Thursday, October 27, 2016

CMU's Christoph Mertz comments on Smart Cars and Car Washes

Cars are getting smarter, but not yet smart enough to go through a car wash. Some new cars with semi-autonomous features, like obstacle-detecting sensors and automatic braking systems, are being activated by the brushes and curtains inside a car wash, immobilizing the vehicle or even causing it to veer off the rails and collide with another car. What makes the problem worse is that every fancy new car has a different way of disabling the new features — usually buried deep within the vehicle manual. Who will be responsible for fixing the problem — car manufacturers or car wash owners?
LISTEN>>

Washpo interview with CMU prof on safety implications of autonomous cars

I spoke with automation expert Costa Samaras, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, about the implications for safety, the fiercely competitive autonomous car industry, and the future of backseat snoozing on cross-country trips.

9 Reasons Why California's Electric Buses and Trucks Can Help the Environment and Poor Communities

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Greenlining Institute recently joined forces to analyze the growing electric truck and bus industry, producing the report "Delivering Opportunity: How Electric Buses and Trucks Can Create Jobs and Improve Public Health in California." While we focused on California, where electric buses and trucks are taking off rapidly, what we found has major implications for the whole country. Here are nine things you need to know about electric trucks and buses.

SARTA Receives Award for Operating One of the Most Efficient Green Fleets in America

"SARTA was recognized for operating Ohio's first Hydrogen Fueling Station and Hydrogen Fuel Cell buses. A credit to their commitment to the environment and the future of America's energy independence is shown by the transitioning of their fleet to zero or low emission vehicles," stated Tom Johnson, author of 100 Best Fleets in North America.

"We are involved in alternative fuel to improve air quality and find more effective alternative fuels. Also, the hydrogen fuel cell project will drive investment, research, business development and job creation right here in Stark County and across the State of Ohio," stated Kirt Conrad, executive director of SARTA.

Inside Uber’s Plan to Take Over the Skies With Flying Cars

Today, Uber is promising flying cars.

Flying. Cars.

Within a decade, according to a 99-page white paper released today, Uber will have a network—to be called “Elevate”—of on-demand, fully electric aircraft that take off and land vertically. Instead of slogging down the 101, you and a few other flyers will get from San Francisco to Silicon Valley in about 15 minutes—for the price of private ride on the ground with UberX. Theoretically.

Alphabet's self-driving car operation to become stand-alone business

The car group's finances were separated from Google's  research lab X on Jan. 1 this year, says X chief Astro Teller, speaking at the WSJDLive 2016 conference. The team is now completing a series of corporate and legal moves to become its own business. It's a major step in the vehicles' path to commercial operations, writes theWSJ's Jack Nicas, and as a stand-alone operation, the car group would likely be expected to soon begin generating revenue (though not necessarily a profit).  “The world is going to have cars that are sold to individuals and cars that are shared by individuals, and which one Alphabet does, we have our thinking on it,” says Teller. “But right now we’re very focused on safety.”

How General Motors And IBM Watson Will Personalize The Driving Experience

“Combining OnStar’s industry leading vehicle connectivity and data capabilities with IBM Watson APIs will create experiences that allow drivers and passengers to achieve greater levels of efficiency and safety,” said General Motors. “These experiences could include avoiding traffic when you’re low on fuel, then activating a fuel pump and paying from the dash; ordering a cup of coffee on the go; or getting news and in-vehicle entertainment tailored to your personality and location in real time.”

movmi Interviews Women in Shared Mobility

We had the pleasure of interviewing 4 of the smartest women working in the shared mobility space to gather their thoughts on the future of shared mobility, as well as its integration into society as a whole.
  • Holly Houser, Market Manager Seattle, ReachNow
  • Emily Fleck, Executive Director, Carsharing Association
  • Susan Shaheen, Co-Director, University of Berkeley
  • Catherine Kargas, Vice President, Marcon

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Automakers challenged by dashboard tech dilemma


