from delivering affordable mobility to a large segment our societies who are underserved by the current options: private cars and public transport.

It’s already happening with military and work vehicles”...  !  Alain

 

  Waymo retires its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan

K. Karosec, March 30, “More than five years ago, a newly minted Waymo took the wraps off of what would become its first commercialized autonomous vehicle: a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan loaded with sensors and software.

Now, the minivan, a symbol of the early and hypey AV days, is headed for retirement as Waymo transitions its fleet (a must read) to the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicles equipped with its fifth-generation self-driving system.

When the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid AV was first revealed, it might not have been what people expected from the former Google self-driving project turned Alphabet-owned business. The design wasn’t ripped from the pages of a graphic sci-fi novel and it was hardly flashy. But the white minivan — highlighted with the same blue and green accent colors found on the Waymo logo — embodied the company’s aim. Waymo wanted a friendly looking vehicle people would feel comfortable using….

Waymo never got close to the 62,000-minivan order it agreed to in 2018 as part of an expanded partnership with Fiat Chrysler. But the minivan did become a critical part of its commercialization plan and over its lifespan the fleet provided tens of thousands of rides to the public, according to the company. (Waymo has never revealed detailed figures of its minivan fleet beyond that its total global fleet is somewhere around 700 vehicles.)…” Read  more  Hmmmm…..  Wow!!! Deployment has barely started and  Waymo is already  “retiring” fleets.?  Seemingly, in part, to obtain “ … On Thursday, the White House gave a shout-out to Waymo ” What???  Washington isn’t even interested in AVs.  In their last funding round USDoT didn’t find a way to award even one penny to AVs, yet they’re still in the CV business. That  straw didn’t  break Pacifica’s back!

Is new vehicle availability expanding so much faster than new market opportunities that these vehicles aren’t worthy hand-me-downs to less deserving ODDs?

New Jersey hasn’t even been visited by one and let alone given any opportunity to serve the many in New Jersey who would really appreciate the Pacifica’s mobility opportunities and have their quality-of-life substantially improved by the non-retirement of these vehicles. 

So, I’m pleading with Waymo, please look at how to re-purpose these Pacificas in New jersey and please… don’t do to these what GM tried to do to the EV1s.  Don’t crush’em all!

To help out, I bid to buy today, the first 2 that you “ retire”.  As well as offer to purchase an option to buy 8 more within 6 months, 90 more within one year and 400 more within two years.  Cash!  Seriously! Call me!   

Please Don’t crush’em all!  Alain

Friday, March 31, 2023

 April 2023 Issue of the Dispatcher

M. Sena, March 29, “ ….In this April issue of The Dispatcher for 2023, I have tried to summarize the discussions on Automotive AI that we had during the 2023 Future Networked Car Symposium. Amidst the warnings about the negative sides of AI, there are some positive signs that AI is being put to good use for automotive safety. I hope you will spare some time to read Musings this month. If you have ever wondered where the “We’re in the railroad business” cliché came from, you will find the answer in Musings. There’s also a tip on where to have lunch when you visit Steamtown National Park in Scranton, PA this summer.….” Read  more   Hmmmm….. Another great issue.  Enjoy the time you spend reading it.  Alain

 

Friday, March 24, 2023

ITU 2023 Future Networked Car Symposium: Automated Driving Systems (ADS) for Consumers and Other Vehicles (Trucks, Delivery, Shuttles, Robotaxis, Etc.)

R. Lanctot, March 12, “ Full automation of the driving task appears tantalizingly close. Multiple use cases are emerging simultaneously, revealing potential paths to market adoption and consumer acceptance. The evolution of these use cases will determine the future of ADS. This panel will review the emerging ADS applications – consumer vehicles, commercial vehicles, delivery vehicles, shuttles, robotaxis – to better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with ADS technology and the state of development and market adoption.….” Read  more   Hmmmm….. After almost 15 years of substantive  testing (the Google effort started in 2009) and almost 20 years since the first DARPA Challenge, we are still only ”… revealing potential paths to market adoption and consumer acceptance …”??? 

 

Isn’t it about time that this teenager start delivering some tangible return to its “parents” and society.  For what is supposed to be such a disruptive technology it has yet to identify the market where it has decisive cost or quality advantage over the existing firms. (over the existing solutions it is trying to replace.)

 

It might be as safe as good drivers (It might be safer than bad drivers), but it has no chance anytime soon to being disruptively safer. It is not disruptively more fun to drive.  Just ride around with it, that’s a service, not a possession.   It has no chance at being a consumer vehicle. 

 

ADS has equally no chance at replacing commercial vehicle drivers.  Helping professional drivers have an enhanced workplace? Yes!  Removing them from their workplace? No!

Some special purposed deliveries in the middle of the night? Maybe.

 

Shuttles… at best a very small one-off niche with no opportunity to be disruptive.

 

Robotaxis designed and operated so as  to serve rich ride-hailers and the chauffeured limousine market?  Good luck!   Service  quality is really important and price is essentially irrelevant (these folks are rich and/or are traveling on an expense account).   It is a non-trivial challenge for Robotaxis to deliver service quality approaching  that of Uber/Lyft/Limo; so at best, these Robotaxis  can only nip at the heels of Uber/Lyft/Limo, which itself is way less than 1% of the daily vehicle person-trips under 50 miles in length.  Even if Robotaxis got’em all, there’s nowhere near enough to justify any continued investment here.

 

These conundrums are NOT what was discussed in this session. 

 

Unfortunately, what was also not discussed or realized is that there does exist an enormous market for demand-responsive Robotaxi service that is affordable. 50% of the people in the U.S. are not physically able to drive a car, or are not financially able to own one for themselves. They still need to get to work, to shops, to medical and rehab facilities, to school, to friends, to … and the fact that they cannot readily and affordably affects their well-being and the health of the entire country. This is a huge market where a demand-responsive and affordable service is disruptive because it delivers mobility to those who need a ride but are not being served by any transport alternatives which they can afford. THAT’S WHERE DRIVERLESS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!   Affordability is really important to those who are paying for their own travel and are non-rich. Thus, affordable, demand responsive Robotaxi service can readily be the best consumer choice for that 50%.

 

The addressable market here is ~150M people over the age of 10,  wishing to make ~ 500M personTrips a day in the USA that don’t have their own car waiting around for them to drive it to take them where they want to go at the drop of a hat. To offer them with on-demand affordable Robotaxis service that is almost as well (and maybe even better) as if they did have that personal car, would be very disruptive to some, even many and eventually “all”.  A well-managed (100 personTrips per day per Robotaxi, 20% profit margin) fleet of 5M Robotaxis could serve essentially all.   Serving 1% would need 50,000.   Serving a targeted opportunity representing the first 0.001% would require 50.  This panel made no mention of this use case.  No mention of the business case.

 

Let’s continue this panel discussion at the 6th Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summit in May 22->24. A major part of the  Summit is devoted to this one topic: Delivering Mobility to the Non-mobile. We’re going to talk about the business case, something that is sorely missing in public discussion so far. Alain

Sunday, March 19, 2023

 ITU 2023 Future Networked Car Symposium: Session 2: Using Automotive Artificial Intelligence to Improve Vehicle Safety, Services and Transport Management

M. Sena, March 11., “ …During the next 3 h our panel of experts will discuss the topic of automated automotive artificial intelligence which is artificial intelligence applied to vehicle safety services, and transport management. I guarantee you they will do a much better job than ChatGPT or I'll personally refund your attendance fees.

The generally accepted definition of artificial intelligence or AI is the application of computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision making capabilities of the human mind….”Read  more  Hmmmm….. Must watch video of session 2,  Fantastic session, especially the very frank remarks by Prof. Missy Cummings. Also watch the other 3 sessions linked here  Alain

 

Monday, March 13, 2023

SpaceX Continues Rapid Development of Starship Infrastructure - Starbase Weekly Update #53

LabPadre, March 12, “This week at Starbase Raptor installation begins on Booster 9, construction continues on Ships 28 and 30, Ship 26 is parked at the ring yard and the nosecone test article is set to Massey's test site, while at Cape Canaveral SpaceX maintains a blinding pace of launch and recovery operations, ULA's first Vulcan rocket begins testing, and we review a new batch of flyover photos courtesy of Greg Scott….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  Watch video.  Excellent weekly update. Alain

 

Starbase Live: 24/7 Starship & Super Heavy Development From SpaceX's Boca Chica Facility

MasaSpaceflight, Live, “Starship is SpaceX's fully reusable launch system which is being developed at Starbase in Cameron County, Texas. Starbase LIVE provides 24/7 coverage of the exciting developments and testing progress….”  Read  more  Hmmmm…..  Watch LiveStream 24/7.  Alain

 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

GM Announces Ultra Cruise, Enabling True Hands-Free Driving Across 95 Percent of Driving Scenarios

Press release, March 6, “Today, General Motors unveiled Ultra Cruise, an all-new, advanced driver-assistance technology and significant next step in the company's journey to enable its goal of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Designed to ultimately enable hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios, Ultra Cruise eventually can be used on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.

Ultra Cruise will cover more than 2 million miles of roads at launch in the United States and Canada, with the capacity to grow up to more than 3.4 million miles. Customers will be able to travel truly hands free with Ultra Cruise across nearly every road including city streets, subdivision streets and paved rural roads, in addition to highways.….

 

GM’s two hands-free advanced driver-assist systems will coexist in the company’s lineup with Super Cruise available on more mainstream vehicles and Ultra Cruise reserved for premium entries.

“The combination of Ultra Cruise for premium offerings and Super Cruise for lower-cost products will enable us to offer driver-assist technology across price points and segments,” said Parks....

 

Always pay attention while driving and when using Ultra Cruise and Super Cruise. Do not use a hand-held device. …. ” Read  more   Hmmmm….. Very interesting.  High-end and includes LiDAR  See ZoomCast 307 / PodCast 307 and Andrew Hawkins' "GM’s Ultra Cruise will use radar, camera, and lidar to enable hands-free driving", below.  Alain

 

Friday, March 03, 2023

  First Million Rider-Only Miles: How the Waymo Driver is Improving Road Safety

The Waymo team, Feb 28, “Waymo has achieved many global industry firsts. Each time we delight our riders and deliver on our mission safely, we are proudest. In January, we accomplished another first: we exceeded one million miles on public roads with no human behind the wheel. …

 

To provide a more in-depth look into the performance of the Waymo Driver and where it stands compared to human driving, we’ve published a research paper that summarizes the contact events that we experienced during the first one million miles of our rider-only operations….

