Thursday, January 28, 2016

Moving Toward Active Transportation: How Policies Can Encourage Walking and Bicycling


Active Living Research has released a research summary that discusses evidence on the health benefits and safety of active travel, and examines policies and programs that can help increase active travel.

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. The Preliminary Program is now available. Early bird registration ends February 15, 2016. 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 managers, and the various staff that collect, process, and utilize that data.

Uber, Lyft put pressure on taxi companies

On Tuesday, San Francisco's largest taxi operator, Yellow Cab Cooperative, is scheduled to have its first bankruptcy hearing after the company filed for Chapter 11 protection Friday. The operator has been struggling with declining ridership and increased competition from the two big for-hire driver start-ups. While Uber and Lyft may have contributed to increased competition for the cab cooperative, the start-ups were not the sole cause of the filing, according to the cooperative's bankruptcy attorney, Gary M. Kaplan."It's a business reality, there is competition there," Kaplan told CNBC. "But it's incorrect to make it sound as if this is the result of Uber and Lyft. The company operationally does fine and is still operational," he said. "It does not want to lose drivers and passengers to the competition; it wants to operate business as usual."

Google teams with Movidius on image-recognition software


Google plans to take the next step in facial and spatial recognition under a new partnership with chip startup Movidius. Movidius describes its technology as "low-power machine vision for connected devices" that can provide image recognition and enable mobile devices to perform the machine learning tasks often reserved for data centers.

What will cheap gas do to electric cars?

It's still the early days for EVs, which account for a tiny fraction of total vehicle sales. Constantine Samaras, assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, says that 116,597 battery electrics and plug-in hybrids were sold last year, a figure that dropped slightly from the 123,049 sold in 2014. Out of the 17.5 million cars sold in the US in the last 12 months, EVs made up only a small percentage. Instead, the bulk of new vehicles sold in the US were lightweight pickup trucks, which tend to guzzle gas compared to passenger cars — and the availability of cheap gas played a role. "The big risk for the climate is that low gas prices induce people to buy bigger, less efficient SUVs, and light trucks. We all have short memories," he says, referencing the $4 gas Americans were dealing with just a few years ago. Even though consumers hang onto their vehicles for an average of 11.5 years, they tend to focus on the short-term savings.

Vehicle security concerns drive tech demands


As the amount of code in vehicles increases to enhance software and communications capabilities, automakers are turning to tech suppliers to help secure their cars from cyberattacks. "The car is being converted into a self-driving robot. Because of that, software is becoming far more important than it was 10 years ago," said NXP automotive division Chief Technology Officer Lars Reger.

Automatic braking helps cut crashes by about 40%


The combination of forward collision warning and automatic braking systems can decrease rear-end crashes by 39% and rear-end crashes involving injuries by 42%, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study says. "As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes," says IIHS' David Zuby.

Uber Is Making Sure Those Bad Driver Ratings Are Correct

While the verification of rider complaints is the primary focus of this pilot program, there are other uses for the movement data Uber is gathering. Uber could follow in the footsteps of some automakers and use this information to inform the autonomous technology it’s developing at R&D centers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Arizona. General Motors is already in the beginning stages of gathering information about human instincts in specific driving conditions through its partnership with Mobileye. Using the vehicle’s external cameras and its GPS data, GM is gathering and analyzing anonymized data about human behavior that could later inform the behavior of the autonomous technology it’s developing.

Savari Fuels Up With $8 Million to Propel Self-Driving Cars

After years of subsisting on a series of research grants, Savari has now raised $8 million. Investors in this round, a Series A, include Delta Electronics Capital Corp.; SAIC Capital, which is the corporate venture arm of Shanghai Motors; and an unnamed strategic investor. Savari’s technology is called V2X, for “vehicle to everything.” The company makes wireless sensor technology and software that equip cars and roads with 360-degree situational awareness, even when objects are around corners.

Lyft Partners With Waze to Pick Better Routes

Waze is rapidly becoming the number-one in-car navigation service, thanks to a combo of accurate crowdsourced information, and the fact you can set Neil Patrick Harris as your satnav voice. It also has an API that lets it integrate well with other apps, something that Lyft is taking advantage of. Drivers will receive real-time updates to routes, helping them be more efficient; there’s also a ‘Back to Lyft’ button that will better link the two apps.

Carbon dioxide captured from air can be directly converted into methanol fuel

The study was led by G. K. Surya Prakash, a chemistry professor at the University of Southern California, along with the Nobel laureate George A. Olah, a distinguished professor at the University of Southern California. The researchers have published their paper on the CO2-to-methanol conversion process in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. "Direct CO2 capture and conversion to methanol using molecular hydrogen in the same pot was never achieved before. We have now done it!" Prakash told Phys.org.More>>

Elon Musk says one unexpected city will lead the way with electric vehicles

There are currently about 4,000 EV on the road in Hong Kong, and most of them are Teslas, Musk said. The company plans to bring its Model X to China during the second half of 2016 and aims to begin building some Tesla vehicles in China before 2020.  During a CNN interview on Monday, Musk said that the company must begin building cars locally to become eligible for the government incentives, which will ultimately help bring down the cost of it selling its cars in China.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A New Player Is Entering The Driverless Car Race

Baidu is reportedly ramping up efforts to develop its own autonomous vehicle in a bid to compete with other tech giants. The online search company is talking to city authorities in China, and has designs on launching autonomous cars in 10 Chinese cities within three years, reported Bloomberg. The company also plans to test out their vehicles with a small group of drivers this year in a closed environment, said Wang Jing, senior vice president overseeing Baidu’s driverless vehicle project.
The software uses different technologies, such as object recognition and 3D road mapping, to improve the performance of its driverless vehicle.

Uber monitoring drivers in US in attempt to flag dangerous driving

Uber has quietly begun monitoring the movements of some of its drivers in an experimental Texas-based pilot that is attempting to flag up dangerous driving.Abrupt movements in a smartphone’s accelerometer, a movement sensor built into most smartphones, can show when a driver accelerates and brakes too quickly – consistent with driving too close to the car in front, or “tailgating”. For all its success, one major stress point for the company has been its reliance on human drivers because, unlike computers, they are unpredictable and hard to monitor. The company seeks to get around this problem with its autonomous vehicle lab in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, staffed by former roboticists for Carnegie Mellon University. At an industry conference in October, Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, said it could be “five, 10, even 15 years” before there are autonomous vehicles that are completely safe.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amtrak's Newest Board Member Works at Lyft

Derek Kan is a Los Angeles-based general manager for Lyft, the on-demand ride company that seeks to modernize U.S. transportation. Now he’s also a board member at Amtrak, which is in the midst of its own transformation. Kan, a former Congressional and White House staffer, was suggested for the Amtrak position by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for whom Kan had once worked as chief economist and policy advisor. He was then formally nominated by President Obama, approved by the U.S. Senate in December, and formally assumed the position this month.

