Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TRB Webinar: Tools for Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection

TRB will conduct a webinar on January 29, 2015, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm ET that will explore NCHRP Report 797: Guidebook on Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection. Webinar presenters will provide an overview of the guidebook's contents and a short summary of the research.

This webinar will introduce applications for non-motorized count data, technologies and methods for collecting non-motorized count data, and methods for adjusting raw count data to (a) correct errors inherent to a given counting technology and (b) adjust counts to estimate volumes over different periods of time and/or under different environmental conditions than those counted.

Electric vehicles’ superior systems are ahead of the rest on so many counts

Sir, Johannes Mauritzen (“The attractiveness of electric cars has little to do with the price of oil, Letters, January 22) is quite correct about electric vehicles, although he may be underestimating a more inherent economic and technical advantage of electric systems: their mechanical simplicity, lower weight, operating cost and total cost of ownership. Their ageing economics are also superior compared with traditional combustion propulsion, where parts failure and replacement costs accelerate rapidly over time. They also reduce noise pollution equally with carbon emission.

With TRW, ZF can offer advanced driverless tech

ZF Friedrichshafen AG's acquisition of TRW Automotive will make it a key player in collision avoidance and driverless cars. ZF wants to combine TRW's sensing and software expertise -- cameras, radar and controllers -- with ZF's chassis systems.

How will driverless cars affect roadside advertising?

...A question the trials raise for the advertising industry is what impact driverless cars will have on roadside OOH. Alarmists could easily seize the opportunity to declare this the beginning of the end for roadside OOH sites. After all, if no one's driving the car, who's looking at the road and the adverts around it?

Driverless cars: applying existing laws to innovative technologies won't work

The case may have been made for the environmental and social benefits of driverless cars, but 39% of people still refuse to step into one. Adapting the law could help consumers make the leap.

'Driverless car impact audit' for all new infrastructure urged in new report

Driverless cars should prompt a review of proposals to expand road capacity or public transport, according to a new report. The report recommends that all major infrastructure project being planned now should study the impact of driverless cars, given that the first generation of the vehicles has arrived in the U.K, U.S and Singapore, and the progressive roll-out will start this decade and is likely to speed up in a "substantial" way in the 2020s.

Save The Date: 2015 National Drive Electric Week, September 12-20

Last year more then 90,000 people attended the 152 separate events across America, double that of 2013. Hopefully a similar gain can be had in 2015!

Uber restarts in New Delhi

Uber says it is back in business in New Delhi, six weeks after one of its drivers was accused of rape and the service was banned by city authorities. Uber said it applied for a license under the capital city's Radio Taxi Scheme on Thursday. But officials in New Delhi told CNN that Uber has not been authorized yet to resume operations.

Dutch approve driverless cars for public, large-scale testing

"The cabinet has agreed to adjust road rules to enable large-scale testing of self-driving trucks and cars on public roads," the Dutch infrastructure and environment ministry said. "The Netherlands is to become a testbed for self-driving vehicles," it added in a statement.
"Large-scale testing is planned to start in the summer, once the changes to legislation are approved in parliament," ministry spokeswoman Marianne Wuite said.

What this ‘Impact’ Specialist says about Autonomous Transportation

This featured article takes a look at some of the work going on in Pennsylvania in conjunction with University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Yeganeh Mashayekh Hayeri is a post-doctorate research fellow at UPenn who works with the GRASP lab. She was a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University (with USDOT T-SET UTC (Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation). Hayeri’s projects are funded by UTC.

We frequently hear about what is happening within the driverless industry in states like California and Nevada. Hayeri has experience working in both of these states but now finds herself in Pennsylvania. The juxtaposition between geography is just one of the challenges that needs to be sorted out within this industry. Hayeri is working to help educate people about the overall impact that the evolving autonomous industry will have on our transportation system. This emerging technology is creating a paradigm shift in the way we think about issues relating to transportation regardless of what coast you live on, or whether you are north or south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Caltrans ‘Complete Streets’ Program About More Than Cars

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty says the "Complete Streets" plan considers more than the automobile when it comes to highway improvements. “There's the pedestrian, there's the bicyclist, there's the mass transit user, and we want to make sure our projects accommodate all those modes," said Dougherty during an interview with Capital Public Radio.  Dougherty said many state highways serve as local streets or main streets for some communities. He said every "complete street," is different depending on its needs and types of users.

Gov't Adds Emergency Brake Features to Safety Device List

The recommendations help to encourage the auto industry to adopt additional safety features, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Thursday in announcing them to a group of automotive engineers in Washington, D.C. Foxx's department includes the traffic safety agency. Devices that use cameras and radar to track traffic and objects in front of a driver could go a long way toward cutting the number of crashes. Nearly a third of all crashes reported to police in the U.S. in 2013 were rear-end collisions with other vehicles, according to NHTSA.

Ford's autonomous driving research centre opened

Ford has announced the opening of its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California – a stone's throw away from two of the world's foremost IT research institutions, Stanford University and Carnegie-Mellon University.  The car manufacturer has established the Center (sic) for the purposes of advanced research in the areas of "connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data."