 

T. Victor, et al. “Safety Performance of the Waymo Rider-Only Automated Driving System at One Million Miles

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the safety performance of the Waymo Driver™, Waymo’s Automated Driving System (ADS). It analyzes one million miles of driving on public roads in parts of California and Arizona with no human behind the wheel– what we call rider-only (RO) operations. There were no reported injuries, and only two collisions that were comparable to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Crash Investigation Sampling System (“CISS”), a nationally representative collision database of collisions that were police reported and in which at least one vehicle was towed. There were an additional 18 minor-contact events that were too minor to meet the tow-away and police-report criteria for CISS, where nine of these 20 contact events had no damage….

 

The first event that occurred had the highest severity of the 20 contact events: …  In this event, the Waymo vehicle was struck in the rear while slowing for a red light by a car driven by a teenage driver. Rearward facing video recorded by the ADS suggests the driver of the other vehicle was looking at a cell phone held near the steering wheel immediately prior to the collision…. ” Read  more   Hmmmm….. The entire  paper is worth a very careful read.  Performance during this first million miles is very impressive.  While in the scope of things it is not very many miles, the first of anything is never very many and often it is when bad things happen. Look at what happened to Uber in the beginning.

 

 Enormous kudos to Waymo (and Cruise). They have, in my opinion, demonstrated that they can move people safely in an ODD.  Hopefully, they’ll now look for an ODD where they can safely provide mobility most of the time (NOT necessarily every day, but are confident that they can do it, say, 350 days a year) and certainly NOT everywhere in the ODD (instead find the safest set of streets and intersections that allows them to deliver interconnected on-demand mobility requiring only a short walk (~less than 5 minutes) between most of the locations within that ODD/community).  They then can build an affordable, equitable high=quality mobility system for the residents of that/those ODD(s)

 

There are many such communities throughout the country, many of which are communities where auto ownership is low, transit service is, at best, poor and the mobility offered would substantially improve the quality of life of many.

 

Waymo’s (or Cruise’s) provision of safe, affordable, on-demand mobility would be an enormous public service as well as providing a basis from which to scale to meet thire due diligence obligation to deliver substantial return on investment to Alphabet (and GM).    Alain

 

Monday, February 27, 2023

  Seeking NHTSA review of the Origin

R. Grant, Feb. 2022 “Cruise has taken a big step toward our vision of a safer, more sustainable and accessible transportation future. Together with General Motors, we have filed a petition seeking approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to build and put the Cruise Origin into commercial service. 

The Cruise Origin is among the most innovative vehicles in history: a zero-emission, shared, electric vehicle that has been purposefully designed from the ground up to operate without a human driver. This means it does not rely on certain human-centered features, like a steering wheel or a sun visor, to operate safely.

At Cruise and GM, safety is our mission. This petition both demonstrates how the Origin achieves safety objectives of existing standards, and helps enable future AV regulations. NHTSA has made clear in public testimony and regulatory actions, that in order to consider the development of AV standards, they first need more information from real world AV operations. We believe this petition can help enable that outcome: learnings from the Origin, which is designed to improve overall road safety, can help inform the creation of new, updated regulations and standards….” Read  more   Hmmmm…..Flashback! This was some of the best news that I had seen in a while when it came out last year, and here we are one year later, and it is STILL at the top of the heap. It bears repeating: Someone who has been actually demonstrating the ability to safely move people on at least some city streets without a driver or attendant (there are only two in the US: Cruise & Waymo) is seriously proposing to manufacture what is actually a driverless transit vehicle that can provide high-quality, demand- responsive mobility to a small group of people when those opportunities arise as well as serve the needs of the individual when necessary . 

Think of the opportunity of the demand-responsive mobility that such vehicles can deliver to our communities, especially the mobility disadvantaged, for whom travel demand is non-stationary and so spatially and temporally distributed that it requires a vehicle to respond to the demand for mobility in real time. Such demand, while served exceedingly well by those of us who can afford and have a license to drive a car, has little hope of being adequately served by conventional vehicles that require the demand to respond to pre-set routes and schedules. The space-time combinatorial of the demand is orders of magnitude larger than the space-time combinatorial of the set of scheduled routes. 

Thanks for coming with me on this trip down Memory Lane. What are GM Cruise/Origin up to these days? Just keep reading. Alain

GM’s plan to deploy self-driving Cruise Origin on hold as feds weigh exemption request

J. LaRean,  Updated Feb 25, “General Motors' mission to get 5,000 self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles in cities nationwide hangs on whether federal regulators will grant the automaker's request to exempt the vehicle from federal safety standards.

 

GM plans to start building the Origin at Factory Zero in Detroit/Hamtramck this year but needs approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put the vehicles on the roads. The Origin is a small bus-like vehicle that will transport up to six people without a driver. It operates through autonomous technology and has no manual steering controls or pedals. 

General Motors' mission to get 5,000 self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles in cities nationwide hangs on whether federal regulators will grant the automaker's request to exempt the vehicle from federal safety standards.

 

GM plans to start building the Origin at Factory Zero in Detroit/Hamtramck this year but needs approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put the vehicles on the roads. The Origin is a small bus-like vehicle that will transport up to six people without a driver. It operates through autonomous technology and has no manual steering controls or pedals.   "The Cruise Origin is on track to start production this year," said Aimee Ridella, GM spokeswoman. But she is careful to note, "pending government approval."…” Read  more  Hmmmm…   OK, now to the present day: Wow! Given the advances that Cruise has made in demonstrating safe driverless operation in San Francisco, coupled with the enormity of the opportunity that Cruise’s driverless stack can make when placed in a vehicle that is welcoming to shared ridership, there are many reasons to be optimistic about their potential impact in the driverless, share-ride space. Origin coupled with the Cruise driver is an ideal vehicle for the provision of safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality MOVES -style mobility, especially throughout transportation disadvantaged communities. 

 

Origin’s potential is so substantial that NHTSA in its public service role should be seeking to have GM build Origin rather than having GM petition NHTSA for permission. Yes, NHTSA is responsible for the safety of vehicles, but they also have a public calling to provide mobility; else, the travel safety extremum can be most readily attained by having everyone and everything stay home and not travel. That’s absolutely silly!  In this case, the mobility opportunity is so enormous that NHTSA should work expeditiously with GM to grant this application. As with Nuro, we have an enormous mobility opportunity that conventionally driven vehicles simply can’t deliver; else, they would have done it many years ago. NHTSA’s mobility responsibility should be demanding that it give Origin the waivers that it needs ASAP, so that society can begin to capture the unique mobility benefits that Origin has the opportunity to deliver. Each day of delay is a day that the improvement in the quality of life of some individuals, especially some that have been very unfairly disadvantaged by the automobile revolution, is delayed. It is about time that NHTSA does something to improve mobility for those who have been left behind by that revolution. Why the feet dragging here??? Alain

Alain

 

Friday, February 17, 2023

  Carmakers Are Pushing Autonomous Tech. This Engineer Wants Limits.

C. Metz, Feb. 15,  Last fall, Missy Cummings sent a document to her colleagues at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that revealed a surprising trend: When people using advanced driver-assistance systems die or are injured in a car crash, they are more likely to have been speeding than people driving cars on their own.

The two-page analysis of nearly 400 crashes involving systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and General Motors’ Super Cruise is far from conclusive. But it raises fresh questions about the technologies that have been installed in hundreds of thousands of cars on U.S. roads. Dr. Cummings said the data indicated that drivers were becoming too confident in the systems’ abilities and that automakers and regulators should restrict when and how the technology was used.

People “are over-trusting the technology,” she said. “They are letting the cars speed. And they are getting into accidents that are seriously injuring them or killing them.”…”  Read  more  Hmmmm….  Yup!!  Discussion is in  SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 304 / PodCast 304 W/Missy Cummings

 

Friday, February 10, 2023

  Active Driving Assistance Evaluation Report

Staff, January 2023, “…PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT
In line with Consumer Reports’ mission to create a fair, safe, and consumer-driven marketplace, this report has been written for the industry to provide more explanation and guidance on the state of Active Driving Assistance systems based on our recent evaluations. CR’s evaluations focus on real-world driving experience, consumer survey data, and experts’ insights, keeping safety at the forefront.

Previous Testing and Reports We examine systems that assist with vehicle speed (Adaptive Cruise Control) and steering (Lane Centering Assist). Active Driving Assistance (ADA) is the combination of when Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Centering Assistance (LCA) are active simultaneously. CR first began evaluating Active Driving Assistance in 2018, testing four of these systems. The testing procedures and report influenced how other organizations, such as IIHS and Euro NCAP, would begin evaluating the same types of systems. Testing expanded to include 18 systems in 2020—one from each major automaker and one aftermarket device.

CR also works with other organizations to test ADAS systems, such as the MIT AVT (Advanced Vehicle Technology) consortium, where data has been collected in naturalistic studies from hundreds of thousands of miles of real-world driving. Collaborative relationships with global testing organizations regarding specifics in metrics and scoring ensure that CR’s testing program is robust and aligned in terms of capabilities as well as driver safety…”  Read  more  Hmmmm….  A really good report.  Discussion is in .  Discussion is in    SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 303 / PodCast 303 W/Kelly Funkhouser, Consumer Reports

 

Friday, February 3, 2023

 SF Officials Describe Chaos From Cruise, Waymo Cars as They Try To Slow Their Rollout

K. Truong, Jan 30, “Firefighters were battling a major house fire near the intersection of Hayes and Divisadero streets early in the morning of Jan. 22 when a Cruise vehicle with no safety driver started to creep its way into the emergency scene. 

Two firefighters stood in front of the car to prevent the vehicle from driving over hoses used to douse the growing inferno, but that didn’t work. As the car continued to inch forward, one firefighter took quick action and smashed the vehicle’s front window, finally bringing the car to a stop. First responders contacted Cruise, who sent workers to move the vehicle out of the way. …

 

That was just one of 92 unique incidents between May 29 and Dec. 31—mainly from Cruise—cited by San Francisco transit officials, who are strongly urging for tighter oversight as “robotaxi” services look to massively expand their operations…

 

Alain Kornhauser, …  pinned the companies’ missteps on an effort to grab market share from Lyft and Uber rather than solving for transportation gaps.

