Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Last chance to sponsor the 2015 ITS America Annual Meeting!!!


Sponsorship is a great way to increase your company's visibility and showcase to the industry your market leadership among the 2,000 industry business leaders, government representatives, investors, media and transportation professionals that will attend the 2015 ITS America Annual Meeting & Expo. Time is ticking and Friday, May 1 is the last day to confirm your sponsorship and ensure you receive recognition in the final printed program. We have a broad range of sponsorship opportunities to fit any budget and marketing goal.

Nokia lists maps unit as $3.2B Google alternative


Nokia is offering its maps unit as a better alternative to Google, highlighting its lack of ads and data harvesting. Nokia currently is shopping its map unit around for $3.2 billion. 

Japan Now Has More EV Chargers Than Gas Stations

Without going too far down the rabbit hole that is fuel station economics, let’s turn our attention to Japan where Bloomberg recently reported that it now has more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations than it has gasoline stations. The country currently has around 34,000 fuel stations, but also 40,000 EV chargers. That is quite remarkable, especially if you consider that EV charging stations only started to be built as late as 2010.

The maintenance costs of electric and hybrid vehicles decreased last year

The average cost to repair a hybrid vehicle was US $ 1,357 in the United States last year compared to US $ 2 800 in 2013, a decrease of 51 percent. That said, the study states that the replacement cost of the battery system needed for electric cars and PHEVs to operate increased 11 percent in 2014.
According to CarMD, there was only one plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle among the top 10 most expensive repairs in 2014. In 2013, there were three. The greater availability of parts and the increase in the number of technicians trained to repair these types of vehicles largely explain the reduction in repair and maintenance costs.

Segway electric vehicle to hit Japanese public roads in July

The Segway PT and similar personal mobility electric vehicles will finally be humming down public streets nationwide in July. The transport ministry gave the green light on April 24 that will allow the use of the small, slow-moving vehicles on public roads, although guidelines and conditions have yet to be determined.

This Is How Uber Will Take Over The World

Uber must adapt the hyperlocal approach that served it so well in the United States to foreign and emerging markets. Scaling Uber to places such as India and Singapore is no simple task. But Uber is doing it, adapting its core services to the idiosyncrasies and nuances of those markets and competing with existing local players and fast-emerging rivals.

Finding Easier Ways to Charge Electric Vehicles

Jeremy McCool is convinced there is a better way to charge electric vehicles in a crowded city than using a wired plug....
...First, he and his team developed a wireless charger designed to look like an ordinary manhole cover and fit unobtrusively into the urban landscape. They are also working on what he calls a “green loading zone.” Electric trucks simply drive up and recharge wirelessly while they are parked. He plans to test the technology by the fall at New York University, on a groundskeeping vehicle.

Getting More Electric Cars On Roads Faster: Recommendations From NRC

In a report released Wednesday, the National Research Council (NRC)--part of the National Academy of Science--said the Federal government should take further steps to promote adoption of electric cars. The NRC suggests continuing purchase incentives for electric cars past the current production caps, and also asks the government to take a different role in the development of charging infrastructure.

U.S. DOT Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) Applications Workshop


The U.S. Department of Transportation will be hosting a free public workshop to inform and engage stakeholders on the progress, applications, and next steps of the USDOT's Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI). This public workshop is scheduled for May 18-19, 2015, from approximately 8:00 am to 5:30 pm in Washington, DC.  

Big data could power on-demand public transport: IDA

The IDA’s deputy director of Government Analytics Liu Feng Yuan floated the idea at the Smart Nation Innovations Forum on Wednesday (Apr 22), saying his agency is looking at engaging user groups to start a pilot. With big data, routes where express services such as this could be popular can be spotted, he added, noting that Finland already has something similar. “Why do we have fixed bus routes instead of flexible timings? It is because we didn’t have the data,” he told participants at a forum called Adaptive Transportation with Data Science.

