Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Porsche Won’t Plug in to Electric Cars Any Time Soon, But Plug-in Hybrids OK, Says Tech Boss

“Whilst we admire Tesla’s Model S sedan (we’ve even bought one to study) if we were to drive it at the permissible high speeds in Germany (like so many Porsche owners do), say from Munich to Frankfurt, the advertised range of around 430 kilometres would likely be severely reduced and potentially not enough charge would be available for the round trip commute,” he said. “I think it’s going to be at least five years before EV technology is where it needs to be, at least for Porsche.”

Discounted registration rates expire today for the ITS Annual Meeting & Expo

Don't delay -- early bird discounted registration rates for the 2015 ITS America Annual Meeting & Expo are set to expire today, Tuesday March 31! We expect more than 2,000 attendees at the ITS Annual Meeting. Join us to explore the bridges to innovation and the critical evolution of our nation's transportation infrastructure network. Explore all the ITS Annual Meeting has to offer from keynote speeches and panels led by the transportation industry's top innovators, government leaders and rising stars, to more than 18,000 sq. feet of exhibition space, 5 exciting technical tours, U.S. DOT-sponsored training courses, networking events and more. 

Ford tech aims to ease parking woes

Ford Motor Co. is working on new technology that will alert drivers when nearby parking spaces are available. "What we tried to do with this project is to demonstrate how sensors that are currently on our vehicles in production today, which detect objects around the vehicle, can be used as a person naturally drives through parking areas to sense whether vehicles are in parking spaces or not," Ford's Dave McCreadie explained.

Monday, March 30, 2015

STEM Teachers: Build Working Electric Vehicles With Your Class

“Our primary goals are to engage students in the education process,” said Switch co-founder Peter Oliver in a press release. “We want them to learn about math, science and technology and use their lessons to actually make something.” The EV Chassis Lab program runs for one semester, and in that time teaches circuitry, mechanics, and incorporating new forms of energy into vehicles. The vocational and scientific learning experience gained is relevant to real world careers in the tech sector and beyond. This includes skills in proficiency testing, automotive mechanics, and renewable energy. Instructors are finding multiple uses for the cars, with some employing them in up to four separate classes.

China Boosts Fleet of Electric, Hybrid Vehicles

Chinese authorities have announced plans to boost the number of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel-powered vehicles used for public transportation, while sales of such cars for private use have spiked in recent months. The Transport Ministry announced Wednesday that officials aimed to add 200,000 buses and 100,000 taxis powered by alternative fuels by 2020. Last year, the country added 15,000 alternative fuel-powered buses to its roads.

Smartphone-like app platform will 'be key to success of connected car industry'

Speaking at the SMMT Connected conference in London, Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, director of the engineering group at Jaguar Land Rover, said connected and autonomous cars of the near-future will depend on a platform through which developers can create apps, just as they have to revolutionise the smartphone industry. Citing the app stores of Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile platforms, Ziebart said: "What is key for car manufacturers? To provide a platform where others can add applications as easily as possible. This is to me the key to success for car manufacturers."

Transportation officials say Wi-Fi sharing bill could interfere with V2V tech

"We're making sure, first and foremost, the safety needs of the auto industry will be met, while also giving more opportunities for more innovation, more job creation, more economic expansion and more fairness in terms of accessing the internet," Booker said. The bill has bipartisan supporters in Congress and would require the FCC to evaluate whether Wi-Fi and V2V can co-exist. "We want to get to the point where traffic moves like two schools of fish seamlessly moving together," Dr. Peter Sweatman said.

5 Ways to Get the Masses Charged Up About Electric Cars

People already driving electric cars have fallen in love, as shown by of-the-charts customer satisfaction ratings. But for the vast majority of Americans who aren't yet driving electric, how do we get them charged up? In our last two blogs in this series, we talked about the large number of people we need to switch to EVs if we're to have a shot at averting the worst of climate change. We also discussed the type of public policies -- like cash rebates -- that will incentivize people to drive electric vehicles (EVs). But we won’t win over the mass market if we aren't educating and exciting the public.

Ford debuts vehicle designed to stay under the speed limit

It’s called the Intelligent Speed Limiter, a system in Ford’s new S-MAX with the ability to read traffic signs, keeping you under the speed limit and in the clear of getting a speeding ticket. The Intelligent Speed Limiter allows you to set a maximum speed which is automatically adjusted by the Traffic Sign Recognition system. Here’s how it works: there’s a camera mounted on the windshield that scans road signs and restrictions, reducing the vehicle’s speed to match.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The FTC has JOB OPPORTUNITIES available in its newly formed Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI)

As part of this expanded effort, they are happy to announce a number of new positions which we hope will draw fresh academic talent and expertise to OTRI (quick, application deadline for this round is April 3):

Technology Policy Research Fellowship, 
A full-time Research Coordinator position 
Technology Research Internship Program this summer (which will be expanding into semester-long externships throughout the school year.)

