Friday, August 29, 2014

Inside Google's Secret Drone-Delivery Program

CMU alumnus Nick Roy is the lead roboticist of Project Wing, a secret drone program that's been running for two years at Google X.

Point-to-Point Car-Share Service Car2Go Getting Ready to Launch in Brooklyn

What differentiates Car2Go from other car-share services in New York is that users can make one-way trips. (Zipcar, a competitor, is getting into the one-way car-share game in other cities, but does not currently offer the service here.) The added flexibility could entice more car-owning New Yorkers to give up their private vehicles, though it’s tough to say whether this effect will outweigh the additional driving trips made by households without cars, which are the majority in NYC.

How Google's Driverless Car Detects Aggressive Drivers

The tech giant says its cars will be able to recognize other vehicles that are "exceeding a speed limit, driving fast for given road conditions, excessive lane changing without cause, failing to signal intent to pass another vehicle, tailgating another vehicle, using the horn excessively, and flashing headlights excessively at oncoming traffic."

The IoT China 2014 Conference and China Connected Vehicle and ITS Expo and Forum 2014 will be held in Shanghai in October

The Internet of Things (IoT) China 2014 Conference as well as China Connected Vehicle and ITS Expo and Forum 2014 will be held at Shanghai Mart on October 28th and 29th. The event is the result of a collaboration between EU-China IoT Summit, one of the industry's influential events, and the 5th Internet of Things China.

‘Smart’ car group promises less oil use, better air

A report out on Thursday from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America promised that new technologies have the ability “to make our transportation systems more efficient, less costly, and more environmentally friendly.”

Hidden Obstacles for Google’s Self-Driving Cars

Google’s cars have safely driven more than 700,000 miles. As a result, “the public seems to think that all of the technology issues are solved,” says Steven Shladover, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies. “But that is simply not the case.”

This Seat Belt Could Stop You From Falling Asleep At The Wheel

That's the idea behind Harken, which is a system of sensors in the driver’s seat and seat belt that measure breathing and heart rate. The system was developed by a number of universities, companies and technology centers working together in a consortium funded by a research branch of the EU, Mashable reported.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Autonomous and Connected Vehicles: Implications for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

In order to help make sure that these technologies consider bicyclists and pedestrians, Ken McLeod of League of American Bicyclists spoke last Friday to researchers, agency staff, and industry at the fall meeting of the Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation (T-SET) University Transportation Center (UTC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA. CMU and the University of Pennsylvania are partners in the US DOT funded UTC that is one of up to 35 UTCs that are funded under MAP-21 with up to $72.5 million per year being allocated to research on a competitive basis. The CMU/UPenn UTC has a strategic goal of safety...

The audience was very interested in bike/ped concerns and what it might take in order for bicyclists and pedestrians to buy-in to these new technologies.

VALERI Project is making robots to make airplanes

In the automotive industry, life is pretty easy for the car-assembling robots ... they just sit in the same place performing the same task, day after day. Things are different in the aerospace industry, however. Airplanes aren’t made on assembly lines, so any robots used in their construction would have to move around them. The member organizations of the European VALERI Project (Validation of Advanced, Collaborative Robotics for Industrial Applications) are now working on making such mobile, autonomous plane-building robots a reality...

Carnegie Mellon University, incidentally, has already developed robots for stripping paint off of aircraft, although their designers believe that they could also be used for performing inspections and repairs.

Smart Cars, Smart Roads Seen in Nationwide Survey as Boosting Safety, Reinventing Transportation

A new America THINKS survey from HNTB Corporation, a national infrastructure solutions firm, finds Americans craving more technology to keep them safe and informed when they hit the road. And many Americans would be willing to part with more cash to implement a connected vehicle system, which would allow travelers to be notified about road conditions and potential dangers electronically in real-time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Driverless cars: 15 things you need to know

Nissan last year announced an “ambitious goal” of having an affordable autonomous car ready by 2020. Others who see that as overly ambitious think you’re more likely to see them in serious production a few years after that — say, 2025 or 2030.

Driverless vehicles? Even in D.C. streets? An autonomous car takes a capital test run.

“We’ve tested this vehicle in many areas, and this area is pretty difficult,” Jarrod Snider says, dropping his hands from the wheel as the computers take over again. “We think it’s doing a pretty good job. ”

“But we have more work to do,” Raj Rajkumar, the Carnegie Mellon professor who directs the project, says from the back seat.

Google’s driverless car might not be completely self driving anymore

Earlier this year in May, Google had unveiled its dream project, a car where the driver has been replaced by a Software and the steering wheel with buttons. The car is probably one of the most unorthodox looking models to be unveiled in the history of vehicles with the front resembling a smiley face. But with the intervention of California Department of Motor Vehicles, Google might have to change a bit if its tiny two-seater car.