Chevrolet Launches FNR Electric Autonomous Car to Woo Young Chinese Buyers

Chevrolet has unveiled a futuristic autonomous electric car - something out of science fiction - to woo young Chinese buyers. The 'Find New Roads' (FNR) concept car is a reaffirmation of Chevrolet's dedication to explore the possibilities of autonomous technology, and to offer electric vehicles that meet the demand of the modern day tech savvy consumer. The FNR was developed through a joint venture with GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center and China's SAIC Motor.
More>>

Self-driving 'taxibots' could replace 90% of cars: Study claims driverless cabs will dramatically ease congestion in major cities

Self-driving 'taxibots' could replace 90% of cars: Study claims driverless cabs will dramatically ease congestion in major cities:
  • Computer model simulated how driverless cabs would affect Lisbon traffic
  • Even with only one passenger per ride, car number dropped by 77 per cent
  • Swapping personal cars with self-driving cabs would free valuable space
  • Google and Uber are already working on technology for self-driving taxis
More>>

AUTO COALITION EYES INTELLIGENT STRATEGY

The move comes as related industries are also looking to technology to solve big issues. For example, the trucking industry this week made a push to require large trucks to include speed limiters.
But not all of the headlines are positive: A Wired op-ed piece, written by iFixit founder Kyle Wiens, criticized the agricultural manufacturing firm John Deere for discouraging vehicle owners from repairing its vehicles by claiming copyright over the system’s software under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Trillions Will Depend On Whether Driverless Cars Require Human Drivers

Into whose pockets these car-related trillions will flow in a driverless car future depends greatly on one question: whether or not driverless cars will require human drivers.
... All are pursuing driverless strategies that augment rather than replace human drivers. A spokesman for Tesla, which plans to introduce an “autopilot” capability this summer, reflected the industry zeitgeist when he told the New York Times: We’re not getting rid of the pilot. This is about releasing the driver from tedious tasks so that they can focus and provide better input.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Shyp, an On-Demand Mailing Service, Raises $50 Million

Shyp, on the other hand, piggybacks on existing transportation networks like UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service. Instead of doing all of the shipping itself, Shyp hires contract workers to pick up items from customers, and pack and ship them, eliminating the hassle of standing in line at the post office or finding the proper packaging supplies to send the items. “We asked ourselves, what is the ideal way to ship something?” said Kevin Gibbon, chief executive of Shyp. “Can we scale this business to happen in multiple cities? Can we improve operations and logistics to make it cheaper and faster?”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chevy’s Robo-Car Concept Is Switchblades on Wheels

Terrifying and exhilarating, it seems built for a dystopian future somewhere between Tron and Blade Runner, with the hands from Edward Scissorhands thrown in. Cars aren’t comfy cocoons, they’re knives on wheels. And while GM isn’t a company most associated with innovation or autonomous vehicles, it’s been exploring the technology since at least 2007, when it started working with Carnegie Mellon and competed in a DARPA self-driving car challenge.

FHWA Webinar: Agency Leadership and Pedestrian Safety


The session will focus on how state, local, and regional agencies have raised the profile of pedestrian safety issues and launched programs to prioritize pedestrian safety as a focus area and influence cultural changes within their agencies and departments. Panelists representing a variety of agencies will describe how pedestrian safety became a priority, the ways in which their departments have begun to shift attention to this issue, and how other agencies can follow a similar path to prioritize pedestrian safety issues.  The webinar will focus on what agencies have done to shift priorities and influence agency-wide culture, including information about programs and policies that have resulted from this culture change. Panelists will include Billy Hattaway (Florida Department of Transportation), Kevin Kokes (North Central Texas Council of Governments) and Chava Kronenberg (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency).  

Tesla Model S Bags Top Spot In AAA Green Car Rankings

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’ Model S P85D Performance has been ranked first in the AAA Green Car Guide for this year. In a review carried out by the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC), about 88 vehicles were placed in 13 different groups and then tested and rated accordingly. The EV carmaker bagged the leading position in the large car category.

Study shows consumers want safety from intelligent cars


Three out of five of the top technological developments that consumers want to see in their cars are safety related, according to a survey by J.D. Power. The results list collision mitigation systems, blind-spot detection, night vision, rearview cameras and self-healing paint as the five most desirable technologies in new cars.

Researchers design decentralized control algorithms for connected cars


Researchers at the Department of Energy's Urban Dynamics Institute are working on decentralized control algorithms for use in connected cars to ease traffic congestion in cities, Patrick Nelson writes. He notes that these complex algorithms will make use of increasing amounts of available data to forecast slowdowns and reroute traffic to less busy areas.

Band-Aid approach to infrastructure can't continue, U.S. transportation chief says in Pittsburgh

Foxx outlined pressing needs, such as an $86 billion backlog in transit investment. He cited “some breakthroughs” with this session of Congress, which has a newly fortified Senate Republican majority, but said consensus on transportation remains an enigma.
“It's going to take bipartisan support, it's going to take working together, and that's been difficult over the last several years,” he said. “From a transportation standpoint, the jury's still out in many ways because a lot of our issues are coming up.”