When it comes to technological advances in the car cabin, car companies are “getting better and they’re getting worse,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ head of automotive testing. J.D. Power, another prominent car researcher, in February highlighted software for audio, navigation and voice recognition as “the most problematic area on most vehicles,” adding the issues drag down dependability scores.  “We see across the board as auto makers introduce complex electronic systems, they’re having more problems,” Mr. Fisher said.  Honda said it continues “working diligently to enhance the usability and functionality of these in-demand technologies in our unrelenting effort to create new value for our customers.”
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Four Reasons Why Drones, Not Driverless Cars, Are The Future Of Autonomous Navigation

1. We can design low-altitude airspace for drones, not humans.
2. Traveling in three dimensions offers more flexibility than two.
3. An open platform accelerates innovation.
4. An affordable technology is an accessible one.

NHSTA releases connected car automotive cybersecurity guidelines

Following a smattering of recent high-profile attacks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking a hard look at vehicular cybersecurity. In a 22-page document (PDF), the NHTSA outlines its voluntary best practices for automakers going forward. Chief among the guidelines is using a layered approach to security, so that even in the event of a successful attack that "vehicle systems take appropriate and safe actions." Meaning, a car's computer shouldn't put the driver at risk just to fend off an intruder. The agency also suggests designing connected systems with cyber security in mind from the outset. "If a cyber-attack is detected, the safety risk to vehicle occupants and surrounding road users should be mitigated and the vehicle should be transitioned to a reasonable risk state," the paper reads.

Uber’s new self-driving Volvo SUVs have been spotted in Pittsburgh

One of Uber’s self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs has been spotted out in the wild. A tipster in Pittsburgh sent us this image, as well as the video below, that confirms that Uber is in the process of testing out the newest member of its self-driving vehicle fleet. The Volvo was spotted on Morewood Street, in front of the Carnegie Mellon campus around 5PM on Monday, the tipster said.

Uber's self-driving truck company completes a 120-mile beer run

If you're in Colorado and grab a can of Budweiser, it's possible that you might be sipping beer delivered by Uber's autonomous truck company. Otto confirmed that on October 20th, it "completed the world's first shipment by a self-driving truck," a delivery that involved transporting 2,000 cases (or 51,744 cans) of Bud from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs along Interstate 25. Although impressive, this "world first" is mostly promotional. The Verge reports that a human driver first navigated the truck from a Anheuser-Busch depot to a weigh station in Fort Collins. From there, Otto's self-driving technology was deployed and the Volvo big rig drove the remaining 100 miles to Colorado Springs without any outside assistance. Once it entered the city, the driver -- who monitored the journey from the sleeper berth in the back -- resumed control and completed the final manoeuvres.

The Future of Transportation: Q&A with DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx

Following his remarks on the future of transportation during the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh last week, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx sat in a conference room on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. Around the corner from his location, ride-hailing company Uber picked up passengers in an autonomous vehicle. Down the road, dozens of traffic lights that incorporate artificial intelligence and real-time sensor data provided smoother traffic flow for motorists and trimmed their travel times by nearly a third.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tesla’s Self-Driving Car Plan Seems Insane, But It Just Might Work

Some worry that eagerness could set the technology back. “A serious concern is that Tesla brashly and prematurely introduces technologies that are not ready for deployment yet, encounters crashes and fatalities, and triggers significant pushback from society at large and perhaps much stricter regulation,” says Carnegie Mellon’s Professor Raj Rajkumar.  Yet Rajkumar points to Google, which, after nine years of work on this project, still won’t even give a timeline for its rollout. “Mastery of self-driving under real-world conditions is not going to be easy,” he says.

Uber CEO says self-driving cars won't replace human drivers in the near term

"I think people misunderstand how this technology is going to rollout," Kalanick said, responding to a question about Uber’s acquisition in August of self-driving trucking startup Otto. "It’s going to take a while before all those trucks are autonomous everywhere it needs to go." Kalanick mentioned how a freight hauler could be automated to drive on its own only in certain situations, like on long highway routes. "But then it has to back into the distribution center."  The idea, at least in the short-term, is that truckers and other drivers would adopt self-driving hardware kits or own a new vehicle with autonomous capabilities, but those drivers would still sit behind the wheel. This is a reasonable view of autonomous vehicle regulation, which won’t necessarily allow people to drive in cars without steering wheels or without their attention on the road for quite some time.

