Wednesday, September 30, 2015

U.S. States Bring Electric Vehicle Leadership to the World Stage

In the critical effort to speed the deployment of electric vehicles, 7 U.S. states, two European governments, and Quebec have launched the International Zero-Emission Vehicles Alliance. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont will all be part of the new alliance. This coalition will set targets, share data, and experiment with new policies to get more electric vehicles on the road.

New report finds electric cars can dramatically cut climate change gases

Just two months before international climate talks begin in Paris, a new report from energy and environmental groups predicts greenhouse gases can plunge 77 percent in 2050 by electrifying more than half the nation’s cars, trucks and forklifts.

GM creates new global strategy exec position

General Motors Co. has created a new executive position overseeing the carmaker’s global strategy in areas such as urban mobility, car-sharing and ride-sharing services and autonomous vehicles. The automaker Tuesday confirmed that Mike Ableson was named vice president of strategy and global portfolio planning late last week. He will oversee an area of expected growth for the automaker that also includes connected cars with GM’s OnStar 4GLTE Wi-Fi capability, electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles.

Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in America

Of course, all this relies on widespread adoption of driverless cars, which is as much a cultural hurdle as a technological one. As Andrew Moore, the computer science dean at Carnegie Mellon recently told me, “No one is going to want to realize autonomous driving into the world until there’s proof that it’s much safer, like a factor of 100 safer, than having a human drive.”

Amazon Flex: The retailer’s Uber-like effort to bring you packages

With Amazon Flex, the company says, drivers can make from $18 to $25 an hour ferrying packages to customers that were ordered as part of its one-hour Prime Now delivery service. As with on-demand car services such as Uber and Lyft, drivers will be independent contractors who select their own work hours. The new approach is part of the retailer’s ongoing obsession with getting items to customers faster, and could help reduce Amazon’s dependency on major shipping carriers such as UPS and FedEx. And with Uber also experimenting with using its network for deliveries, it could also put these two big names in the tech sector in direct competition.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Global study finds big hurdles remain for autonomous and electric vehicles

“OEMs face a huge communicative challenge in convincing their reluctant customers about autonomous driving,” noted Wolf-Dieter Hoppe, associate director of the automotive practice at global consulting company Arthur D. Little. He pointed out that the firm’s Global Automotive Mobility Study discerned that consumers are “very skeptical” concerning the vehicle industry’s biggest trend, autonomous driving, especially in major markets. Little’s poll found that just 29% of respondents in the U.S. intend to use an autonomous car, while 30% “have doubts” about the technology and 40% do not consider using AVs a possibility.

Tesla forecasts 620-mile range, driverless cars over next few years

Elon Musk said Tesla will have electric cars with a 620-mile range in two years, and he predicted the company will increase the distance its EVs can travel on a charge by 5% to 10% each year after that. Musk also said Tesla would have a driverless vehicle ready for launch by 2018, but he noted that regulators might keep it off the road until 2020.

NASA concept study: Air taxis could be affordable, convenient

A concept study completed by NASA showed that on-demand air taxis could be as affordable and as convenient as an Uber ride. The study assumes the existence of a new electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft and the development of infrastructure such as helipads on urban buildings and in the middle of highway cloverleafs.

GM: Our goal is to disrupt ourselves

"Our goal is to disrupt ourselves, and own the customer relationship beyond the car," Barra told Reuters in an interview Monday ahead of a meeting with investors and analysts scheduled for Oct. 1.
Using technology embedded in its cars, she said, a customer who owns a Chevrolet Malibu could step into a Cadillac CTS and the luxury car could import from a smartphone app the driver’s preferences for how the car should function. It would be "a hop, skip and a jump" for GM to offer broader car sharing services, she said. GM’s autonomous driving feature, SuperCruise, will also make use of high-speed data connections in cars when it launches next year.

EU joins with China for 5G standard, research

China and the European Union have signed an agreement aimed at getting 5G technology into the marketplace by promoting a global standard and possibly combining research efforts. "5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide. ... [W]e strongly support and seek a global consensus and cooperation on 5G," the EU's Gunther Oettinger said.

APTA: High-Speed Rail in America 2015

The American Public Transportation Association has released a report that summarizes its survey findings on awareness of possible benefits of high-speed rail and attitudes toward deregulation for its development.

Journal of the Transportation Research Board: RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2480 consists of 8 papers exploring research and education in the transportation industry, including:
  • Fair Representation of Transportation Research Record Impacts: Case Study on Journal Citation Reports’ Impact Factor
  • Developing a Framework for Financial Achievability of Department of Transportation Research and Development Projects
  • Opportunities for Enhancing Construction Education and Student Internships with Multimedia Tools
  • Motivating Students to Pursue Transportation Careers: Implementation of Service-Learning Project on Transit
  • Inverted Classroom and Its Influence on Students’ Attitudes Across Learning Styles
  • Transportation Engineering Instructional Practices: Analytic Review of the Literature
  • Multiagent Route Choice Game for Transportation Engineering

Celebrating 50 Years of Traffic Flow Theory

TRB E-Circular 197: Celebrating 50 Years of Traffic Flow Theory explores the presentations that took place at the Standing Committee on Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Summer Meeting, August 11–13, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. Presentations covered fundamental diagrams, traffic flow models, traffic control, freeway traffic analysis, calibration, empirical observations of traffic analysis, networkwide modeling and control, and other paper and poster presentations. Presenters reflect on the fifty years of traffic flow theory and include an analysis of pedestrian flows and the incorporation of autonomous vehicles into traffic theory.

