Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ITS World Congress 2017 Montreal Call for Papers

The Montreal World Congress 2017, the event where policy, real world deployment and future ideas will come together to advance integrated mobility, Smart Cities and the next generation of transportation through intelligent transportation systems. Autonomy and connectivity, artificial intelligence, infrastructure developments, cloud technologies, data, privacy, cyber issues, traffic management, smart city deployment efforts, research and academic initiatives and a look at the world’s view of public policy around the next generation of transportation will take center stage. If you have undertaken research on an advanced topic in any of these areas, the World Congress International Program Committee invites you to submit your findings for potential presentation in Montreal.

Intel to Team With Delphi and Mobileye for Self-Driving Cars

“Intel is a very powerful company,” said Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s senior directive of automotive technology. “But they are coming late to the game. We have been in this space a long time already.”
Mr. DeVos said Delphi chose to work with Intel because the chip maker had a plan to produce increasingly powerful automotive processors, and the scale to make the system affordable for mainstream cars.“It’s all about getting to mass production,” he said.Delphi is using its own radar technology and Mobileye’s image processing system, with self-driving algorithms developed by Ottomatika, a company spun off from Carnegie Mellon University.

Ford will begin testing self-driving cars in Europe in 2017

Ford tells TechCrunch it will be testing autonomous cars beginning at its UK-based Engineering Center in Essex, and that it will also begin testing at its Research & Advanced Engineering facilities located in Aachen and Cologne in Germany. The company said it’ll also have more to share about its specific European testing plans in the future, but noted that these facilities are already well-versed in Ford’s current and future driver-assist tech efforts, and so will be well-positioned to lead the autonomous driving efforts in Europe as well.

What Do You Call a Canadian Self-Driving Car? 'Autonomoose,' of Course

Ontario is one of the top jurisdictions in North America for auto assembly, and the province is hoping to grab some of the billions of dollars being spent to develop vehicles that can travel without a driver touching the steering wheel, accelerator or brakes. Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said Ontario wants to be a "world leader in automated technology." The first three 10-year pilot projects will be led by the University of Waterloo, auto manufacturer Erwin Hymer Group and software developer BlackBerry QNX.

Can Israeli Start-up Oryx Oust Lidar From Self-Driving Cars?

What autonomous car makers really want is a dirt cheap and utterly reliable sensor that complements radar and video cameras. And Israeli start-up Oryx Vision thinks it might have just what they’re looking for. Oryx’s technology, coherent optical radar, splits the difference between radar and lidar. Like a lidar, it uses a laser to illuminate the road ahead, but like a radar it treats the reflected signal as a wave rather than a particle.

Monday, November 28, 2016

11/29: T21 Distinguished Lecture: Robin Chase: HEAVEN OR HELL? WHICH WAY FORWARD WITH SELF-DRIVING CARS?

November 29, 2016, 12-1pm
A301 Hamburg Hall

Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world; Buzzcar, a peer to peer carsharing service in France (now merged with Drivy); and GoLoco, an online ridesharing community. She is currently co-founder and board member of Veniam, a vehicle communications company building the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things.

Most of what has been written about self-driving or automated vehicles focuses on subjects like their technical aspects, the regulatory battles to license them, or the fascinating but remote dilemma of a self-driving car being forced to choose between holding its course and hitting grandma, or swerving into a troop of boy scouts. There’s relatively little discussion of the speed and scope of change, the impacts that go well beyond the auto industry, or the roadmap to unlocking the enormous upside potential if we actively guide the trajectory of their adoption. We’re at a fork on that roadmap. One direction leads to a productive new century where cities are more sustainable, livable, equitable, and just. But if we take the wrong turn, we’re at a dead end.


The Downtown-Oakland-East End corridor has plenty of public transportation, with more than a dozen routes traversing its streets daily.

But while the service in the corridor serving the region's two largest employment centers is plentiful, it isn't optimal. It's challenged by traffic, signal timing and other issues often resulting in “bunching” -- or several buses arriving at a stop at once -- and high demand, leading to overcrowding. (Pittsburgh Bus Bunching h/t Mark Egge)

Allegheny County and Port Authority leaders believe Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) could be one solution.

Tesla-Stealing Hack is about Much More than Tesla

On Wednesday, a Norwegian security company called Promon claimed to have found something like the Holy Grail of vehicle hacking—by compromising a Tesla owner’s Android phone, they could take control of Tesla’s mobile app and steal the car.