“To me, the shame of these companies is that they have a solution, and they are still looking for a problem,” Kornhauser said. “The objective of this is not a selfie in a self-driving car; it’s to provide mobility to folks who don’t have it and ultimately improve their quality of life.”…  Read  more  Hmmmm….  Well said 😊 For a solution (driverless mobility) that could be doing so much good for so many who have so little mobility that even “transit officials” would be sending them high praise ,they instead seem to be singularly focused on providing yet  another alternative to  those that already have too many great mobility options.  Their hammer is simply focused on the wrong nail and this is especially debilitating when the first nail is the wrong nail.  The self-inflicted pain is so much greater when there is little, if anything, gained by hitting, let alone missing,  the wrong nail.  Alain

 

Despite mounting opposition, the Bay Area’s robotaxis keep racking up the miles

A. Hawkins, Jan 31, “… .

Cruise

Cruise reported 2,783 paid passenger rides in its fully driverless vehicles — quadrupling the number of rides from the previous quarter. The company’s ridehailing vehicles traversed a total of 26,838.61 miles during the quarter, which covered September to November 2022….

Waymo

Cruise’s main rival in the robotaxi space, Waymo, didn’t want to comment on the latest CPUC data, but there was still a lot of parse through.

As previously mentioned, Waymo’s Bay Area operations are split between paid rides in vehicles with safety drivers (aka “drivered rides”) and unpaid trips in driverless vehicles. Waymo has a list of pre-approved members of the public called “Trusted Testers” who ride in these driverless (or “rider-only”) vehicles that sign non-disclosure agreements to test the company’s early technology. But the majority of its trips are in drivered vehicles….

 

Over three months, Waymo did 183 trips as part of its driverless pilot, ferried 441 passengers, and traversed 3,057 miles. Its drivered vehicles did 6,313 trips,…

Read  more  Hmmmm….  These systems have barely closed the passenger door and have yet to leave the gate.  They aren’t near the runway.  Takeoff is a distant vision.  Andrew is being way too kind.  Alain

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Riding Nairobi's Craziest Matatu, Kenya

J. Billam, Feb. 11 ’22, “I show my wild experience riding Nairobi's Craziest Matatu (local bus) bound for Rongai in Kenya's capital city… “  Watch more  Hmmmm... If we aren’t going to have Moves-style Autonomous Transit Networks, then Matatus may well be  the answer to safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, and colorful mobility.  Millions take them every day in Nairobi, Kenya.  Amazing. J  Alain

All Nairobi Matatu Routes at your fingertips!

“ Have you ever found yoursel in town with no idea how to get to a certain destination using Public Transport and you end up calling friends or asking strangers where a certain Matatu stage is? You are not alone!! Thousands of Nairobians go through this daily!

So us cool peeps at MyRide Africa thought to bring this to an end so that  you never get lost in Nairobi again! We have the all new Matatu Map on the App that can help you to find any route in Nairobi in 3 easy steps…’’ Read more  Hmmmm... Just returned from a trip of a life time to Kenya.  Absolutely fantastic experience    Alain

 

Friday, January 13, 2023

RFP NO. 22DBM0071  BUFFALO INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FOR THE UNDER SERVED (ITS4US):  SELF-DRIVING SHUTTLES

 S. Still, Jan. 10, Project Overview: University at Buffalo is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from qualified firms to provide self-driving shuttle vehicles and operations in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and surrounding neighborhoods.     The project is funded by the US Department of Transportation as part of its ITS4US program. 

Proposal Date/Time:
February 1, 2023 2:30pm EST. Proposals received after the specified time will not be accepted. 

The Request for Proposals (RFP) documents are available now by registering through this link:  https://www.nyscr.ny.gov/adsOpen.cfm   Questions can be addressed to David Markey, Senior Buyer, at [log in to unmask]. ….”  Read more  Hmmmm... I love what Dr. Steve Still is trying to do in Buffalo.  All the best.  Alain 

 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Hmmmm…. Happy New Year!   Welcome to the inaugural issue of the 2nd decade of the SmartDrivingCars eLetter. 

Much has remained the same: 

     There are still 3 distinctive markets for SmartDrivingCars:

1.      SafeDrivingCars:  Those in which the automated function are explicitly designed to not only substantially reduce driver misbehavior by constraining the performance characteristic such as incorporating  speed governors that only permit excessive speeds in geofenced locations such as Watkins Glen International and stretches of the German Autobahn, but also automatically intervene to prevent crashes; thus, extending what  is done today with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

 

[log in to unmask]" align="left" hspace="2" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_4">Since the root cause of the vast majority of crashes is driver misbehavior, SafeDrivingCar systems would most effectively achieve public safety aspirations.  Unfortunately, there has been essentially no advance in SafeDrivingCars since NHTSA/FMVSS No. 126 Electronic Stability Control (ESC) rule enacted on 09/09/2011.  By being silent on mandates, Washington has not made any substantive  progress on road safety in more than a decade.  We should all be demanding change!

 

There have been advances in warnings and turn-off-able systems that are largely ineffective at addressing chronic misbehavior such as alcohol abuse, tailgating, texting and road rage. Notable outliers that have proven to be effective are blind spot warnings and rear automated emergency braking (RAEB).  Luckily, both of these systems aren’t perceived by the buying public to be misaligned with the freedom associated with driving one’s own car.  These systems are being desired by the marketplace rather than needing to be mandated. Unfortunately, such market forces are not commensurate with speed governors, ignition locks, attention monitoring and  texting prevention systems. 

 

What may be even more dangerous  is the evolution of visual entertainment systems such as Continental’s “pillar2pillar” display.  How can a driver pay attention to the road ahead when there is so much to see between the pillars that has nothing to do with driving safely?  NHTSA/FMVSS should step in immediately and permit the enabling of these systems only if speed governors, ignition locks, attention monitoring and  texting monitoring systems are also engaged.  Just look at what has been happening since 2010 wrt highway safety.  At some point, some OEMs will really focus on safety and create cars that are as dedicated to safety as this mother.

 

1.      SelfDrivingCars:  Those which allow the driver for some extended period of time to be “feet-off” the brake & throttle, delivering to the driver substantial comfort & convenience, but also “hands-off” the wheel for shorter periods of time providing a little more [log in to unmask]" align="left" hspace="2" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_3">comfort & convenience.  Absolutely required are  “eyes & brain” focused the human task of driving, ready to intervene should the automated driver begin to fail.

 

 As we’ve expected from the beginning, this form of automation has been embraced by car makers because it is highly desired by car buyers, especially when the “feet-off” and “hands-off” features are promoted without much mention of the “eyes&brain-on” requirement. These features, including intelligent cruise control and automated lane centering,  have essentially become standard equipment.  More advanced versions such as Tesla’s FSD command $15k price tags that are purchased in volume today and whose future inclusion in vehicles allows MobilEye to tout $3.5B in booked revenue,  Continental to feature a partnership with Amberellla and nVIDEA to make a major automotive announcement at CES 2023 to supply the continued OEM demand to provide such comfort & convenience capabilities to near and longer-term new car buyers. 

 

1.      DriverlessCars:  Those which serve only passengers and/or good from trip start, through finish.  Luckily, the notion that individuals might own such vehicles for personal use and/or be able to “AirB&B” them for others to get from A to B is now realized by essentially everyone as exceedingly naïve.  The Mercedes booth at this year’s CES showed no sign of its Mercedes Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion | LIVE PREMIERE CES 2015.  Yea! 

[log in to unmask]" align="left" hspace="2" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_2">Deployment of fleets of DriverlessCars to move people and/or goods from start to finish has had mixed results.  In private settings such as farms, mines, ports and warehouses the capabilities of today’s driverless technology is substantively delivering value to OEMs such as Caterpillar and John Deer. 

 

Deployment in public spaces for public uses is at best slow and steady.  One of the possible highlights, using remote drivers, is that of Halo.ai whose application is only for the empty repositioning of vehicles in the shared-use car space.  I was thoroughly impressed with their application of driverless technology to not move people or goods, but to simply assist in the management of cars to efficiently deliver a shared car to a customer location and to reposition that asset to the next customer.  The demands of the driverless system are substantially reduced because there is no one in the car when it is under remotely automated control and that repositioning can be done on the safest road segments and largely at the safest times.  Excellent!

 

I was also very impressed with the Holon vehicle for use in MOVES-style kiosk2kiosk Autonomous Transit Systems. The vehicle is appropriately accommodates shared rides and the disabled community  

 

With respect to moving people in MOVES-style kiosk2kiosk shared-ride Autonomous Transit Systems, I was very impressed @ CES 2023 with the appropriately sized  Holon vehicle that is definitely oriented to provide  kiosk2kiosk ride-sharing mobility and properly serve the physically disabled community .  The smaller GM/Cruise Origin may well be the leading US-made shared-ride-oriented MOVES-style driverless vehicle opportunity; however,  I could not find them at CES.  A very similar Zoox vehicle was displayed @ CES 2023 and also looks very  impressive as a MOVES-style shared-ride and wheel-chair friendly vehicle .  The purpose built Waymo vehicle seemed oriented to private ride-hailing and may not be US made.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have a discussion with anyone @ the Waymo booth to gain any appreciation for Waymo’s deployment strategy. 

 

With respect to the movement of goods.  There were some interesting “last 50-500 feet” sidewalk solutions such as Ottonomy’s delivery robot.

 

Alain

 

Friday, December 30, 2022

Automotive AI Is Making Both Cars and Drivers Better

M. Sena, Dec. 28, “ AUTOMOTIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AAI) is a term that has different meanings, depending upon who is using it. For some, it means completely removing the human from the driving task and turning over control of the vehicle to software and sensors. For others, the goal of AAI is to supplement and improve the human driver's abilities in order to make driving safer, offer new and better services, and increase the effectiveness of transport management. The latter goal, improving the driving experience, has proven achievable with AI that accomplishes one or a limited set of objectives. The former goal, removing the human from the driving task, has proven to be devilishly difficult because the car needs to drive at least as well as a human.