USDOT Secretary Foxx visited Carnegie Mellon on Wednesday

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Pittsburgh on Wednesday to view cutting-edge technology at one of the world’s epicenters of it, Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville.  He saw high-beam headlights that direct a dark spot toward the eyes of oncoming drivers to reduce glare, while continuing to illuminate everything else; headlights that sense falling snowflakes and direct the beam between the flakes rather than on them to improve visibility; a snow plow that projects an image on the windshield of the road when it was not snowing, to give drivers awareness of snow-covered obstacles and lane markings.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Public Meetings - Pittsburgh BRT and EcoInnovation District

GET INVOLVED – BRT and EcoInnovation District Public Meetings
The City of Pittsburgh invites you to provide input on an action plan for transit improvements and community development in the corridor between Downtown and neighborhoods east.
Please come share your ideas. For convenience, the public meeting is being offered twice at different times and locations. Take your pick of:
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Uptown/Downtown, Noon – 2:00 pm
Duquesne University, Power Center Ballroom, 1015 Forbes Avenue
or
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 Oakland, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
William Pitt Student Union, Kurtzman Room, 3959 Fifth Avenue

Driven from distraction

Help may be at hand, though. Research presented on April 20th at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Seoul, South Korea, by Kim SeungJun, Chun Jaemin and Anind Dey of Carnegie Mellon University, in Pennsylvania, shows that yet more technology can ameliorate the problem—not by precluding the use of phones, but by minimising the distraction they cause to drivers of all ages.

Getting Women Into Science-Filled Rooms

Why would three senior professors at Carnegie Mellon University, with responsibilities for research labs, teaching, families, and grand but old houses (this is Pittsburgh), take time to write an article on the distribution of authors by gender in a major journal in their field? It's because we are women, and we saw a pattern that has been all too familiar to us as we made our own way in science -- females were not there.

Driverless cars: Connected chaos or green dream?

While it is highly likely that driverless car technology will pave the way for increased levels ofcar sharing/ car club style transport systems, reduce individual car ownership and make it easier to use alternative fuel technology, this is balanced by a concern that driverless cars will actually lead to a huge growth in car journeys.

Integrating Bicycle & Pedestrian Topics into Transportation Courses


The National UTC for Livable Communities, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is offering a workshop again this summer intended to help faculty integrate bicycle and pedestrian topics into their university courses. As many of you know, traditional transportation engineering and planning courses cover a very precursory overview of bicycle and pedestrian design and engineering or not at all. The workshop is on June 18-19 in Portland, OR. It is a combination of lecture, hands-on exercises and field tours. We have available a limited number of scholarships. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Toyota engineer claims battery-powered electric vehicles have no future

Yoshikazu Tanaka, Toyota's deputy chief engineer, outlined why the Japanese car manufacturer was instead betting on hydrogen fuel-cell technology as a serious alternative to conventional cars. "If you were to charge a car in 12 minutes for a range of 500 km (310 miles), for example, you're probably using up electricity required to power 1,000 houses," Tanaka told Reuters. "That totally goes against the need to stabilise electricity use on the grid."  Tanaka didn't dismiss electric vehicles (EVs) entirely, but said their use in the future would be limited to short journeys.

Shell announces results of 2015 Eco-Marathon

Shell has announced a team from Colorado has won the prototype alternative fuels category at the Shell Eco-Marathon held in Detroit this month using an ethanol-powered vehicle.  The team, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, achieved 841 miles per gallon in its Tatankatoo vehicle using ethanol. The second place winner for the prototype alternative fuels category was Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná with 742 miles per gallon.

Tesla electric cars struggle to ignite Chinese market

PayPal billionaire Musk - co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla as well as chief of rocket maker SpaceX - visited China last month, and admitted sales were below expectations.
"China is the only place on earth that we have excess inventory," Musk said, blaming "speculators" for ordering cars amid the early media hype and then not taking delivery.