This is what the future of a drone-filled America could look like

As drones increasingly move toward ubiquity, we don't want them everywhere, but there is very likely a more logical way to determine where they can go. Mitchell Sipus, an urban planner doing doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon, has mocked up one idea that might be able to start to resolving some of that. He imagines the government beginning to create zoning rules specific to drones — as in, zones that they can fly in and can't fly in, and other zones where flight might be allowed only during specific times of day when there are fewer people around.

Volvo creates purpose-built safety proving ground

We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Do 'safe passing' regulations really make it safer for cyclists if they're not enforced?

It isn't often that lawmakers spend years shepherding legislation they know will likely not be enforced. Yet when it came to state Rep. Ron Miller's "Safe Passing" bicycle bill — a law designed to give cyclists a buffer from drivers — that's exactly what he foresaw. "From day one, we suspected it would be very hard to write citations, because it's a judgment call" for law enforcement, says Miller, a York Republican.

FUTURE BIKE: AT THE INTERSECTION OF MOBILITY AND IDENTITY September 11, 2014 | 1 to 7 p.m. | Pittsburgh, Pa.

Held at the end of the Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference, on September 11, in Pittsburgh, Future Bike meets at the intersections of difference to create a vision for bicycling that elevates new voices, engages local communities and reimagines how we create streets that are vibrant public spaces that bring us together. Organized by our Equity Initiative and Women Bike program, this half-day event will include dynamic discussions on leadership, messaging, engagement, education, planning, and technology. Don't miss your chance to help shape the Future of bicycling

Now we have scientific proof that bikeshare makes your city cleaner

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Queensland University in Australia studied bikeshare data from five cities: Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, MN, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia, and London. By crunching the numbers in ridership data, data from surveys sent to users, and data about the bikeshare program management’s fuel expense, the researchers found that in all the cities studied, London excepted, bikeshare’s benefits outweigh the rebalancing costs.

U.S. DOT considers rules for mandated V2V systems

The U.S. Transportation Department moved forward on writing rules that may mandate automakers’ use of talking-car technology, saying more than a thousand lives a year might be saved on the nation’s roadways.

2015 AASHTO/TRB Conference on Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance and Operations

Call for Abstracts
2015 AASHTO/TRB Conference on Transportation Infrastructure
Maintenance and Operations
Des Moines, Iowa - July 2015

TRB is cosponsoring the 14th American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) / TRB Conference on Transportation Infrastructure in July 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference will explore the state-of-the-art, state-of-the-practice, and practical innovations in infrastructure, maintenance operations, and management. Practitioners are encouraged to submit an abstract by September 15, 2014.


NOMINATION PACKAGES DUE OCTOBER 17, 2014. The Transportation Research Board Young Members Council is pleased to announce the 2015 Outstanding Young Member Award. This award was created in 2012 to recognize exceptional young member service to TRB and achievements in transportation research, policy, or practice. The award is sponsored by Stantec, Inc.

ITS America Announces 2014 Best of ITS Awards Finalists

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today announced the list of finalists for the 2014 Best of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Awards, a highly competitive program which recognizes the most innovative projects and influential achievements in the high-tech transportation community.

Chicago charts a course in autonomous vehicles

Chicago wants a slice of the action in self-driving cars.
In an office tower in the city's West Loop, Nokia Corp. has 300 people working on technology that will help cars talk to one another, as well as to traffic signs, smartphones and other devices.
Elsewhere in greater Chicago, more than 50 engineers are working on connecting vehicle entertainment and navigation systems to phones, tablets and the cloud at a new Harman International Industries Inc. research center.

This new app may help design bike lanes in Germany

Scholz & Volkmer created the free app Radwende and encouraged the city’s cyclists to use it to track their routes. The data is compiled onto a single map, with more highly trafficked routes showing up as darker, thicker lines. The goal is to create a crowdsourced compilation of the most popular bike routes in the city, to serve as a helpful tool for city planners.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Smart bicycles not only use renewable electricity to climb hills, but they also have cameras to ensure security. They can be folded to facilitate carrying and allow cyclists to find directions using smartphones. Apart from aiding a healthy lifestyle and being a popular means of transportation, smart bicycles can even solve chronic traffic problems. Traffic problems have not been solved by organizing infrastructure solely for the sake of automobiles.

Autonomous 'Road Trains' Will Usher in the Driverless Future

The Sunday Times reported that the UK is looking to test automated lorry convoys from next year. These are basically groups of lorries that drive in sync with one another, snaking along motorways with just a few yards between their bumpers.