SiteAware, a LIDAR/camera unit, gives equipment operators 360-degree vision

Inspired by the lane-keeping, radar and camera systems that have been improving safety and all the while forming the foundation for fully-autonomous vehicles in the automobile industry, Volvo Construction Equipment and Carnegie Mellon University have provided a peek at a still-in-development system which seeks to give heavy equipment operators 360-degree vision. Citing construction industry deaths nearing 1,000 in 2013 alone, Volvo CE partnered with the Integrated Innovation Institute at CMU to develop the sensor-based system, which it calls SiteAware. 

New Report: Rise of the Real-Time Traveler

AT&T and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America released a report investigating trends in mobility that are shaping the future of transportation in a more connected world. 

This report, Rise of the Real-Time Traveler, starts by exploring developments such as changing demographics, urbanization and the continuing integration of technology in our daily lives. The report shines a light on how these shifts impact travelers, from ridesharing and trip planning to automotive design. We embarked on this study to better understand the social and environmental effects wireless technology has on transportation. While the full impacts are still unfolding, this research will guide our continuing efforts. We are excited to use the power of our network to build a better tomorrow, and we will continue to work with automobile and technology leaders to create and support more efficient transportation services.

Volpe Webinar: User and Machine: Secrets to a Harmonious Marriage

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  12:00 - 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center
Join Donald L. Fisher—principal technical advisor and engineering research psychologist, Volpe, U.S. DOT, and professor and former head, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst—for his talk on automation.

How engineers busted Volkswagen’s emissions secret

Using portable measuring equipment with hoses attached to vehicle exhaust pipes, researchers drove the Jetta and BMW through Los Angeles and took the Passat to Seattle and back. They also worked with the California Air Resources Board’s laboratory in El Monte, which tested the cars on a dynamometer, a device that measures engine performance.

When the Volkswagen cars were in the lab, they met the Clean Air Act standards. In the real world, they were belching out nitrogen oxides at much higher levels than allowed.

Uber Has A New Pre-Paid Ride Service Called UberEVENTS

Uber just announced UberEVENTS, a new service for event organizers to pre-pay rides for their guests. Uber is launching the service first in New York for “select riders” and Uber for Business users. In the coming weeks, Uber will roll out this feature to everyone in New York so that all event hosts can purchase rides, in the form of guest passes, ahead of time for attendees. Event organizers can customize the guest pass with date, time and promotion code.

Microbial Hybrids: Connecting solar energy and electric vehicles via biobatteries

When it comes to transportation, the longer the trip, the more that the cost of transporting the energy along with the vehicle becomes a factor. electric batteries are really, really heavy. And, the amount of time that it takes to recharge an electric battery becomes a source of aggravation.  One of the newer branches of research is a hybrid technology — not the kind of hybrid that sometimes uses gasoline, sometimes use electricity to power a car. Rather, this hybrid uses renewable electricity to generate a stable fuel that can be stored more efficiently, or use dense organic material to generate renewable electricity to power an electric motor.

China Pushes Ahead With Electric Vehicles Amid Diesel Scrutiny

China’s shunning of diesel cars may turn out to have been a blessing for Volkswagen, as it’s shielded the company from direct backlash in its largest market. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker has counted on the country for about 35 percent of vehicle sales this year and plans to raise local production capacity to 5 million autos by 2019, from 3.5 million in 2014. “The Chinese government has been supporting development of electric vehicles instead of diesel-powered cars,” said Steve Man, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “China is critical for Volkswagen and the ban on diesel cars may make China a savior for the company and help preserve the brand’s good reputation in the market.”

Intel urges car industry to improve cyber security

The security vendor last week announced the formation of an Automotive Security Review Board (ASRB) in the US with the mission of making ‘security-by-design’ a part of the car production process. The review board will look at what could be compromised in modern cars, including the emerging category of driverless cars. It has also published a white paper that identified security measures for cars such as secure boot, trusted execution environments, tamper protection, isolation of safety critical systems, message authentication, network encryption, data privacy, behavioural monitoring, anomaly detection, and shared threat intelligence.

Consumer Watchdog Petitions California DMV To Amend Driverless Car Testing Rules

Consumer Watchdog yesterday formally petitioned the California Department of Motor Vehicles to amend its driverless car testing regulations to require that police investigate any accidents involving driverless “robot” cars. In addition, the public interest group said the regulations should be amended as to require copies of any video or technical data gathered by the robot vehicle related to the crash be provided to the department. Currently, a company whose robot car is involved in an accident must report the incident to the department within 10 days. There is no requirement that police investigate the accident.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announces webinar on Enabling Technologies for Vehicle Automation

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Speaker: Mohammed Yousuf – Research Transportation Specialist – Federal Highway Administration
Speaker: Ram Kandarpa – Senior Associate – Booz Allen Hamilton

Vehicle automation relies heavily on technologies such as wireless communications, positioning, mapping, localization, timing, tracking, and sensing. Applications planned within the USDOT’s automation research roadmap depend upon these technologies. The Enabling Technologies Project is looking at recent advances in technology primarily covering Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT), Mapping, Communications, Sensing and Human Factors.

These Incredible Saltwater Batteries Are Designed To Store Renewable Energy

"A lot of things that are put forward as the next thing in batteries actually have very unexplored scalability," says Whitacre, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. "Our team's decision very early on was not to work on things that didn't have an obvious path to manufacturing. We started from almost 'how do I manufacture this?' rather than 'what material should I use?'"

Complex Car Software Becomes the Weak Spot Under the Hood

“There’s no requirement that anyone except the car companies looks at the code,” says Philip Koopman, an associate professor at the department of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “Computers can now exert almost complete control over your car. But if that software misbehaves, there’s nothing you can do.”