USDOT will share the latest developments in its connected intelligent transportation system research

The U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will share the latest developments in its connected intelligent transportation system research at an exhibit alongside a training workshop and a panel session planned in in conjunction with the SAE 2015 World Congress, which will be held April 21-23 at Cobo Center in Detroit.
More>>

Uber Adds a Low-Tech Twist to Its Modern Business Model in India: Rickshaws

For Uber, the new service, which started this month, is part of an effort to expand quickly in a country that it says is already its second largest market, but where it faces stiff competition. Ola, an app-based competitor that operates in 100 Indian cities to Uber’s 11, offered auto rickshaw rides months ago.More>>

Friday, April 17, 2015

USDOT Decision Support Systems for Integrated Corridor Management Webinar

Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Time: 1:00PM to 2:30PM
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) program seeks to support the optimization of existing infrastructure assets along our nation’s urban corridors. ICM can be thought of as a “system of systems” approach to managing the multiple, overlapping transportation networks that make up a transportation corridor. Because of the need to assess a large number of traffic situations and coordinate operational strategies across modal, institutional, and jurisdictional boundaries, a decision support system (DSS) that can assist operators with the prediction and evaluation of complex traffic interactions, as well as with the coordination and selection of appropriate response strategies, is considered to be a fundamental requirement of an ICM system. To this end, U.S. DOT funded ICM pilot sites in Dallas, TX and San Diego, CA to demonstrate the potential benefits of DSS-driven ICM. 

Platinum producer pushes for fuel-cell development

Fuel cells could generate demand for as much as 400,000 extra ounces of platinum by 2025, according to Amplats. That’s double the potential new demand from other fuel-cell applications such as mobile-phone towers and forklift trucks, Hinkly said.

WAZE IS DRIVING INTO CITY HALL


The "Connected Citizens Program" that Waze launched late last year has allowed the company to partner with government organizations, giving cities access to Waze's data for planning purposes while they contribute their own information to Waze's database.

Navdy gets $20M to bring the connected car to the masses


Navdy has received $20 million from backers to support its plans to build hardware for connected cars. The startup has already begun taking preorders for a $299 display that allows drivers to use their voices and hand gestures to make calls, as well as send tweets and text messages. The display shows information transparently in their line of sight.

Hyundai boosts filing of connectivity patents


Hyundai has filed the third-highest number of automotive connectivity patents in recent years, behind Toyota and Bosch, Thomson Reuters IP & Science reports. The patents filed include systems to control or disable distracting mobile devices, systems to detect tired drivers and external airbags, which would protect pedestrians in a collision.

Technology is changing transportation at high speed. How DOTs can adapt now


The Big Data, connectivity and automation developments resulting from increasing changes in transportation technology are making it difficult for the nation's departments of transportation to predict their roles in the future, Don Hunt writes. To keep up with changing trends, DOTs should develop partnerships with data and communication companies and have a plan for the workforce of the future, he notes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alternative Fuels in China Can Replace up to 483 Billion Gallons of Gasoline in 2020

"While the opportunity for alternative fuels is vast, the opportunities are diverse -- ranging from coal-to-ethanol and natural gas vehicles in the near-term to waste-to-liquids in the long term," said Andrew Soare, Lux Research Senior Analyst and a contributor to the report titled, "Guiding Through the Dynamics of China's Alternative Fuels Market."  "Downstream partnerships with major state-owned energy heavyweights are particularly important for penetrating the transportation and fuel distribution network," he added.

Daimler Launches Electric Vehicle Driving Courses

Intended to "generate enthusiasm for electric mobility, particularly among young people," the pilot program "tackles every aspect of electric mobility, focusing as it does on gaining familiarity and experience, as well as on the correct way to handle and work with alternative drive systems," Daimler said.
More>>

PacTrans Regional Transportation Seminar/Webinar: Dr. Imad Al-Qadi

April 28th 9:30am - 10:20am. Transportation Infrastructure Assessment Techniques Using Ground Penetrating Radar.
The continuous monitoring of transportation infrastructure is necessary to maintain a durable and safe system. Many noninvasive techniques have been used including instrumentation, acoustic emission, infrared, and electromagnetic waves. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology based on electromagnetic waves has been used to assess the performance of transportation facilities for the past three decades. After all this time, the main question remains: “How well does GPR work and under what conditions?”
More>>

Uber’s David Plouffe to Deliver Closing Keynote Address at ITS America’s 25th Annual Meeting on June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA

David Plouffe, Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy at Uber Technologies, Inc. and widely referred to as the architect of President Barack Obama’s two presidential campaign victories, will deliver the closing keynote speech at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) 25th Annual Meeting and Exposition at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA.
More>>