Autonomous vehicle developments could trigger fall in insurance premiums, report finds

Improved car safety and the advent of driverless cars could force motor insurers to move away from their traditional customer base, says a Standard & Poor's Ratings Services report. The report says safety features such as automatic braking, lane departure warnings, electronic stability control, airbags and active head restraints have caused a dramatic reduction in the number of deaths as a result of car accidents in recent decades.
More>>

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Sensing from Mobile Devices May Help Improve Bus Service

On any given bus ride, a good share of passengers are reading, texting or rocking out to music on their phones or tablets. In the future, though, those mobile devices may add more value to our transit commutes than simply filling time.  University of Washington researchers have developed an inexpensive system that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from passengers' mobile phones and devices to collect better data about where bus riders get on and off, how many people use a given stop and even how long they wait to transfer to another bus. The system -- described in a paper that was presented at the 2016 Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 11 -- could help transit agencies collect valuable real-time data to provide better service.

Automakers Unveil New Electric Vehicles Amid Sluggish Sales

In total, Reuters reported that roughly 400,000 electric vehicles have been sold in the U.S. to date — far short of the 1 million vehicles by 2015 goal set by the Obama administration.  Still, Detroit's Big Three automakers each rolled out new plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles last week at the Detroit Auto Show. Analysts said that car companies are responding to government emissions mandates or steep financial incentives despite lower sales, while proponents of EV technology believe that the market will pick back up once oil prices recover. In the meantime, last year's numbers also included some bright spots. Sales of luxury electric cars made by Tesla reportedly jumped by 26 percent in the U.S., while one report said that December's EV sales were the highest monthly totals to date.  Obama himself touted the new hybrid and electric options during a stop in Detroit on Wednesday. "You’re not just making cars that people want today," Obama told the audience at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. "You’re thinking about cars that people are going to want tomorrow."

NPR: For Self-Driving Car Tech, Companies Won't Go Zero To 100 Too Fast

If self-driving cars kind of freak you out but you like the idea, there's now an alternative. They're called semi-autonomous cars, and you're still the driver, but so much is automated that it may not feel that way.

Obama's Bolt EV Visit, Elio Finances, Tesla Lawsuit, Fuel-Cell Roundup: The Week In Reverse

Who grinned--and who grimaced--while looking over the Chevy Bolt EV 200-mile electric car?
And, why did Tesla Motors sue a German supplier that worked on the development of its Model X?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse--right here at Green Car Reports--for the week ending on Friday, January 22, 2016. Friday, we noted that the future of the Elio three-wheeled, two-seat "84-mpg" cardepends on low-interest Federal loans the company has applied for.

China Plans to End New-Energy Vehicles Subsidies After 2020

Chinese automobile companies are overly reliant on government subsidies and the government will instead hasten the establishment of a points-based system similar to that used in California to encourage production and use of new-energy vehicles, the minister said at a conference in Beijing Saturday. The government will cut 2017-2018 subsidies by 20 percent from those granted in 2016, and 2019-2020 subsidies will be 40 percent less than this year, Lou said. President Xi Jinping has designated the development of electric vehicles as a strategic initiative in a bid to upgrade the auto industry, curb pollution and cut dependence on imported oil. The government is stepping up its support after signs the combination of research grants, consumer subsidies and infrastructure investments is yielding results as new-energy vehicle sales surged more than fourfold last year.

Mother Jones: An End to Parking?

One study suggests a single self-driving car could replace up to 12 regular vehicles. Indeed, many urbanists predict that fleets of robocars could become so reliable that many, many people would choose not to own automobiles, causing the amount of parking needed to drop through the floor.

"Parking has been this sacred cow that we couldn't touch—and now we can touch it," says Gabe Klein, who has headed the transportation departments in Chicago and Washington, DC. He sees enormous potential—all that paved-over space suddenly freed up for houses and schools, plazas and playgrounds, or just about anything. "All that parking could go away, and then what happens?" he asks. "You unlock a tremendous amount of value."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Self-heating battery may help electric cars beat winter woes

Scientists have developed an all-climate lithium-ion battery that heats itself in sub-zero temperatures and may help electric vehicles function smoothly in winters.  Conventional batteries at below freezing temperatures suffer severe power loss, which leads to slow charging in cold weather, restricted regenerative breaking and reduction of vehicle cruise range by as much as 40 per cent, researchers said.  These problems require larger and more expensive battery packs to compensate for the cold sapping of energy.  "It is a long standing problem that batteries do not perform well at subzero temperatures," said Chao-Yang Wang from Pennsylvania State University in US.
More>>

Business Travelers Often Skip The Rental Car, Use Uber Instead

Technology analyst Alexandra Samuel says the car rental industry needs to catch up: People don't want to be locked into a reservation days in advance. They want convenience (an app that knows your credit card number, not a form that makes you type it); they want to write emails in the car.
Samuel says incumbent companies — take Hertz, for example — should consider offering rentals that come with drivers. And she asks, "Why do I have to go to a Hertz parking lot and pre-book and make sure there's a car there? Why can't I just use a Hertz app and find a Hertz car anywhere in the city?"

FHWA webinar: Understanding Dedicated Short Range Communications


Join the US Department of Transportation Thursday, Jan. 21, from noon to 1:00 p.m. (EST) for an informational webinar on Understanding Dedicated Short Range Communications as a part of the department's Smart City Challenge. In addition, the USDOT has published a new fact sheet titled, Beyond Traffic: The Smart City Challenge, which presents key information including the attributes of an ideal candidate city, the challenge's 12 vision elements and guidance on where to find more detailed information on applying.

Complete Streets Newsletter January 2016


A round up of all the Complete Streets news, opportunities and changes from over the past month powered by Smart Growth America.