China's tech giants are getting into the autonomous car business

Both Tencent and Baidu have announced that they'll be getting into the autonomous vehicle game in the last 24 hours. Tencent is teaming up with iPhone assembler Foxconn, as well as a local luxury car outfit, to create "smart vehicles."

7 Predictions for Smarter Connected Cars

Automakers will offer separate services, reasonably priced models and will team up with digital entertainment platforms in the coming years of the connect car, Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo predicts. Other ways auto manufacturers can provide increased user-friendly services are with payment gateways, Apple-like ecosystems, usage patterns and customization through phone applications, he says.

New regulator to guard privacy in Internet of Things

A new office created by the Federal Trade Commission will focus on consumer privacy issues raised by the developing Internet of Things, including connected cars, smart appliances and Big Data. The Office of Technology Research and Investigation is an expansion of an existing division created to monitor the smartphone space.

Driving in America Is Approaching a 'New Normal'

What's harder to figure out is just why driving and economic growth are playing this unchained melody. Via email to CityLab, Sundquist and McCahill point to a number of "big factors" that might have weakened the traditional connection. These include the rise of walkable places, where economic growth thrives precisely because there's less driving; stagnant wages, which leads to less disposable income to buy a car or take a taxi; declining car use among Boomers and new travel preferences among Millennials; and marginal changes in commuting habits related to transit use or working from home.

Might we add one more to the list: the maturity of the American road network.

Mojio receives financing for connected-car hardware

Mojio has received $8 million led by Telekom Capital for its connected-car hardware with built-in connectivity and a GPS, which plugs into any diagnostic port. In many ways, Mojio’s hardware product is similar to products like Automatic, which also plug into a car’s diagnostic port to bring connected car features to any car. What sets Mojio apart from most of its competitors is that it includes built-in connectivity and a GPS in its unit while others typically rely on a Bluetooth connection with a smartphone for their more advanced features. Mojio also sees itself as an open platform, so developers can make use of the data from its device in their own apps. The company says that it currently has about 500 active developers on its platform.

Analysis: Driverless cars will affect business, road safety

Self-driving cars have the potential to significantly reduce traffic accidents, the majority of which are the result of human error, Tim Smedley writes. Driverless cars also will likely be adopted by businesses at a faster rate due to fleet turnover, as at least 50% of new vehicle registrations are submitted by businesses, Smedley writes.

RPT-Automakers race to double the driving range of affordable electric cars

"Several factors are at play that are landing at this 200-mile range" for a vehicle priced between $30,000 and $35,000, LG Chem Chief Executive Prabhakar Patil said in an interview. "We've been talking to several OEMs (automakers) regarding where our battery technology is and where it's going."

Electric vehicles sneaking up in the race for global car dominance

Adoption of EVs in the U.S. market began a steady rise in 2011. Conditions were favourable when average gasoline prices were in the range of $3.75 to $4.00 a gallon. Sales numbers of almost 10,000 a month still pale compared to overall U.S. auto sales of over a million a month; however it’s the uptrend of early adoption that’s noteworthy. Over the past six months, U.S. sales momentum appears to have fallen in tandem with gasoline prices; this is not surprising as there is less incentive for consumers to plug in when the price spread between the pump and the wall socket narrows. But like a race, it’s too early to call a downtrend.

New Cars to Light Where You Look and Obey Speed Limits

Engineers at Vauxhall/Opel — General Motor’s British subsidiaries — have unveiled a new system that aims a vehicle’s headlights based on real-time eye tracking. Using infrared sensors on the dashboard, the system monitors where the driver is looking and adjusts the LED forward lamps accordingly. Spot a deer off the road to your left, and the car will automatically throw a beam of light that way. Because the headlights use an LED matrix system, light can be dynamically adjusted on the fly to respond to various conditions. The company’s existing Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) technology already uses sensors to beam different light patterns depending on ambient light, weather and steering.

Google’s driverless car might come with airbags on the outside, to protect pedestrians

Google is working on a driverless car that already has spent countless test hours learning the rules of the road. In a new patent awarded today to Google today (March 24), the company outlined a system for external airbags and bumpers that could deploy in the event of an accident. One idea suggested in the patent is to mount airbags on the outside of the cars, to create a buffer for pedestrians. These airbags would deploy when the car senses that a collision with another vehicle is imminent.

Electric Vehicles Could Greatly Decrease Funding for Roadway Maintenance

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering have found that an increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) would result in reduced consumption of gasoline and consequently a decrease in gasoline tax revenue that currently supports infrastructure development and maintenance in the U.S. The scientists say the loss of tax revenue could be between $200 million and $900 million by 2025, depending on the EV adoption rate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hertz upgrades onboard navigation system with cameras

As part of its NeverLost onboard navigation system upgrade, Hertz has added inward-facing video cameras in about 12% of its fleet in the past year, but said it has no plans to activate the cameras right now.

Are electric cars hard to resell?