AI that can approximate a human, that has the ability to understand and learn any intellectual task that a human can, is called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). It is also called ‘Strong AI’, with its six major branches: machine learning, neural networks, robotics, expert systems, fuzzy logic and natural language processing. AI that has proven to be excellent at accomplishing one goal at a time, like playing chess, or interpretring spoken commands or answering questions like APPLE’s SIRI, is called ‘Weak AI’.   ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. If Elon can call FSD "FSD", then Michael can call AI "AI". (Please at least read The Turing Test). Both are names that enormously over-state their realities.  FSD is not anywhere near Full anything and AI is nowhere near Intelligent.  Both do a few cute things in very narrow circumstances and neither can find their way out of a paper bag.  Alain

 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Autonomous Vehicles Reality Check Part 2: Moving People

R. Bishop, Dec. 22, “ Recent reporting/blogging about AV’s can be maddeningly confusing, because the days of saying anything meaningful about “AV’s” as a singular entity are long past. What’s going on depends on what kind of AV you’re talking about. Writers and pundits can pontificate about “the trouble in AV City” if they want, but they must first explain what AV sector they’re referring to. To make sweeping statements is meaningless; the dynamics of the technical, operational, and business factors are too diverse. Thus this three-part article series, my shot at describing the great breadth of today’s AV’s and providing color commentary.

A fundamental AV distinction regards what’s inside the vehicle: people or freight? This Part Two article focuses on moving people. Part Three will focus on moving goods.

Two Distinct Domains: Private or Commercial?  ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. Excellent, must read that among other things makes clear the distinction between what are largely orthogonal markets: Private (selling a vehicle) and Commercial (selling a ride)  .

What is missing, especially in the "selling a ride" coordinate is appreciation for the diversity of the "people" being moved.   The spectrums spanning poor -> rich; young ->old; able-> dis-able; conservative -> liberal; ....  that reflect not only on when & where each of those individuals choose to go but also on their choice as which commercial AV deployment, they'll choose to make the trip that today isn't made or switch from the way they are going today. 

As we know from the movement of goods, one size doesn't fit all; one deployment doesn't fit all.  Pick-ups do well for haulin' some of your own stuff, Class 8's for big valuable stuff.  Then there are flatbeds, tankers, cements, choo choos, boats, ... and so on for very specific stuff.  It ends up really mattering what good it is when it comes to figuring out what and how to deploy something to best move it. 

My point is the discussion about deployment along the private and especially the commercial domains has failed to recognize the diversity of the customer set and is failing to deploy near-term capabilities to be better serve the mobility needs of individuals that would be best served by that deployment. 

Moving people is a "big-dimensional" market characterized by foudomains: {P, A, B, t} where P = people; A = from location; B = to location; t = time.

Deployment must address not only the diversity of A, B and t but also that of P.  In order for an AV deployment to capture a customer it needs to be the best for that customer when that customer wishes to go from A to B at time t.  That's the deployment challenge .  The diversity of P is certainly as important as that of A, B and t.  To date the deployment focus has been one-size to fit all that has fit very few in the deployed Operational Design Domain.  Alain

 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Once You See the Truth About Cars, You Can’t Unsee It

Guest Opinion: A. Ross & J. Livingston,Dec. 15, “ In American consumer lore, the automobile has always been a “freedom machine” and liberty lies on the open road. “Americans are a race of independent people” whose “ancestors came to this country for the sake of freedom and adventure,” the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce’s soon-to-be-president, Roy Chapin, declared in 1924. “The automobile satisfies these instincts.” During the Cold War, vehicles with baroque tail fins and oodles of surplus chrome rolled off the assembly line, with Native American names like Pontiac, Apache, Dakota, Cherokee, Thunderbird and Winnebago — the ultimate expressions of capitalist triumph and Manifest Destiny.

But for many low-income and minority Americans, automobiles have been turbo-boosted engines of inequality, immobilizing their owners with debt, increasing their exposure to hostile law enforcement, and in general accelerating the forces that drive apart haves and have-nots.  ….”  Read  more  Hmmmm….. The fundamentals of our MOVES approach to the deployment is focused directly on providing a high-quality affordable alternative to this community.  Moreover, the comment that the NYT posted with the article.   Alain

 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

I'm going to the moon!!!... Literally!

T. Dodd, Dec. 8, “t's true! I have been chosen as one of the members of the incredible dearMoon mission around the moon on SpaceX's Starship rocket. To learn more about the mission and to meet the rest of the crew, visit - http://dearmoon.earth & https://dearmoon.earth/share_crew/tim... And hear more about the announcement from Yusaku Maezawa!!! - https://youtu.be/DKNSlL3Inn8... “ Watch more  Hmmmm... So deserving!  Tim has done so much to make rigorous “rocket science” understandable by non-rocket scientists while maintaining the rigor.  For that substance he has been most justifiable awarded this special honor.  Life is good!  Tim, you most justifiably earned this incredible privilege.  Full disclosure… I’m a long time subscriber to Everyday Astronaut. Alain

  

Sunday, November 27, 2022

 Argo AI Folded After a Lifeline From Amazon Never Arrived: Report

P.Holderith, Nov. 22, “The dream of smoking a cigar with the windows up in your self-driving turbine-powered jet car may be on hold. At least, that's what the demise of Argo AI, backed by monolithic automakers Ford and VW indicated. Before it all came crashing down though, Bloomberg reports Amazon nearly stepped in to keep the ball rolling.

The retail giant, which is rumored to be laying off thousands of employees, was allegedly interested in the technology for use in its Rivian-built delivery vans last year. However, a struggle to determine how Argo would be governed with three large investors as well as an alleged high cost of the autonomous driving company's tech soured the deal. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, which hasn't done anyone besides defense contractors any good.

Amazon was reportedly willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the startup. Ford had already invested $1 billion in 2017, followed by an even bigger $2.6 billion pile of cash from Volkswagen. In fact, VW's now-deposed CEO Herbert Diess even met with Jeff Bezos personally to discuss details of a potential deal. This was followed by prototype Argo vehicles running Amazon delivery routes, albeit without dispensing any packages.

Argo additionally hired 150 people to work on what seemed like a surefire investment from Amazon, but it was for naught. A governing deal couldn't be struck, the global economy was in a further state of disrepair thanks to that Vlad guy over in Russia—what's his last name again?—and inflation got more serious….”  Read more  Hmmmm... Reminiscent of what Larry Burns recalled in his book  “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car―And How It Will Reshape Our World” about a failed “partnership” between Ford & Waymo that would have “reshaped our world”.  Waymo (L), VW (W), Amazon (L), VW(L)… now what?  Alain

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

 What Riding in a Self-Driving Tesla Tells Us About the Future of Autonomy

C. Metz, Nov. 14,Cade and Ian spent six hours riding in a self-driving car in Jacksonville, Fla., to report this story.

When we decided it was time for lunch, Chuck Cook tapped the digital display on the dashboard of his Tesla Model Y and told the car to drive us to the Bearded Pig, a barbecue joint on the other side of town.

“I don’t know how it’s gonna do. But I think it’s gonna do pretty good,” he said with the folksy, infectious enthusiasm he brought to nearly every moment of our daylong tour of Jacksonville, Fla., in a car that could drive itself.  …

As the car approached the shadows beneath this mossy canopy, it suddenly changed course, turned sharply right and headed the wrong way down a one-way street:  he moment highlighted the difference between Tesla’s self-driving technology and “robotaxi” services being developed by companies like Waymo, owned by the same parent company as Google, and Cruise, backed by General Motors.  The robotaxi companies are trying to reduce these unexpected moments by tightly controlling where and how a car can drive.  But these services will have strict limitations that make the task easier. The cars will travel only in certain neighborhoods under certain weather conditions at relatively low speeds. And company technicians will provide remote assistance to cars that inevitably find themselves in situations they cannot navigate on their own…. "Read more  Hmmmm... This is exactly the basis for our MOVES-style approach to deployment.  In the near term, this technology has a reasonable chance of being good enough if its calibrations (the released version) has been biased to work well in …” in certain neighborhoods under certain weather conditions at relatively low speeds” ,.  It must also demonstrated that it does work well (zero disengagements) in a sufficient subset of the streets in those neighborhoods such that the driver/attendant is not needed to ensure safe operation.   Substantially better mobility can then be delivered between many locations throughout those neighborhoods in most weather conditions than the mobility available today throughout those neighborhoods.   

Unless Driverless is substantially better in delivering mobility to some in some places they will never be more that a fad or fashion statement.  Unfortunately, that’s how Driverless has been positioned to date.  “My car drives itself! A ride becomes a goofy selfie on TikTok/Instagram/Twitter… Look Mom, no hands!!!   Good luck in any repeat customers or near-term RoI.  

As we’ve been saying over and over, the substantial value proposition of driverless (or real FSD) is NOT safety (it can be “as safe” but, again, way too difficult for it to be substantially safer) and, in the near term, not a fashion statement or toy for the rich (way too expensive to create that).  It certainly can’t be substantially better than one’s own personal car, although it can come close to being as good and maybe even arguably better to some. 

The attributes that can make Driverless substantially better than all other forms of mobility is its capability to affordability deliver high-quality (auto-like demand-responsive non-circuitous, 24/7 availability in most weather conditions) mobility affordably while being safe, equitable and environmentally responsive (by facilitating casual ride-sharing when warranted as is done naturally when using elevators).  Such a mobility service is offered by Kiosk2Kiosk elevator-like operation throughout the safest subset of interconnecting streets.  We call these MOVES-style Driverless Transit Networks.

Affordability is THE key differentiator.  If you are rich enough to afford a car for yourself and have a driver’s license, then this system isn’t substantially better than what you have now.  Neither is it if you can afford to pay and tip an Uber/Lyft gig worker or if your expense account pays for your taxi/limo or black car driver or if you have a chauffeur. Nor if you live in Manhattan or in the very center of a few of our largest cities.   For everyone else (the too young, the too old, the too poor, the sufficiently poor that can’t afford a car for each driver in the family, then MOVES-style Driverless Transit Networks can readily be transformative.  Trenton NJ turns out to be one of these communities where 70% of households have access to one or fewer cars.  Perth Amboy, NJ,. Cherry Hill, MD, Patterson, NJ, Scranton, PA are similar.   My Mobility Disadvantage Index for places in New Jersey can be found here and for the rest of the US, here.