At Carnegie Mellon, a Futuristic Vision for Hyperloop, and the Finances to Match

Hype has only been building since Elon Musk announced he and SpaceX were launching a Hyperloop design competition to take place in the summer of 2016. The goal is simple: Design and build a human-scale Hyperloop pod, and run it down a one-mile test track being built by SpaceX in CA.  Among those teams is one comprised of students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The team is hot off completing a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised over $10,000. That’s not even counting all the money the group has accrued by other means. hat’ll come in handy if the team is selected for a spot in the top 10 to test its pod at the competition’s finale in the summer. But does the tech stand up well enough? And that’s maybe one of the big differences that separates the CMU t10 from its competition The CMU team “works like a small business,” says Laine Mallet, an MBA candidate and a member of the CMU Hyperloop team.

USDOT Connected Vehicles Pilot Deployment Program Technical Assistance Webinar Series


The Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program seeks to combine connected vehicle and mobile device technologies in innovative and cost-effective ways. Ultimately, this program will improve traveler mobility and system productivity while reducing environmental impacts and enhancing safety. The USDOT has selected three pilot sites, where teams are in the process of conducting Phase 1 Concept Development activities leading to later phases (Phase 2 Design/Build/Test and Phase 3 Operations). A series of USDOT-sponsored technical assistance webinars has been developed to assist not only the three selected sites, but also other early deployers. Below are the three webinars to be held in January 2016. 

Connected Vehicle Data Sets from the Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program Now Available


The new sets of naturalistic driving data are a valuable resource for researchers and application developers to support the development of the next generation of transportation solutions. The data sets contain sanitized mobility data elements collected from about 3,000 vehicles equipped with connected vehicle technologies while traversing Ann Arbor, Michigan. The hyper-frequent, hyper-local data can facilitate analyses that provide insights into safety, network mobility, and performance. 

WATCH A DRONE HELICOPTER RELEASE A DRIVERLESS GROUND VEHICLE

Carnegie Mellon University just made another step in autonomous vehicle technology.This past October, CMU partnered with Sikorsky Aircraft to demonstrate how autonomous vehicles can work together. In a demonstration mission, CMU’s Land Tamer, an unmanned ground vehicle, worked in tandem with a UH-60MU Black Hawk helicopter equipped with Sikorsky’s autonomous MATRIX technology. The mission required the unmanned Black Hawk helicopter to pick up the Land Tamer, fly a 12-mile route and deliver the Land Tamer to a new location. This mission was a pioneering step in cooperative autonomous vehicle missions.

Check Point and Argus Cyber Security develop solution to car hacking


As Argus’ VP of Marketing Yoni Heilbronn tells Geektime, his company provides the security for the systems within the vehicle, while Check Point has integrated their Capsule solution.
In the average car, there are dozens of electronic control units (ECU) that are essential for everything from brakes, to steering, to communications and entertainment. Once some of them are connected to the internet, they become hackable. “It’s only a matter of time and resources until someone can hack these systems,” says Heilbronn, adding that, “Like every other sector, there is no 100% security. There’s a convergence of the IT and automotive world. In the end, this is a sector that is susceptible to cyber attacks.”“Our focus is on the connectivity itself,” explains Check Point’s VP of Business Development Alon Kantor. “We are providing a platform that connects the car to the cloud.” 

GM Enters Car-Sharing, Really About Driverless Future

Maven, which the company announced Wednesday. At first glance, you might consider this an odd move. Maven is available only in Ann Arbor, Michigan—though GM plans to move into other cities soon—and it doesn’t offer the convenience of Uber or Lyft. Oh sure, there’s money to be made in car-sharing, as ZipCar and others have shown. But it’s small potatoes for a company like GM. It isn’t until you take the long view that this move makes sense. Maven can be the foundation for the self-driving car network GM wants to build.

Pedestrians, Bicyles, and Automobiles: Transportation Safety in Oakland

PRESENTED BY Dan Yablonsky, Bike Pittsburgh
Officer Guy Johnson, Pitt Police Department
Kevin Sheehy, Exec. Vice Chancellor's Office, OTMA
Wednesday, January 27 | Noon – 1 PM | WPU Ballroom
Oakland is a neighborhood where pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile transportation intersect. How can we promote transportation safety in 2016? Join representatives from Bike Pittsburgh, the University Police Department, and Oakland Transportation Management Association as they discuss pedestrian, bike, and automobile safety in Oakland, highlight transportation initiatives, and how to promote safe streets for all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Uber pushes into public transit with new app partnership

Transportation technology company TransLoc announced on Monday a partnership with Uber, marking a significant advancement in the ride-hailing company's effort to ally itself with public transit agencies. TransLoc, which builds technology products for public transit passengers and agencies, will integrate Uber into the TransLoc Rider app, a smartphone application that provides real-time bus tracking and route planning. San Francisco-based Uber's app allows passengers to order on-demand rides from their smartphones. The integration will allow passengers to plan trips that combine public transportation with Uber rides and walking, TransLoc officials said. The idea is to offer Uber as a way for passengers to get from home to a transit stop, and from transit stops to their destinations. Public transit agencies lose many potential riders because they lack options getting to or from the bus or train stop, TransLoc said.

Snow removal industry beginning to see shift to Uber model of on-demand services

In this day and age of ridesharing services such as Uber, within the last several years, multiple businesses in the United States and Canada have launched applications that make the work of clearing a snow-covered sidewalk or driveway as effortless as pressing the button on a smartphone. One such company is Plowz and Mowz, a startup that launched its app in late 2014 and also strives to reduce other tedious household chores such as leaf removal and lawn mowing. Today, the organization is operating in 30 of the biggest markets in the U.S., including Denver, Minneapolis, Boston and Chicago, and covers a 30- to 40-mile radius on average in those markets. Users can request a plow truck to clear their driveway through the app, and within minutes, the assigned plow will arrive at the person's property. However, completion time can be dependent on weather conditions or the volume of orders, Mahoney said. To receive confirmation that a job is a complete, customers receive a photo of the freshly plowed driveway.

PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS: Cities, States, and DOT Are Implementing Actions to Improve Safety

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report that examines trends and characteristics of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries, related state safety initiatives, and actions taken by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help improve safety.

UTC Spotlight: January 2016

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation has released the latest edition of its newsletter that highlights recent accomplishments and products from university transportation centers. This month’s edition features Harvard University.