Resell value is a big concern for motorists who know they will sell a car on in years to come and it's a bigger concern for electric vehicles that rely on expensive batteries. Luckily, it seems, this is an area where things are improving. Vehicle data and valuation provider Glass's said electric car residual values were falling in line with diesel cars as the used car market becomes 'more accustomed to the technology they contain'.

At TED, Google and Toyota display their visions for the future of cars

Chris Urmson, director of self-driving cars at Google, said at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference 2015 on Tuesday that although his 11-year-old son would be able to drive in 2020, his team members “are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.” Urmson was one of the high profile speakers at the TED 2015 conference. He has risen to become an important figure in the automobile industry with his refusal of the traditional concept of driving.

Industry 'crying for high-level' automotive workers

With the latest in technology permeating today's cars and trucks, highly-skilled technicians are needed to keep the wheels turning.There are video gaming systems and cooling seats (as opposed to heated seats) and an increasing number of power-operated systems. There are hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and fleet of makes and models on the road. The price of some new SUVs and trucks is more than many senior citizens paid for their homes. "We get job postings every day," said Tim Moy, an automotive instructor at Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) in Fond du Lac. "The jobs are there. The industry is crying for high level students."

Richard Branson Confirms Virgin is Developing Electric Cars

Richard Branson has just revealed that Virgin is currently in the midst of working on a selection of electric cars to potentially rival the offerings of Tesla.While speaking with Bloomberg at the recent Miami round of the FIA Formula E championship, Branson said “We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.”

Electric vehicle manufacturing licenses to be issued this year in China

According to Wang Binggang, chief consultant to the State 863 Energy-saving & New Energy Vehicle Project, the latest set of rules clarify the definition of electric vehicles, which include series hybrid vehicles, but exclude micro and mild hybrid ones. The companies that are awarded the manufacturing license will only be permitted to produce electric vehicles under their own brand, and will not be allowed to manufacture gasoline powered automobiles, the newspaper said. The competition among interested applicants is heating up, with several auto component makers striving to meet the technical requirements stipulated in the rules, the newspaper said. Several internet companies that have announced plans to move into auto-related businesses such as the Internet of Cars and electric vehicles, are teaming up with auto makers to meet the regulatory requirements.

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

Google is probably using its auto insurance comparison service to learn more about how the industry works so it can eventually underwrite and sell policies on its own, said Forrester Research analyst Ellen Carney. "They are getting all the data that they need to do it," Carney said. "I think there is definitely more to come here."
A Google spokesman, however, said the company has no plans to sell or underwrite insurance.


Engineers and cutting edge scientists from Delphi Automotive decked out a fleet of Audi SUVs with cameras, lasers, and radar all to teach the nearly $53,000 luxury car to drive itself.
And on Sunday morning, it's taking off on a history-making cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York. It'll cover 3,500 miles in about 10 days.

Car crashes and urban sprawl aren't just public health crises. They're a trillion dollar drag on our economy too.

One of the significant drains is car accidents, which can kill people at the prime of their working lives. Americans who live in suburbs with poor transportation access are two to five times more likely to be killed in an accident, the report says. Per capita, car crashes impose a nearly $1,750 annual cost on both individuals and the larger economy, according to the report, titled “Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Urban Sprawl.”

Apple may be building an operating system for BMW i3 EV

Apple is reportedly teaming up with BMW to build an operating system for the latter's i3 electric car that can communicate and exchange data with an iOS devices, Apple Watch and Mac, Auto Motor Sport reports.

App could be used to pay at Pittsburgh parking meters, but could privacy issues arise?

"It’s technology that people will find very convenient,” predicted Lorrie Faith Cranor, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. “It would be a shame, though, to roll it out and then all the sudden surprise people with [location] tracking and advertising that some people might think is privacy invasive.”

Saturday, March 21, 2015

White paper: Intelligent Connectivity for Seamless Urban Mobility

This white paper from Arup, in collaboration with Council Lead Partner Qualcomm, examines intelligent connectivity as it applies to urban mobility: how people and things move through cities. As the authors state, enabling effective transport of citizens and goods is critical to a city’s economic and social vitality, the well-being of its inhabitants, and its consumption and emissions footprint. When urban mobility systems work — cleanly, collaboratively, efficiently — the entire city benefits as a result. A variety of urban challenges are deeply linked with transport issues: air quality and safety issues, congestion management, pressure on energy systems and quality of life concerns are just some examples covered in the report.

Porsche Seeks Better ‘Connected Car’ Technology, Executive Says

Connected cars are a “huge emphasis,” Joe Lawrence, chief operating officer of Porsche Cars North America, said Wednesday at the Bloomberg Innovation Forum in Atlanta. “Recognizing the phone is so ubiquitous in every sector, how do we integrate that into driving experience in a way that is safe and enjoyable?” Automakers can benefit by working with technology developers such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc., and “I think all manufacturers are talking to” those two companies, he said. Connected-car technologies were the problems most often reported by owners in a J.P. Power vehicle reliability study released last month.