I am confident that Waymo, Cruise and Tesla could today, make their systems work safely in Trenton and many of the other Mobility Disadvantaged communities if they simply added to their training set the data from driving between the kiosks in, say Trenton, and generated a ***.Trenton release of their ***Driver to be used exclusively in Trenton to deliver substantially improved mobility to many.    Alain

  

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Deployment Framework for  MOVES-style Driverless Transit Networks

A. Kornhauser, Nov. 1, "So much has been happening lately on the AV scene. With all these recent changes in mind, it seems a good moment for me to reiterate the basic fundamentals of mobility and then to restate the context with which I see the potential value of AV technology. In the following presentation, I will identify some pertinent societal challenges where mobility might have an opportunity to substantially improve quality-of-life. Fundamental to this concept is the deployment of technology that disrupts consumer choice, thus allowing the marketplace to deliver both the economic return on the investment in the technology and to unleash the societal benefits of the improved quality-of-life."   Read more Hmmmm..View slides, listen to PodCast and/or watch a repeat of the presentation that I made at the 2022 UBC International Road Safety Symposium. Alain

 

Sunday, October 30, 2022 

Ford, VW-backed Argo AI is shutting down

K. Korosec, Oct 26, "Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle startup that burst on the scene in 2017 stacked with a $1 billion investment, is shutting down — its parts being absorbed into its two main backers: Ford and VW, according to people familiar with the matter.

During an all-hands meeting Wednesday, Argo AI employees were told that some people would receive offers from the two automakers, according to multiple sources who asked to not be named. It was unclear how many would be hired into Ford or VW and which companies will get Argo’s technology.

Employees were told they would receive a severance package that includes insurance and two separate bonuses — an annual award plus a transaction bonus upon the deal close with Ford and VW. All Argo employees will receive these. For those who are not retained by Ford or VW, they will additionally receive termination and severance pay, including health insurance. Several people told TechCrunch that it was a generous package and that the founders of the company spoke directly to its more than 2,000 employees..."  
... Certainly a "class act" way to shut down.

"...said Farley. “It’s mission-critical for Ford to develop great and differentiated L2+ and L3 applications that at the same time make transportation even safer.”  Farley also insinuated that Ford would be able to buy AV tech down the line, instead of developing it in house. “We’re optimistic about a future for L4 ADAS, but profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off and we won’t necessarily have to create that technology ourselves,” ... Read more Hmmmm... What???  What is "L4 ADAS"??? You are really going to do L3 which many believe is harder than L4.  L3 is going to require that Ford accept the safety liability and the "obey all the legal operation" liability for the life of the vehicle whenever the driver is able to engage that functionality.  There is NO WAY Ford or really any OEM is ever going to take on that substantive amount of liability unless there is such an abundance of fine print that it makes Elon's proclamations about FSD seem like junior varsity. 

We all understand that "L2+" is today's "50s-style chrome & fins" propelling the selling cars in showrooms as OEMs have always done.  Absolutely no need to get to driverless (L4 in some societly or commercially viable ODD).  

Idf someone does develop (as I quoted last week) Schumpeter’s Disruptive Technology Threshold …: "... [I]n capitalist reality…, it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology…- competition which commands a decisive cost or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.” Joseph A Shumpeter  (1883-1950)”, it is going to simply make it available to allow Ford to continue to serve its customers or will use it to crush Ford?   Alain

 Argo AI shuts down as Ford, VW pull backing from autonomous-vehicle startup that raised more than $3 billion

L. Sumagaysay, Oct. 27, "...", Read more Hmmmm...  Another view.  Alain

Ford thinks driver assist is a safer bet than driverless cars, but it’s fooling itself

1.      Hawkins, Oct. 27, "When Ford announced yesterday that it was pulling its support for Argo AI, the autonomous driving startup it had financed since 2017, it cited as one of its reasons a belief that driver-assist technology will have more near-term payoffs....." Read more Hmmmm... I agree with Andrew, as I stated above.  Alain

 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Waymo says it’s bringing robotaxis to L.A.

Russ Mitchell, Oct 19, 2022 “The company, owned by Google parent Alphabet, said Wednesday that it plans to make L.A. its next market. “L.A. is in the top three ride-hailing markets in the United States and globally,” said Saswat Panigrahi, the company’s chief product officer. “The commercial opportunity is huge.”

But Waymo offered scant information about its plans, including when the commercial service will begin and how extensive the service’s coverage will be….”    Read more Hmmmm...  or what the service will be?   Ride-hailing???  Compete with Uber/Lyft… good luck! After leading the "testing phase" for the last 13 years, this is their plan for the "deployment phase".  So disappointing!  Doesn’t come close to meeting Schumpeter’s Disruptive Technology Threshold …: "... [I]n capitalist reality…, it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology…- competition which commands a decisive cost or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.” Joseph A Shumpeter  (1883-1950)”.  Alain

 

Friday, October 14, 2022

The Long Run to Autonomous Vehicles

K. Pyle, Oct. 13, "Autonomous vehicles (AV) provide the opportunity to correct government transportation failures is how the Brookings Institution’s Clifford Winston characterized the potential opportunity provided by autonomous vehicles. Winston spoke to the possible economic impact of autonomous vehicles in an online media briefing (YouTube video) that also included speakers from Princeton and the Reason Foundation who touched on the technology and the role of public policy and regulation. A lively question and answer period followed the briefing...."  Read more Hmmmm...  Ken, thank you.  Excellent.  Alain

 

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Tesla AI Day 2022

Tesla Staff, Sept. 30, "Streamed live..."  Read more Hmmmm... I'm not much of a fan of humanoids so you may skip the first hour; however, starting @ 0:58:00 - FSD Intro, the next hour and a half is substantive and a must watch.  My takeaway remains driverless "everywhere" is so enormously challenging that the near-term opportunity (next 10 years) to sell such a vehicle to a consumer is simply unthinkable. The terms & conditions would need to be so onerous making the total addressable market essentially null. 

That said, I suspect that there exist some, possibly many, societally beneficial Operational Design Domains (ODD), where "FSD 69.2.2" or near term releases can deliver safe driverless mobility.  This deployment strategy is what I with the technical support of CARTS, Inc. have decided to focus on.  Alain

 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Batteries: Theme of the Next Mad Max Dystoposeries

Sept 28, M. Sena, "IN THE PAST, when a country believed it was not receiving enough of a resource that it felt it needed and deserved, it went to war to take it. Gold, silver, tea, spices, cotton, cod, coal, grain, oil and many other commodities have been the causes of nations attempting to steal land and seas from other nations. There are countless numbers of movies that show us the horrors of war, but the postapocalyptical MAD MAX film series gives us a glimpse of what it could look like after all the big wars have been fought and lost. Warlords and their gangs prey on survivors of the wars that caused societies everywhere to collapse. They battle each other over gasoline, water and food. Are we trading wars over oil for wars over lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare earth metals, jumping from one frying pan into another? As governments continue with their policies to dramatically increase demand for these commodities, the chances for expanded conflicts increase. In many areas, they have already begun.  ..." Read more  Hmmmm... Another excellent issue.  Enjoy!  Also watch or listen:ZoomCast 285 /PodCast 285  Alain

  

Sunday, August 28, 2022

 Tesla Releases FSD Beta 10 69 With New Occupancy Network

Tesla Daily, Aug. 22, " Looking at first impressions from Tesla’s release of FSD Beta 10.69..." Read more  Hmmmm...  Be sure to watch Ashok Elluswamy's "Occupancy Networks" keynote presentation  at CVPR on June 20, 2022.  Very impressive, especially the use of training videos and it realization in FSD 10.69

Also pertinent are video demonstrations of:

1.      Tesla FSD Beta V 10.69 Dominates Downtown Driving

2.      FSD Beta 10.69 (2022.16.3.10) Release Notes

3.      FSDBeta v10.69 - HEAVY TRAFFIC - Unprotected Left Turns... Amazing that such turns are legal let alone FSD's routing algorithm deicing that this is on the best way to go.  Safety must not be part of its objective function C'mon Elon

4.      FSD Beta V 10.69 Initial Impressions.  My impression is that 10.69 drove better than this tester who seemed intent on driving aggressively and not wanting to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.  Hopefully no one at Tesla pays attention to this guy.

5.      Bullish News From Giga Berlin Tours, Production Rumors, Terrible Toyota

6.      The Tesla Semi Is Officially Here!

My takeaway from the above is that FSD 10.69 is impressive but not near "Full" anything, especially if put in the hands of some individual who themselves may well be a menace on the road. 

While not being near "Full" anything, FSD may be nearing the point in which it is FSD within some useful Operational Design Domain. 

It is one thing to be able to safely negotiate a trips segment:  safely drive straight down a well marked lane in clear weather, safely make an unprotected left, safely stop behind a stop line at a stop sign, ...  Each is an important achievement.

It is a whole other challenge to be able to safely go from some origin to some destination thus delivering useful mobility to some person or some thing safely without any disengagements.  The ensemble of these origin-destination pairs would define the ODD for FSD.  To date that ODD has been essentially null.  The challenge for subsequent releases of FSD may well be to begin to explicitly identify FSD's ODD sand assess the extent to which these ODDs have emerged from the null state to begin to safely provide some useful mobility to the general public.  Alain

Asking FSD to be "Full" everything, everywhere to everyone is simply a naive unachievable objective.  To me a better question may well be in which Operational Design Domain is FSD indeed Full Self-Driving?

Once that ODD is determined, restrict FSD to operate ONLY in that ODD. 

Tesla must accept the responsibility allowing FSD to be engaged ONLY when the car is operating in Operational Design Domain where Tesla has certified that FSD drives safely.  Else, FSD safely pull over, stop disengage and turn the responsibility of continuing on to the human driver.  It should be Tesla's responsibility to allow FSD to be turned on and the determination of when and where it ceases to move because Tesla must be held responsible and liable if it something bad happens when it is driving.  If I'm driving I'm responsible and liable.  Not my passenger who may or may not be paying attention to what is going on.  If FSD is driving it must accept that responsibility and not expect the passenger to help out.  The word "Self" implies "Full"; else the product should be called Partnership-driving or Team-driving or ???   Alain

 

Monday, August 22, 2022

 Can Tesla Data Help Us Understand Car Crashes?

C. Metz, Aug. 18, "Shortly before 2 p.m. on a clear July day in 2020, as Tracy Forth was driving near Tampa, Fla., her white Tesla Model S was hit from behind by another car in the left lane of Interstate 275.

It was the kind of accident that occurs thousands of times a day on American highways. When the vehicles collided, Ms. Forth’s car slid into the median as the other one, a blue Acura sport utility vehicle, spun across the highway and onto the far shoulder.