Tesla announces fully self-driving cars

Tesla Motors announced Wednesday that its electric cars will be the first in the nation to all be fitted with the hardware they need to drive themselves. CEO Elon Musk announced Wednesday that the automaker's Model S, X and forthcoming Model 3 sedan will start being outfitted with "the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver."

NYC envisions mobile devices preventing pedestrian fatalities

To protect visually impaired pedestrians, the city envisions a smartphone app or wearable device that receives messages from blind-spot monitors and roadside equipment that transmit information about the traffic signal so the pedestrian knows what is happening. The mobile-accessible pedestrian signal system would use designated short-range communications (DSRC) to communicate information.

Tesla CEO: Criticism of Self-Driving Cars Can Kill People

"If, in writing some article that's negative, you effectively dissuade people from using autonomous vehicles, you're killing people," said Musk, who expects his self-driving technology to be at least twice as safe as cars driven by humans. Th
"Over time, after the technology has established itself, one would expect there would be a decrease in fatalities," says Raj Rajkumar, a computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who leads its autonomous vehicle research. "But this is too premature to make this claim. Tesla's technology is known to be imperfect."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

President Obama speaks at White House Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon

President Barack Obama made a confession Thursday at Carnegie Mellon University. "I am a science geek. I am a nerd," he said in a speech before more than 700 people. "And I don't make any apologies for it. It's cool stuff." The assertion was widely applauded at an event that marked the capstone of the White House Frontiers Conference, held at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. And Mr. Obama spent much of Thursday afternoon demonstrating his geek credentials -- though before he flew back to the White House, he voiced concern that scientific progress also presented social challenges.

Obama, the nerd in chief, unveils $300 million for science

At an event Thursday, the president unveiled more than $300 million in federal and private money earmarked for supporting science and technology. The total includes $165 million for smart city initiatives, like efforts to reduce traffic congestion.  The one-day conference, dubbed The White House Frontiers Conference, was held in Pittsburgh, a city that has already seen self-driving Uber cars hit its streets and is a leader in health care research. Obama also cited the city, historically linked to the country's steel industry, as a leader for investing in children's computer science education. Held jointly with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, the conference is designed to explore technology and innovation at levels ranging from the personal to the interplanetary. It touched on topics including health care innovation, precision medicine, smart cities, artificial intelligencea nd clean energy.

Pittsburgh gets $10.9 million federal transportation grant

The $10.9 million Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act grant from DOT, announced by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, will pay for “smart spines” that use information gathered from a network of sensors to balance traffic and move it through areas more quickly. Another aspect of the improvements will allow buses, public safety or freight vehicles to communicate with traffic signals so they can move through intersections more efficiently. The spine called for six streets that empty into the Golden Triangle — Penn, Liberty, Fifth, Forbes and Second avenues and Bigelow Boulevard — to feed traffic, vehicular and social media information into the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. That collaborative, led by Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and operated by the University of Pittsburgh, would use the data to monitor traffic and control signals on those streets, similar to the Surtrac system developed by Carnegie Mellon University that helps move traffic in East Liberty and Larimer.

Pittsburgh's thriving tech sector brings new life to post-industrial city

When Uber chose to test its robot-driven taxis in Pittsburgh, some may have wondered why the tech company had chosen America’s former capital of steel for its road test into the future. But for those in the know, Pennsylvania’s second city is well on its way to establishing itself as the Silicon Valley of the east – and even its roads are helping. Unlike many American cities, Pittsburgh road system is literally off the grid, its origins dating back to twisty, pre-revolution forest trails. Then there are the city’s 446 bridges to navigate. More importantly Pittsburgh boasts the robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University, recognized as the leading academic institution in the field.
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U.S. DOT Launches New Automated Transportation Technology Advisory Committee