Clean Transportation & Energy Consulting Firm Joins WTS as Partner

GNA is excited to officially be a partner of WTS International. As the nation works to resolve its climate change and air quality issues, it's vital that our transportation leaders-civic, political, and private sector-present a diverse range of perspectives in tackling these important issues. WTS International's mission to facilitate the attraction, retention, and advancement of talented women in the transportation sector is well aligned with our goals at GNA," said Erik Neandross, CEO at GNA.

A surprising benefit of electric cars: Cooler cities

The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports on Thursday, deduced that switching from conventional gas-burning vehicles to electric ones would have a positive impact on a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect, which refers to the observation that cities tend to be hotter than surrounding rural areas. "The replacement of conventional vehicles by electrical vehicles can reduce heat emission in urban areas," lead author Canbing Li, of China's Hunan University, told CBS News.

Video Feature: Inside the F 015, Mercedes’s Self-Driving Car

The F 015 it demonstrated this week wasn’t even equipped with self-driving technology, like the lasers and computers the car would need to be actually autonomous. It drove passengers on a preprogrammed route, framed by San Francisco in the distance and towering cranes at the Port of Oakland.

UN Women Backs Away From Uber Partnership A Week After Announcement

“We fail to see how a million precarious, informal jobs could contribute to women’s economic empowerment,” global union Public Service Internationalwrote in a call for UN Women to end the partnership. “Indeed, it represents exactly what the women’s movement has been fighting for decades. Uber economics is the most aggressive informalisation of an industry which was already deregulated three decades ago.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Microsoft gets Ford's nod to update connected cars

Ford has announced that it will expand the features in its Sync 3 connected-car system through the deployment of Microsoft's cloud-based Azure technology to deliver software updates across a select number of current models and all of its models by the close of next year. The updates will involve voice-recognition software and display screen graphics.

Six changes to fuel consumption that could combat global warming

Low-carbon fuels – think biofuel, hydrogen and electricity – currently comprise a mere 3% of today’s fuel mix. That needs to increase to 35% by 2050 if irreversible climate change is to be avoided, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The business-led sustainability group BSR, a global nonprofit that counts oil giants Shell, Chevron and ENI among its more than 250 members, is trying to map how such a transition could occur. In January, the organization released its recommendations for transitioning to low-carbon, sustainable fuels in order to prevent global warming from climbing past the critical 2C mark.

Tampa museum to debut $250k driverless car, the latest in a race to market

Tampa will serve as a test track for one of the smallest players in the driverless car race — a French company named Induct Technology that turned heads in Las Vegas last year with a self-driving shuttle car.Value: $250,000. Tampa will be the first city in the United States to have an Induct Navia regularly driving people. It will be the first of eight cities in the U.S. to have the Navia, marketing and communications specialistMegan Haskins said in an interview on Monday. MOSI will debut the car in Tallahassee later this month during STEM Day.

Dormont offers worry-free parking with new MeterFeeder app

"Unlike offerings like Pango, MeterFeeder doesn't charge a convenience fee to use, does not charge additional for push notifications, and it provides an end-to-end solution for the parkers and the enforcers," says Moore. "We also are available for use by any municipality regardless of size or current parking solution."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Electric vehicles may take 2-5% of Indian market in few years, says auto giant Mahindra

"We remain very optimistic that electric vehicles will become a significant portion, about two-five per cent of the Indian automotive industry, in the next four-five years," Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President (Automotive & Farm Equipment sectors) at Mahindra told PTI here.
He said while electric vehicles may not become mainstream soon, but for them to become commercially viable for consumers there has to be a significant government incentives across the world. 

Dyson-backed battery could revolutionise electric cars

A new type of battery that’s received $15m (£10m) in backing from British vacuum manufacturer Dyson could revolutionise electric cars, doubling their range and making them viable for swathes of UK motorists.
A company called Satki3, an offshoot from the University of Michigan, has invented a solid-state battery that’s around twice as power dense as the lithium ion type battery commonly found in electric cars and smartphones. So, in a Nissan Leaf for example, the theoretical range would leap to 250 miles if its lithium ion battery pack were replaced by a Satki3 solid-state battery pack of the same size.

Delphi Plans Coast-To-Coast Demo of Its Self-Driving Car

Delphi also wants to test and demonstrate its active safety systems, which are being developed with such suppliers as Mobileye NV, an Israeli maker of computer vision and collision avoidance systems, and software provider Ottomatika, a spinout from Carnegie Mellon University's self-driving car program.

Dynamic truck parking signs launched on German motorway

Traffic Systems has installed a total of 115 dynamic message signs at five parking areas along the A5 motorway in Germany to provided truck drivers with information about available parking spaces.

The aim is to reduce the time spent in looking for parking spaces and increase traffic safety by enabling drivers to take mandated rest breaks. An online platform also provides drivers with real-time information on available parking spaces.

Why General Motors Company (GM) Is Recalling Its Chevrolet Volt Electric Vehicles?