Harman CEO: Driverless cars are security nightmare

"Now you are starting to bring in good data and good well intentions, but the bad guys are also eyeing it. They want to have a pile-up; this is like a terrorist attack. This is big mayhem waiting to happen, unless we do something," said Paliwal. Red Bend will provide a solution to hacking worries in driverless cars, by updating the software and firmware apps as needed. It will also provide a virtualization of cybersecurity software as an added layer, based on technology that is utilized in banks currently.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Link Motion teams with MTA to design new infotainment system

Automotive platform company Link Motion will collaborate with hardware and manufacturing company MTA to build a new in-car infotainment system. The offering will focus on increased security and virtualization to support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular communications as well as rear-view cameras and head-up displays.

Autonomous cars could save Canadians $65B a year

Cars and trucks that drive themselves could hit the road in the next decade and save Canadians $65 billion in the form of fewer collisions, reduced traffic congestion, lower fuel costs and less time wasted behind the wheel. But they will also have wide-reaching effects on many areas of the economy, from the demand for fuel to urban planning to the job market, says the report from the Conference Board of Canada. The study was conducted in collaboration with in collaboration with the Van Horne Institute, a Calgary-based think-tank with a special interest in transportation, and the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE).

Charge-‘Er-Up! BMW and Volkswagen To Create Recharging Stations for Electric Cars in U.S.

BMW and Volkswagen are teaming up to create nearly 100 new fast-charging stations for electric vehicles along heavily-traveled roads along the East and West coasts of the United States.
The automakers are working with Chargepoint, the world’s largest network of electrical vehicle charging stations, as part of an initiative to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles in the U.S.

Webinar: Engaging Stakeholders in Sustainable Urban Freight Initiatives: An International Perspective

Freight transport operations in urban areas are normally performed by private companies using public infrastructure and governed by regulations implemented by public authorities. Until recently there has been little involvement of the private sector in local transport planning processes and as a result urban transport regulations and plans are frequently formulated with limited understanding of the impacts on freight transport operations. 

Event: Engaging Stakeholders in Sustainable Urban Freight
When: Wednesday 4 February 2015, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Time Zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trucking Company Plans CNG Station in Pennsylvania

Iowa-based W.W. Transport, through its Great River Energy LLC subsidiary, has proposed to install a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Pennsylvania. According to a report from The Morning Call, W.W. Transport says the station would help the company convert 30 of its vehicles servicing a local flour mill to CNG. The transportation services firm, which won a grant from the Pennsylvania government, wants to build the facility in Lower Mount Bethel Township in order to fuel its own trucks, as well as to offer CNG to the public.

Parking congestion? There's a drone for that

University of Massachusetts student Amir Ehsani Zonouz won the first Siemens' Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest. The initiative offers prizes for innovative ideas to help solve five of the toughest challenges facing the traffic industry. Zonouz proposed using quadcopters, a type of small-scale drone, that find free parking spots, determine the shortest path to that spot, and help guide drivers to the designated space either by the driver following the drone to the spot via a mobile app or directly through a car’s communication system.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Launches the “Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets”

The initiative will begin in March when Mayors and staff responding to the invitation will convene at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) headquarters for a Mayoral Summit to discuss how to build upon or implement the challenge’s seven activity areas.

The seven Challenge activities are drawn from the recommended actions stated in the2010 USDOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. For example, recommended actions in the policy statement include gathering and tracking data on biking and walking in their community and ensuring street designs are appropriate for pedestrian and bicycle safety. Attendees at the Summit will work with USDOT staff to identify new Departmental resources they can use during the Challenge and will network with their peers.

Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Plan to Add Two Automatic Emergency Braking Systems to Recommended Vehicle Advanced Technology Features

The agency plans to continue to encourage development and commercialization of additional promising safety-related technologies of vehicle automation through its recommendation of two automatic emergency braking systems – crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS). The addition is the latest in a long history of safety innovations covered in NHTSA's new report, which uses data from the agency's Fatal Accident Reporting System to create a statistical model that estimated safety technologies have saved 613,501 lives since 1960.

Caltrans Releases Plan to Make Roads More Accessible For All

Caltrans is refocusing its efforts to make California roadways safe and accessible for all users -- motorists, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Sponsor the 2015 ITS Annual Meeting

Join ITS America and more than 2,000 industry business leaders, government representatives, investors, media and transportation professionals this June for the 25th ITS America Annual Meeting & Expo, and provide your brand exposure to regional and national public agencies, the automotive sector, private consulting firms, infrastructure equipment manufacturers, telematics and telecommunications providers, leading transportation research institutes and universities and more into one location. ITS America has put together a broad range of sponsorship opportunities to fit any budget and marketing goal. Download our Sponsorship Prospectus today or contact Valerie Forbai, and increase your organization's visibility across the ever-expanding high-tech transportation industry.

Seattle approves car-share expansion, reports 10% of city have joined Car2Go

The Seattle City Council has approved the expansion of the city's car-sharing service after 59,000 people joined the Car2Go pilot program. The city says it also expects to raise an additional $3.4 million from car-share permits as fees increase.

Leshi releases LeOS semi-autonomous in-car system in China

Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting is breaking into the electric vehicle market with an in-car operating system that uses gesture and voice commands to help drivers stream content and remotely operate their vehicles. The LeOS system is a part of Jia's Leshi car company project aimed at designing and bringing fully electric and connected cars to market.