“This committee will help determine how, when, and where automated technology will transform the way we move,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Department has advanced some of the life-saving benefits of automated technologies, including automated vehicle policy, but we are looking outside the government for innovative and thoughtful leaders to uncover its full potential across all modes.” Members of the Committee will assess the Department’s current research, policy and regulatory support to advance the safe and effective use of autonomous vehicles.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Driverless car tested on UK streets for the first time

"The important thing is it's the first time that we've put a self-driving vehicle in the UK in a public space," Neil Fulton, a programme director at the government-sponsored Transport Systems Catapult which coordinated the project, told Reuters."If people can see that these vehicles are capable of driving themselves they can gain trust in them," he said.
The pod, fitted with software developed by the Oxford Robotics Institute, has a tablet computer on the dashboard which allows the car to switch to autonomous mode with a touch of the screen.
Carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Ford are both part of driverless car projects in Britain, as major automakers seek to head off the challenge from technology firms such as Alphabet Inc's Google, which is also developing autonomous vehicles.

Could Self-Driving Cars Speed Hurricane Evacuations?

”There are a lot of advantages you can think about,” says Brian Wolshon, thefounding director of the Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency at Louisiana State University. For one thing, even partially autonomous vehicles could improve traffic flow, if there were enough of them. During evacuations, Wolshon says, dense crowding, traffic disturbances, and slower human reaction times tend to depress per-hour traffic volumes, compared to what you’d see during a regular rush hour. If everyone was using, say, Tesla’s Autopilot—which can speed and slow a vehicle in a responsive manner while maintaining lane position (and avoiding rubbernecking)—they could move closer together and at higher speeds, getting more bodies to safety faster. This kind of effect could still be years down the road, though, since “you’d need to have a lot of vehicles with that kind of control to see any real difference in volume,” says Wolshon.

VIDEO USDOT OST-R Transpo Innovation Series: "Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Mobility"

This presentation addresses some aspects of pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility in two parts. The first part summarizes efforts on and findings from a multi-jurisdictional initiative in the Las Vegas metropolitan area to enhance pedestrian safety. This includes an overview of several design and operational strategies at pedestrian crossing locations, measures to evaluate their effectiveness (MOEs), and results of analyses in terms of their relative costs and MOEs.
The second part addresses the influence of advances in vehicle technologies (e.g., e-bikes) and data collection technologies (e.g., GPS and cameras) on safety among cyclists. The role of new datasets, such as GPS probe data or continuous video monitoring, for bicycle safety analysis will be explored. The discussion first focuses on route-choice behavior using onboard telematics or smartphone data. The next topic that will be discussed is way these datasets can leverage other datasets such as continuous video monitoring to improve safety at specific areas. An application of this approach is shown for a problematic bicycle/rail crossing. This presentation also includes an exploration of transportation issues related to e-bikes and how they are likely the most primed to be instrumented and connected vehicles.

Pa. Turnpike to get fiber-optic communications network

“The way I like to think about it is we have a physical (road),” Mr. Fairholm said. “In technology these days, there winds up being a digital twin to that physical (road). So we’re preparing the digital (road). We can communicate and run the physical (road) better.” The microwave system transmits data about collections at toll plazas, E-ZPass usage, pictures from 65 traffic-monitoring cameras, pictures of vehicles that pass through toll booth lanes without paying and myriad other information. Microwaves also connect the turnpike’s phone system.

Self-driving cars shouldn’t have to choose who to protect in a crash

Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes’ manager of driver assistance systems, active safety, and ratings, appeared to push this vision of the future of more fully autonomous vehicles in a recent article in Car and Driver. “You could sacrifice the car, but then the people you’ve saved, you don’t know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save,” he said. “If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car.” (Mercedes has since said that Hugo was “quoted incorrectly” and that “[f]or Daimler it is clear that neither programmers nor automated systems are entitled to weigh the value of human lives. Our development work focuses on completely avoiding dilemma situation by, for example, implementing a risk-avoiding operating strategy in our vehicles.”)