Friday, September 25, 2015

Volkswagen’s best shot at a comeback now has the automaker right where Elon Musk wants it

After the disclosure that the German company has misled millions of car buyers around the world, it’s not clear how VW—which in July overtook Toyota to become the biggest carmaker on the planet—can and will recover. But a definitive pivot to electric cars could help, Venkat Viswanathan, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon, tells Quartz.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

South Australia gears-up for driverless cars

The November trial will take place on a closed-off motorway south of the city at the same time as Adelaide hosts an international conference on driverless vehicles. Volvo Drive Me cars will be trundling around in that trial, which will also involve Adelaide’s Flinders University, Carnegie Mellon University, The Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, and Cohda Wireless, a local technology company that makes sensors for driverless cars.

Verizon offering lets businesses prioritize 4G LTE traffic

Verizon Communications has introduced a feature to its 4G LTE service that lets businesses manage traffic on their networks in order to give certain applications higher priority and security. The offering is geared toward Internet of Things applications. "[U]ntil now, no one has been able to offer a mission-critical class of wireless service," said Verizon's Carlos Benavides.

CMU professor's battery could help make renewables more affordable

The falling price of renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, bodes well for consumers, the environment and manufacturers, said Jay Whitacre, founder of a hybrid battery company in Lawrenceville. A professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, Whitacre founded Aquion Energy Inc., which makes and sells the Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery, an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient energy storage system that was developed in Whitacre's labs at CMU in 2008.

Video: 3D-printed house, car work together to create energy

Engineers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a 3D-printed building, which is run on solar power, and a hybrid electric/natural-gas-powered car that work together to create energy. Energy can flow between the car and the building with wireless technology. "Working together, we designed a building that innovates construction and building practices and a vehicle with a long enough range to serve as a primary power source," said the lab's Roderick Jackson, who led the project.

FHWA's Innovator: September/October 2015

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its bi-monthly Innovator newsletter, which is designed to help advance widespread implementation of innovations and technologies in the highway community and help chronicle a nationwide movement to improve the way highways are built.

Competition and Call for the Six Minute Pitch: A Transportation Startup Challenge - Submissions Due October 16, 2015

TRB’s Young Members Council is sponsoring a competition for entrepreneurs with cutting-edge, research-based concepts for transportation product or service-based business. Selected presenters will have the opportunity to make a six minute, interactive presentation to a panel of distinguished transportation industry investors and entrepreneurs. All applicants must describe how their product or service will bring research to commercial application. Presentations should include an interactive element, such as a presentation of a prototype or demonstration of software under development. The use of Prezi or PowerPoint is also permitted.

“Living” bridge looks to redefine smart infrastructure

The Memorial Bridge, which runs over the Piscataqua River between New Hampshire and Maine, a 1,200-ft-long, two-year-old bridge, is set to become a “living bridge”—a piece of self-diagnosing, self-reporting smart infrastructure studded with approximately 250 sensors. This array will monitor traffic, vibration, stress, temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation simultaneously, in addition to accumulating values related to water quality, turbidity and the effects of any ship impacts. These sensors will be powered by a tidal energy turbine on one of the bridge piers.

Video explains Hyperloop process

Hyperloop Technologies wants to build the "fifth mode of transport" and has released a video in which engineers and company officials discuss the hyperloop, a pressurized tube that can transport people at up to 800 mph. They also talk about the progress that is being made to develop the technology.

Why Would Apple Make an Electric Car, Not a Driverless One?

The cost of actually developing a driverless car entails more than financial risk. Apple has the money, but it also has to be calculated about what sorts of gambles it takes and when. Silicon Valley is already convinced that driverless cars are the future, but actually getting them on the roads—and not just test vehicles in Mountain View or in Austin, as Google has done—will still require surmounting enormous regulatory and technological challenges. “I don’t think anyone is clear, at the moment, on how autonomous driving is actually going to get introduced,” said Andrew Moore, the dean of computer science at Carnegie Mellon.

First driverless pods to travel public roads arrive in the Netherlands

The first self-driving electric shuttle for use on public roads has been delivered to the Netherlands. The "WEpod" will take passengers between the two towns of Wageningen and Ede in the province of Gelderland from November. Autonomous public transportation does exist in other parts of the world, such as the ParkShuttle bus in Rotterdam, the Heathrow Pod in London and the LUTZ Pathfinder in Milton Keynes, which run on special single trajectory lanes, or in pedestrianised areas. The WEpods in Gelderland will drive on regular roads amongst public traffic.

UberCommute tests begin in China

Uber's new UberCommute service is being tested in China, and it allows commuters to make some extra money on their way to work as they set their route and pick up passengers along the way. The company's Chinese competitor, Didi Kuaidi, also offers a variation on carpooling service.

State DOTs adopt Nokia's HERE to manage traffic projects

The Departments of Transportation in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri will utilize Nokia's mapping and navigation unit to aid in the management of real-time traffic data and analytics and prepare for future transportation projects. The Michigan Department of Transportation has been using HERE technology since 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Google Driverless Car Adds Manual Controls

Google’s team refers to the new addition as “arm the chauffer.” The feature adds an arm on the steering column that activates the car’s automatic driver, and restores manual control as quickly as switching on or off the high beams. It also includes a more intuitive manual interference option that restores driver control if the pedals or steering wheel are touched suddenly and with force.