Analysis: Driver override, biometrics, HUD will top vehicle trends in 5 years

Autonomous technology is paving the way for advanced in-car systems that will become standard in new vehicles by 2020, Karl Brauer writes. Driver override systems such as automated braking, biometric vehicle access and heads-up navigation displays will be among the top trends in automotive showrooms within the next five years, according to Brauer. Remote vehicle shutdown, vehicle health monitoring and reconfigurable body panels will also become staples in new car models, he writes.

ITS America launches 2015 ITS Student Essay Competition

In partnership with the Southwest Research Institute, the annual ITS Student Essay Competition is designed to inspire students to take a more active interest in the application of advanced technologies to transportation by challenging them to focus their concepts and ideas while building awareness of ITS as a career path with unlimited potential and for the chance to win scholarship money. Prizes and national recognition will occur at the 25th ITS America Annual Meeting & Exposition. Eligibility requirements, evaluation criteria and formatting instructions are available here.

Detroit suppliers will help build Google's autonomous-car prototypes

Google said that Continental Automotive Systems, Robert Bosch and Roush Industries will be among the Detroit-based suppliers to handle the assembly and design of its new line of self-driving vehicle prototypes. While Google plans to collaborate with automakers at some point in the production process, the company says it will focus on building a test fleet with Detroit suppliers this year.

Insurance companies integrate Internet of Things for improved data collection, pricing

The insurance industry is beginning to incorporate the Internet of Things into pilot programs, using embedded sensors and smart devices to streamline data collection, improve customer and agent interaction and set pricing, according to a report from Novarica. "At some point in time, the entire value chain including product, underwriting, pricing, risk assessment, service and claims handling will all be impacted by IoT," said Novarica's Mitch Wein.

Polaris is now in the e-motorbike business after buying Brammo

Polaris has acquired e-bike maker Brammo in a deal that leaves the future of the Brammo name and its Oregon-based factory in limbo. Brammo has been building the Empulse/R andEnertia e-bikes for several years, but the models haven't changed much since they first arrived -- and the company has been discounting them drastically of late. Polaris is one of Brammo's biggest investors, but decided to "recapitalize" it and "focus exclusively on the design, development and integration of electric vehicle powertrains." Polaris also said it would "begin manufacturing electric motorcycles in the second half of 2015 at its Spirit Lake, IA facility."

City introduces ParkBoston smartphone app

Boston is piloting a new pay-by-phone parking system, and though it could translate into more work for parking officials, CIO.com's Al Sacco says it's easy to use, works well and eliminates an over-reliance on quarters.

Taxi drivers fight Boston's ride-share policies with lawsuit

Boston taxi drivers have filed a lawsuit against the city in federal court alleging biased regulations that favor ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft and unfairly burden taxi drivers. The lawsuit also calls for a judge to rule against proposals allowing ride-share companies to be classified as "transportation network companies," which would see the Department of Public Utilities regulating the services.

Survey: U.K. officials are not ready for autonomous vehicles

U.K. Parliament members are not fully grasping the relevance of autonomous vehicles and their potential impact on public road legislation, according to a survey from the Institute of the Motor Industry. "This technology is not going away. Even if we don't see fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the next five years, the advancement in technology will have a huge impact on normal vehicles. MPs are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel and need to start paying closer attention to the implications of these changes," IMI chief Steve Nash said.

Viewpoint: Detroit is the new Silicon Valley of auto innovation

Auto companies are revolutionizing the industry with 3D printing, connected-car systems and an array of new smart technologies, Nolan Finley writes. And with a high-tech workforce, automated engineering and manufacturing, automakers are helping transform the culture of Detroit and leading analysts such as David Cole to observe that "there's no boundary between Detroit and Silicon Valley. This is the absolute example of an industry that is exploiting technology."

Interview With Ford CEO Mark Fields On Smart Mobility

Ford’s Smart Mobility will “use innovation to take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data,” the company said. As part of the Smart Mobility plan, Ford announced its participation in 25 experiments around the world “to test breakthrough transportation ideas to create better customer experiences, more flexible user-ship models and social collaboration that can reward customers.”

Low-cost navigation for self-driving cars

A new software system developed at the University of Michigan uses video game technology to help solve one of the most daunting hurdles facing self driving and automated cars - the high cost of the laser scanners they use to determine their location. Ryan Wolcott, a University of Michigan doctoral candidate, estimates that it could shave thousands of dollars from the cost of these vehicles. The tech enables them to navigate using a single video camera, delivering the same level of accuracy as laser scanners at a fraction of the cost.

Passengers in driverless cars may have to take the wheel

With the first trials of computer-controlled cars set to get underway this year among four trial areas, the government has begun preliminary drafting of rules and regulations that will require those inside the vehicles to remain alert and fit to drive at all times – for example a person sitting in the drivers seat will also still be required to wear a seatbelt and be responsible for speeding fines or penalties incurred.

Study Shows 12 Million Driverless Cars Will Be on the Road by 2035

According to the Boston Consulting Group, almost 10 per cent of global vehicle sales by 2035 could be for fully autonomous cars. That figure will reportedly represent 12 million autonomous cars hitting the roads within 20 years. During a study, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) discovered that 44 per cent of American drivers would consider buying an autonomous car in the coming decade with over 20 per cent willing to spend an extra $5000 for such a vehicle.

