Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Case for Making Self-Driving Cars Think Like Humans

Acting like a human should also help autonomous cars blend in. “You want autonomous cars to not behave robotically, in a mechanical way that is different from the way that other human drivers would react,” says John Dolan, who studies autonomous technology at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. Google has seen the truth in this, programming its car to edge forward at four-way stops as a human would, to signal that it wants to proceed. Google’s cars also go with the flow on the highway—even if that means speeding—because its engineers believe matching the speed of traffic trumps following the letter of the law. In other words, to work within a world of human drivers, self-driving cars have to go just a bit native.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Webinar: The Scenic Route: Getting Started With Creative Placemaking in Transportation

Learn more about creative placemaking with our Transportation for America (T4A) and placemaking experts. Join our team as we release our new online interactive creative placemaking resource, The Scenic Route: Getting Started With Creative Placemaking in Transportation. Join the conversation and tells us of projects you are working on and how we can help you better address concerns in your community.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Google Is Sending Self-Driving Cars to Washington

The company is easing its self-driving cars into rainy environments. Google is expanding its self-driving car project to Kirkland, Wash., a city that allows the company to test its driverless vehicles in a wetter environment. Google says it picked the city because it has a temperate climate with seasonal rain that is perfect for wet weather practice. The city’s hills will also allow the company to test its sensors at different angles and elevations, Google said in an emailed release.

Movimento, Abalta partner on smartphone updates for cars

Vehicle lifecycle management tech firm Movimento is working with Abalta Technologies to develop a way to allow vehicles without built-in connectivity to receive over-the-air software updates through owners' smartphones. "It's important for OEMs to have a way to update software -- even on vehicles without embedded modems -- so that they can continually improve vehicle functionality, issue security patches, and avoid recalls," says Movimento's Ben Hoffman.

European Commission group pushes autonomous, connected tech deployment

GEAR 2030, a new European Commission group on the automotive industry, met for the first time this week in Belgium to begin developing and articulating a strategy to increase the competitiveness of European automakers in the global market. ERTICO-ITS Europe CEO Hermann Meyer wants the group to push for a common European vision, market and legal framework for autonomous tech and intelligent transportation systems.

GM assembles autonomous, EV tech team

General Motors said it is forming a team focused on advancing development of autonomous and electric vehicle technology. The team includes the appointment of Doug Parks as vice president for autonomous technology and vehicle execution and Sheri Hickok as executive chief engineer for autonomous tech, and new strategic planning responsibilities for EV Chief Engineer Pam Fletcher.

Is a Driverless Future Here? Why Autonomous Vehicles Are Still a Decade Away

Last year, Uber and Carnegie Mellon University jointly announced plans to open a $5.5 million “Uber Advanced Technologies Center”, an autonomous vehicle research center near CMU’s campus. Just this January, General Motors announced a $500 million investment in Lyft, with the goal of creating an on-demand network of self-driving cars. Rumors persist that Google and Ford are entering into a partnership to build autonomous cars, although the hotly anticipated announcement at this year’s CES did not occur. Is a driverless future just over the horizon? Not quite – Google’s still figuring out how to make autonomous cars safe, insurance underwriters are still struggling with how to insure driverless vehicles, and GM’s investment has yet to yield any tangible steps forward, for now.

ITS-JPO - CV Pilot Concept of Operations Webinars: ICF/Wyoming & Tampa (THEA)

During the Concept Development Phase, there will be three public webinars from each pilot site to provide all interested parties a sense of the key issues addressed in each deployment, the conceptual approach, and expected deployment impacts. This Concept of Operations webinar is the first of three webinars focusing on: issues to be addressed at the deployment site, the deployment concept, and insights gained from stakeholder engagement activities during concept development process. The next webinar will discuss how the sites plan to measure and monitor the success of the sites in meeting the performance goals of the deployment with respect to safety, mobility and environmental impacts. The last webinar will be on the comprehensive deployment plan prior to Phase 2, which brings together the deployment concept, the performance measurement plan, and other areas (e.g., safety management, privacy, security, participant training, and application development and integration).

Foxx Says Hyperloop Could Get Government Funding

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week that federal research funding could be available for the SpaceX Hyperloop program under the University Transportation Centers research program. Foxx admitted he wasn't always a Hyperloop supporter, but he added, "Government must resist the urge to reflexively say no. We're looking to play a constructive role in embracing new technologies."

Automated Vehicles Symposium 2016

TRB is co-sponsoring the Workshop on the Future of Road Vehicle Automation on July 19-21, 2016, in San Francisco, California. This event will focus on challenges and opportunities related to the increasing automation of motor vehicles as well as the environments in which they operate. The workshop will build on previous workshops providing updates on the state-of-the-art in road vehicle automation research.