After the collision, Ms. Forth told police officers that Autopilot — a Tesla driver-assistance system that can steer, brake and accelerate cars — had suddenly activated her brakes for no apparent reason. She was unable to regain control, according to the police report, before the Acura crashed into the back of her car.

But her description is not the only record of the accident. Tesla logged nearly every particular, down to the angle of the steering wheel in the milliseconds before impact. Captured by cameras and other sensors installed on the car, this data provides a startlingly detailed account of what occurred, including video from the front and the rear of Ms. Forth’s car.

It shows that 10 seconds before the accident, Autopilot was in control as the Tesla traveled down the highway at 77 miles per hour. Then she prompted Autopilot to change lanes..." Read more 
Hmmmm...  We've been calling for an independent analysis of the Tesla data for some time.  Privacy is easy to protect.  There is no need to know who owns or was operating each Tesla.  Also see ZoomCast 280 Alain

 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

 Tesla's 2022 Shareholder Meeting with Elon Musk

E. Musk, Aug. 4, .” Read more Hmmmm... Watch the Q & A portion starting about an hour in from the start.  Watch especially the comments about his vision of the Tesla RoboTaxi (aka driverless cars, what I prefer to call autonomousTaxis or aTaxis, the new "Modern Transit").  The key visions are: 

@ t=6375 ... the issue of how he sees these driverless vehicles being operated (deployed). 

While I don't agree with the option of owning your own and renting it out "AirB&B -style where B&B = Mobility".  It is easier and more likely to begin by having a Professional entity managing a fleet of Tesla RoboTaxis that provide mobility to the everyone in the community.  This will be the the "Modern Public Transit".  An example being Trenton MOVES using a fleet of Tesla RoboTaxis. 

For these RoboTaxis to be attractive to a fleet operator, they will need to be styled differently than consumer versions that are sold to individuals.  The RoboTaxi will need to be easy to get in and out and interface well with wheelchairs.   They'll need to accommodate ride-sharing (personTrips are the source of the revenue, not vehicle sales).  They should have 4-wheel steering so they will never need to back up in stub-end operation.  He has re imagined the pickup truck.  Certainly, he can re-imagine a car focused on providing safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable high-quality mobility throughout a community. 

At the end of addressing the future of Robotasis he states ..." assuming we do all these things, I think, probably, Tesla will be the most valuable company in the world."

@ t=7057 Elon is asked "when will Tesla launch the first pilot city for the RoboTaxi business? 

Elon dodged the question by stating that he is focused on doing driverless everywhere, even in every imaginable simulation of the real world.  Consequently, once achieved, it could be released everywhere al at once. 

While a great vision, this is simply not realistic.  He started selling Teslas in California, not throughout the whole country.  He fully understands that one must crawl before one walks, before one runs. 

As you might suspect, I have the ideal "California" for him to first deploy his RoboTaxis and its not California or Arizona.  It is New Jersey: Trenton, NJ or Perth Amboy, NJ or Patterson, NJ or many other cities in New Jersey where the mobility offered by Tesla RoboTaxis would be life changing to many while becoming an interesting alternative to everyone else.  DoJo can more readily regress the coefficients to deliver safe driverless operation within any one of these Operational Design Domains (ODD) rather than trying to do them all simultaneously.  Coefficients can/should be tied to ODDs rather than having one "magical" set that works in all ODDs.  It is trivial for the Operating system to load the coefficients that work best in theRoboTaxi's current ODD.  This should allow RoboTaxis to demonstrate their technical, economic and societal virtues much sooner in these communities.  Market success will fuel expansion and replication in the delivery of safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality mobility so that is spreads beyond New Jersey to California and beyond just like the purchase of the first Teslas spread from California to New Jersey and beyond.

@ t=7417 Elon is asked about the Boring Company. 

True, if one could bore tunnels inexpensively, it would be great for longer distance travel.  Certainly, all of the freeways in and around cities would be placed underground.  High Speed rail on the NorthEast Corridor can only go underground for long stretches.  Bringing the Dinky to a Nassau Street terminus must be done underground.  By the way Washington Road should be underground eradicating the cancer that it is as a surface street severing the Princeton Campus.  Then there is Rt. 29 that devastated Trenton by barricading the western part of Trenton from the Delaware River and Rt. 129 that severed neighborhoods; a scenario that was repeated in essentially every city to accommodate through-moving surface travel.  They should all go underground.  There is much good that could be done.  The challenge is the above if.

@ t=6665  "when disengaging autoPilot with the wheel, the accelerator stays on. Please fix it!"  

Maybe... touching or not touching the steering wheel has little in common with acceleration (and braking) which is (are) controlled by the feet.  The steering control should be readily overcome by input of a torque on the steering wheel; however, the steering control should revert to dominance if the driver ceases to exhort a torque on the wheel.  Moreover, torquing the steering wheel should not disengage the brake or the throttle.  

With respect to the driver actions on the brake and throttle:

Driver input from the throttle should have precedence over "intelligent cruise control (ICC)" input to the throttle and brake and should NOT turn off the system simply because the driver touched the accelerator pedal. 

For the brake, it is a little different.  Tapping the brake should turn off the acceleration function of the ICC.  Acceleration should remain off until the driver explicitly re-engages it.  Moreover, driver input to the brake, if less than what the ICC calls for, should always be dominated by the ICC's desire to brake.  Tapping of the brakes should not turn off the braking function of the ICC.  That intelligent brakig function should continue to keep m fro getting to close to the vehicle in front of me.  The acceleration function has been turned off so I won't accelerate into the back of the car ahead of me and the braking function should continue to do its best to keep a proper separation between me and the vehicle ahead.  Turning the whole system off placing me completely in control should require an explicit action by me that indicates I'm knowingly usurping responsibility. 

I believe ICC should be on all the time.  Driver sets the speed and separation (or it is done automatically relative to the speed limit, weather conditions and road curvatures).  Driver can choose to override the throttle and override the braking at any time; however, in the absence of overrides, the ICC is in charge.   Alain

 

Saturday July 30, 2022

 GM's Cruise robotaxi unit drives deeper into the red

Reuters, July 26, "General Motors Co (GM.N) has lost nearly $5 billion since 2018 trying to build a robotaxi business in San Francisco, and now as the automaker's Cruise unit starts charging for rides, the losses are accelerating.

GM said on Tuesday it lost $500 million on Cruise during the second quarter - more than $5 million a day - as it began charging for rides in a limited area of San Francisco.  
... that may be the case for the last quarter, but the chart below from GM's 6/30/222 10-Q  Shows ($800M) for the last 6 months or $4.38/day when divided by 182.625   Whew!

“Cruise's costly effort to transform autonomous driving technology from a long-term research project to a profit-spinning business comes as investors are backing away from riskier bets on technology, and reassessing how soon robot vehicles of any kind will be deployed in large scale on public roads.

Shares of autonomous vehicle technology company Aurora Innovation Inc (AUR.O), for example, are down 80% for the year to date. Shares of robo-trucking company TuSimple Holdings Inc (TSP.O) have lost more than 70% of their value. Some automakers, including Ford Motor Co (F.N), have scaled back investments in automated vehicle units, or taken on partners to share the costs....

Cruise's losses for the first six months of the year deepened to $900 million from $600 million during the same period in 2021 - when Cruise was not charging for rides. Higher compensation costs to keep staff on board after putting aside plans for an IPO were one factor in the results, GM executives said.

Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday she is still bullish on Cruise, and reaffirmed a forecast that the unit could generate $50 billion a year in revenue from automated vehicle services and technology by 2030.  .”
 Read more Hmmmm... Nice optimism.  The source of the reality check above comes from GM's 6/30/222 10-Q.  Start reading from page 41.  then on page 43:

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Whoa!  The only nice thing that can be imagined is by assuming that they've had essentially zero revenue, the operating costs have "only" been $800M for the last 6 months.  That is non-small. 

I'd like to suggest that the strategy of trying to create a profitable driverless mobility service for folks that already have 2 or more cars in their garage, have excellent public transit service or travel on expense accounts when wanting to go to between the airport and "downtown" may not be the wisest way to launch such a mobility service.  There is little opportunity to be substantially better or even equivalent to what those potential customers already have.  Little opportunity to get loyal and repeat customers.  The focus to date has been too heavily weighted on getting the technology to work for folks who already have more mobility options than they know what to do with.  Great for click-bait;  challenging for the 10-Q.  What must Waymo's 10-Q Cash Flow chart look like? 

Capturing loyal and repeat customers is really tough when the competition is excellent and entrenched.  While pricing can be high, volume is almost non-existent even with nominal pricing.  Except for the novelty, the marketplace in the Chandlers and SFs is essentially non-existent.  To date those markets have been quiet, at best.  What must Waymo's 10-Q Cash Flow chart look like? 

It astonishes me that to date none of the leading driverless companies have spent any money trying to serve the needs of folks that don't own cars, aren't traveling using someone else's money, nor have access to a good public transit system focused on their mobility needs. 

These folks definitely can't pay as much for a ride as those that are being chased by Cruise & Waymo, but there are more of them.  Moreover, its almost trivial to provide them with a mobility option that is substantially better than what they have today for many, if not most, of their daily personTrips. 

This is the market that we've found in New Jersey; in Trenton & Mercer County, Perth Amboy & Middlesex County and Patterson & Passaic County.  We haven't even begun looking in Newark, Camden, Atlantic City and the rest of New Jersey.

The excuse seems to have been that it would be too expensive to deal with NJ's bad weather, even though, we've made it clear that New jersey is not interested in a 365.25 days/yr.  mobility solution.  We'd be more than pleased with a 350 days/yr. operation.  New Jersey has more than 350 good days a year.  We aren't so entitled that we can't wait for the hurricane to blow through, the snow to be shoveled or the fog to lift before we go about our normal business.  We enjoy the "snow day" at home.  We are convinced that is actually easier and cheaper to capture recurring and loyal NJ customers.

The rule-of-thumb for a Trenton-MOVES style operation is: a vehicle needs to serve at least 100 personTrips/day.  With slightly better ride-sharing and time-of-day pricing, one might be able to get to 150 personTrips/day.  To cover a fleet of 100 vehicles, ridership needs to be about 10k to 15k personTrips/day.  This kind of utilization leads to per personTrip capitalization costs of less that $1/personTrip for vehicles costing upwards of $150k @ interest rates upward of 7.5%.  That is to say, $1/personTrip readily covers the vehicle capital costs even at moderate scales. 