The hack relies on tricking a Tesla owner into downloading a malicious app, for instance through a spoofed public Wi-Fi hotspot that would direct them to a deceptive GooglePlay download. That app could then escalate permissions on the owner’s phone and corrupt the Tesla app. Attackers could then, according to Promon, communicate with the Tesla server to issue remote commands including locating the victim’s car, opening its doors, and enabling keyless driving.

$80 million autonomous car testing site starts construction in Michigan

Monday's groundbreaking ceremony came two weeks after American Center for Mobility administrators closed on the $1.2 million purchase of 311 acres at the former General Motors plant and World War II bomber factory in Ypsilanti Township. By December 2017, the mobility center's administrators hope to open a 2.5-mile highway loop as part of the project's first phase. Construction will begin in earnest in the spring, said John Maddox, the center's CEO. 

Stanford research says battery electric beats fuel cells for environmental benefits

The study was recently published in the journal "Energy." It was completed by scientists from Stanford and the Technical University of Munich, with support from Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project as well as the BMW Group.

"We looked at how large-scale adoption of electric vehicles would affect total energy use in a community, for buildings as well as transportation," said Markus Felgenhauer, who is the lead author of the study, a former visiting scholar at the Stanford GCEP, and a doctoral candidate at TUM. "We found that investing in all-electric battery vehicles is a more significant economical choice for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, primarily due to their lower cost and significantly higher energy efficiency."

How Indonesian Go-Jek is beating Uber

First in emerging economies, more people can afford to buy and run a motorbike than a car meaning that the supply of drivers is easier to grow. Go-Jek’s better understanding of the local market and its ability to get motorbike owners onto its platform has meant that it was able to get to scale more quickly than Uber who entered the market late.  Second, in dense urban environments such as Jakarta, motorbikes offer a much better and more flexible mobility solution.  Third, Go-Jek rapidly built on ridesharing to integrate a broad range of personal services onto its app. With the current version of its app you can organize pickup by a motorbike or car, book a truck to move boxes, book movie tickets, get groceries delivered from the local market and, even, have a masseur and beauty therapist waiting for you when you get home.

Baidu Begins Public Self-Driving Vehicle Testing In Wuzhen, China

“The cars switch lanes, negotiate intersections, pass slower cars and even make U-turns, achieving a max top speed of 60 km per hour (37 mph) in accordance with the local speed limit. … A display within the car shows passengers info, including traffic conditions and objects along the path.”

As it stands, Baidu is reportedly aiming for first production of commercial self-driving vehicles to begin in 2018, with a broader rollout targeted for 2021, presumably after most kinks have been worked out. Notably, Baidu recently began public self-driving vehicle testing in California as well, after receiving a permit from the California DMV.

Self-driving truck to hit Ohio streets this week

A vehicle from self-driving truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 on Monday in central Ohio between Dublin and East Liberty, home to the Transportation Research Center, an independent testing facility. It will travel in regular traffic, and a driver in the truck will be positioned to intervene should anything go awry, Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said, adding that “safety is obviously No. 1.” “Certainly we think it’s going to be one of the foremost automotive research corridors in the world,” Bruning said.

Meet ALVINN, the self-driving car from 1989

In 1989, the Berlin Wall began to fall, the World Wide Web made its debut, Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” topped the charts, and in Pittsburgh, a retrofitted Army ambulance called ALVINN was driving around Carnegie Mellon University without any human intervention.

Self-driving cars may seem like a very recent technological phenomenon, but researchers and engineers have been building vehicles that can drive themselves for over three decades. Research on computer controlled vehicles began at Carnegie Mellon in 1984 and production of the first vehicle, Navlab 1, began in 1986. ALVINN, which stands for Autonomous Land Vehicle In a Neural Network, was used as a test vehicle well into the 1990s.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Smart City Initiatives Rolling Out Across the U.S.

As we’ve seen with the advances in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles on our roads in recent years, transportation could potentially be the sector most impacted by digital innovation and smart city initiatives. To that end, the USPS programs would include various cameras and sensors installed on the USPS fleet of vehicles to develop a better understanding of our urban environment, while also saving money. One of the programs, carried out in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, will feature cameras mounted on the front of vans to monitor road conditions and identify cracks in the pavement before they develop into potholes and become more expensive to fix.

What a Trump presidency means for the future of self-driving cars

“Extrapolating President-elect Trump’s posture on regulations, he’s clearly looking to having a much lighter regulatory environment,” said David Strickland, a lawyer and former federal administrator who now heads a lobbying group formed by Uber, Google, Volvo, Ford, and Lyft. He added that the Obama administration’s “less-than-regulatory approach hopefully provides some foundation that the next team could take up.”