MacDonald explained what really was the problem with General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Chevrolet Volt Vehicles.
“[…] Here’s what’s going on. If you drive a Chevy Volt, the engine tends to be very quiet. You may not have known that you have not turned it off. So if you don’t turn it off, the battery then gets drained and then the gas engine flips on and that creates Carbon Monoxide. Two injuries known so far from this. GM is recalling the Chevy Volt to fix this of,” MacDonald said.

Bill Gurley Is Skeptical Of Driverless Cars, But Bullish On Uber (Of Course)

“I’m more of a skeptic on driverless cars than most people may be,” Gurley said. “The number of 9s that will be required… for a machine to be out there that weighs three tons at that speed, it would need four nines.” Gurley went on to posit that people will be much less tolerant of a machine driver causing a human death than a human driver, and as a result those vehicles would need to be better than human driver, not just as good.

Exclusive: Uber in deal with China's BYD to test electric cars

Uber Inc said on Friday it struck a deal with Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd to test a fleet of electric cars for its drivers. The test program, which kicked off a few weeks ago in Chicago and could eventually expand to other cities, is the Silicon Valley startup's first attempt to focus on an electric vehicle, said Uber spokeswoman Lauren Altmin."We've seen interest in the program already from current and potential Chicago partners (drivers)," Altmin said.

Ford engages EV drivers in London car-sharing experiment

When given a choice between an electric vehicle or a gas-fueled one, participants in Ford's London electric-vehicle-sharing experiment preferred to use a gas model as they learned the company's mobile app before choosing to drive the electric Ford Focus. However, many participants did not return to gas models, the company said. Ford currently has 50 electric vehicles in its London fleet and expects to debut a beta version this month.

Study shows shifts in car-sharing approaches

Successive forms of car-sharing approaches reflect shifts in uptake and popularity, according to ABI Research. The study showed three types of sharing: Car Sharing 1.0, Street Rental Service Cars; Car Sharing 2.0, Ride Sharing Taxi Service and Carpooling; and Car Sharing 3.0, Robotic Car Service.

Nissan, Endesa to Tap Power From Electric Cars for Use in Homes

Endesa SA, the Spanish unit of Italy’s Enel SpA, and Nissan Motor Co. agreed to work together to develop technology that will allow owners of electric cars to supply their homes with power or sell unused energy to the grid. The technology enables the energy stored in electric vehicles to be used for powering homes or sold to the grid, Endesa said in a statement on its website. The companies will work together to bring the systems to market.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Just in From London: Congestion Charging’s Street Safety Bonus

The bottom line: Traffic crashes are significantly lower with congestion charging — by as much as 40 percent within the cordon zone. Crashes are down in the spillover regions as well; they declined not only for autos and trucks but for “uncharged” vehicles like taxis, buses, motorbikes and bicycles; and the improvement registered during non-charge times as well as the hours when the congestion charge is collected.

Dirty Downside to Driverless Cars Revealed in Study

Here’s how they’d use more energy than conventional cars: more trips. In most households, each adult commutes, runs errands and shuttles the kids separately, according to the U.S. National Household Travel Survey. A self-driving car would make more trips to finish the same tasks, the University of Michigan researchers said. It might drop off one parent at work, return home to pick up the other, and then take the kids to school, return home, then start the return cycle.

Cities improve traffic flow, reduce backups with "adaptive" systems

Cities throughout the U.S. are adopting ways to synchronize traffic signals to reduce backups at intersections and improve traffic flow. In the past few years, local and state agencies have been using "adaptive" technology such as loops, video cameras and radar to change signal timing to meet traffic flow.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Find Out if You Live in the Best—or Worst—State for Electric Cars

“Coastal regions are green even on the hottest or coldest day of the year, because the coast maintains milder temperatures,” said Jeremy Michalek, director of the vehicle electrification program at Carnegie Mellon University and a coauthor of the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Juries To Decide Landmark Cases Against Uber and Lyft

Two landmark lawsuits that claim that drivers for ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft should be considered employees rather than contractors will both go to jury trial, two U.S. judges ruled Wednesday. The decisions could have a ripple effect on the business models of the burgeoning on-demand and sharing economies.

Toyota, Park24 test EV-sharing service in Tokyo

Toyota Motor and Park24 are testing a car-sharing service in Tokyo, Toyota said. The system will enable drivers to make online reservations for an "i-Road" three-wheeled electric vehicle to be used for a maximum of two and a half hours. Drivers will receive training before using the system, which will be effective from mid-April to then end of September.

Alibaba, SAIC Motor team up to develop autonomous vehicles

Alibaba Group Holding and SAIC Motor said they are joining forces to make autonomous vehicles. The project will utilize Alibaba's mapping, cloud computing, communications and entertainment products, the company said, with the first offering debuting next year.