Traffic Monitoring: Automobiles, Trucks, Bicycles, and Pedestrians 2015

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2527, explores 11 papers related to traffic monitoring, including:
  • Need for National Standards in Transportation System Information, Acquisition, Processing, and Sharing
  • Use of Support Vector Machines to Assign Short-Term Counts to Seasonal Adjustment Factor Groups
  • Evolution and Usage of the Portal Data Archive: 10-Year Retrospective
  • Flexible and Robust Method for Missing Loop Detector Data Imputation
  • Use of Reidentified Vehicles to Evaluate Differential Calibration Accuracy Between Weigh-in-Motion Stations
  • Nonmotorized Site Selection Methods for Continuous and Short-Duration Volume Counting
  • Determination and Application of Standard K Factors for Bicycle Traffic
  • Leveraging Signal Infrastructure for Nonmotorized Counts in a Statewide Program: Pilot Study
  • Validation of Bicycle Counts from Pneumatic Tube Counters in Mixed Traffic Flows
  • Creating a National Nonmotorized Traffic Count Archive: Process and Progress
  • Database for Active Transportation Infrastructure and Volume
More>>

Pa. Turnpike, Waze app team to map out best routes

Connecting navigation apps with transportation agencies is mutually beneficial, said Sean Qian, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who runs the Mobility Data Analytics Center.  Historically, roadways are public priorities, Qian said, but social media and crowd-sourcing have created a new era. In the long run, apps such as Waze working with state agencies can optimize traffic flow to avoid points of congestion, he said.  “It will be a very efficient complement,” Qian said. “Everyone feels very excited about seeing the private sector and public sector working together to leverage their own powers.”
More>>

NYT: For Now, Self-Driving Cars Still Need Humans

“This is going to be a journey, and a reasonably long one,” he said. It is increasingly a journey with significant financial implications. Last year, Uber announced plans to open an autonomous vehicle research center with Carnegie Mellon University. General Motors recently invested $500 million in Uber’s top competitor, Lyft, with the goal of creating an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles. And rumors continue that Google and Ford are entering into a partnership to build autonomous cars.
The White House also weighed in last week. President Obama’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year includes $4 billion to be spent over 10 years for related research. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also said the government would remove hurdles to developing autonomous vehicles and set further guidelines for them within six months.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

GM adds Sidecar ride sharing assets to Lyft stake, to open rental hubs, files patent

Separately, GM has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to use the name Maven "for application software for connecting vehicle drivers and passengers and for coordinating transportation services." The application states that Maven also would engage in the rental of vehicles, bicycles and motorized bicycles, scooters and other transportation services for people and freight. GM and Lyft will open rental hubs where drivers can rent GM vehicles. That could expand Lyft's business by giving people who don't own cars a way to earn money by becoming Lyft drivers even though they don't own a car. Lyft drivers currently use their own vehicles to drive customers utilizing the Lyft mobile app.

Airbus to team with Uber for copter ride service

Uber has found an unlikely partner for its on-demand services in Airbus, the company announced on Sunday, with the aerospace giant providing helicopters for a pilot project. As part of a new Silicon Valley-based initiative, Airbus has established a partnership with Uber was part of an experiment that would allow Uber users to hail copters, as well as other forms of transportation. The recently-formed Airbus Ventures will operate with $150 million commitment to "identify and invest in the most visionary entrepreneurs in the global aerospace ecosystem," Airbus said in a release.

PennDesign Faculty Member Megan Ryerson Is WTS Philadelphia 2015 Woman of the Year

Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning Megan Ryerson, who also holds an appointment in Electrical and Systems Engineering (Transportation) at Penn Engineering, is the 2015 recipient of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) – Philadelphia Chapter Woman of the Year Award. The WTS is an organization committed to the advancement of women within the transportation industry.

ITS America is seeking paper reviews for the 2016 ITS World Congress


The Americas International Program Committee is involved in the review of papers for each ITS World Congress. ITS America is seeking individuals who would be willing to review technical papers for the 2016 Melbourne ITS World Congress. You do not have to attend the conference to be involved in the paper review process. 

Honda, GM Plan Joint Fuel Cell Plant


Officials from Honda and General Motors said they will collaborate on the construction of a fuel cell plant to decrease costs on developing electric vehicles, although they will still work separately on vehicle development. "By cutting costs with General Motors, we hope to increase our [fuel-cell vehicle] production capacity to help achieve the government's goal," a Honda official said.

Auto Industry, U.S. Reach Agreement on Cybersecurity, Safety


The US Transportation Department has agreed with more than a dozen automakers on strategies to improve recalls' efficiency and "connected" vehicles' cybersecurity, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says. Automakers and regulators will share information on cybersecurity threats and developments.

The Walkable Urbanism Wake-Up Call

Walkable urban places are now gaining market share over drivable locations for the first time in at least half a century in hotel, office and rental apartment development. This is good news for people moving to those locations, since households in walkable urban places spent less on housing and transportation (43 percent of total 5household budget) than households in drivable locations (48 percent), primarily due to lower transportation costs. In addition, property tax revenues generated in walkable urban places are substantially higher than in drivable locations on a per acre basis.

Tesla software update allows self-parking, limits speed

Some Tesla Motors vehicles will be able to park themselves without a driver inside with a software update beamed to customers this weekend. Owners must line up their Model S sedan or Model X SUV within 33 feet of the space they want it to drive or back into. The owner can then stand within 10 feet and park the car automatically using the key fob. The car can also exit the spot when the driver summons it with the fob. Tesla says the system should only be used on private property. The software update also puts new speed limits on Tesla's semi-autonomous mode. The car will now only drive at the speed limit when automatic steering is being used on residential roads and on roads without a center divider.

INFOGRAPHIC: Impact of Driverless Cars

Here>>

Panasonic bets on EV, backs Tesla Gigafactory to take electric cars mainstream

Panasonic Corp. President Kazuhiro Tsuga told MarketWatch: "We are sort of waiting on the demand from Tesla. If Tesla succeeds and the electric vehicle becomes mainstream, the world will be changed and we will have lots of opportunity to grow." Construction works have started ahead of schedule, with production expected to start in Spring 2016. In a statement, Tesla said: "We have accelerated plans to begin cell production for Tesla Energy products at the Gigafactory by the end of 2016. This is several quarters ahead of our initial plan."  Tesla expects the initial Nevada plant to produce 35 gigawatt-hours of cells and 50 GWh of battery packs each year by 2020.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Samsung reveals long-lasting electric vehicle battery prototype

Samsung has unveiled an electric vehicle (EV) battery prototype designed to improve the driving range of next-generation cars as well as lessening the environmental impact of production. The company's battery making arm, Samsung SDI, revealed the prototype design at the Detroit Auto Show this week. Samsung touts the high-density prototype EV battery as a means to increase the driving range of cars to 373 miles (600km) on a single charge, an improvement on many energy cells available today which can only go up to 500km. The electronics giant expects to begin commercial production of the batteries by 2020.