The British Are Coming, With Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

We’ve been having a lively discussion about fuel cell electric vehicles over here at CleanTechnica, and along comes the British Company ITM Power to stir the pot a little more. Last week, ITM unveiled its first ever public fueling station for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK, located off the M1 in South Yorkshire. According to ITM, the M1 route is a linchpin of the UK’s strategy forearly adoption of hydrogen vehicles, so if all goes well, you’re going to see a lot more where this is coming from.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Apple Targets Shipping Date for Electric Car for 2019: WSJ

Apple Inc has designated building an electric car as a "committed project" and has set a target shipping date for 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The project has been code-named Titan and its leaders have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter.
...Apple has hired this year Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen AG engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cubic Transportation Systems, MasterCard team up for Urbanomics Mobility Project

MasterCard, Cubic Transportation Systems and its Big Data subsidiary Urban Insights said they will collaborate on an Urbanomics Mobility Project aimed at advancing smart transportation systems throughout the US using data analysis. "It doesn't make the decisions for you, but it augments your ability to do it," said Urban Insights' Daniel Collins. The public-private partnership will help local governments visualize network gaps and design more efficient systems that meet the needs of underserved areas, Collins added.

The Case for More Traffic Roundabouts

A 2001 report in the American Journal of Public Health selected 24 intersections that were converted into roundabouts in 8 different states, and analyzed the before and after crash data. In most cases, the time period (in months) was the same in the before and after periods; where it was not, the Bayes method was used for normalization. Researchers found that, overall, roundabouts reduce all crashes by 38% and reduce injuries by a whopping 76%.

There’s a global alliance forming to stop Uber’s world domination

Uber's China branch recently closed a $1.2 billion round of funding. Uber is aggressively expanding its Chinese footprint, with plans to operate in 100 more cities in the country in the next year. And Uber's top three most popular cities — Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu — are all in China.  Uber’s service is taking off in China much faster than it did in the US; nine months after launching in Chengdu, Uber had 479 times the trips it had in New York after the same amount of time.

China Electric Vehicle Charging Station and Charging Pile Report, 2015-2016

In 2014, China produced 78,000 and sold 75,000 new energy vehicles, up 350% and 320% respectively from the previous year. Wherein, the output and sales volume of BEV were 49,000 and 45,000 respectively, rising by 240% and 210% separately from last year; the output and sales volume of PHEV amounted to 29,900 and 29,700 separately, jumping by 810% and 880% year on year each. In 2014, 23.4919 million (up 6.9% year on year) cars were sold in the Chinese market, including 74,763 new energy vehicles which occupied 0.32% (increasing by 300% from the previous year).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Uber's surge pricing is good for you, Uber study says

“Our goal at Uber is to ensure you can push a button and get a ride within minutes — even on the busiest nights of the year,” Uber head of economic research Jonathan Hall and Uber data scientist Cory Kendrick wrote in a blog post about a study examining the company’s surge pricing on Thursday. The message is clear: Uber is about getting you a ride from your phone, and quickly.
The study, conducted in partnership with Chris Nosko, a marketing professor, at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, tries to make the case that the company’s price hikes are great for passengers, overall.

Ford debuts smartwatch app for EVs, hybrids

The MyFord Mobile application now enables users to control their electric and plug-in hybrid cars through their Apple Watch or Android Wear devices. The app provides information on battery status and car location, and enables drivers to remotely unlock their doors.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

USDOT WEBINAR: GlidePath Prototype Application – Automated Eco-Friendly Cruise Control using Wireless V2I Communications at Signalized Intersections

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Time: 1:30 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. EDT
Presenter: Osman Altan - Research Transportation Specialist - Federal Highway Administration
Presenter: Matthew Barth - Yeager Families Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering - University of California Riverside
The Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) Research Program is the environmental component of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s connected vehicle research program. Employing a multimodal approach, the AERIS Research Program aims to encourage the development of technologies and applications that support a more sustainable relationship between transportation and the environment, chiefly through fuel use reductions and resulting emissions reductions. 

CMU, City of Pittsburgh to Lead Creation of New National Initiative

“In the spirit of collaboration, Carnegie Mellon is excited to take a leading role in the founding of the MetroLab Network,” said CMU Provost Farnam Jahanian said in a statement. “This effort builds on decades of research supported by federal agencies, private foundations, and industry collaboration to create solutions that improve urban areas and provide real benefits to the public. We are eager to participate and work together with the other members of the network to develop and deploy technologies capable of creating a brighter future for our cities.”

Pedestrian Test Dummies Put Driverless Cars to the Test

Mcity, the area designated to test driverless cars, is getting closer to completion every day. This city is located just north of the University of Michigan’s campus, and they are continuing to build devices and run tests in order to determine the safety of driverless cars, which could hit the market anytime in the next five years. The purpose of the city is built around proving that driverless cars will not only be safe for roadways, but that they’ll reduce the number of accidents.  One of the upcoming additions to the safety zone comes in the form of mannequins designed to act just like pedestrians. This technology and other developments will either help driverless cars to become road ready or prove that this particular advancement needs a little more time before it hits the market.

Google expands it's Pittsburgh Campus

With an expansion of the already large campus — housed in an old Nabisco factory, and including a Kennywood roller coaster replica — Google and Carnegie Mellon can expect to positively develop their symbiotic intellectual relationship. Carnegie Mellon has continued to become more relevant in the modern technological age, and the school’s name can be heard on the radio and seen on the news nearly weekly. With Google’s campus so close, both the school and the company will benefit from each other’s intellectual nourishment and ability to recruit pure talent.

IBM cloud platform to improve connected-car services

IBM said it has developing a cloud-based platform that will collect data from connected cars and outside infrastructure to provide users with "actionable insights" on diagnostics, maintenance and traffic. "By combining data directly from the car with other sources, the insights derived through the IBM IoT for Automotive solution have the potential to change how we interact with our vehicles moving forward," said IBM's Dirk Wollschlaeger.