USDOT RFI: Accessible Transportation Technology Research Initiative Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) by means of this RFI, seeks to obtain informed views of the opportunities and challenges to the development, deployment, operation, and use of accessible transportation applications and corresponding infrastructure systems related to the (ATTRI) program. This RFI is being published for the purpose of gathering information on accessible transportation applications that will enable the realization of a multimodal accessible transportation system that will promote independent living and mobility of travelers with disability and improve the overall travel experience of all users including those with disabilities.

Biofuels Group to Ask Congress for Revamped Renewable Fuel Standards

“The renewable fuel standard—the very tool that was created to foster our industry—has become one of the greatest obstacles to continued development of the advanced and cellulosic biofuel industry, due to inconsistent and poor implementation,” Michael McAdams, the group’s president, said at a conference in Washington.

Pittsburgh Expands Use of Optimus Technologies’ Biofuel Conversion Systems

Optimus Technologies today announced the City of Pittsburgh has agreed to expand its use of Optimus’ EPA-approved, biofuel conversion solution to an additional 20 public works trucks. Further, the city will deploy an Optimus-designed, 5000 gallon biofuel storage/refilling station at its main garage that supports over 100 trucks. Through Optimus’ solution, which reduces lifecycle emissions over 80% and fuel costs up to 25%, the city will reduce their overall emissions as required in its Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan version 2.0. The plan targets to reduce overall greenhouse gases generated by the city by 20 percent between 2003 and 2023.

Technology drives advancement of self-driving cars

Advancements in automobile technology will drive autonomous and driverless car options in the near future, Chad Vander Veen writes. He outlines 10 items that will drive driverless vehicle technology over the next decade including General Motors' Super Cruise automated driving technology, intelligent transportation systems connecting cars with infrastructure, and Tesla's, Apple's and Google's forthcoming self-driving vehicles.

Mercedes Driverless Car Spotted Cruising Around San Francisco

Last week, some San Francisco residents glimpsed the future. A Mercedes-Benz driverless concept car, called the F015 Luxury In Motion, was spotted in the area on March 4. The car, which was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last September, was cruising around on city streets for a photo shoot when bystanders began snapping their own pics, Mercedes-Benz spokesperson Diedra Wylie told The Huffington Post.

Intelligent Transportation Society picks Pittsburgh for meeting, expo

Stan Caldwell, executive director of Traffic 21 at CMU, said Pittsburgh's on-the-ground deployment of smart technology — such as automated traffic signals to respond to traffic flow, and mounted cameras on city vehicle underbeds to track road conditions — shows the region has willing partners for such projects. “This is the kind of exposure that puts us on the map that says, ‘Hey, if you want to see interesting, innovative things that are happening in transportation, take a look at Pittsburgh,'” he said. “The more we develop that reputation, the more investments we'll get in smart transportation.”

Uber, Lyft, and the growing problem of temp jobs

Through all of this, Uber maintained that it needed to be regulated in a fundamentally different way (or, preferably, not at all) because it was a technology company, not a taxi service. It was just an app through which people who wanted rides connected with people who were offering them — an interface that skimmed 20 percent off the transaction between each rider and driver, sure, but basically, just a collection of ones and zeroes.

Behind the tech talk, though, Uber was an old-fashioned company, working off a set of assumptions that dated back to the late ’60s, when the details of a new class of worker — the temp — were being hammered out.

Industry collaboration essential for security of driverless cars

Driverless cars and the entire infrastructure this technology will bring with it pose a serious security threat, a new report claims (PDF). The report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) calls for greater industry collaboration and transparency in developing connected and driverless cars, saying it will help ensure that future autonomous vehicles are safe from cyber threats.

Apple to Become a Player in Batteries?

Asahi Kasei’s President, Toshio Asano, said, “We’ve been putting our resources in rechargeable batteries for personal computers and smartphones, but the next big market is electric and hybrid cars.” Samsung SDI, which supplies batteries for BMW’s electric vehicles, echoed similar thoughts. Apple may be thinking the same thing…

Will Tires Eventually Help Charge Electric Cars?

If it’s up to Goodyear, they might. Goodyear is showing off two new concept tires at the Geneva Motor Show, the BHO3 and the Triple Tube. The BHO3 is an idea that would help give electric cars better range, and the Triple Tube is a tire that would self-adjust its shape depending on the type of driving.

Disrupted transport will work better for us in the end

Suddenly, we can have real-time knowledge of the whereabouts of all modes of transportation. We can plan, quickly pay for and seamlessly connect any combination (well, not perfectly yet, but you can see that coming). And the range of these transportation possibilities is multiplying fast: train, bus, car, scooter, bike; owned by the city, companies or individuals; available by the minute, hour or day; driven by you or driven by others; parked by you or parked by others.

Google is taking a big risk by developing complicated maps for self-driving cars

Raj Rajkumar, one of the leading experts on self-driving cars at Carnegie Mellon University, said the map-based approach makes sense for a company with Google’s resources but is not required.