Smart transportation coalition forms to promote tech to lawmakers

The proliferation of technologies such as 4G data connection, powerful computer processors and advanced graphics in new cars is gaining momentum, creating common areas of interest for automakers and technology firms. But government oversight of connected vehicles, self-driving cars and the privacy of data collected by autos is still in its infancy. “What we’re seeing is different players engaging in the same space now, and at the end of the day, we have the same perspective: that technology has some tremendous societal benefits,” said Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Prediction: 480,000 Plug-In Electric Vehicles To Be Sold Globally In 2015

Frost & Sullivan Program Manager, Anjan Hemanth Kumar, states: “Vehicle manufacturers are not just under pressure to adopt green cars, but also need to find the right powertrain technology mix to bring down the fleet emission average. Passenger car industry is pursuing advanced engine technologies such as downsizing, boosting, cylinder deactivation, advanced injection technologies and exhaust after treatment technologies. It is hard to find the right combination. On the other hand, electrification is a major trend witnessed globally from micro hybrids to battery and fuel cell vehicles.”
More>>

Morgan Stanley: Tesla will not reach predicted 2015 deliveries

One of Tesla Motors' most bullish supporters in the financial community said Tuesday he expects the automaker to fall short of its goal of 55,000 vehicle deliveries for 2015. Morgan Stanley automotive analyst Adam Jonas cited concerns about the timing of the Tesla Model X SUV launch and Tesla’s ability to rapidly build up the car’s inventory and fill back orders before Dec. 31. Tesla watchers will look to CEO Elon Musk to address these and other questions following the company’s first-quarter earnings results due in early May.
More>>

Electric vehicles, battery technology and renewable energy: Research roundup

In recent decades energy production has shifted with similar speed: Hydraulic fracturing was first invented in the 1940s, but when combined with horizontal drilling in the 2000s it ignited a boom in oil and gas production in the United States. Renewable energy has also grown rapidly as technology has improved: U.S. wind power produced just 70 trillion BTUs of energy in 2001, yet by 2010 had risen to 924 trillion BTUs — more than 13 times higher. By 2014, wind generated more than 181 gigawatt hours of power, up 8% from 2013’s total. Looking forward, the United States expects to get 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, and research indicates that 80% is feasible with current technology.

Reliable systems for recharging electric vehicles

The rising number of electric vehicles on the road is putting grid operators under pressure. Low voltage networks for domestic consumers are not designed for the kind of loads that are generated by recharging electric vehicles at home. “A vehicle draws up to 22 kilowatts (KW) of power. So if you have multiple vehicles plugged in at the same time, then current grids quickly reach their limits,” says Dr. Michael Agsten from the Advanced System Technology (AST) department at the Ilmenau site of the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB.
More>>

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Charging Electric Vehicles At Night is DIRTY



The key finding is: Although charging electric vehicles at night (when electricity is cheap and wind power is typically more plentiful) could lower electricity costs, doing so also creates more air emissions, and the health and environmental costs from these emissions outweigh the electricity cost savings. The study is specific to the PJM portion of the electricity grid, to which Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Chicago belong.  More precisely, the "charging at night when electricity is cheap" idea is implemented by allowing the grid operator to throttle the charging speed of electric vehicles as needed so that they can operate the system more cost effectively. This results in greater utilization of cheap coal plants, which produce more harmful emissions.  

In a future with sufficient coal plant retirement and sufficient wind power, the result could change -- controlled charging could result in positive net benefits instead of negative.  The result depends on the details of the region, so other parts of the US and the world could be different -- but the question of electricity costs vs. health and environmental cost is important to ask everywhere.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mahindra GenZe launches electric scooter in American markets

"We think we've got something very interesting for American consumers," said Mahindra GenZe President and CEO Vish Palekar during a recent interview at the company's production facility in Ann Arbor.  The new scooter isn't like a traditional Vespa that Americans are used to seeing. Besides the instant torque, 30-mile range and 0-30 in less than eight seconds thanks to its electric powertrain, it also features a unique aluminum frame, seven-inch touchscreen and utilizes a mobile app for information on navigation, charging and other specs.

BMW unveils Google Glass rival for Mini drivers


BMW has revealed its own virtual reality goggles that will be on display at the Auto Shanghai trade fair this week. The goggles will let Mini drivers receive messages, provide assistance with navigation and parking with "X-ray" viewing through car pillars and doors. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Uber Food Delivery Is Happening

Uber is constantly innovating. The company just tested out a breathalyzer kiosk in Toronto that hailed cars for people who were above the legal limit. It's testing outUberPool, which allows people to share rides, and costs, by traveling together. It's even possible to hail an autorickshaw in India using Uber. It seems only natural it would enter the food world.