Apple Might Not Be Building a Car After All


Apple has reportedly retreated from its previous goal of building a self-driving car and has cut or reassigned hundreds of employees working on its Project Titan effort, sources say. The company will focus on building a self-driving vehicle system instead of producing cars and has a deadline of late 2017 to decide on an ultimate vision.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Open-source cities: Tapping the software commons for future transit innovation

What if the first step to launching a new microtransit service in, say, Arlington County, Virginia, were as easy as downloading an open-source software suite to ART’s servers and mounting iPads in its minibuses, rather than a lengthy, convoluted “request for proposal” process? ART’s information technology team would download software from the open-source website GitHub, plug in publicly-available data about local travel patterns, customize logos and text, and hand over a complete, functioning on-demand software system to fleet managers and to residents in the form smartphone apps and websites. Behind the scenes, open-source coders and engineers would keep the whole thing running smoothly. Later on, ART could deeply customize its platform and contribute to the software package for other cities, towns, and counties across the globe. A community of innovative cities would become participants and contributors, completing the positive feedback loop of development and deployment.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Electric cars set to get road priority in clean air zones

In the UK, electric cars could be given priority at traffic lights and exempted from one-way systems, under new proposals.The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has told Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton to introduce clean air zones within four years to reduce pollutants, which are linked to the deaths of40,000 people a year in the UK.  The clean air zones are the government's response to a UK Supreme Court ruling, which ordered it to take action to meet European limits on air pollution.

Future of Transportation: Shared Vehicles Could Dramatically Alter City Landscapes

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was at hand to describe how academia, industry and city government have come together to experiment with some truly innovative projects. One such project is the Carnegie Mellon University/Uber partnership on developing self-driving cars, which are being added to the network of sensors in the city's “smart spines” program that transmit information to balance traffic and move it through areas more quickly.  And it's projects like these that make Pittsburgh a “model of what it means to be a 21st-century city,” said Peduto.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Route 50 Navigator Award Finalists: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Team

Pittsburgh’s prioritization of emerging technologies, while trying to make them accessible to everyone, has helped defined Mayor Bill Peduto’s two-plus-year tenure in office.

Although the city, which was a finalist in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, ultimately lost its bid to Columbus, Ohio, the Peduto’s administration has been pressing forward with an impressive policy agenda to improve mobility options across all areas of the city.

“We want to be able to reconnect the neighborhoods,” Peduto toldRoute Fifty in June. “It’s not so much about simply transportation mobility, as it is about social mobility.”
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Code for Pittsburgh Civic Hack Night - Pitch Night, October 13th

Thursday, October 13, 2016
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Carnegie Library Lawrenceville
279 Fisk Street, Pittsburgh, PA

Come on down to the Carnegie Library Lawrenceville and pitch your ideas for a data-rich civic future! If you have an idea you'd like to pitch to the group, start by fleshing it out! If you need help, this template here is a good start...

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cold as ICE: German legislators look to ban gas, diesel cars by 2030

The members of Germany's Bundesrat passed a resolution to ban both gasoline and diesel engines starting in 2030, Forbes reports, citing a story in the German-language Spiegel Magazin. Following that date, only zero-emission vehicles will be approved for manufacture, most of which will likely be battery-electric vehicles. The resolution calls on the European Union to follow in its footsteps, but the Bundesrat resolution carries no official legislative power with the EU. It is, however, influential in creating regulations, so this resolution could get the EU Commission, headquartered in Brussels, to create a similar directive that actually carries weight.

Scads of new electric, hybrid vehicles on way

From Chevrolet to Tesla, Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen, automakers around the world are intensifying development of vehicles that use less fuel and pollute less. “Fuel efficiency remains extremely important to car buyers,” Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs said. “About half the people we query have said so for the past year, despite relatively low gas prices.”Prices are falling and practicality is rising. Jaws dropped when Chevrolet revealed a 238-mile range for its new $37,495 Bolt electric car. Chrysler pushes electric vehicles deeper into the mainstream when its Pacifica minivan adds a plug-in hybrid model that promises 30 miles of gasoline-free driving.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

USPS looks to rush in delivering with smart city technology and CMU

Out of the five possible pilot programs, two of these would occur in Pittsburgh, partnering with Carnegie Mellon University. One of the projects would be placing CMU-developed software and cameras in some USPS vehicles, to study road conditions and identify potholes and cracks. The other would attach accelerometers to postal transportation, in order to detect vibrations during bridge crossings on normal vehicle routes. The data collected would assist in monitoring conditions of the infrastructure. The city’s light rail actually already uses this technology.