“Google is capable of collecting all this information. In our case, we don’t have that capability, so we have to be creative. It turns out that’s sufficient” said Rajkumar, who has developed a modified Cadillac that relies on radars, video cameras and six laser scanners and in 2013 drove 33 miles (53 km) to the local airport without human intervention or 3D maps.

US driverless cars threaten German giants

Google and Apple will become leading players in the automotive market — and car bosses are running scared. That was the prediction of one leading analyst after chief executives at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, which saw the European unveiling of the Audi R8 e-tron, admitted they feared the impact of the US West Coast technology giants on their patch who have grabbed the headlines in the development of driverless cars.

MPs call for 'minister of driverless cars'

Liability for crashes and how drivers will be trained and licensed need to be looked at now, according to the Commons transport committee. People also need to be reassured about safety, it added. The Department for Transport (DfT) said safety was its "first priority" and it was "working closely with industry". A mixture of driverless, semi-autonomous and manual cars could be on UK roads well within the next ten years, according to evidence heard by the committee.

Debunking Alternative Fuel Myths in the Trucking Industry

In the last decade, heavy-duty truck emissions have been reduced some 95 percent and, specifically, diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. As a reference point, today it takes about 60 big rigs to produce the emission levels of one unit built on the late 80s. Rarely do we see a truck engine smoking today. At last October’s Green Fleet Conference, a panel of experts talked about the misconceptions that are often floated regarding alternative fuels.

V2V equipped cars could become available soon

Cars equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication could be available as early as next year, according to the MIT Technology Review. "I hear estimates all the time on people rolling it out," said Debra Bezzina, senior project manager for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. "It is very close to being production ready." 

FHWA Awards $5.6 Million in Grants to Aid Spread of Real-Time Travel Info Systems

​The Federal Highway Administration awarded $2.57 million in "integrated corridor management" grants across 10 states to expand use of real-time travel information in 13 highly congested urban areas, and used the announcement to promote the value of connected transportation data systems.
The grants are designed to help the recipients tap various technologies to combine real-time information from highway, rail and transit operations, the Department of Transportation said. The awards are spread among Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Silicon Valley Debate on Self-Driving Cars: Do You Need a Map?

The Silicon Valley race to build a self-driving car may revolve around one simple question: to map or not to map. The company at the forefront of the race, Google Inc, is creating intricate maps that detail every tree and curb along the road - an expensive endeavor that other companies could find difficult to match. Newer entrants such as ride-share service Uber and Apple Inc could take a shortcut and develop a car capable of piloting itself without such elaborate and expensive blueprints, industry experts say.

U.S. DOT advocates V2V technology

Vehicle-to-vehicle technology can help to reduce traffic congestion, prevent accidents and lessen the impact on the environment, according to U.S. Department of Transportation. The DOT notes that three of its sub-agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Office of Research Technology, have played large roles in touting the development of the technology.

China to encourage its Internet companies to make EVs

China will encourage Internet companies like Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp todevelop electric vehicles as they have the potential to create a new manufacturing model forthe auto industry, according to Miao Wei, minister of Industry and Information Technology.

"We will encourage them because they can totally outsource their production," Miao Wei saidon Thursday in Beijing.

Next decade will see more HUDs in consumer cars, ABI says

Heads-up displays will increasingly be added to vehicles as standard equipment, showing up on about a third of consumer cars within the decade, ABI Research says. "The lower manufacturing cost and smaller size of combiner HUDs will make this kind of display viable in smaller and more price sensitive vehicles. This growth will be furthered by an underlying consensus to keep the driver's eyes on the road ahead," ABI's James Hodgson said.

Uber, Lyft Plan to Leave San Antonio

More onerous regulations about permits and registration and inspections, as well as a high insurance policy, were initially set to take effect on March 1, but Mayor Ivy Taylor had asked the city council to revisit some of the more tough rules in late February. Uber, however, says even with the revisions its still too restrictive to keep them operating in the city.

Self-Driving Cars Will Be A Huge Boon For Internet Shopping

The consulting firm estimates the additional free time in the car could generate about $5.6 billion a year in digital revenue for each additional minute that vehicle occupants spend on the Internet — as much as $140 billion if half their free time in the car, or roughly 25 minutes, is devoted to daily web surfing and shopping.

Autonomous vehicles will alter cityscapes

Major cities won't need as many large parking decks. McKinsey estimates that by 2050 up to 5.7 billion square meters of parking space could be converted to other uses. That is larger than Grand Canyon and Zion national parks combined. What will become of those surplus parking structures?
"I do not have the ultimate answer," Kaas said. "When you look at some of our large metropolitan areas they will develop more green spaces and parks, but there also will be new commercial uses."