Driverless cars make quiet progress in Michigan

The biggest problem facing driverless technology isn't a car maker's ability to install the computer and sensors that will propel a car down an interstate at 70 mph. Both Honda and Google have already done that. The two bigger problems are:
1. When driverless cars must wind through urban areas where a crisis awaits on every corner: pedestrians on cell phones, children chasing after balls and the inevitable detour or "road under construction" sign.
2. The clusters of laws, customs and, of course, car insurance implications of going driverless.

Google car is no match for snow and ice

When self-navigating automobiles encounter snow and ice, driving becomes tricky, say experts who believe obstacle detection technology has a long way to go before it can cope with the winter elements. “A lot of these vehicles use computer vision systems to look at the roadway ahead to understand where the lane boundaries are. When the road is covered in snow, they can’t see the lane boundaries,” said Steven Shladover, an advanced transportation researcher from the University of California, Berkeley.

Google lags behind General Motors for driverless car patents

Although Google is pouring huge investment into its car venture, and unveiled a prototype car (without a steering wheel or brakes) last year, General Motors, Toyota and Hyundai may be the first carmakers to produce a fully driverless car; a possibility based on the number of autonomous driving patents each manufacturer was granted in recent years.

Why plummeting gasoline can’t stall the electric car

The electric car appears to be in trouble.
Surprisingly, it is not. This past week, the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit was stacked with glitzy new electric cars, from the BMW i3 to the Chevrolet Bolt to SUVs and micro-cars. That's because today's electric car boom isn't really about oil prices at all; it's about clean air. Under the leadership of California, a group of environmentally progressive states (Oregon, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut) has created market-based mandates that set a floor under the electric-vehicle market. In other words, they're forcing automakers to sell electric cars. The goal is to have 3.3 million of them on their roads by 2025. Thanks to clever policy design, the survival of electric cars doesn't depend on the vagaries of the global oil market.

Will Audi’s Push Force BMW’s Hand In The Electric Car Market?

The competition in the electric vehicles market is bound to get tougher. While BMW has been at the forefront of the EVs revolution, other premium automakers have been slower to adapt to the market and customers’ demands. But things are changing. Audi is getting serious about the EV field and they released a spending plan of 24 billion euros ($28.3 billion) on technology and EV production in the next five years. Audi has already invested heavily in the electric-powered Audi R8, pushing the high-performance model into a niche of its own.

5 Problems Standing in the Way of Electric Vehicle Adoption

Full disclosure: We like electric vehicles. We’re happy to share how they can be cheaper to insure than gas cars, which are the most efficient, and how dubious Wall Street “analysis” can serve to confuse issues in the industry. We’re also realists. We know that if everything was glorious in the EV universe then every driver in America would own one and oil companies would be going out of business. With the arrival of the Chevrolet Bolt EV concept and Tesla’s Model 3 expected a few years down the road, it seems like a good time to take stock of the situation in the industry. What are the issues holding back the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in 2015? Here are five things that stand in the way.

Explainer: For the future of electric vehicles, one size does not fit all

In an effort to jumpstart adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles, Toyota Motors earlier this month made more than 5,600 patents available to other carmakers. A few days later, General Motors introduced the electric Bolt, an electric vehicle designed to run 200 miles on batteries. Automakers, meanwhile, continue to develop yet other types of electric vehicles: plug-in hybrids and hybrid electrics. Electric vehicles are the most promising alternative to conventional gasoline and diesel-powered cars. But how is each technology different? And what are the relative benefits and commercial challenges to each?

EU to support studies on electric vehicle traffic development in Northern Europe

The EU's TEN-T Programme will back with over €1 million a market study and a pilot on the deployment of electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure along the main highways in southern Sweden, Denmark and northern Germany. The project will contribute to removing barriers for long distance 'green' travel across borders.

Hyundai Plans Hybrids, Electric Cars & More: 5 Questions With Green R&D Head Ki-Sang Lee

The Hyundai Motor Group, encompassing both the Hyundai and Kia brands, is known as one of the most aggressive competitors in the global auto business. And the company has big plans for expanding its lineup of green vehicles, as we learned in an interview last week with Ki-Sang Lee, a senior vice president who's head of its R&D Center for "eco-friendly vehicles."

Need more policy clarity on electric vehicles: Tata Motors

"We have been showcasing our electric vehicles for some time now. However, it is too early for us to firm up our plans for a commercial launch of an electric bus, as we don't know how much the manufacturers will get from the money allocated by the government and how much R&D spend can be clawed back," Tata MotorsCommercial Vehicles Head and Executive Director Ravi Pisharody told PTI here today.

Where the electric vehicle boom is happening and how utilities can take advantage

That explosion in PEVs presents unique challenges and opportunities to utilities across the nation. DOE's report on customer charging behaviors for in-home and public electric vehicle charging stations found negligible grid impacts from small-scale electric vehicle charging today, but warned "utilities face a challenge in determining when their customers purchase electric vehicles, and where and when they will plug-in to satisfy charging needs​."

WA hoping to win race to build Australia's first electric car network

The race to build Australia's first electric car highway could be won by WA, with a plan to build a network of charging stations throughout the South West.