Aston Martin unveils plans for electric, plug-in vehicles

If you've ever wanted to feel like a more eco-friendly Bond behind the wheel, then Aston Martin is about to make your dreams come true. The automaker has revealed at the New York Auto Show that it's working on both a plug-in and an electric vehicle. That plug-in is none other than the DBX crossover vehicle (pictured above) that we saw in early March as a full electric car.

The Future Of Driving May Be Electric Golf Carts


An essay in the upcoming May issue of Harvard Business Review contends that golf-cart-style electric vehicles, or neighborhood electronic vehicles, are the future of transportation. The article argues that the NEVs could fill the need for local transportation at a much lower cost to users than traditional electric vehicles.

Autonet Mobile, AT&T bring wireless capabilities to cars


A partnership announced between California's Autonet Mobile and AT&T will bring wireless capabilities to vehicles that allow drivers to unlock doors or track their vehicle's speed and route remotely. The paired technology will also allow auto manufacturers to remotely upgrade car software.

Bosch says it is focusing on automotive connectivity


Bosch says that automotive connectivity is one of its major priorities as the demand for telematics increases. The company's Connectivity Control Unit is the centerpiece of this focus, and will track and collect vehicle operating data while integrating navigation, infotainment and diagnostic capabilities.

What is the future of connected cars?


Discussions with industry experts about the future of connected cars reveal disagreement about where the market is headed, writes Claudia Bacco. Companies are taking different approaches to the use of technology in automobiles, as it's still unclear what consumers expect from connected cars, she writes. "We assume the car will become a new market place," said Alcatel-Lucent's Heinz Honemann. "Governments and smart cities will motivate drivers to optimize use of network and traffic infrastructure." 

Friday, April 10, 2015

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on transportation with Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. The MOC will establish a transportation partnership among the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Government of India Ministries of Rail, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, and Urban Development.

Challenges remain for Delphi: Inside look at first self-driving trip across USA

The biggest surprise on the longest automated drive across North America to date?

That it actually went smoother than expected. The car performed well in extreme heat and rain, said Kathy Winter, vice president of advanced engineering, software and services at Delphi, who runs automated driving initiatives. During the trip, the vehicle encountered complex driving situations such as traffic circles, construction zones and tunnels.

Google has patented a system to help driverless cars avoid cows

And when it comes to the cows, it seems like they've over-complicated things - we're of the humble opinion that a loud horn triggered by the scent of livestock would probably do the trick. Patent pending.

Electric Cars Can Explain Our Highway Funding Fiasco

The Carnegie Mellon study considers two ways to recoup the funds EV drivers aren’t paying in gas taxes: a usage tax of two cents per mile, and an annual registration fee of 0.6 percent of the car’s MSRP. Neither is likely to happen. The government isencouraging people to buy EVs through a $7,500 federal tax credit. It probably would be loathe to do anything to undermine that campaign. “The goal [of the government] right now is to increase adoption of EVs,” says Professor Inês Azevedo, an associate professor of engineering and public policy at CMU, and an author of the study.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

They Drove Cross-Country In An Autonomous Minivan Without GPS. In 1995.

(Think Delphi’s cross-country voyage in an autonomous Audi SQ5 is impressive? Try doing it with 90s tech, without GPS navigation, and in a salvaged Pontiac minivan. That’s what Carnegie Mellon research scientist Dean Pomerleau and then-Ph.D. student Todd Jochem did in 1995. Here’s the story of their journey as it appeared on Robotics Trends. — PG)
More>>

White House Releases 150 Data Sets to Fight Climate Change

The second was a project led by Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Sargent, who has used imagery from the NASA’s VIIRS Satellite to create mapping animations of fires and flaring due to oil and gas — hydraulic fracturing a major contributor in the U.S. Third, Lieber pointed to a 2015 pilot study that harnesses Google’s fleet of Google Street View cars to measure methane emissions and natural gas leaks in select U.S. cities.
More>>

Shuster Brings Transportation Delegation To Pittsburgh To Push For Federal Funds

Billed the Pennsylvania Road Show, House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster, of Hollidaysburg, led members of Congress and transportation secretaries from around the country through Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning.
“Our idea is to tour the state and look at infrastructures like this that are in desperate need of repair,” said Shuster.
The focus here was the Greenfield Bridge over the Parkway East.More>>