GM, rideshare Lyft to launch first self-driving cars in Austin

The report comes on the heels of GM announcing a $500 million investment in Lyft as part of an effort to launch a national network of self-driving automobiles. At last week’s Consumer Electronic Show, GM reps said its latest version of Chevy’s new Bolt electric car has been designed with ride-sharing in mind. The new Bolt will sell for $30,000, but General Motors President Dan Ammann told Mashable that their self-driving car would be available for ride-sharing before being sold to customers.

The driverless car that can cope with SNOW

Ford is developing a vehicle that can tackle even the most treacherous of snowy conditions. The Detroit-based auto manufacturer claims to be the first to test fully-autonomous vehicles in winter weather. It has revealed tests that show one of its vehicles driving safely round slippery corners as a flurry of snowflakes surround it.  The car uses a combination of 3D maps and LiDar technology to 'see' road markings obscured by drifts of snow, while safety features like traction control help too keep it from losing control.  'It's one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather, but it's quite another to do so when the car's sensors can't see the road because it's covered in snow, said Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles.

Report: Uber Hasn’t Worsened NYC Traffic

A long-awaited traffic study has found that Uber and other car-hailing services haven’t significantly added to Manhattan’s increasingly congested streets, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. “It does not point the finger at Uber,” said a person briefed on its findings who works in the taxi and for-hire car-services industry. The study, expected to be released in the coming days, was prompted by a fight last summer between Uber and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, when he proposed capping the growth of the city’s for-hire vehicle fleet.

40 cars to add Android Auto this year


Forty car models from major automakers will add support for Android Auto this year, Google has announced. The system, which allows users to access messaging, mapping, media playback and other apps through a connection between their vehicle and their Android smartphone, will also support carmakers' custom applications.

US government will work with car makers on safety issues

The US Department of Transportation has joined together with 18 automakers to announce a new set of safety principles, which will hopefully help catch vehicle defects before they become serious enough to require recalls. In a blog post today, the agency points out it's already formed a similar agreement with the aviation industry, which pushes airlines to share safety data. The agreement will also make it easier for car makers to contact consumers and get their vehicles repaired, the DOT says.
And, naturally, it will also help with potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. "We will engage our best cybersecurity minds, share known vulnerabilities and countermeasures, and adopt best practices from within as well as outside of the auto industry," DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

The firms who will beat Google to get us into self-driving cars

Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, identifies multiple ways in which companies can build maps for their robot cars. The first is Google’s “do everything” approach: the company controls its entire driverless car operations, gathering the map data itself and processing it for the intelligent software that drives its cars. Google could use Street View to get its map data, collected by a dedicated fleet of cars. But it’s expensive and impractical to run Street View cars for the sole purpose of repeatedly scanning roads to keep maps up-to-date. For example, Street View has mapped a busy street in London, the A201 next to St Paul’s Cathedral, seven times since it began in 2008. But the street I live on, in a Greenwich suburb, has only ever been mapped once, last year.

Unique Survey Reveals Complexity of the 2015 Pittsburgh Commuter

The Make My Trip Count survey inquired whether people use car, bus, bike, light rail, walking or other modes of transportation to get to work. Key results are:
  • 34% of people reported that they use more than one mode of transportation per week.
  • More than 61 million commuter miles logged traveling into Downtown and Oakland.
  • Less than half of respondents drive to work alone.
  • A quarter take public transportation.
  • Nearly 10 percent bike, walk, or telecommute.
  • The majority of respondents were females between 25 and 34 years old.
  • Most respondents self-identified as working in education, healthcare, and finance.
More>>

Three ways big data and GPS are making bicycle planning stronger

Using some tech know-how and the goodwill of his fellow bicycle commuters, he built winterbiking.ca. Basically, it’s a crowdsourced map of winter-bike routes. If users encounter some winter obstacle on bike routes, they visit the site and add their comments. The result is a constantly updated map detailing the passability of bike routes. “It can accept data any time, and quite a bit was drawn on when the big snowfall came,” he said. Since launching it a few months ago, Reynard has been tweaking the project to improve it (another project uses data from fitness-tracking app Strava to measure where people are riding) but the real challenge is getting people to contribute. The map is only as good as the data people input.

Smarter Cruise Control Can Boost Hybrid Fuel Economy and Safety


New adaptive cruise control technology developed to adjust vehicle speed based on road turns or traffic conditions could improve safety as well as energy efficiency on both gasoline-powered and electric vehicles, a report from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers says.

BMW says it will bring self-parking tech to the US 'as quickly as possible'


BMW plans to bring self-parking capabilities to the US as soon as possible now that a reinterpretation of federal regulations means the system is approved for deployment in the US. The automaker says the technology will also be available to current owners of the new 7 series.

Cars will soon connect to more services, infrastructure


Participants at a connected car event in San Jose, Calif., say vehicles will soon be able to connect to a variety of other vehicles, infrastructure and cloud services in a number of ways. "The auto industry is going to make a transition into connecting the car into the Internet of Things. This will be one of those things on the way to autonomous driving," said Harman's Hans Roth.

Colo. DOT to test V2X systems in pilot program


The Colorado Department of Transportation plans to partner with mapping firm HERE to launch a pilot program testing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications along Interstate 70, with the hope of eliminating the hundreds of accidents that occur on the road each year.