These Cities Could Lead the Driverless Car Revolution

Google has had autonomous vehicles driving in the San Francisco Bay Area for years. More recently, it has also been testing cars on the streets of Phoenix, Austin, and Kirkland, Wash. Pittsburgh, home to pioneering self-driving car research at Carnegie Mellon University, has just formed an alliance with Uber to provide a driverless version of its service. Boston has announced a year-long test of autonomous vehicles on its streets in partnership with the World Economic Forum, with the goal of advancing safety, transportation access, and progress toward the organization’s sustainability goals.

Cities like Pittsburgh, Boston, Singapore, and Tokyo, who can bring together cutting edge research, sophisticated businesses, and strategic visions for improving their urban environments, are likely to emerge as leaders in these transformations.

Deep Learning: Achilles Heel in Robo-Car Tests Safety expert finds gap in DoT's safety policy

 Philip Koopman, professor of Carnegie Mellon Univ., believes the biggest hole in a Federal Automated Policy published late Sept. is in the regulators’ failure to tangle head-on with fundamental difficulties in testing Machine Learning — a problem already known to the scientific/engineering community. “Mapping Machine Learning‐based systems to traditional safety standards is challenging,” Koopman said, “because the training data set does not conform to traditional expectations of software requirements and design.” In Koopman’s opinion, the Fed’s policy “should say that Machine Learning is an unusual, emerging technology.” This acknowledgement would prompt regulators to ask more pointed questions on Machine Learning in their safety assessment.
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Volpe Webinar: Highly Automated Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday, October 13, 2016
12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Mark R. Rosekind, PhD
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation

A world with highly automated vehicles (HAV) presents many challenges that will need to be addressed if their life-saving potential can be realized. Given the opportunities for life-changing benefits to safety, mobility, and sustainability, HAVs must be pursued in a thoughtful, forward-leaning manner that delivers value safely. An exciting future is forming, and U.S. DOT has a central role in facilitating the opportunities that lie ahead.
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Australia says its first self-driving car can 'navigate without driver input'; Experts are skeptical

This week in Australia, self-driving cars will be hitting the public roads. The cars, powered by technology from German manufacturer Bosch, have been developed in partnership with the Australian government, which invested $1.2 million in the project. Sporting Tesla shells as the exterior, these autonomous cars are built with a combination of sensors—including six radars, six LiDAR (built to spin 360 degrees), high resolution GPS, and a stereo video camera.  John Dolan, principal systems scientist in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, said that the sensors are "fairly standard for research-level autonomous cars," although he thinks the stereo cameras are less common.

China’s Didi looks to Silicon Valley for talent to build its own self-driving car

China’s Uber-like ride hailing powerhouse Didi Chuxing is looking to build its own self-driving car project, according to an interview with CEO Cheng Wei with Bloomberg, and it’s looking for data scientists with experience in the field from Silicon Valley to hep get the job done. The company has also had talks with driverless startup UiSee Technology’s Beijing-based founder Gansha Wu, the article notes.

NYT Editorial Board: Ushering in a Safe, Driverless Future

Automakers and technology companies might resist mandatory rules, but they shouldn’t. Strong standards will actually help the industry by reassuring people that companies are not using them as crash test dummies and that government has put in place strong safety regulations. As Mr. Obama noted, “the quickest way to slam the brakes on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies.”
Foxx told a crowd at the Washington, D.C., Smart Cities Week conference on Sept. 29 that now is the time for dramatic change in transportation. Automated and driverless cars are quickly becoming a reality, and improvements to the Panama Canal will mean more freight on the nation’s highways, he said. In order to be prepared for these changes, he told the audience that data and analytics must be the driver that keeps progress on course. We can’t rely on doing things the way they’ve always been done, Foxx warned.