Featured Speaker Lineup Announced for the 2015 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo

Organizers of the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, today announced the featured speaker lineup for its 2015 conference and exhibition taking place May 4 to 7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Throughout the four-day event, attendees will gain insight into the promising future of alternative fuels and clean vehicle technologies–including electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, clean diesel, renewables, and efficiency technologies.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wanna Drive in Oregon? - Pay Per Mile Technology Now In Place

"We are seeing a growing trend in the number of electric and hybrid vehicles on our roads, which has led to a significant fall in critical gas tax revenues being collected for road maintenance," said Fran├žois Gauthey, President of Sanef ITS. "To improve and maintain America's roadway infrastructure, the transition from a gas tax to a distance-based road usage charge solution is a critical evolution. Moving forward, creating a sustainable but fair system for collecting revenues is essential for future sustainability of critical transportation networks. Sanef ITS America is delighted and looks forward to working with ODOT in contributing to the program with its road usage charging expertise."

Connected-car tech will allow hands-free pizza ordering

Visa and Pizza Hut are partnering on technology that will allow connected-car drivers to order food without the use of smartphone. Visa said the technology, which is relying on Accenture for system integration, could also be used for gas purchases and parking, among other things.

Bus meets bike: How the next wave of commuters is changing the urban landscape

In Pittsburgh, the main problem is safety. Things like bike lanes have drastically increased the safety of bike lane users and drivers alike; East Liberty Boulevard is an excellent example. But other neighborhoods still need assistance with access, and as developments change, the Complete Streets program will be there to make sure developers consider all road users, including cars, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and people with disabilities who need accommodations such as level sidewalks, ramps, and walk signs.

Uber's first confirmed acquisition is a mapping company

Even though it has raised nearly $6 billion, Uber had somewhat boastfully never made an acquisition — until now. Mashable reports that the company has bought deCarta, a platform for location services including mapping. The company will become a subsidiary of Uber, continuing to offer products including local search and turn-by-turn navigation. Of the company's 40 employees, 30 will remain at Uber, including its CEO, Mashable reported.

Opinion: How bitcoin technology could power driverless cars

The one-car taxi service would be run by a smart software program plugged into an automated, electronic marketplace Hearn dubbed the Tradenet. There, prospective passengers could post ride requests and receive competing bids from multiple driverless cars. They would choose their preferred taxi based on fare, travel time, and model of car and could negotiate the route based on durations and fares that the service derived by bidding in a separate Tradenet “load space” market, where variations in traffic conditions would offer differing market-based toll-road prices for each route.

Best Cities for Electric Vehicles: New List Breaks Down the Top 10

A new list from ChargePoint -- the world's largest charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) -- has named the 10 friendliest metropolitan areas in the United States for EV drivers. The list, which accounts for population differences between cities, takes into account factors such as the number of EVs on the road and the total number of local charging stations.

Electric cars appeal to more Chinese than American buyers

“There is a potential for mainstream adoption of pure electric vehicles to happen in China first,” says co-author Jeremy Michalek, a professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “Last year we saw a surge in Chinese plug-in vehicle adoption – mostly pure electric vehicles produced by domestic manufacturers.”

Are Taxis Safer Than Uber?

"There's no way to search for that," said Neva Coakley, a spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department. "We wouldn't be able to speak to that because we don't have data to support it. We don't distinguish between what type of suspects they are." In other words, Boston doesn't track assaults by where they happen—in a taxi, in an Uber, or in someone's home—so there's no data to compare reports against Uber drivers versus taxi drivers or limo drivers. That's true in other cities, too. 

Analysis: Self-driving cars could have positive impact on environment

A projected 10% increase in the use of self-driving cars could save over 102 million gallons of fuel and increase efficiency as more vehicles become equipped to park themselves, according to researchers in the U.S. and the U.K.

Ford details parking tech, MyFord Mobile app

Ford has released mobile applications to increase vehicle efficiency and reduce fuel emissions. The Parking Spotter uses GPS technology and sensors to help drivers locate parking spaces more quickly, which reduces fuel and emissions waste, Ford's Mike Tinskey says. The company has also developed the MyFord Mobile app, which allows drivers to set and monitor climate and CO2 use in their vehicles.

Freescale develops microprocessor chip for cars

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a microprocessor chip that will give drivers more independence over their onboard computer systems by increasing the processing power. The technology would reduce human error, which causes 90% of auto fatalities, according to Freescale's Matt Johnson.

Cisco touts V2V technology

Cisco said it is developing V2V technologies to improve traffic congestion and vehicle safety. The technologies work with routers, transmission devices and cameras and allow vehicles to communicate information such as traffic flow and speed with each other and eventually, with a city's infrastructure.

AT&T to link the connected car with the connected home

AT&T will integrate its "Digital Life" home network with its "Drive" connected car service to enable users to perform an array of remote services from vehicles, such as turning on lights and the heat in the house, when they are close to home. In an interview, AT&T mobility chief Ralph de la Vega outlined the details of the carrier's connected-device strategy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bike Hack Night III; Transportation Techies

March 11th, DC Meetup. Bike Hack Night is a show & tell of bicycle-related apps, data visualizations, and gadgets. Doors open at 6:30 for snacks and beer, with speakers starting at 7:00.