Friday, January 16, 2015

5 confounding questions that hold the key to the future of driverless cars

Some of the most interesting questions, after all, are not about the technology itself, but about the behavioral, legal, economic, environmental and policy implications around it. Compared to all of these other knotty issues still to be worked out, the fundamental engineering problem — can we really build these things? — seems like the easy one.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tesla Electric Cars Up for the Challenge Down Under

Now Tesla has finally opened up shop in Australia, albeit only one – in North Sydney. They sell direct to the public, as well as online, and a second retail outlet is due to open in Victoria’s Chadstone within weeks.


For a report published by the oil industry’s leading trade group, the 2015 “State of American Energy” report sure gives a lot of attention to alternative fuel sources.

In fact, about 40 percent of the American Petroleum Institute’s 50-page report covers energy types as diverse as solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, hydropower, and even biomass. Associations that represent each of these sectors, such as the Nuclear Energy Institute, the National Hydropower Association, and the Biomass Power Association, get a chance to make the case for their respective industries in the API report.

12 million driverless cars to be on the road by 2035: Study

Fully automated driverless cars could make up nearly 10 per cent of global vehicle sales, or about 12 million cars a year, by 2035, the Boston Consulting Group said on Thursday. BCG said 44 per cent of US drivers it surveyed would consider buying a fully autonomous vehicle within the next 10 years, and that 20 per cent would be willing to pay an extra $5,000 or more for the advanced technology required to operate such a vehicle.

Making Bicycling and Pedestrian Data Count

So, if we want non-motorized transportation incorporated effectively into transportation policy and performance management --and many Americans have indicated that they do-- we need better bicycle and pedestrian data programs. That's why the bike-ped data community gathered yesterday at TRB to share case studies, tools, and best practices that can lead to better counts...and better transportation.

Why death won’t keep me from biking in the city

I’ve been commuting by bike, on and off, for more than 20 years.
If the stakes are so high, why do we do it? And isn’t there a way to change the rules so that we can get to work in the morning under our own power without flirting with death?

Leshi unveils plans for low-priced, electric "supercar" project

The Internet company officially announced its electric car plan in December. Leshi's LeTelematics Co CEO He Yi said the forthcoming product would be a "smart super electricvehicle" offered around the world as a global product.
He said the Silicon Valley based automotive research and development team had beenworking on the car for nearly a year.

Ford debuts new AppLink system with third-party navigation apps

Ford has introduced its upgraded AppLink 3.0 system with third-party navigation application integration and in-dashboard smartphone syncing capability. The new AppLink will project real-time smartphone graphics on in-dash displays and will be available in new car models next year. Ford said it is in the process of open sourcing the system to encourage cross-platform adoption, and it is working with Alibaba to bring map-projection capabilities to vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz touts LED connectivity in prototype

Mercedes-Benz's self-driving concept vehicle highlighted at last week's International Consumer Electronics Show features an LED communication system with displays, laser projection and light modules to alert pedestrians when the vehicle is in autonomous mode and when it is safe to cross in front of the vehicle.

Looking Into The Future On Electric Vehicle Adoption

Most of the electric vehicle recharging infrastructure that was built with money from the 2009 stimulus act was not used, but the data gathered from those projects can be used to identify and perhaps predict where the demand for public recharging stations will be, Smart said. On the coldest days of the year, today’s electric vehicles suffer more than a 40 percent decrease in their range, said Tugce Yuksel of Carnegie Mellon University.

Nissan and NASA Collaborate On Driverless Car

The Japanese car manufacturer Nissan and cutting edge technology specialists NASA are working together to advance the technology behind cars that drive autonomously. NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California and Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co. announced on Thursday of this week, a research-and-development partnership for autonomous vehicle systems that will span five-years. The idea is that the technologies will eventually be implemented into commercially sold vehicles.

Driverless Car Technology Hits the Road, but With a Human Behind the Wheel

"We are going for a long-term goal of an autonomous car, but the technology being developed for that can be used today. It's important for people to realize that the auto industry has been working on these technologies for years and years. It spent $102 billion on research and development last year," said Dan Gage, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM).

Canadian university develops ultra-thin EV battery for improved performance

The University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, says it has developed a more efficient electric vehicle battery using ultra-thin, lightweight nanomaterial in conjunction with lithium-sulphur batteries to help boost EV performance and reduce cost.

Verizon to debut in-vehicle wireless connectivity service this year

Verizon said it will release an onboard mobile device to expedite roadside assistance and allow drivers to monitor their cars. The Verizon Vehicle unit can be added on to almost any car made since 1996 that has a standard on-board diagnostics port, and it will effectively turn millions of cars into connected vehicles, the company said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The device will run on the CDMA network and will be available for $14.99 a month.

Chevy Could Beat Tesla to Building the First Mainstream Electric Car

This week, General Motors announced the Chevrolet Bolt, a car specifically meant to undercut the Model 3—perhaps before Musk’s car even arrives.
The Bolt, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, is a concept, yes, but a preview of a battery electric production car that GM CEO Mary Barra says will deliver more than 200 miles of range for a base price around $30,000 (after the obligatory $7,500 federal tax credit). While GM is keeping quiet about when this car would hit the market, The Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press say the company’s shooting for 2017.