“Nostalgia is not data based,” he said. “We have to believe our data.”

He noted, “a smart city isn’t a collection of different tech. A smart city understands that tech [provides] tools that will be used to help the city develop.”

California wants to give self-driving cars more leeway in public

California will allow companies more leeway in testing self-driving cars on public roads while restricting how the nascent technology is advertised under revised draft regulations released on Friday. In one of the biggest changes, the new regulations would allow for the absence of a driver in some instances, provided there is two-way communication with the vehicle.
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Google’s head of self-driving tech: We’re not building a car, we’re building the driver

For Google, developing an ideal driver also means creating a suite of sensors and software that can be used to drive everywhere, regardless of the make or model of the vehicle. “It doesn’t matter,” Dolgov said. “We’re building a driver. We’ve been on Prius, Lexus; we have our own prototype, and we’re now working with Fiat Chrysler on a new platform. “As far as the software is concerned, it’s the same thing,” he continued. “It’s like you getting into another car. You get a rental — maybe it’s a little bit bigger, and it doesn’t quite handle the same way as your own car. It takes you time to get used to, but the core tasks transfer.” Unlike a human driver, however, Google’s cars use a combination of maps and long-range laser and regular radars that enable the car to see at least 100 meters around it, while also knowing what turns, traffic lights and roads to expect well before it detects them.

Faraday Future Inks Battery Pact With LG Chem For Mystery Electric Car

“LG Chem worked closely with Faraday Future to develop a tailored cell chemistry to optimize the range and safety of our mass-production battery hardware,” Tom Wessner, Faraday Future’s vice president of global supply chain, said in a statement. The company, with headquarters in Gardena, a Los Angeles suburb, has yet to say when its first model will go on sale, what it will cost and what specific features will distinguish it from other electric cars.

Mapping the Future of Navigation

Cellphone-level connectivity, natural language voice control and predictive systems will add to the capability and rewrite the current model through which OEMs sell subscription services or drivers use mobile phones, he says. As costs have declined and OEMs have learned to price and package navigation for entry-level buyers, NNG predicts take rates will continue to grow for the next 5 to 7 years.

Crucially, however, in-car mapping using common source data is the only way to support autonomous vehicles of the future, Robnett says.

How This Uber Competitor Is Using Employee Ownership To Take On The Ride-share Giant

A startup called Juno has set its sights on eating Uber’s lunch – and it’s banking on a strategy based on employee-ownership to do it. As reported by Sheelah Kolhatkar in the October 10, 2016 issue of The New Yorker, Juno’s founders are trying to lure drivers away from Uber and other car-sharing services like Lyft by not just offering lower fees, but also by handing out shares of restricted stock in the company. According to Kolhatkar, half of Juno’s two billion shares of stock were set aside for its drivers – even though they are technically contractors and not employees of the company.

Mapping system for self-driving cars developed by Nvidia and TomTom

The work combines TomTom’s HD map coverage, which spans more than 120,000 kilometers of highways and freeways, with the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 computing platform. Together, the solution accelerates support for real-time in-vehicle localization and mapping for driving on the highway.
“Self-driving cars require a highly accurate HD mapping system that can generate an always up-to-date HD map in the cloud,” says Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive at NVIDIA. “DRIVE PX 2 for AutoCruise provides TomTom with a real-time, in-vehicle source for HD map updates.”

Volvo to reportedly offer connected-car tech in Europe by year's end

The technology informs a given car -- and sometimes its occupants -- of road conditions far beyond where the human eye (and the car's own sensors) can see. Is traffic backing up? Is there black ice on the pavement? Did a pedestrian dart out into traffic? Car-to-X holds the promise of alerting trailing vehicles to dangers and inconveniences well in advance. Volvo's system, jointly conceived with fellow Swedish company Ericsson, will be able to alert trailing vehicles equipped with its Car-to-X system of low-traction conditions reported by a Volvo's onboard sensors for brakes, steering and accelerator via the car's internet connection. The system will also detect and relay when hazard lights are illuminated. Additional capabilities are expected to come online as the tech matures.