Given that trips on-average are less than five miles, vehicle operating costs are less than $1/personTrip. 

Management costs are largely fixed. With volume the per personTrip burden decrease enormously, and can't be more than $0.50/personTrip. 

Break-even fare is thus roughly  $2.50/personTrip. 

An average market fare of $3.50/personTrip delivers a profit of >$1.00/personTrip, >$100/vehicle-day.

A fleet of 100 vehicles delivers a profit >$10k/day, >$3.0M/yr. in the Trenton ODD serving 10k personTrips/day.

From where do these 10k personTrips/day materialize?

Essentially all the riders of NJ Transit rail would love a simple reliable convenient way to get to & from the train.  By on-demand service within the community around the train station, loyalty upwards of 80% could be achieved for anyone wanting to go to NYC or within walking distance to any other NJ train station.  For Trenton that represents a marketplace of 8,000 personTrips/day that currently drive to & from the station every day and those that currently don't use the train that would if it was easy and reliable to them to get to AND from the station, when they wanted to get to and from there. Half of the 10k would easily come from serving the Trenton Train Station.

Trenton Central HS has 1,800 students.  More than 1,500 live more than a 10 minute walk to the TCHS.  Truancy is proportional to how far a student has to walk to school.  Trenton MOVES could readily serve 1,250 of these students every day.  That's 1/4 of the needed 10k.

We only need another 2.5k personTrips and we haven't even begun dealing with getting people to & from work in Trenton, doctors, shopping visiting friends, etc. needed by the 70% of Trenton households who have access to one or zero cars.  100 vehicles serving 10k personTrips/day making >3.0M/year @ an average fare of $3.50/personTrip is just the start of a profitable business.  Employing 200 vehicles costing at most $100k at interest rates of less than 7.5% serving 150 personTrips/day at fares of $3.00/personTrip makes way more than $5M per year. 

Expanding Trenton MOVES throughout Mercer County giving the opportunity to increase average fare (because of the longer personTrips) to maybe $5/personTrip keeping utilization @ 150 personTrips/vehicle-day of a fleet of 1,000 vehicles and doing a little better on interest rates and cap costs can lead to profits of >$10M/year for Trenton/Mercer MOVES.  There are at least 10 replications of Trenton/Mercer MOVES that could be done in NJ by 2030 utilizing a fleet of at least 10,000 vehicles leading to a profit of >$100M/year. 

This kind of success leads to having many more people leave their cars at home and frequenting NJ-MOVES as their mobility system.  This could lead to a NJ-Moves fleet of >100,000 vehicles is generating a profit of >$1B. 

If Mary expects this to be achieved by 2030 and replicated in the 50 other states (on average) as the Universe she expects to exist in 2030, I'm hopeful but skeptical.  My point is, that starting with Trenton MOVES as the big bang that achieved her vision seems to me to be a lot clearer that where Cruise/Waymo have chosen to try to create a Big Bang.  Seems as if she and Kyle should be taking Trenton and New Jersey much more seriously. Please call me! Alain

 

Monday July 25, 2022

Baidu unveils autonomous vehicle without steering wheel

Reuters, July 16, "China's search engine giant Baidu Inc on Thursday unveiled its new autonomous vehicle (AV) with a detachable steering wheel, with plans to put it to use for its robotaxi service in China next year.

Cost per unit will drop to 250,000 yuan ($37,031.55) for the new model, compared with 480,000 yuan for the previous generation, Baidu said in a statement.

“This massive cost reduction will enable us to deploy tens of thousands of AVs across China," Baidu's chief executive Robin Li said at the Baidu World conference. "We are moving towards a future where taking a robotaxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today.”
 Read more Hmmmm... Really?? See video.  Where do I buy 10 for immediate delivery to New Jersey with option to buy 100 more by EoY'22 and 1st inline to buy 1,000 more by EoY'23.  eMail me!!!

While the design is certainly not ideal for "Trenton MOVES" or "Perth Amboy MOVES"  they would be good enough to get started with addressing the "Sociology Challenges" of MOVES-style deployments.  And the price is right if this isn't total click-bait.  But... that is a really big if . ��  Alain

 

Saturday June 18, 2022

 NHTSA Releases Initial Data on Safety Performance of Advanced Vehicle Technologies

June 15, Press release, "Today, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to increase roadway safety and encourage innovation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published the initial round of data it has collected through its Standing General Order issued last year and initial accompanying reports summarizing this data.

The SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems summary report is available here, while the SAE Levels 3-5 automated driving systems summary report is available here. Going forward, NHTSA will release data updates monthly..."   
Read more Hmmmm... This is a good start; however, as NHTSA repeats many times, this is just a start and there are many "data limitations". The most severe may well be the possibility of substantial "sampling bias", the most severe of which is that each OEM sourced the reported data very differently.  That makes the data between OEMs incomparable.

Also un reported is any measure that would enable a "crash rate" for an OEM to be determined.  One only has a numerator value but no denominator value.

Finally, 392 crashes of "Level 2" cars were reported during the "10" month period of July 2021 and May 15, 2022.  About 12 million vehicles are involved in traffic crashes every year among the 283 million vehicles that operate in the US.  Assuming any one vehicle is unlikely to be involved in more than one crash per yer, it means that each vehicle, on average is involved in 12M/283M =  0.0424 crashes per year.  Thus, if these ADAS cars were involved in crashes at the average rate, and had their ADAS on all the time, the 500 vehicle crashes per year contained in these data would expect to be generated from a fleet of only about 11,800 vehicles (or 0.0042% of the vehicles ("everything being equal", ADAS on all the time.). 

Consequently, either, ...

1.      These system outrageously reduce crash probabilities, and/or

1.      maybe some, but we're probably not much luckier.

2.      very few of the cars in use during that "10" month period had Level 2 capabilities, and/or

1.      unfortunately, the VIN number doesn't identify these cars and only Tesla announces how many sold (I may have missed the reportings)

3.      very few of the drivers of those cars rarely engaged the Level 2 features, and/or

1.      likely.  Only Tesla releases data on the utilization of its level 2 features but does so only in aggregate terms that don't allow for correction of sampling bias associated with engagement in "easy" driving conditions versus "challenging" driving conditions.

4.      enormous under counting

1.      likely, only Tesla has the opportunity to either "know all" or sample effectively because of their OtA monitoring of its vehicles.  Everyone else has conveniently kept their heads in the sand. Mercedes didn't report any; however, during that period I think my Intelligent Cruise Control and Lane Centering were engaged when I hit a deer.  Mercedes must not have been watching me, I didn't report it and I didn't get the memo that informed me to do anything. 

Anyway.  It is a start and at least to me the numbers are not startling.

What needs improvement is sourcing of the incidents.  Maybe OtA should be mandated.  At minimum, the VIN should specify the existence of theses capabilities.  Then normal police reportings can begin to "automatically" access the "black box event recorders" (see also Accident data recorder and NHTSA) that are in most cars today.  Unfortunately, privacy concerns makes this not-easy.  So here we are.  It wont be easy to do much better, but we should continue to try. 

What the data do point out is that a substantial number of the crashes involved the rear ending of a stationary object.  I have pointed out repeatedly that the source code of these systems explicitly disregard stationary objects in the lane ahead. Justifying this explicit process is that current sensors  incur unacceptable false positives when trying to determine if sufficient headroom exists under detected stationary object in the lane ahead.  Thus, to avoid braking in response to these rare false positives, stationary objects in the lane ahead are all assumed to be "pass under-able". 

As one drives, one encounters many stationary objects in the lane ahead.  These are readily sensed and precisely located ahead.  Readily sensed are overpasses, signs, tree canopies, traffic lights, ...  all of which can usually be readily passed under.  (As can vehicles ahead that come to rest in vehicle-follower mode.  These are not disregarded because one is in vehicle-follower mode.)

But when one is in vehicle-leader mode and one encounters a stationary object ahead, I believe, most, if not all "Level 2" systems disregard that object and assume the car can pass underneath.  So if you are in vehicle leader mode and come over the crest of a hill to be confronted with a stopped object ahead, your system will disregard that object.  Similarly, if the vehicle that you are following changes lanes forcing you to become a leader, any stationary object ahead will be disregarded.    Alain

 

Saturday June 11, 2022

3 minute Promo: https://youtu.be/q5Ov_dPuRV4

The 5th Summit: https://www.cartsmobility.com/summit

Summit Preview Tour

  Dr. Steve Still's Tribute to Heywood Patterson

S. Still, June 3, "... Heywood Patterson, 67, He often drove members of his church to Tops, helping them load their groceries into his car and then taking them home. "That's what eh did all the time," Deborah Patterson said. "That's what the loved to do".  ..." Watch Video Hmmmm... A principal reason for "Trenton MOVES"-like deployments is to do what Heywood Patterson "loved to do" for the many.  Alain

 

Saturday May 28, 2022

The Evolving Business of Powering Our Vehicles

M. Sena, May 24, "New Car Assessment Programs (NCAPs) all around the world have created a separate and unequal set of standards for vehicle safety operating in parallel with the Type Approval processes in most countries and the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and their equivalents in other countries. One standard is enough. In this month’s the lead article, I look at why this has happened, why it is not a good idea, and what should be done to correct the situation. 

There is no Musings in this month’s issue. Instead, I have put my musings energies to work in Dispatch Central. You can see the topics below. The section ends with a notable quote from the CEO of Stellantis on the topic of battery electric vehicles.

Enjoy your June issue of The Dispatcher. All comments are welcome, whether you want to take exception to something I have written or you just want to let me know that you got something out of reading it. ..." 
Read more Hmmmm...  Every month, great reading.  Enjoy!  Alain

 

Saturday May 7, 2022

  PAVE VIRTUAL PANEL “AVS AND PUBLIC GOOD: TRENTON MOVES”

PAVE, May 4, "Autonomous vehicle technologies offer incredible potential: they could make our highways safer, they could offer new mobility options for people who can’t drive, and they could help create a more equitable transportation system for those who are not well-served by our current system.

During the month of May, we are highlighting places where AVs are in use — today — being deployed, tested, and used for public good. We want to look at examples of the technology being used to serve food deserts, to expand access to rural communities, to offer new accessibility options, and more.