Manpower for driverless cars? Uber staffs up East Coast robotics hub

Uber Technologies Inc. is quickly building up its presence in Pittsburgh, with the rideshare startup looking to fill an additional 19 engineering positions at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center...
Uber has has yet to disclose how many it currently employs at the Lawrenceville-based center. Several senior researchers — likely dozens — were hired away from Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center by Uber prior to an announcement Feb. 2 that the two entities would partner on the robotics center.
More>> http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/04/uber-robotics-driverless-car-advanced-technologies.html

Autonomous cars might have roller-coaster effect

From a technological perspective, the future of autonomous vehicles is bright.
From a pragmatic perspective, there are a few basic human hurdles.
Like motion sickness. A new report released this morning by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute projects that 6%-12% of American adults will experience moderate to severe motion sickness while riding in driverless cars.
More>>

Peduto rallying for new federal transportation funding

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and public transportation supporters are rallying Thursday in downtown Pittsburgh, urging Congress to adopt new transportation funding that is set to expire at the end of May.
In a statement, Peduto said increased funding is necessary to repair and improve Pittsburgh’s crumbling roads, bridges and sidewalks, as well as to improve public transportation.
More>>

Webinar: Securing Transportation Systems

The growing issue of cybersecurity and its impact on the highway environment have highlighted safety and operational risks to our roadways’ critical infrastructures.  In order to understand these challenges a clearer picture of past incidents on Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) deployments, lessons learned, specific defensive countermeasures, and potential future technology deployments is necessary. This webinar will introduce the issues and concerns related to securing three types of ITS technologies and share best practices to help mitigate some of the potential vulnerabilities. The webinar will be hosted Ray Murphy, ITS Specialist with FHWA Office of Technical Services.
April 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm EDT
More>>

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Uber to hire slew of engineers, could be developing self-driving cars

Uber has big dreams, one of which might be to run fleets of self driving cars. The ride-share company is hitting the ground running as it looks to hire a range of positions including mechanical engineers from the automotive field and software engineers to work on sensors and vehicle controls. Nineteen positions were posted online today. The job listings are for Uber's newly established Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, which is a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University. This research center will act as an experimental lab where the top minds can solve problems blocking the path to driver-less vehicles.

Audi ‘learning’ driverless cars expected by 2030

“The piloted cars from Audi thus learn more every day and with each new situation they experience,” the automaker said. A CONTROL panel the size of a computer tablet, able to control a driverless car that ‘learns’ as it drives, is being developed by Audi. The pack will have all the computing power needed for a car to drive itself safely along public roads and avoid unpredictable obstacles.

Volkswagen Westfalia Could Return As An Electric Vehicle

A next-generation Volkswagen Westfalia is slated to be unveiled on April 15th, meaning a new generation can get its camping on in the cozy confines of a German-built bus. While it will only be a concept to begin with, if Volkswagen does decide to bring the famous microbus back, it could be as an electric vehicle. That’s the word from AutoCar, which got the info from Volkswagen board member Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser.

New fuel sources in vehicles bring about need for additional training for emergency responders

“It’s not the fuel that’s killing people, it’s a lack of knowledge that’s hurting people,” she said.
For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s fact sheet on responding to electric or hybrid electric vehicles with high-voltage batteries offers some tips that responders might not be aware of when approaching a vehicle. Because electric vehicles make so little noise, it’s hard to tell if the vehicle is still running. In addition, venting vapors from a damaged battery can be toxic or flammable. In the case of a flooded car, there could be short circuits that could cause fire.

UPS to expand alternative fuel fleet by nearly 30%

UPS said the move was part of its efforts to diversify fuel sources and lower its tailpipe emissions, while boosting its experience in using alternative fuels within freight transport activities. It could also help with fuel security, given the availability of natural gas produced within the US itself.
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FHWA R&T Now - March/April 2015

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its Research and Technology (R&T) Now news update. The update reports on research, technology, and development activities taking place within the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Rise of autonomous vehicles could lead to leasing revolution

"Autonomous cars are very likely to accelerate the evolution of this trend. The user of the vehicle could opt for a pay monthly model similar to a modern lease deal or they could be part of a buying consortium that pays to have access to one or a pool of vehicles. "At its most extreme, we may even see a 'pay on use' model of ownership become widespread, where the motorist pays for only the time or mileage that they consume."  Pontin added that there were likely to be additional changes resulting from autonomous vehicles that could spell major changes for the automotive sector.
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Iran produces Eco-friendly car

Describing Chemical cars, Gavgani said these cars are chemical vehicles constructed by a simple decomposition reaction of hydrogen peroxide as the driving force. The project manager said the innovative fuel for this type of car is hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate, adding that the vehicle is designed to stop after traveling 30 meters.