Google's driverless cars 'will be allowed to speed'

Google’s driverless cars have been given permission to break the speed limit by up to 10mph, admits the head of the project – but not by police

Feds seek input on potential smart car regs

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking input on potential regulations of cars that communicate with each other while they are on the road. 
The so-called smart cars, which utilize what's known in the auto industry as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, are seen as a potential game changer in reducing the number of car accidents in the U.S. 

Americans Aren’t Sure How to Feel About Driverless Cars

Many are conflicted about this new advancement for the automobile. A new survey from Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan polled drivers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia on their opinions about driverless cars.

3 Big-Time Benefits of Real-Time Transit Data

Working with Kari Watkins of Georgia Tech, who helped develop theOneBusAway appCandace Brakewood of the City College of New York recently studied the effects real-time information had on rider behavior in Tampa (where the app was deployed in summer 2013) and Atlanta (where the full launch came in February 2014). In both places, riders using real-time services experienced shorter wait times and greater trip satisfaction; there were also signs the apps might increase ridership (fitting with previous evidence from Chicago).

How Will Self-Driving Cars Change Teenage Culture?

Michael Petrilli, an award-winning writer and the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank based in Washington, DC., suggests that we haven't really given much thought to how auto-piloted cars will change the teen (and tween) years—especially since most adolescents are ready for independent mobility long before they are qualified to operate a car.

Building a driverless future: the next step

Following Google's development of its new driverless "pod" model, other companies like the U.K.-based RDM Group have announced they are working with Transport Systems Catapult and Oxford University's Mobile Robotics Group to develop their own electric-powered pods, which will be part of the TSC's Low Carbon Urban Transport Zone Pathfinder program, Paul Fanning writes. The pods are in the testing phase, but LUTZ says the goal is to bring 100 pavement-based pods to the public by 2017. The pods represent an interim phase of autonomous driving that experts say will help make fully autonomous cars a reality

Pennsylvania STICs to innovation for improved road safety

Since launching in 2011, the STIC has grown by leaps and bounds. Organizers made the smart, early move of engaging and involving key players –state and federal agencies, local governments, research organizations, industry partners, and academics. They also assembled Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) that pursue a rigorous review of expected benefits before selecting projects and innovations.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Google's driverless car review: The technology easily handles routine driving

Mountain View: The car stopped at stop signs. It glided around curves. It didn't lurch or jolt. The most remarkable thing about the drive was that it was utterly unremarkable.

CMU profs seek solution to urban parking problems

So where’s the best place to park in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood? Good luck if you think anyone would spill a secret spot, but a pilot study by a pair of Carnegie Mellon University professors is a big step in leveling the playing field.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How improved urban transportation could save $70 trillion

In a new report, The International Energy Agency says that we lose hundreds of billions of dollars in lost time and fuel because of crowded transportation systems. But it estimates that cities investing in improved energy efficiency of transportation systems could collectively save $70 trillion by 2050.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Infiniti Reacts To Video Of Driverless Stunt In One Of Its Cars

video of a driverless Infiniti Q50 recklessly speeding down a highway has been making the rounds on the Internet over the past few days.

Accelerating Sustainability: Demonstrating the Benefits of Connected Cars

Accelerating Sustainability: Demonstrating the Benefits of Connected Cars

Center for Clean Energy Innovation

Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (EDT)

Washington, DC

Uber and Lyft Both Launch Carpool Services to Let You Share Rides With Strangers

Back in April, Uber's smaller, mustachioed competitor, Lyft, quietly acquired a company called Rover, which made real-time tracking software for buses, trains, and taxis. Together, Lyft and Rover started a project that would ultimately become known as "Lyft Line" — a carpooling service that would match Lyft riders going along similar routes and group them together in one car, charging each rider a reduced rate in exchange for sharing the backseat with a stranger.

Nokia Growth Partners Invests $8M in Zubie Connected Car Service

Nokia has invested $8 million in Zubie, a connected car start-up with a service that claims to connect “cars and drivers like never before.” The investment is the first to come out a $100 million Connected Car fund that Nokia announced in May and entrusted to Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), its investment arm. NGP has said it will identify and invest in innovations that are “important” to the world of intelligent vehicles. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Virginia Tech lab researches driver-car interaction

Lane departure warnings, forward collision alerts, automatic braking, cruise control that adjusts itself based on the speed of the car ahead, parking assistance, vibrating seats that warn of potential hazards — GM has said it all passed through Blacksburg long before it was deemed street-ready.