The League of American Bicyclists is hosting the NATIONAL FORUM ON WOMEN & BICYCLING on March 10th, 2015. This year our theme is Bikes + Women Leaders = Big Ideas. We believe in empowering women to take on positions of leadership in bike advocacy. By creating more diverse leaders, and proposing new systems of leadership we invite more creativity and innovation into the bike movement. We think this will lead not only to more women on bikes, but more inclusive conversations about bike advocacy.

Uber to reveal ride data with Boston to help ease traffic woes

The new partnership perhaps marks a new day. Uber said it believes its smart data will help city planners -- and presumably more cities in the future -- improve traffic planning, reduce congestion and identify streets that require improvement, like filling potholes. According to Uber, the data will be shared by ZIP Code Tabulation Area, which is the "US Census' geographical representation of ZIP codes." "This will help us reach our transportation goals, improve the quality of our neighborhoods and allow us to think smarter, finding more innovative and creative solutions to some of our most pressing challenges," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement Tuesday.

UN partners with Renault-Nissan Alliance to Mass Produce Affordable EVs by 2016

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed 4 billion euros to commercialize affordable zero-emission vehicles and targeting to have five distinct models available to consumers by the end of 2012. The Alliance is committed to forging public-private partnerships to ensure that zero-emission vehicles have robust infrastructure as demonstrated by 120 Memoranda of Understanding signed worldwide to date (June 2012).

Creating Smart Paths for Connected Cities Webinar

Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Time: 10:30 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. EST
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will host a free webinar to inform stakeholders of its new Connected Cities Research Program. Connected vehicle technologies, integrated sensors, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile devices, social media, the smart grid, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are converging to transform the future of our cities, making them smarter and their citizens more connected than ever before. To help shape this future, the U.S. DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is launching a Connected Cities Research Program.

2015 ITS Bordeaux World Congress Deadlines Near

The Call for Papers and Special Interest Sessions submission deadline for the 22nd ITS World Congress is in less than one week; submit your paper or Special Interest Session topic now. No extension will be granted. Authors can submit technical, scientific and commercial papers, and special interest session proposals until Monday, January 19 (23:59 CET).

Tesla to hike electric car output to 'a few million' by 2025

Speaking at an industry conference in Detroit, Musk said Tesla may not be profitable until 2020. In addition, Tesla sales in China were unexpectedly weak in the fourth quarter. He blamed a misperception by city-dwelling Chinese consumers that they might have difficulty charging their electric cars. "We’ll fix the China issue and be in pretty good shape probably in the middle of the year," he said.

VIDEO: Driverless Cars Gear Up for the Future

Autonomous cars may be coming sooner than you think. Reporter Andria Chamberlin tells us how manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and QNX are gearing up for computers to take our place.

New study says one in 10 cars sold will be driverless by 2035

In fact, 44% of US drivers that the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed said they would consider buying a fully automated car in the next 10 years. The main draw? Lower fuel and insurance costs, and increased safety.

Driverless vehicle site to be operational in spring

Called “M City,” the 32-acre site is taking shape on the University of Michigan’s North Campus in Ann Arbor. Designed and built in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation, roadway construction at the facility was completed in December.
The school’s Mobility Transformation Center says a formal opening is planned for July.

TSAG Webinar: Emergency Vehicle Operator On-Board Devices: Their Impact on Distraction, Safety and Performance

Thursday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Christine Yager, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Tom Ferris, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute will explore the impact of on-board devices inside emergency response vehicles including the technologies, required interactions and the theories of human information processing as it relates to these issues. This webinar is sponsored by the Transportation Safety Advancement Group (TSAG).

BMW says ‘no thanks’ to tech companies asking for its connected car data

These companies could use this information to sell to third parties, like local authorities, to improve town planning, Telefonica told ComputerworldUK last year. Further, there is an opportunity for restaurants and shops to offer location-based push notifications when a car drives past certain chains – enticing the driver to stop.

Toyota uses virtual reality to help reduce distracted driving

Toyota has launched a TeenDrive365 virtual reality initiative to help younger drivers understand the dangers of distracted driving by simulating real-world road conditions. Toyota uses Oculus Rift to power the simulations, allowing users to manipulate steering, gas and braking, and uses stereo headphones to add realistic sound distractions to help intensify the experience.

Google wants to team with automakers on driverless cars

Google will be exploring relationships with automakers and various suppliers as the company looks to finalize its autonomous car models and release them to the market within the next five years, Google's Chris Urmson said. Working with part and tech suppliers such as Continental and Nvidia, Urmson said that the company is trying to expedite the manufacturing process and is discussing partnerships with companies such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota.

Carnegie Mellon develops V2V virtual traffic lights to expedite commutes

Being stuck in traffic is one of the most infuriating experiences for a driver, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have found a solution. They claim they can reduce the commute times of urban workers by 40% by replacing physical traffic lights with virtual traffic lights.