We are starting with the Trenton MOVES initiative, which is the first large-scale urban transit system in America based entirely on self-driving shuttles. The shuttles, which carry four to eight passengers, serve traditionally underserved Trenton neighborhoods, where 70% of households have limited access to a single automobile, or no access at all. Our panelists will detail the program, describing how it works, the results it has achieved, and their vision for the future......"  Read more  
Hmmmm...   Very nice.  Be sure to watch video  and see ZoomCast 267 Alain

 

Friday, April 30, 2022

  NJDOT Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti and the Trenton NJ MOVES Program

P. Keller, April 29, "New Jersey recently announced a $5 million grant for the Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System or MOVES Project. The grant to the City of Trenton will support the planned start up and eventual deployment of 100 Autonomous Vehicles that will provide an on-demand automated transit system to serve the 90,000 residents of Trenton....."  Read more  Hmmmm...   Very nice.   Alain

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

 Knight Foundation 

April 21, "CARTS Executive Director Jerry He explains to the audience at #CoMotionMiami that: 

Hmmmm...   Yup!  See ZoomCast265 Alain

 

Thursday, April 15, 2022

  Musk promises 'dedicated robotaxi' with futuristic look from Tesla

H. Jin, April 6, "Electric carmaker Tesla (TSLA.O) will make a "dedicated" self-driving taxi that will "look futuristic," Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Thursday, without giving a timeframe.

The 50-year-old billionaire, wearing a black cowboy hat and sunglasses, made the comments at the opening of Tesla's $1.1 billion factory in Texas, which is home to its new headquarters.

"Massive scale. Full self-driving. There's going to be a dedicated robotaxi," Musk told a large crowd at the factory...." 
Read more 

Hmmmm... Wow! It was brilliant for Elon to begin focusing his EVs on rich Californians who already have a stable full of cars to go all the way to grandma's house and back and were really looking for a neat toy.

Elon followed the graceful rollout of his Supercharger infrastructure which enabled the upper-middle class that doesn't have a backup fleet and needs to have a toy and reliably go back and forth to grandma's house.  Viola!!! No longer just a toy.  Seamless evolution to "Massive Scale" scale and Massive Profitability. 

RoboTaxis' evolution to "Massive Scale" is turning out to be different.  Starting with rich WesternStaters doesn't seem to be working sociologically for Waymo.  The rides offered seem to be taken for entertainment and side-show purposes rather than valued enablers of enhanced quality of life.  Nice for selfies, but not much more.

Recall fundamental value is to provide a safe, high-quality ride from A to B.  "Safe" is "safe",  but "high-quality" is relative to what one now has readily available.  For the rich, that's where they've already put a lot of money to create for themselves something really nice.  The chances someone is going to offer something better to an individual that has crafted something perfect for themselves is slim-to-none.  Consequently, the service is used primarily for taking selfies. 

For those that don't have their own car for whatever reason  (can't drive, don't want to, too young, too old, and/or too poor) their mobility options are simply dreadful.  Absolutely trivial for an aTaxi service to be viewed as the quality winner and used to provide customer accessibility, improved quality of life, endearment, respect, love, appreciation, loyalty, and use. 

Consequently, if Elon is really serious about achieving "Massive Scale" then he should basically flip his Tesla strategy and start by focusing on serving the mobility needs of those that will fully appreciate and gain the most personal value from his market offering;

1.      those that don't already have a stable full of their own personal mobility options.  

2.      those for which his aTaxi can substantially change their lives for the better. 

These are the customers of Trenton MOVES; only about 50,000 of Trenton's 90,000 population; but 50,000 that will really appreciate you.  Start by only serving Trenton's 8 square mile area with about 100 vehicles and only during the best 350 days out of the year's 365.25.  

They'll be so appreciative and you will have provided the spark that will allow your aTaxis to go viral!  You'll quickly serve Mercer county, Newark, Camden, Atlantic City, New Brunswick, Toms River, Perth Amboy, all of New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, New York City (except Manhattan), Long Island, ..... 

That's the natural road to "Massive Scale" for Mobility for all.   Start with those in most need and evolve to convert those that will leave their own cars parked in their driveway.  

"Massive Scale" starts with Trenton MOVES Alain

 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

  Taking our next step in the City by the Bay

The Waymo Team, March 30, "This morning in San Francisco, a fully autonomous all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, with no human driver behind the wheel, picked up a Waymo engineer to get their morning coffee and go to work. Since sharing that we were ready to take the next step and begin testing fully autonomous operations in the city, we’ve begun fully autonomous rides with our San Francisco employees. They now join the thousands of Waymo One riders we’ve been serving in Arizona, making fully autonomous driving technology part of their daily lives...."  Read more  Hmmmm... Congratulations!  Enormous accomplishment and fundamental expression of confidence in your technology.  Please come to New Jersey where we are certain that you can actually delvier "Safe, Equitable, Affordable, Sustainable, HIgh-quality Mobility" that will substantially improve the quality-of-life of many by transforming affordable housing into affordable living and more.

Let's look at the back-of-the-envelope numbers...
Trenton:
Population: 90,000.

PersonTrips/Day (non-walking): 300,000

    IntraTrenton: 150,000

PersonTripLength (90%tile): 10 miles

    intraTrenton (100%tile) 5 miles

Operational Productivity:

    VehicleTrips/Day: 50

    Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO): 2

    PersontTrips/VehicleDay: 100

    PersonTrips/VehicleYear: 35,000

    100 vehicle fleet productivity: 10,000 PersonTrips/day (1/15th market penetration)

    50% market penetration Fleet requirements:  500 vehicles (AVO =2.5) for 60 PersonTrips/VehicleDay). 

Cost:

    Depreciation/PersonTrip @ $200k/vehicle, 4 year life = $200,000/(4*35,000) = $10/7 = $1.43/PersonTrip

    Electricity + maintenance + management + ... = $0.57/PersonTrip

    Cost = $2.00/PersonTrip

 

New Jersey:   
Population: 9+ Million

PersonTrips/Day (non-walking): >30 Million

    IntraNJ + NJT/Septa to/from NYC & PHL: 30 Million

PersonTripLength (90%tile): 10 miles

Operational Productivity

    VehicleTrips/Day: 60

    Average Vehicle Occupancy (AVO): 2.5

    PersontTrips/VehicleDay: 150

    PersonTrips/VehicleYear: 50,000

    10% market penetration (3 Million PersonTrips/Day: Fleet requirements:  20,000 vehicles (AVO =2.5) for 60 PersonTrips/VehicleDay). 

Cost:

    Depreciation/PersonTrip @ $200k/vehicle, 4 year life = 200,000/(4*35,000)= $10/7 = $1.43

    Electricity + maintenance + management ... = $0.57

    Cost per PersonTrip = $2.00

Revenue:  (10% market penetration: 3M personTrips/Day)

    10% @ cost + 90% market pricing: 

        10% @ $2.00/PersonTrip (300,000*$2.00 = $600,000/day; $200M/year

        90% @ $3.70/personTrip (2.7M*3.70 = $10M/day; 3.5B/year (value poposition could hae the average market price even higher than $3.70/personTrip (+$1.70 over cost)

Profit:  $1.70 *2.7M = $4.6M/day = $1.5B/year

Seems to me that Waymo should have responded to the NJ DoT RfEI and shouldn't be completely ignoring me.  I guess I'm missing something.  Maybe someone else will call me? ��  Alain

 Moving Forward with Trenton MOVES

K. Pyle, Feb. 9, "Dr. Alain Kornhauser’s vision of bringing equitable, sustainable, and affordable mobility to the people of Trenton took another step forward with the February 9th, 2022 announcement (Facebook) of a $5 million NJDOT Local Transportation Planning Fund Grant for the Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES) Project (PDF). The significance of this event goes beyond the grant announcement..."  Read more  Hmmmm... Ken, thank you for the kind words.  Alain

Smart Driving Cars Extra: Trenton MOVES gets moving 

Feb. 11, "The New Jersey DOT is providing 5 million dollars to get Trenton MOVES moving.  The goal..autonomous, affordable, safe mobility for all.   This is a video of the event held on February 9th."  Read more  Hmmmm... Fantastic even with challenging audio.  Turn on Closed Caption. The substance is in the quality of the words from the Mayor, Commissioner and Superintendent.  All from the heart. Very worth absorbing.  Alain. 

 

Friday, February 4, 2022

  Trenton MOVES

W. Skaggs, Feb. 3,"We are excited to invite you to join Mayor Gusciora, N.J. Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, and Trenton Public Schools Superintendent James Earle to celebrate a $5 million award from the NJDOT Local Transportation Projects Fund for an unprecedented public transportation project right here in the Capital City. The project is called the Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicular Equity System (MOVES) initiative.

Originally announced by Governor Murphy and Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti in December, TrentonMOVES seeks to provide a safe, equitable, and affordable high-quality on-demand mobility service to Trenton residents. The effort is a collaboration between the Governor’s Office, NJDOT, the City of Trenton, and Princeton University.

The $5 million award is a huge milestone for the project. This will be the first large-scale urban transit system in America to be based entirely on self-driving shuttles. Each vehicle will carry four to eight passengers at a time. The AVs will be low-cost to users in underserved neighborhoods. The high school will be one of the central destinations on the first routes.

The event will take place at 11:00 a.mon Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022 in the Trenton Central High School auditorium. Members of the press will be invited to attend. ...." Read more  Hmmmm... Another real milestone.  

The Trenton MOVES RfEI closed February 25, with 20 submittals.  Next comes the 5thPrinceton  SmartDrivingCar Summit June 2 -> 4, 2022 in Princeton & Trenton, NJ.  The Summit will be  focused on enabling Trentonians to get a first glimpse at technology and mobility systems that can deliver Trenton MOVES' mobility objectives (Safety, Equity, Affordability, Sustainability,..) and, very importantly, enabling technology and mobility companies to learn the market opportunities available to be captured in Trenton, the rest of Mercer County, and throughout New Jersey. 

Trenton MOVES is a win-win opportunity for the citizens of New Jersey (The Public) and the shareholders of mobility provider(s) (The Private), who can come together in a Trenton MOVES Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) that will be created through a Request for Proposal (RfP) process commencing shortly after the close of the Summit.   Alain


Alain L. Kornhauser, *69, *71, P03, P27
Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering
Director, Transportation Program
Faculty Chair, Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering

229 Sherrerd Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
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609-258-4657 (o)
609-980-1427 (c)

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