Volkswagen research team striving for perfect driving experience

Volkswagen Group of America’s research team at its Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) is striving to invent forms of communication between the vehicle, the driver and the surroundings that are even more sensitive.
ERL deputy director Chuhee Lee announced at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City during a presentation that researchers were trying to design the ultimate car that learns, predicts and adapts to drivers all by itself. Lee, who was inspired as a child by KITT the car from the TV series Knight Rider, said that three crucial elements would be leveraged for driver-car connectivity -- mobile devices (including smartphones, watches, glass, etc.), car, and the cloud.

Now Google plans driverless robot motorbike

Very easy rider: Now Google plans driverless robot motorbike - and wants permission to start testing them on the road

Chinese search giant Baidu making competitor of Google driverless cars

Baidu, the popular Chinese language search engine provider has revealed that it is working on a similar project to Google driverless car.  According to an interview published in The Next Web Kai Yu, Baidu’s deputy director of its Institute of Deep Learning,  has said that though Baidu is making a ‘smart’car, it is not aiming at a completely driverless car.

Kai Yu explains this as “This is actually an intelligent assistant collecting data from road situations and then operating locally… We don’t call this a driverless car. I think a car should be helping people, not replacing people, so we call this a highly autonomous car.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Driverless Cars to Hit UK Roads by Early 2015

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced two new measures that give the green light for autonomous cars to take to UK roads from January 2015.
UK cities can now bid for a share of a £10 million competition to host a driverless cars trial. The government is calling on cities to join together with businesses and research organisations to put forward proposals to become a test location.


The TRB Young Members Council (A0040T) and the Design and Construction Group Young Members Subcommittee (AF000(4)) welcome submissions of abstracts by young members (35 years or younger) for consideration of presentation at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The intent of this session is to get exposure for transportation research, projects, and case studies by young members, and to give young members the experience of presenting at TRB in a podium or poster session.

SFO unveils app to help blind travelers navigate the airport

n a first, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has unveiled a prototype smartphone app that will help people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired navigate through the passenger terminals of the country’s 7th largest airport without a chaperone.
The app was a joint development between SF mayor Ed Lee’s so-called “Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program” and a company specializing in indoor navigation technology called Indoor. It took 16 weeks to develop.

JustPark app helps BMW Mini drivers find a parking space

A new app that helps you find a parking space could help reduce traffic on urban roads.
Connected parking systems have long been part of the vision for smart cities and the 'internet of things'. The average driver wastes 106 days of their life searching for a parking space, and circling for parking is responsible for 30 per cent of traffic on urban roads.
JustPark (previously known as ParkatmyHouse) has already attracted 500,000 drivers, and is hoping to expand with investment from BMW i Ventures and Index Ventures.

TI Announces Its Leadership In Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Last week, Texas Instruments announced that it has shipped more than 15 million Advanced Driver Assistance Systems System-on-Chip (SoC) devices so far, confirming the company’s leadership position in the automotive market. The ADAS is part of the technology that is pushing the concept of driverless cars. TI’s ADAS solutions, designed to help reduce the number of road collisions and enable more autonomous driving experiences, have been deployed by over 25 OEMs in more than 100 car models.

How Do You Insure a Driverless Car?

Regulators and insurance companies are unprepared to welcome even incremental steps that allow hands-free driving—a reality that could blunt demand for even limited self-driving technology.
"Why buy an autonomous vehicle if you have to maintain control?" asks Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who predicts hands-free driving systems won't be offered soon because of legal and insurance barriers. While some states allow professional drivers to experiment with autonomous controls, not one has issued a plan that allows everyday road warriors take their hands off the wheel for significant periods.

Driverless cars could be made in Australia

Driverless cars are on the way and Australia may be able to play a part in manufacturing them, according to the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA).

Will driverless cars lead us down a jobless road?

“The male economy has already taken a real hit,” pointed out Aaron Smith, co-author and senior researcher with the Pew Center’s Internet & American Life Project. “Driverless vehicles remove some of the last options available for that type of employment.” 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Understanding and Modeling Bus Transit Driver Availability

The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a report that details two mathematical models with probabilistic constraints that were developed to determine daily optimal driver availability and deployment, while incorporating reliability and risk measures.

Coordinating the Use and Location of Weigh-In-Motion Technology for Kentucky

The Kentucky Transportation Center has released a report that details possible applications—such as planning, law enforcement of commercial vehicles, and pavement design—for data collected by weigh-in-motion scales.

Transportation Operations Research and Development Newsletter: June 2014

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest edition of its newsletter that summarizes research activities at its Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.