7 Ways Self-Driving Cars Could Impact States and Localities

A transportation network where cars and trucks no longer need drivers seems tantalizingly close. Google, Carnegie Mellon University and automakers are testing out their own autonomous vehicles. The federal government has started to plan so that vehicles can communicate with each other. But the reality is the country will still have to wait several years before the vehicles leave the experimental stage.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Rode 500 Miles in a Self-Driving Car and Saw the Future. It’s Delightfully Dull

... that’s the most remarkable thing about Audi’s robo-car: All that tech recedes into the background. Driving this car is mundane, almost boring. My interaction with that little girl was the most exciting part of the trip. And Audi couldn’t be happier about that.

Ford Challenges Uber With EV Car Sharing, Premium Minibus

As part of its 25 "Smart Mobility" initiatives announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford is merging the car-sharing services trend with energy-efficient electric vehicles through its "Rapid Recharge & Share" experiment and its "Dynamic Social Shuttle" experiment aimed at challenging ride-share services such as Uber. The Ford minibus would serve up to 10 passengers at a time and can be controlled via smartphone application.

ABI: Virtualization, direct vehicle connectivity are key to transportation success

Connected technologies will be more effective if companies work toward "virtualizing smart transportation solutions via in-vehicle technology, and cloud-based control systems whereby information is sent directly to and from the car, bypassing physical roadside infrastructure all together," says ABI Research's Dominique Bonte. ABI also highlights the need for Big Data to deliver real-time information to automobiles, as well as the role autonomous cars will play in reducing traffic congestion on public roads.

What Is MPGe Anyway? What Is Efficiency For Electric Cars?

Electric cars don't use "fuel" as such, but you'll still find fuel-economy ratings on their window stickers. Those MPGe figures have mystified many potential plug-in electric car buyers, but they remain the primary way of comparing energy efficiency by internal-combustion and electrified vehicles.

Automakers on the road to self-driving cars at Consumer Electronics Show

"CES is a place where automakers can reach an entire new audience of consumers who are looking for what's next," said Costantine Samaras, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. "Even if it's just at the concept level, there's a lot of spillover for technology up and down an automaker's supply chain."

Toyota shifts toward hydrogen with new patent policy

Toyota is looking to expand the field of hydrogen fuel cell research by opening up over 5,000 of its related patents to use and share royalty-free. The company highlighted the need for increased access and cooperation in developing and adopting the technology. The fuel cells will require "a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers," Toyota's Bob Carter said.

Chrysler debuts connected-car app with remote monitoring

The app will also show you the location of your car -- useful if you're in a busy parking lot or if you've loaned it out. Most useful, you can use the app to search for a destination, then send it to the car. The next time you get in, the navigation system will have that location saved and ready to go.

AT&T adds 5 apps to Drive platform

AT&T said it will add five applications to its connected-car platform as part of the expansion of its Drive Studio project facility in Atlanta. AT&T's Ralph de la Vega said that the company will also partner with companies such as Samsung to bring new connected mobile technology to vehicles.

Nepal Makes Public Transport Safer for Women by Getting Rid of Men

According to a World Bank study, one in four women in Nepal have experienced some kind of inappropriate touching while riding public transportation. Women comprise at least a third of all riders in the country, but many of them feel anxiety and fear commuting in public buses. And women in Nepal have been campaigning passionately to end sexual harassment and make public transportation, as well as other public domains, safer for women – in the meantime, however, one private company has offered them an alternative: women-only buses.

Ford CEO Fields Predicts Driverless Cars on Roads in 5 Years

Ford Motor Co. (F) Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said that an automaker probably will introduce a self-driving vehicle within half a decade, but it won’t be his company, which is focusing on less expensive features that assist in driving. “Fully autonomous vehicles are a real possibility,” Fields said at a Jan. 5 dinner with analysts and journalists on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “Probably, in the next five years, you’ll see somebody introduce autonomous vehicles.”

Mercedes-Benz ‘luxury in motion’ driverless car looks like a pretty sweet ride

They have a name for the self-driving car at Mercedes Benz: the “exclusive cocoon.” “Mankind has been dreaming of autonomous cars since the 1950s,” said Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz, as the Associated Press reported. The company unveiled its F 015 Luxury in Motion at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.

The FlyKly Smart Wheel for Bicycles is Now Available and First to Hit the Market in the Movement to Usher in a New Era in Urban Transportation

Bicycling anywhere in any city just got a whole lot easier with the release today of the FlyKly Smart Wheel that lets urban cyclists climb hills and travel longer distances faster without breaking a sweat. Featuring an all-in-one design that puts a motor, battery and sensors together in a compact hub on the wheel, and weighing only six pounds, the FlyKly Smart Wheel replaces the rear wheel on nearly any ordinary bike to transform it into a pedal-assisted electric bicycle. The FlyKly Smart Wheel has already earned three international patents and is the first smart wheel for bicycles to hit the market.

Audi Plans Two Electric Cars By 2018

The Ingolstadt carmaker’s love/hate relationship with electric cars built in series seems to have finally taken a turn for the better, as the company is said to launch two purely electric vehicles by 2018. The information comes straight from Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler, who mentioned this rather important piece of information to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, as quoted by Reuters.

Owners of BMW electric cars get paid not to drive

The experimental program — developed by BMW and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. — will test one way to ensure that electric vehicles don’t burden the grid as their popularity slowly grows. If it works well, it could lead to a future in which EV drivers get paid for helping to maintain the grid’s stability. And that money could, in turn, offset the price of electric cars, which still cost substantially more than their gasoline-burning brethren. “If they will provide us grid service, we can provide them some incentives that will help lower the cost of these vehicles,” said James Ellis, PG&E’s director of electric vehicle programs.