Secretary Foxx Unveils President Obama’s FY17 Budget Proposal of Nearly $4 Billion for Automated Vehicles

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” said Secretary Foxx. “Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.” The President’s FY17 budget proposal would provide nearly $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Car sales could decrease by 40% over the next 25 years

Individual car ownership, which continues to grow, will begin declining with more car sharing, more fleet ownership of cars. Brian Johnson, head of Barclays auto analyst team, reiterated his prediction from last fall that auto sales would drop 40% in the United States in the next 25 years (and U.S. auto manufacturing plants consolidating from 30 to 17 plants). IHS’s Gott sees more shared mobility with congestion becoming a bigger issue in large cities around the world.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Apple registers car-related web addresses as vehicle rumours gather speed

The company has put its name to apple.car, apple.auto and apple.carsaccording to Whois records, Apple website MacRumours spotted. The company has made a series of high-profile hires from the automotive industry, including Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research. Apple is reportedly preparing to bring a car to market as early as 2019, but regulations around safety and testing mean the characteristically secretive organisation would have to show their hand long before a launch event. It faces stiff competition from Tesla and Google, the latter of which has heldsecretive meetings with the government about the prospects for driverless cars in the UK.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Foxx says there are no plans for the federal regulation of autonomous vehicles

Speaking to the media after a panel discussion at the CES technology trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said there are no plans for national legislation to regulate self-driving or autonomous vehicles, and that those decisions are still best made at a state-by-state level. “It’s not completely out of the question,” he said, to eventually see blanket regulations for autonomous cars at a federal level, and noted that the government should be more concerned with speeding up the time that it takes for the Department of Transportation to evaluate the new technologies.

Volpe Looks Forward to 2016… and Toward its Next Director

In a new year, people often resolve to take action to better themselves: learning a new language, or parking a few blocks away from work to get in a little extra exercise. At Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, we are always trying to better our transportation systems, but we're excited to be taking action on six emerging issues this year.
  1. Advanced automation and emerging technologiesBreakthroughs in safety
  2. Data analytics, visualization, and real-time decision making. 
  3. Transportation energy and sustainability
  4. Transportation system resiliency
  5. On-demand mobility, smart cities, and livable communities
More>>

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tesla Model S Can Now Drive Without You

Tesla released version 7.1 of its software for the Model S and X that includes a “Summon” feature that enables the car to drive itself without anyone inside. More specifically, using their key fob, Tesla owners can now direct their cars to park themselves in a spot within 39 feet, and to drive themselves into and out of their parking garages. In a nod to safety concerns, the company has also now restricted its Autosteer technology on residential roads and roads without a center divider. When Autosteer is engaged on a restricted road, Model S’s speed will be limited to the speed limit of the road, plus an additional 5 mph.

Video: Daqri releases smart hard hat

Daqri’s Smart Helmet is an industrial device that projects important information in front of the eyes of the wearer. It doubles as a hard hat and safety goggles making it ideal for working with heavy machinery or in technical fields.

Uber Lowers Fares In Over 100 Cities

Uber is lowering prices in over 100 U.S. and Canadian cities, effective tomorrow. January is a slower month for the car service and the company says it is reducing fares in order to increase demand. “Seasonality affects every business, and Uber is no exception,” said the company blog post.
Uber claims that the increased demand will offset the lower prices and that drivers will make more money. But if this doesn’t work out, Uber says its prices will go back up again. This is the third year that Uber has cut January fares for some cities. The company showcased Boston, DC and Los Angeles as examples of cities where past price cuts resulted in increased demand.

Friday, January 8, 2016

NYT: Carmakers Forge Ahead With Electric Vehicles

Although sales of electric and hybrid vehicles have struggled, automakers are charging ahead to bring new battery-powered vehicles to market. Several car companies have focused on electric vehicles at the International CES consumer trade show here, including General Motors, which on Wednesday introduced the production version of its Chevrolet Bolt. G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said the Bolt was a big step forward in the electrification of vehicles because of its price and ability to travel 200 miles on a fully charged battery. “This is truly the first EV that cracks the code because of long range at an affordable price,” Ms. Barra said in a keynote speech at the show. The Bolt, which will go on sale this year, will carry a sticker price of $30,000, including government incentives that total about $7,500.

The Economist: The driverless, car-sharing road ahead

Ride-sharing, car clubs and other alternatives to ownership are already growing fast. Young city-dwellers are turning their backs on owning a costly asset that sits largely unused and loses value the moment it is first driven. Carmakers insist that such consumers are merely deferring buying a vehicle, pointing to the fact that people continue to drive at an older age than they used to. But the pronouncements of motor-industry bosses suggest that doubts are creeping in. At CES Mark Fields, Ford’s CEO, said that it would in future be “both a product and mobility company”.

Pioneer receiver connects smartphones to cars


Pioneer unveiled a receiver that will allow users to connect Apple, Android and MirrorLink-enabled smartphones to their vehicles to access smartphone controls, hands-free calling and audio streaming. The AppRadio 4 will be priced around $600 and begin shipping to Pioneer Electronics dealers across the country. 

NYC Citi Bike Program Served Up 10 Million Rides In 2015, Up 24%


Shared bicycles in New York City's Citi Bike program were used 10 million times in 2015, a 24% increase over the previous year, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. He says the system ranks among the largest in the Western hemisphere, comparing it to Mexico City's system that provided 9 million rides and London's program, which offered just under 10 million. 

Renault-Nissan unveils autonomous tech plans


Global car alliance Renault-Nissan said it plans to launch 10 vehicles with driverless technology in the next four years, including the launch of single-lane control systems in 2016, multiple lane control in 2018 and intersection autonomy by 2020.

Harman debuts eye-tracking safety system


Harman has debuted technology that tracks eye movement and pupil dilation and communicates the driver's state to other vehicle safety systems. The tech is aimed at reducing accidents caused by tired or distracted driving. Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal is also predicting that autonomous vehicles are three to five years away from consumers' reach. 

Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) Webinar


Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
Presenter: Speakers will include representatives from U.S. DOT, NIDILRR, and Carnegie Mellon University
 Webinar Details:
The USDOT will host a free public webinar to review the recently completed State of the Practice and Innovation scan reports as well as the Assessment of Relevant Research document for the U.S. DOT’s Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI). The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT), funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), will share the results of the State of Practice Scan, Innovation Scan, and Assessment of Relevant Research documents, using specific examples from accessible transportation or related fields of how the relevant methods, practices and technologies can meet the needs of transportation users of all abilities. The Assessment of Relevant Research includes recommendations regarding key opportunities on emerging technologies relative to accessible transportation. The U.S. DOT will also provide a brief update on the status of the overall ATTRI program and next steps. This webinar is being sponsored by the U.S. DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) in cooperation with NIDILRR.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

USDOT Partners with Mobileye on Smart City Challenge


Today at CES 2016, I announced another key partnership for our Smart City Challenge: the winning city's public bus system will get installation of Mobileye's Shield +TM on every bus.  This driver assistance safety technology helps bus drivers avoid and mitigate imminent collisions and protect road users including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.  This technology and support award is in addition to DOT's award of up to $40 million to create an integrated first-of-its-kind city that uses data and technology to shape how people and goods move and an award of up to $10 million from the Challenge’s launch partner Vulcan Philanthropy to support infrastructure for electric vehicles...