Connected Vehicles: Vehicle-to-Pedestrian Communications

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a fact sheet that describes its ongoing vehicle-to pedestrian communications research and the associated devices and applications that can be used.

9th University Transportation Center (UTC) Spotlight Conference: Connected and Automated Vehicles: Advanced Registration Rates Expire September 25

Few issues are emerging more quickly, or have the potential to spur revolutionary change, than that of connected/automated vehicles (CV/AV). This is true not only for highways, but across all transportation modes. This Spotlight Conference, which is organized around the four cluster areas identified in the NCHRP report “Connected/Automated Vehicle Research Roadmap for AASHTO", will focus on the impact of CV/AV on transportation, including planning, policy, operations, land use, design, freight movements, and transit.

AT&T's Lurie: 5G technology remains work in progress

AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie said last week that it was premature to begin publicly discussing its rollout of 5G technology. "We're not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is," Lurie told a reporter at CTIA Super Mobility 2015, adding, "Let's make sure that before we start hyping what it's going to be, that those standards are agreed to."

Global Street Design Guide to be Unveiled at NACTO Designing Cities Conference

Each year, more than 1.2 million people die globally from traffic fatalities. At least half of these are vulnerable users, such as people walking and bicycling. With many problems rooted in outdated codes and standards, there is an urgent need to redefine the role of streets in cities and provide guidance to shaping sustainable public spaces. On October 28, 2015, NACTO will unveil a new resource for designing urban streets around the world: the Global Street Design Guide.  Join NACTO Chair Janette Sadik-Khan at the 2015 Designing Cities conference in Austin for the official launch of this groundbreaking guide.

Five emerging battery technologies for electric vehicles

As the 2016 suite of new car models makes evident, electric vehicles are finally gaining real traction in the market. At the turn of the 20th century, more than one quarter of all cars in the United States were electric, yet the electric car had all but vanished by the 1920s. This disappearance was largely due to the insufficient range and power of electric car batteries compared to gasoline engines. Furthermore, electric cars were significantly more expensive than their gasoline counterparts. These same complaints are still heard today, even though battery technology has certainly improved over the last century. Much research and development is being done on battery technology to improve performance while ensuring that batteries are lightweight, compact, and affordable.

Ford in project to develop near-zero particulate emission diesel cars

“The CO2 produced by a car powered by DME from renewable sources could be comparable to the amount generated by a marathon runner covering the same distance – but with performance similar to a diesel powered vehicle,” said Werner Willems, technical specialist , Powertrain Combustion Systems, Ford of Europe. “This is a project that could help place vehicles with a significantly reduced carbon dioxide and particulate emissions on the market at affordable costs.” 

Microsoft seeks partner to bring Cortana to cars

Microsoft says it has created a model to bring its virtual assistant Cortana to connected cars and is looking to develop it with a Taiwanese company. Samuel Shen of Microsoft Asia Pacific Research and Development says the system would allow drivers to use voice commands to utilize the technology while driving. 

Mercedes-Benz eyes driverless transportation market

Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz said it is planning to develop luxury driverless vehicles to provide on-demand transportation. "This is a concrete development goal of ours," Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said.

Report: Consumers' demand growing for connected-car features

Thirty-seven percent of 3,184 car owners polled in the US, China and Germany are prioritizing connected-car services, noting they would rather have a vehicle with data, media and application features, up 20% from last year, a McKinsey report says. The report also found that 32% of those polled said they would pay a subscription for connected-car options. 

Carnegie Mellon University receives $3.5 million from Bosch Group

“When we established the Carnegie Bosch Institute in 1990, we knew it was the start of something remarkable for international business," Werner Struth, chairman of Robert Bosch LLC and member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, said in a statement. "The continued expansion of our partnership into research and development is a testament to the success and impact of bringing together industry and academia.” The gift from Bosch Group includes $2.5 million in support to establish the Bosch Distinguished Professor in Security and Privacy Technologies, which will be used to support the directorship of CMU's CyLab. The company currently supports five faculty chairs in the Carnegie Bosch Institute.

Reimagining Transportation: A New Thought Leadership Speaker Series at Volpe

Delve into the trends that will transform transportation with Volpe’s new speaker series—Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation—starting September 18. The series kicks off with a special video introduction from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and opening remarks by Assistant Secretary Gregory Winfree.  The series will open with Dr. Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist and co-founder of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT and co-author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Transportation. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Car Industry Will Change Forever. But Nobody Is Prepared For It.

Don’t expect governments to support innovation and implement a future for autonomous and electric cars without having a strategy in place to penalise it at the same time.

Toyota Establishes Collaborative Research Centers with MIT and Stanford

The research and development of intelligent vehicle and mobility technologies will get a major boost in an ambitious new collaboration between Toyota, Stanford and MIT. At a press conference today, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that it will be investing approximately $50 million over the next 5 years to establish joint research centers at each university. Additionally Dr. Gill Pratt, former Program Manager at DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and leader of its recent Robotics Challenge, has joined Toyota to direct and accelerate these research activities and their application to intelligent vehicles and robotics.

UK Testing Wireless Charging Roads, Electric Vehicle Owners Rejoice

Engineers in the UK have taken a pretty major step in the direction of charging infrastructure with the unveiling of a project to embed wireless charging into roads, allowing electric vehicles to charge while they drive. The first phase of this experiment will be off-road trials, or away from public roadways and is expected to last for 18 months. Pending the results of this study, the technology could be moved to roads all over the UK allowing electric vehicle drivers to potentially be rid of range anxiety for good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

USDOT launches V2X tests in 3 states

Officials from the US Department of Transportation announced that pilot projects in New York, Wyoming and Florida will include outfitting thousands of vehicles with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology in an effort to reduce traffic accidents and alleviate congestion.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Major car makers agree to make automatic braking standard in U.S

The automakers are Volkswagen and its luxury car division Audi, BMW, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co, Mazda Motor Corp, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, Tesla Motors Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and Volvo Car Group. "We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is overseeing the effort, said the collaborative agreement took shape over the last two weeks and that other car and truck manufacturers are still considering joining.