What the new NHTSA guidelines mean for self-driving cars

“Firms can make the decision to not comply and be within their rights to do so,” said David Strickland, general counsel for the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, who was also an NHTSA administrator between 2010 and 2014. “This is evidence of the agency’s willingness to find tools that move more quickly than traditional rule-making, which can take four to eight years.”
The document had a lot of ground to cover. “Not everybody is a well-capitalized automotive manufacturer with risk assessment built in, and not every company is a sophisticated ride-sharing company or mass innovator and disruptor,” Strickland said. “You have to build a regulatory structure that applies to four engineers in a garage. NHTSA guidance has to take into account all of that.”

Google’s Self-Driving Car Program Odometer Reaches 2 Million Miles

“There are miles and then there are miles,” Dmitri Dolgov, the software lead on Google’s car program, said in an interview. “An even better way to think about it is not just in terms of miles or time, rather it’s the number of interactions that you have with the world and richness and complexity of those interactions.” It has taken a little more than a year for the program to go from one million to 2 million miles. In that time, the field of autonomous driving has changed dramatically, suggesting a new era for transportation is about to emerge.

Rider-sharing services Uber, Lyft back to being illegal in Philly

The agency that oversees Philadelphia’s taxis says it will continue enforcing restrictions against unlawful ride-hailing services, including UberX and Lyft. Philadelphia Parking Authority officials said Tuesday evening they’re giving illegal transportation network companies 48 hours’ notice before enforcement resumes. The state legislature’s temporary authorization of ride-hailing companies expired last week. The parking authority didn’t elaborate on how it will resume enforcing ride-hailing service restrictions. Sting operations have been conducted in the past. The agency says it’s also easing some regulations that taxi companies have said make it harder for them to compete.
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Can someone please teach Uber’s self-driving cars to read road signs?

Uber’s self-driving cars are marvels of modern technology. Unfortunately, they also don’t seem to know what a one-way street looks like. A video posted to Facebook shows one of Uber’s autonomous Ford Fusions undergoing testing in Pittsburgh. By “undergoing testing,” I really mean making a turn down a one-way road, before the human realised the mistake and made a large and embarrassing U-turn in the intersection.

The Dubai Hyperloop: Superfast Transport Surges Closer to Reality

The Dubai Future Foundation recently organized an International Hyperloop Competition in order to help make the (seemingly) impossible possible. The two day competition had contestants design three Hyperloop terminals which were evaluated by a panel of judges.

“Imagine that you can live in Riyadh, work in Dubai, have your dinner in Abu Dhabi and watch a movie in Qatar,” said His Excellency Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, “Dubai is trying, as a mission, to prove that concept.”

In a release, H.E. Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of the UAE Cabinet Affairs and the Future, and Vice Chairman of Dubai Future Foundation, added that Dubai is working to become “a global platform for innovative minds to come together to create futuristic solutions on issues of relevance to humanity” and to that end, “this contest is a great opportunity to explore innovative ideas in the smart transportation sector.”

Ex-Tesla rival Fisker rejoins electric car race

Tesla's former rival in pioneering electric cars, Henrik Fisker, has re-entered the electric car market announcing two new models. Mr Fisker's previous company, Fisker Automotive, founded in 2007, built luxury cars popular with celebrities until its high profile 2013 bankruptcy. For his new venture, Mr Fisker has announced both a high-end car as well as an affordable mass-market model. Carmakers worldwide are increasingly focusing on the electric market. Reviving his rivalry with Tesla, Mr Fisker promised "a significantly longer battery life and range than any battery currently on the market".
"Both the technology and the market are more mature now than when we first started out as pioneers in the electric vehicle industry, and our new vehicle will be the most innovative and cutting-edge electric car ever created," he said.