TRB and Resilience: A Summary of Transportation Research Board Activities

A slideshow summary of the Transportation Research Board's pre- and post-September 11, 2001, transportation security and resilience activities is updated monthly.

Guide to Accelerating New Technology Adoption through Directed Technology Transfer

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 768: Guide to Accelerating New Technology Adoption through Directed Technology Transfer presents a framework and guidance on how to use technology transfer to accelerate innovation within a state department of transportation or other such agency.

Driverless buses, talking cars in smart-transport master plan

SINGAPORE — A blueprint to develop an intelligent transport system over the next 15 years was jointly launched yesterday by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Intelligent Transportation Society Singapore.

5 Reasons Why Automakers Should Fear Google's Driverless Car

Unfortunately, disruptive innovation can upend even the most well-conceived incremental strategies. Just look at Blackberry, Blockbuster, Borders, DEC, IBM, Kodak, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Sears, Yahoo and most of the TV, newspaper and publishing industries—to name just a few bankrupt or struggling former industry leaders. They all bet that non-incremental approaches would not pan out, and struggled with the consequences when those bets went sour.

Biggest-ever Israeli IPO paves way for driverless cars Read more: Biggest-ever Israeli IPO paves way for driverless cars | The Times of Israel

The money will give MobilEye the opportunity to develop the next generation of its system — turning drivers into passengers, using “driverless technology.” MobilEye uses a monocular camera that magnifies images, together with sophisticated software that calibrates how much time a drive needs to brake in order to avoid colliding with the vehicle ahead. If the driver gets too close, an alarm goes off, and in some vehicles, the software is connected to the braking system — so that if the driver fails to brake in time, the system does it for him.

Driverless car parking system developed

Drivers will be able to leave their car in front of the car park and use a smartphone app to trigger the parking process. The vehicle will connect with the car park’s server and drive itself to the designated space. While in the garage, the car can also be programmed to go to a charging station. Upon returning, the driver uses the same app to summon the car – fully charged and ready to go.
Adding her thoughts, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “We need to think ahead and find smarter ways to move to save time, money and our environment. We need research on new technologies – and how to combine them – to get practical solutions. The V-CHARGE system goes in the right direction, and I look forward to using it.”

Caltrans takes another step to improve safety in Bay Area

The I-80 SMART Corridor Project one of the most extensive Intelligent Transportation Systems projects in the state. It will implement a network of integrated signs, traffic monitoring, signalization and ramp metering technology to relieve traffic congestion on the I-80 corridor between the Carquinez Bridge and Bay Bridge. Once activated, these signs will intelligently manage lane traffic and reflect real-time traffic conditions to promote safety and congestion relief.

Free webinar: Embedded Data Collectors August 13, 2014; 2:30-4:00 Eastern

The Embedded Data Collector (EDC) is a stand-alone dynamic testing method to monitor concrete pile installation for bridge foundations. The EDC system consists of a wireless radio/controller connected to strain and accelerometer gauges at the top and bottom of the pile prior to concrete placement. The signals from the gauges are collected, stored, and wirelessly transmitted from the pile and are analyzed "real time" (blow by blow) with a laptop computer in the field.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Transportation Institute works on study that could display traffic signs inside vehicles

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute are in the early stages of a novel idea to move stop and yield signs, among other posted traffic, from the side of the road into the car itself, where a dashboard screen will automatically alert the driver of what actions to take, if any. The new angle: If no other car is present at the intersection, the will driver would be allowed to pass through and go on.

Friday, August 1, 2014

U.S. Department of Transportation to Host Free Public Meeting on Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture in San Francisco

In continuation of Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) efforts, USDOT will present and seek input on the emerging results of its Connected Vehicle interfaces and standards analysis at a workshop in San Francisco August 20-21, 2014.
The workshop is intended to solicit feedback from stakeholders who will be involved with the development, implementation, and/or operation of Connected Vehicle technologies and applications; and those who will be impacted by decisions regarding interfaces and associated standards.

Rapid buses beat rails [Commentary]

Transit agencies from Baltimore to San Diego and from Seattle to St. Petersburg are planning new light-rail lines. Yet light rail is not only vastly more expensive than buses, it is slower, less comfortable, less convenient and has lower capacities than a well-designed rapid-bus system.

Could Pittsburgh be a hub for clean technology?

Pittsburgh's clean tech sector received a boost when Larimer received a $30 million grant earlier this month from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Part of the plan includes the development of a green industrial zone.
Stan Caldwell, associate director of Carnegie Mellon University's Traffic 21 Institute, which develops smart transportation solutions, said the city needs to encourage messaging that promotes Pittsburgh as a clean tech hub both internally and externally.