Google names ex-Hyundai exec head of its self-driving car operations

Google has appointed John Krafcik, a former Hyundai exec and more recently president of auto sales website Truecar, to run its self-driving car operations... The former leader of Google's self-driving car project, Chris Urmson, will stay on to lead technical development, it said. Urmson gained his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University with a thesis on off-road autonomous navigation.

Uber Would Like to Buy Your Robotics Department

Carnegie Mellon’s experience is a familiar one in the world of high-tech research. As a field matures, universities can wake up one day to find money flooding the premises; suddenly they’re in a talent war with deep-pocketed firms from Silicon Valley. The impacts are also intellectual. When researchers leave for industry, their expertise winks off the map; they usually can’t publish what they discover — or even talk about it over drinks with former colleagues. In the long run, raids can generate symbiotic relationships; researchers who return to academia years later bring their real-world experience into the classroom and can draw on their network of wealthy industry contacts to fund university research. But as Carnegie Mellon’s roboticists are finding, reaching that end point can make for a bumpy ride.

These Two LA Bus Stops Might Change the Future of Cities

This summer, JCDecaux and Outdoor Media outfitted two bus shelters — the humblest, most old-fashioned of civic structures, both located near City Hall — with WiFi hotspots, a USB port for charging devices, and displays of transit information. They also have iBeacons, a kind of digital lighthouse that is constantly signaling its presence and sending small bits of data to nearby iOS devices (but only when those users have affirmatively opted to receive that data and have downloaded an app that makes the data useful). If you push a button, the bus shelters will talk to you, providing bus times. And they use less power because they’re equipped — retrofitted, really — with LED lights.

Friday, September 11, 2015


The Energy Department today announced $11 million in available funding to support development and demonstration of innovative alternative technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, designed to help reduce U.S. reliance on gasoline, diesel, and oil imports.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Uber giving $5.5 million to CMU to support robotics faculty chair, fellowships

Uber opened its Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, and not long after it had announced the partnership, raised a few eyebrows when it hired away many of the NREC's top staff. But both the university and the company call the partnership a fruitful one.  "Academia-industry partnerships play an important role in promoting our mutual missions of technological innovation and developing outstanding talent at all levels,” CMU president Subra Suresh said in a statement. “We are grateful for Uber’s support for the intellectual work at the heart of this activity."

Study: Autonomous haulage trucks will bring cost advantages to industry

Autonomous trucks could offer the haulage industry more than $50 billion on labor, fuel, insurance and vehicle use costs over the next decade, says an AXA UK report. "The results confirmed our suspicion that automated freight will not only be much more efficient and make the roads safer for other users, it will also reduce the prices of the end products that we all buy," said AXA UK's David Williams.


Now, a security researcher says that the complex LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system used in many driverless car prototypes can be fooled with just $60 in parts. (LiDAR relies on the same principles of radar, but instead uses lasers, making it quicker and more accurate.) The hack allows for the attacker to trick the car into thinking there are objects where there actually isn’t—potentially forcing the car to slow down, stop, or swerve. “I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want,” Jonathan Petit of Security Innovation told IEEE Spectrum. “And I can do the same with a pedestrian or a wall.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

City of Pittsburgh launches push for inclusion, innovation

"As we start thinking about what the city will be, what we want it to become, we have to understand that we have to design into it opportunities for all to be a part of it," Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday speaking at a launch event for the Roadmap. The Department of Innovation & Performance, which was created in 2014 when Peduto took office, has identified three primary goals for the plan: bridge the digital divide and facilitate residents' participation in the new economy; improve the city's capacity to serve the public in the digital age; and increase Pittsburgh's resilience in the digital age by strengthening the clean tech and local business sectors.

AT&T debuts its first plug-in vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot device

The ZTE Mobley plug-in Wi-Fi hotspot device from AT&T, to be introduced this week, will allow owners of most cars built in 1996 or later to access the Internet from mobile devices in their cars. AT&T already provides Wi-Fi hotspots to a number of automakers, but this is its first version offered directly to consumers.

Over-the-air software updates to create boon for car industry

Developments in over-the-air software updates will allow automotive manufacturers to increase completion of software-related recalls, lessen warranty costs and boost the customer experience, an IHS report says. The report predicts savings from OTA updates will rise from $2.7 billion this year to over $35 billion by 2022.

Go-To cards can now be used for both transit and car sharing

Riders will be able to use the same card for Metro Transit and Hourcar, a union that some believe is unprecedented in the United States. A new partnership between Metro Transit and Hourcar is allowing members of the car-sharing organization to use their Go-To transit cards to access Hourcar vehicles anywhere in its metro area network, making it easier to seamlessly switch between transit and car sharing.

EU-funded project develops improved Lithium-ion for electric cars

The breakthroughs, announced last week, promise to boost competitiveness among European battery and electric vehicle manufacturers. Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries have sparked the attention of electric vehicle manufacturers ever since they first came on the market in the early 1990s. Among their advantages are a shorter charge-time and a higher energy-storage capacity than other types of rechargeables, such as nickel-metal hydride batteries.