The Auto Industry Race for Precision Mapping


Three major automakers said at CES 2016 that they are focusing on using cameras on connected cars to develop extremely precise mapping systems. Toyota plans to create its own maps, while General Motors and Volkswagen have announced partnerships with chip and software maker Mobileye.

Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru get on board with Linux for Connected Car Apps

The Linux Foundation began a new initiative in 2012 called Automotive Grade Linux as an open-source project to develop common Linux-based software cores for connected cars. Now major automakers like Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru have joined AGL alongside existing members Toyota, Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover. The AGL has announced a new Unified Code Base (UCB) distribution built specifically for automotive. This ground-up build was designed to address the needs of the connected car. The new UCB is aimed at becoming a standard for the industry to allow developers and carmakers to use this Linux-based software stack as a foundation for their in-vehicle software suites. Collaboration with a global community of open-source developers can help automakers quickly advance new connected car applications.

USDOT introduces ITS software updates


The US Department of Transportation has debuted software updates for its Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture and Systems Engineering Tool for Intelligent Transportation to provide viewpoint and performance enhancements and cover internal applications. The upgrades were developed by Iteris under a $5.8 million contract with the USDOT through 2018.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bosch sensors will help cars park themselves at 'smart' garages


Bosch plans to have a smart garage in Germany by 2018 where you can drop your self-parking enabled car that will then go and park itself, said CEO Volkmar Denner. He also announced initiatives to develop dynamic road mapping in partnership with TomTom and introduced a smartphone application that will warn drivers when they are traveling the wrong way on a one-way street.

GM’s Using Cameras on Customer Cars to Build Self-Driving Car Maps


General Motors announced that it is at work with Mobileye on a project to use camera data from OnStar-equipped vehicles to create highly detailed, constantly updated maps for use with autonomous vehicles. The idea is to enable the car to know where it is within about 4 inches. "GM is committed to bringing semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles to our customers, and this technology will be a critical enabler to getting us there," said GM product head Mark Reuss. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

USDOT reflects on 2015 research efforts

Research pays off for taxpayers when it leads to enduring, innovative solutions and real progress —when it ensures that the problems of today aren’t left for the next generation to solve. This year the U.S. Department of Transportation made tremendous progress in advancing safety, mobility, and environmental sustainability through new opportunities for cooperative transportation research and innovation.
  • Smart City Challenge
  • Connected Vehicle Pilots Initiative
  • Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045
  • DOT-supported University Transportation Centers
More>>

Correction: TRB ITS Committee hosts ITS State of the Industry 2016 panel

Last week, we incorrectly informed you that this panel would be hosted by ITSA.  Our apologies, it is being hosted by TRB's ITS Committee.  Details of the panel are below:

Monday 1:30 PM- 3:15 PM
Convention Center, Salon C
Lectern
Jane Lappin, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R), presiding
Sponsored by:
Standing Committee on Intelligent Transportation Systems (AHB15)

After 15 Years of Moving People, Here’s What Bogotá’s BRT Should Do Next

Since its implementation, TransMiIenio has grown from its initial 14 kilometers to 112 km, and from 30,000 passengers on its inaugural day, to more than two million passengers every day. Currently, it is being integrated with the rest of the city buses in the Integrated Public Transportation System (SITP). Despite its widespread success, TransMilenio still faces big challenges. Specifically, the BRT system is working to improve quality of service; boost citywide integration of public transportation services; reduce emissions and air pollution; reduce fatal traffic crashes, and advance funding.

Female Entrepreneur Builds Affordable Electric Vehicles In India

In the city of Coimbatore in southern India, Hemalatha Annamalai and her husband Bala Pachyappa are building inexpensive, low tech electric vehicles to serve the transportation needs of rural drivers. Her target customers are farmers, shopkeepers and rural traders, according to Forbes. Her company, Ampere Vehicles Private Ltd, specializes in electric cycles, scooters and load carriers. Recently the local government of Coimbatore has begun using 200 Ampere electric garbage vehicles to transport waste. The company has trained 500 workers to use their products.“Wealth accumulation is not my aim,” says Hemalatha. “ I want to create a whole new manufacturing sector. I want a lot of women to come into this sector.” Today, one quarter of her workforce of 80 employees are women. Her company has built more than 30,000 electric vehicles since she and her husband gave up high paying jobs in Singapore to pursue their dream.

Uber's CEO explains why the app's arrival estimates are 'almost always' wrong

In a rare public response, Kalanick explained in a series of tweets that Uber statistically guesses on the time estimate, which is "almost always" different than the actual time it takes to arrive. But that statistically expected time will be less wrong or different on average than guessing each time, Kalanick wrote. In suburbs or rural areas, that time may be longer because the next closest car to accept the ride is likely farther away. But in major cities, the total wait time is, on average, down to only three minutes, Kalanick said.

Toyota, Ford team on telematics in move against Apple, Google


Toyota will adopt Ford's SmartDeviceLink system to offer smartphone connectivity in its vehicles, and the two automakers have invited other manufacturers to join them against tech firms such as Apple and Google in the battle to control the connected-car market. Separately, Chrysler's parent, FCA, has upgraded its Uconnect telematics system, which works with Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto.