Engineers Unveil New Driverless Car Capable Of Committing Hit-And-Run (THE ONION)

“With this step forward, we are closer than ever to having road-ready self-driving cars that are proficient at assessing vehicular damage, analyzing surroundings, and performing complex maneuvers to effectively dodge responsibility after clipping another automobile,” said head engineer Stephen Graham, adding that throughout numerous crash tests on a closed course, the driverless car perfectly executed evasive actions to frantically peel away before observers could record the license plate number. “Very soon, there could be a fleet of self-driving cars specifically designed to eliminate the possibility of human error when making a break for it following a fender bender.”

Electric Vehicles Sales In US Surge Almost 50% In March, Led By Fiat 500e, Tesla Model S

Yes, you read that headline right. March sales were up almost 50% from last month (49% to be exact) thanks to strong performances by the new-to-market Tesla Model S 85D (AWD – non performance version) and the Fiat 500e. Overall, an estimates 10,341 EVs were sold in March.
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving partner with Uber

Uber has teamed up Mothers Against Drunk Driving to help provide anyone who's had a few drinks a ride home.

Affordable Electric Cars Are Coming Soon, Study Says

The authors of the new study concluded that the battery packs used by market-leading EV manufacturers cost as little as $300 per kilowatt-hour of energy in 2014. That’s lower than the most optimistic published projections for 2015, and even below the average published projection for 2020. The authors found that batteries appear on track to reach $230 per kilowatt-hour by 2018. Depending on the price of gas, the sticker price of an EV is expected to appeal to many more people if its battery costs between $125 and $300 per kilowatt-hour.
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Hyundai to debut self-driving features in Equus

Highway driving assistance features will allow the new Equus to stay in lane, slow down and speed up as necessary to avoid collisions. The price of the new Equus hasn’t been determined but should be similar to Hyundai’s current models, ranging from $61,500 to $68,750, officials said. The main markets for the new Equus will be South Korea and the U.S., company officials said at a briefing ahead of the Seoul Motor Show, which opened Friday.

LyfeLens alerts drivers to "trigger events"


Entrepreneurs Allen Stone and Niko Stoenescu have developed LyfeLens, a dual-facing, wide-angle camera that monitors activity inside and outside vehicles to warn of "trigger events," such as hard breaking, collisions and attempted theft. The system sends alerts to drivers via push notifications.

Nissan, SiriusXM partner to offer connected services in 2016 vehicles


Nissan and SiriusXM satellite radio are teaming up to provide Nissan Connect services in its 2016 models. The offering will include remote access, security tools and vehicle health monitoring. There are three tiers of plans.

Need for open data, accessibility drive new connected-car technologies


The need for open, instantly updated public transportation and mapping data, and accessibility have driven technological advances in mobility, William El Kaim writes. "Making data available means that you should first think about what data to provide, but also to fund the platform to be used and finally, what license to apply to the data," he adds.

Driverless car finishes 3,400 mile cross-country trip

The trek started at the Golden Gate Bridge and ended in midtown Manhattan on Thursday. It was organized by auto parts maker Delphi to test its automated driving technology. To comply with state laws, one person sat in the driver’s seat throughout the trip, ready to take over if necessary to avoid another car or a pedestrian. Other engineers on the team monitored data collection during the trip.
Delphi said that 99% of the trip was done with the car in automated mode.

Semiautonomous Driving Arrives, Feature by Feature

“There’s not going to be some magical moment when we say, here is the autonomous car,” said Scott Keogh, head of Audi’s United States operations. “We have the technology, and we are going to keep bringing it out, step by step. You need to have customer acceptance and see what consumers are willing to pay for.”

Report shows many truck tires can’t handle higher speed limits; wrecks and blowouts cited

Nearly all truck tires have been built for a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph since the middle of last decade, when drivers across the vast majority of the U.S. were allowed to go no faster than 65 or 70 mph. But 14 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River, now have speed limits of 75, 80, even 85 mph in part of Texas. Some of those states acted without consulting the tire industry.