NYC Forms Advisory Group to Help Fix Its Uber Problem

“We have these historic examples of when technology has caused the city to acknowledge the importance of creating either a new framework or adapting an old one,” Singleton says. Getting these new frameworks right in New York City is particularly important, says NYU Stern School of Business professor Arun Sundararajan, who is a member of the advisory board. “The services in question are more fundamental to our day-to-day life than in most other cities,” he says. “A number of cities around the world will look to New York as the template, as the model of how you deal with this kind of digital disruption in a forward-looking way.”

Will Self-Driving Golf Carts Steer Way for Autonomous Cars?

“It avoided all the obstacles we put in its path. And it did it without a lot of intrusive machinery,” says one of the passengers, Matt Mason, in an MIT announcement. Mason is a professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.

How Car Companies Are Easing Consumers Into A Driverless Future

It’s all about doing it gradually. While Google may revel in showing off their robotic vehicles, the reality is that it will be some time before these are mainstream purchases. In the meantime, multiple manufacturers including Volvo, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz are currently rolling out vehicles that can take over driving duties under some specific circumstances. Not only are these situations—such as low-speed driving—easier to program for, but they also help build up a level of consumer comfort for the technology that will be necessary for completely autonomous vehicles to eventually take over.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Google is much more optimistic than automakers about self-driving cars

From his laboratory at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, automated vehicle pioneer Raj Rajkumar says self-driving cars will evolve step-by-step, with humans staying in charge for a long time to come. More than 2,500 miles west in Mountain View, California, Chris Urmson, head of Google Inc's self-driving car program since 2009, has a different view: A fully automated vehicle that requires no input or intervention from humans is a safer choice, and one that could be ready for production by 2020.

EVs Could Cut Global Gasoline Use By 2040

The good news is that electric vehicles will reduce gasoline consumption even if no other levers are used related to personal transportation. The bad news is that it will be 15 to 20 years before gasoline consumption growth flattens and 25 to 35 years until consumption returns to 2014 levels and lower if electric cars are the only lever that is pulled. There are a few things to consider when thinking about how fast electric vehicles will spread...

Uber Has Raised $1.2B More In China With Baidu Investing As Rival Didi Kuaidi Gets $3B

Uber confirmed that it has raised a further $1.2 billion in funding, led by search giant Baidu, in order to continue expanding Uber China, and the round is not yet closed. The news appears to have been timed to coincide with another big piece of funding in the Chinese transportation wars: Uber’s biggest competitor in the country, Didi Kuaidi, also confirmed today that it has raised an extra $3 billion for its own coffers.

US Emerges As The Biggest EV Innovator

The analysis of global patent numbers indicates that US auto manufacturers have moved ahead of the pack in the electric vehicle category, despite reports of declining levels of innovation floated earlier this year by the likes of Thomson Reuters. According to data compiled by IPWatchdog, it’s actually the conventional giants of the America automobile industry as opposed to groundbreaking upstarts like Tesla who are leading electric vehicle R&D, with both Ford and General Motors Company taking out first and second place, respectively, for IP in the sector.

Mercedes' Tesla Challenger Could Go Over 300 Miles

Mercedes Benz appears to be taking rival Tesla Motors more seriously, Automotive News reported, given the electric car company's success in important locations such as in California. Other long-time rivals in the automobile industry are also getting into electric car development, with Audi about to showcase the e-tron Quattro concept at the upcoming auto show in Frankfurt, which will be an electric SUV to be launched in 2018 that will compete with the upcoming Tesla Model X. BMW is also working on an i5 electric car that is based on the company's 5 series of vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Applications: Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a fact sheet that describes the connected vehicle safety applications are being designed to reduce or eliminate crashes through data transmissions that are vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-pedestrian.

6th Transportation Research Board Conference on Innovations in Travel Modeling (ITM)

TRB is sponsoring the Innovations in Travel Modeling 2016 conference on May 1-4, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The event will facilitate sharing information and experiences on current models and modeling research. The conference will also explore the integration of social factors, land-use, transportation supply, and technology into the modeling process. Submit abstracts for presentation by October 2, 2015.

NATMEC: Improving Traffic Data Collection, Analysis, and Use 2016

TRB is sponsoring NATMEC: Improving Traffic Data Collection, Analysis, and Use on May 1-4, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Submit abstracts by September 17, 2015. The conference is designed to advance the state of the practice of travel monitoring by providing a mechanism for improving the interaction between system operators, data collection program...


What’s lost in this collective frenzy to demonize Uber (all while we take 2 million rides a day with the service) is that it is actually good for the world. The company’s ride-sharing service, UberPool, will almost certainly reduce greenhouse gasses, while making car ownership less attractive. Moreover, even as many Silicon Valley companies can be tsk-tsked for focusing their services on the affluent or the very lazy, Uber is the rare startup that explicitly focuses its energies on serving lower-middle class people, both by giving them work and providing transit connections to neighborhoods that are underserved. Kalanick told me that Uber was seriously considering eventually expanding to buses, which he called "the ultimate carpool machine." Buses can hardly be conflated with elitism.

Apple car could take 10 years to hit the road: Analyst

When the tech giant's plans to hit the highways were first floated, reports suggested a prototype could appear around 2020. As experts like BMW have pointed out, the process from concept to physical reality can take at least five years. However, for a company with no experience in auto manufacturing, that timetable could be too optimistic. "We believe the auto industry represents a significant opportunity for Apple, but we also expect Apple to be deliberate as always in its product development and testing," said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, in a note this week.


Toyota has hired robotics expert Gill Pratt to oversee research aimed at developing artificial intelligence and other innovations that will enable future car models to navigate the roads without people doing all the steering and stopping. "We believe this research will transform the future of mobility, improving safety and reducing traffic congestion," said Kiyotaka Ise, a Toyota executive who oversees the company's research and development group.