2016 TRB Annual Meeting: Five Sessions to be Webcast Live and Available to All

If you cannot attend the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting in person, view five sessions that will be webcast live and available to all. No advance registration is necessary to view the live webcast sessions. The following five sessions will be streamed directly on this page at the times listed below:
  • Transportation and the Environment: What’s Hot in State DOTs? 
  • Leadership Skills for Disaster Response and Business Continuity: Results from TRB Table Top Exercise and Lessons From Private Industry 
  • Bridge Sliding: ABC Method to Reduce Construction Time 
  • Accommodating Freight Early and Often in the Planning Phases of City Redevelopment 
  • U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx: The Road to Opportunity 
More>>

Natural Gas Vehicle Sales to Exceed 35 Million by 2025

Total sales of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are expected to reach more than 35 million from 2015 to 2025, according to a report from Navigant Research. In the arena of alternative fuels for transportation, natural gas (NG) has proven to be one of the most popular alternatives to traditional liquid fuels in many global markets. NG is an attractive alternative to diesel for medium and heavy-duty vehicles in meeting regulatory standards and an appealing option for reducing operating costs and carbon emissions in many automotive applications. According to Navigant, the total number of global NGV refueling stations is expected to grow from 23,001 in 2015 to 38,890 in 2025. More than 80 percent of these stations are expected to be CNG stations to support light-duty NGVs.

Ford to launch 13 electric vehicles by 2020, drone-to-vehicle technology, all the driverless cars

Ford has announced plans to bring 13 electric vehicles to market within the next four years, potentially making it the largest electric-vehicle manufacturer in the world. that it would be developing drone-to-vehicle technology in the hope it can improve emergency services and commercial business efficiency. Ford also announced that it would be tripling its fleet of autonomous vehicles used for research and testing, giving it the largest fleet among all carmakers. They also announced that they would be developing drone-to-vehicle technology in the hope it can improve emergency services and commercial business efficiency.

Newsmaker: Ramayya Krishnan, dean of the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University

Krishnan was recognized for his research and leadership in using data to make better decisions for designing transportation systems and smart cities. Krishnan, who also delivered the 21st Professor Yelavarthy Nayudamma Memorial Lecture during the awards ceremony, has been a faculty member at CMU since 1988 and was appointed dean when the Heinz College was created in 2008.
More>>

Ford says this sensor will make its driverless cars the most advanced in the world

The third-generation sensor is small enough that it can be mounted on the mirrors of a car, but is powerful enough to extend the LiDAR's range by 200 meters, said Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford, during his company's CES presentation Tuesday morning. The new sensor, dubbed the "Ultra Puck," is "elegant in design, but will make a huge impact in advanced autonomous technology," Fields said. The puck enables a driverless vehicle to create a real-time, 3D map of its surroundings, while enhancing Ford's software development and testing to handle a broader range of driving scenarios.

Automakers, not Silicon Valley, lead in driverless car patents: study

The report, by the Intellectual Property and Science division of Thomson Reuters, is based on a detailed analysis of patent filings by automakers and tech companies for autonomous-car technology. The findings illuminate the challenges for both established automakers and Silicon Valley companies as they compete to profit from moving people around in a world that is increasingly congested and concerned about carbon emissions.  "Automakers aren’t as good as technology companies in tooting their own horns," Tony Trippe, principal author of the report, told Reuters in an interview. "But when you look at the patent data, the automakers are all over this."

Faraday Future unveils 1,000-HP EV concept


Just before the Consumer Electronics Show officially started, Faraday Future unveiled its new concept car, a 1,000-horsepower connected electric racer with a top speed of 200 mph. "Initially they'll be sold to owners, but we also see the changing landscape in the industry, there are far more people that will want just mobility in the future," said R&D Senior Vice President Nick Sampson.

Nvidia debuts connected-car supercomputer


Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said his company is launching a supercomputer that will advance autonomous and semi-autonomous driving systems. "Our vision is to create the computing platform by which we can achieve (safer driving, new mobility services and urban architecture redesign)," he said.

Report predicts rise in driverless, shared cars, EVS


A McKinsey & Co. report predicts that, by 2030, 15% of vehicle sales will be fully autonomous cars, 10% will be shared vehicles, and electric vehicles will account for anywhere from 10% to 50% of car sales. "What we are going through is the most unprecedented time of disruptive change in the automotive industry as it transforms itself into a mobility industry," said McKinsey's Hans-Werner Kaas.

The German luxury establishment takes on Tesla

The Volkswagen Group will launch three luxury electric cars over the next five years, including an Audi electric SUV, a production version of the Porsche Mission E concept, and an electric version of the Volkswagen Phaeton. BMW is expected to augment its “i” line with a larger electric car of some kind. Then there’s Mercedes-Benz. The company, which formerly owned a small stake in Tesla, is planning not one, but four new electric models, according to Car magazine. This “all-out assault on Tesla” will include two sedans and two crossovers, with the first model set to arrive in 2018. That’s reportedly a year earlier than originally planned, and possibly a response to Audi and Porsche’s electric-car machinations.

Tesla delivered 50580 electric vehicles in 2015; ramping up production in 2016

In a statement released on Sunday, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. said that the total number of electric vehicles -- including Model S sedans and Model X sport utility vehicles -- it delivered in the year 2015 was 50,580. Tesla also said in the statement that it is on track to ramp of the production of its electric vehicles in 2016. The 50,580 electric-vehicle deliveries reported by Tesla for 2015 were at the low end of the "between 50,000 and 55,000" guidance given by the company’s CEO Elon Musk in October. Those projections underscored a downward revision of the initial March estimates that the company will deliver 55,000 electric vehicles in 2015.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pedestrian deaths little changed in 10 years, feds' report shows

In April, Mayor Bill Peduto instituted a complete streets policy aiming to create safe places to travel for walkers, cyclists, buses and cars. Don Carter, director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, said protected bike lanes and on-street parking have the added benefit of creating a buffer between car traffic and pedestrians on the sidewalks. At intersections, using signals with timed countdowns are becoming the most common improvement in cities nationwide.  “People respect that,” Carter said. “They know how much time they have, so it's not just the blinking light.”

GM and Lyft Are Building a Network of Self-Driving Cars

GM, America’s biggest automaker, has been working on autonomous technology since it first collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University in 2007, for an autonomous vehicle competition sponsored by DARPA. Next year, it plans to finally put a related product on the market: “Super Cruise,” a semi-autonomous feature that will let a car handle itself on the highway, will be available on the 2017 Cadillac CT6. The partnership with Lyft, though, signifies ambitions far beyond Super Cruise. While we have no details on the proposed “network of on-demand autonomous vehicles”—such as how it will work or when it will arrive—we can assume it will require a far more advanced take on autonomous driving than Super Cruise will offer. Lyft, like other ride-sharing services, does the bulk of its work in cities, which are devilishly hard for robots to navigate. Urban areas are full of complicated intersections, pedestrians, cyclists, and other hard-to-predict variables.