Could future electric cars harvest heat to charge their batteries?

In a recent paper titled Energy Harvesting/Regeneration for Electric Vehicles Land, Water & Air 2015-2025, analysts claim future electric cars could harvest heat energy to recharge their batteries. The system is called an Automotive Thermoelectric Generator (ATEG), and the report claims it could appear on cars by 2018.

Lithium air batteries sudden death: Researches increase storages capacity to 5 times

Carnegie Mellon University’s Venkat Viswanathan and a team of researchers have reduced the problem of sudden death in lithium air batteries through the addition of water, increasing their energy storage capacity by five times. “We could not get all the energy out of these batteries because of sudden death,” said Viswanathan, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering. “That was the ugly aspect of this battery.” Sudden death causes lithium air batteries to die prematurely. The batteries require lithium, oxygen, and an electron to move inside the battery to reach the active site where the reaction produces energy.

What is Google’s vision for the automotive world?

Now, according to Chris Urmson, the former Carnegie Mellon University researcher who heads the entire project, a first viable step might be to offer the self-driving vehicles as a shuttle for Google employees or even as a public service for the entire Mountain View city. “We don’t know whether it would be Mountain View or somewhere else, but some kind of test like that would make an awful lot of sense,” he commented.

Firstech debuts Drone Mobile telematics device

Firstech unveiled its Drone Mobile telematics application at the International Consumer Electronics Show this weekend. The GPS-enabled app allows drivers to sync their mobile devices to their cars and control main functions like turning a car on and off, adjusting windows and unlocking doors, remotely. Firstech's Bryan Park says the $50 annual service can be upgraded to include remote GPS tracking for multiple vehicles and a panic mode to alert owners in case of theft.

GM’s OnStar teams with Progressive for driver discounts

OnStar, which provides emergency, security and embedded Wi-Fi connectivity services to 7 million subscribers in North America and China, will allow U.S. customers to enroll in a driving assessment. After 90 days, OnStar technology that connects with the vehicle will tell customers how they performed in certain driving metrics, comparing them against an aggregate of other enrolled customers and offering individualized driving tips.

Chevy reveals 2016 Volt, doubles down on electric hybrid cars

We just took the wraps off 2015, but General Motors already has its eyes on next year with its sneak peak of its 2016 version of the Chevy Volt electric hybrid vehicle. The new Volt was teased on Sunday at CES, where global chief marketing officer Tim Mahoney took to the stage and gave a small group of media the first look at the next iteration of Chevy's electric car ambitions.

This solar-powered EV charging solution for apartment dwellers is totally rad

A company called Powertree Services, starting out in San Francisco (surprise, surprise), has a plan in place with 100 apartment buildings that beats anything else I’ve seen in this market. It is going to rent some parking spaces in the buildings’ parking facilities, as well as their roofs, and then install EV chargers and solar panels there. Powertree Services is connecting these technologies with Panasonic lithium-ion batteries (like the ones used in Tesla’s cars). Apartment dwellers who pay a flat monthly fee can then charge up their electric cars (which they will presumably now buy). Furthermore, if they are out on the town and need to charge up, they can utilize one of Powertree Services’ other EV charging spots — providing them with both a charge and a parking space!

Federally funded car recharging stations get little use

Nissan Leaf owner Will Price of Eugene doesn’t need the network of government-provided electric vehicle charging stations that were installed for motorists like him. Price drives 14 miles to and from work, which is easily within his electric car’s 70-mile range, so he ignores the publicly accessible fast-charging units scattered around Eugene-Springfield. “I never use them,” Price said of the public chargers. “They are of no consequence to me.” Most electric vehicle owners have developed the same at-home charging habit, leaving the expensive, taxpayer-funded EV Project network of fast-charging units in Eugene-Springfield unused much of the time.

Why “Electric Cars” Include “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars”

First of all, the most important part for me in labeling a car an “electric car” is whether or not the car can drive purely on electricity, if/when the driver wishes it to. Furthermore, the driver must be able to plug the car in and charge it up using electricity. Naturally, this includes plug-in hybrid electric cars (as implied by the name of this subset of motor vehicle). An EV Obsession reader and Bob Wallace have both made an excellent analogy that really captures things well, imho. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is like a bike with training wheels. A bike with training wheels is still a bike — it just has training wheels. Similarly, a PHEV is still an EV — it just has a gas tank and engine that can extend the range if the driver needs a bit of help driving further.

Human Machine Interface: Building a smart car, the smart way

Multi-modal HMI will be performing an extremely crucial role in turning the concept of driverless car into a reality. According to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, ‘Strategic Analysis of European and North American Automotive Human Machine Interface Market’, 16 million cars will be equipped with basic voice interface, 6.9 million with advanced voice interface, and 1.2 million with multifunctional knobs in Europe by 2017.

Green Wheels: Slogging ahead for electric cars, but they will keep going

Sales are increasing: They doubled in the past two years. But the rate of increase slowed from about 86 per cent between 2012 and 2013, to only around 17 per cent from 2013 to last year.