SPEAKER SERIES Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation

What will transportation look like 10, 20, or 30 years from now? Be part of U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) newest speaker series at Volpe—Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation—to delve into the trends that will transform transportation.

Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation will kick off September 18 with a special video introduction from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, followed by opening remarks from Gregory D. Winfree, DOT Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Traffic data firm highlights hazardous road warnings

Inrix, a traffic data aggregation firm, is using information from 250 million phones and cars running its software to pinpoint the location of hazardous weather conditions on roads and then warn approaching drivers. Inrix will launch the new Road Weather service in its smartphone application this year and says municipal authorities can subscribe to the service to identify local traffic issues. 

Report sees rise in autonomous cars over next 20 years

A report by Navigant Research predicts that sales of autonomous vehicles will rise to about 85 million within 20 years. Analyst Dave Alexander says there will be a boost in traffic flow once one in 10 cars are utilizing such technology as advanced driver assistance systems. He notes, "One of the challenges is not just to get the systems installed, but to provide incentives for people to use them on a daily basis."

Learn more about the 2015 ITS World Congress Demonstration Showcase

This year, the 22nd ITS World Congress will host 35 live, technical and interactive ITS demonstrations in Bordeaux, France! Each of the demonstrations will take place in the immediate vicinity of the Congress Exhibition Hall during the World Congress. View the listing, schedule and descriptions of all of the demonstrations that will take place, and be sure to register for the 2015 ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France on Oct. 5 to 9.

Tech firms offer tools for growing cycling market

Tech startups are focusing on the needs of cyclists as they develop new applications and devices to provide GPS navigation, smart keyless locks, speed and distance tracking, and assistance with pedaling. "A lot of these gadgets are not being made by typical bike companies. They're being made by all these young people who are working in digital technology and digital media," says Momentum Magazine CEO Mia Kohout.

$10M FRA grant promotes innovative crossing solutions

The Federal Railroad Administration is offering $10 million in competitive grants with the aim of encouraging states to come up with innovative safety solutions at highway-rail grade crossings. Fatalities at these crossings increased for the first time this decade last year, and the FRA is working on a number of initiatives to reverse that trend, said acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

Sony is open to partnering with automakers

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai says his company is open to the idea of teaming up with a auto manufacturer on a vehicle, now that electric cars have made it easier for nontraditional players to enter the market. "It's something that we will look at. We don't have plans at this point but never say never," he said.

Smart transport systems can ease growing traffic delays

A recent study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that US drivers are spending increasing amounts of time and fuel sitting in traffic. The installation of new traffic management software in Tyler, Texas, was found to reduce commuters' delays by 49% and travel time by 22%, suggesting that leveraging traffic data from intelligent transportation systems can be one solution to the country's congestion problems.

Familiar Faces Could Help Robot Cars Win Trust

“We think that the most prominent ‘bump’ in the road to successful implementation of smart cars is not the technology itself but, rather, the acceptance of that technology by the public,” said Frank Verberne, a behavioral scientist at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, in a press release. “Representing such complex automation technology with something that humans are familiar with—namely, a human behind the wheel—may cause it to become less of a ‘black box.'”

There’s a problem with driverless cars – human beings

Google, a leader in efforts to create driverless cars, has run into an odd safety conundrum: humans. Last month, as one of Google's self-driving cars approached a crosswalk, it did what it was supposed to do when it slowed to allow a pedestrian to cross, prompting its "safety driver" to apply the brakes. The pedestrian was fine, but not so much Google's car, which was hit from behind by a human-driven sedan.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Study: Speed cameras reduce traffic crashes

“We hope this research will help energize the discussion around speed,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund, who will unveil the findings Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association in Nashville. “We’re all accustomed to seeing posted limits ignored, but it’s a mistake to think nothing can be done about it. Automated enforcement is one of the tools we have at our disposal.”

2016 TRB Annual Meeting: Register Now

Register and make your hotel reservations for the TRB 95th Annual Meeting, January 10-14, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Registration is required for all Annual Meeting attendees, including those who plan to attend any workshop, visit the exhibits, or take advantage of onsite programming and services.

This Australian Startup Is Building A Solar Car That Runs Indefinitely

A concept electric car being worked up in Australia largely eliminates the range anxiety of others in the field with the addition of 75 square feet of solar panels. The panels provide enough power for the EVX that, once the car is charged and under way, it can continue to run indefinitely as long as the sun is out and moderate speeds are maintained. At higher speeds, the car's range is cut to 340 miles.

Navistar to offer 2-way connected-vehicle tech next year

Navistar Inc. announced plans to begin offering over-the-air reprogramming of engine control modules for International brand trucks powered by its proprietary N Series engines. The truck maker said it will launch the two-way connected-vehicle technology early next year in model year 2017 Internationals equipped with N9, N10 and N13 engines.

Bus-mounted cyclist sensor to aid road safety

Designed by Bristol-based Fusion Processing, CycleEye has been developed to reduce the growing number of cyclist collisions and casualties. Fitted to the side of a bus, CycleEye operates night and day in all weathers, using radar and camera sensors to identify cyclists in potentially dangerous situations in close proximity to the bus and giving an audible alert to the driver’s cab. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Google quietly revved up its very own car company

Google has set up its own car company. The tech giant has flirted with major car firms as it explores driverless cars but has also quietly set up its own auto company, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. Google Auto LLC is headed by Chris Urmson, project lead for Google’s self-driving cars. Urmson has been on a charm offensive with the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. At the North American International Auto Show in January, Urmson announced talks with General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Volkswagen. In March, he told USA Today: “Making cars is really hard, and the car companies are quite good at it. So, in my mind, the solution is to find a partnership.”