Strickland acknowledged that the Obama administration’s effort to impose some structure and coherence to self-driving cars has been relatively hands-off already. The president and his appointees have said they are hoping to avoid a “patchwork” of regulations from state to state, but also don’t desire to stifle innovation through onerous regulations.


Instead Of Google Naver, Kakao to Provide Multilingual Based Map Services

According to industry sources on November 20, Naver will offer foreigner-tailored search services as well as support for multiple languages. The company plans to advance its map services, the first step to provide convenient Internet services for foreigners who are visiting Korea during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games Olympics. A Naver spokesperson said, “We are planning to establish multilingual-based information system in all points on the map so that foreigners can easily search things as well as recommend themed tourism courses according to situations.” It will also open its map application programming interfaces (APIs) that support multiple languages to other firms at no charge, helping them to conveniently develop foreigner-centered services.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Delphi Automotive's Pittsburgh Connection Has Leg Up in Race to Driverless Technology

When Uber decided in 2014 to pursue driverless technology, it came to Pittsburgh and hired 40 employees from CMU's Robotics department. Delphi's approach was different; it invested in Ottomatika, a company spun off from the school's robotics school. Then in 2015, Delphi bought the spinoff, which continues to operate near the city and furnish software expertise. In August, Delphi announced that it will be street testing autonomous vehicles in Singapore as part of an initiative in that country to develop advanced mobility systems to cut down on crowding.

Transportation Camp PGH is this Saturday, November 19th at CMU

If you’re into transportation, now’s the time to engage, and the TransportationCamp PGH unconference is the place to do it. An unconference is an event in which session topics are proposed by the participants, where the exchange of information and ideas by the people in attendance is prioritized. Bring your ideas and be a part of shaping the explosive pace of change in mobility, street design, technology, and a host of other issues. Partners and sponsors include Uber, PCRG, Traffic21 and more. Join us on Saturday, November 19th. #TranspoCampPGH

Facebook acquires emotion detection CMU startup FacioMetrics

Facebook could one day build facial gesture controls for its app thanks to the acquisition of a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company called FacioMetrics. The startup made an app called Intraface that could detect seven different emotions in people’s faces, but it’s been removed from the app stores.
The Greensburg Tribune Review spotted the acquisition, and reports that De la Torre’s research and app could be used to spot drowsy drivers, automatically analyze focus groups, detect depression, and improve avatars in video games. That last part could come in help, since Facebook’s Oculus division is also working on making life-like avatars that convey emotions via “VR emoji”. For example, shaking your fist in the air inside Oculus would make your avatar’s face turn angry.

11/29 T21 Distinguished Speaker: Robin Chase - HEAVEN OR HELL? WHICH WAY FORWARD WITH SELF-DRIVING CARS?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Noon-1 p.m.
Hamburg Hall A301
Lunch will be provided.

Most of what has been written about self-driving or automated vehicles focuses on subjects like their technical aspects, the regulatory battles to license them, or the fascinating but remote dilemma of a self-driving car being forced to choose between holding its course and hitting grandma, or swerving into a troop of boy scouts. There’s relatively little discussion of the speed and scope of change, the impacts that go well beyond the auto industry, or the roadmap to unlocking the enormous upside potential if we actively guide the trajectory of their adoption. We’re at a fork on that roadmap. One direction leads to a productive new century where cities are more sustainable, livable, equitable, and just. But if we take the wrong turn, we’re at a dead end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

RedChairPGH empowers women in technology with event and advocacy campaign

Taking inspiration from the National Center for Women in Technology‘s #sitwithme advocacy campaign, Here to change inequity on both local and global levels is RedChairPGH. The grassroots, volunteer organization of women and men is passionate about diversity in tech and knows well that the future of our economy and our region depends upon equity.

Red Chair Pittsburgh @ Alloy26
Thursday, November 17, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)
  • Lenore Blum Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Christy Uffelman Expert in Women’s Leadership Development at Alignleadership
  • Executive Leadership Team at Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporate Information Technology

Google's self-driving cars can now perform tricky three-point turns - and they do it BETTER than humans

In the latest report on Google's highly anticipated fleet of self-driving vehicles, the firm revealed that it has taught its cars to perform one of the trickiest driving manoeuvres to master. Google claims that its cars can perform the turn better than most humans.

Study Reveals Battery Electric Cars Reduce Emissions Better Than Fuel Cell Vehicles

Electric vehicles running on batteries would be a better investment than hydrogen fuel cells in a number of communities. This finding is based on a study published in the November issue of the journal Energy by researchers at Stanford University and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). They did a comparative study on cars that function on batteries versus hydrogen fuel cells in a hypothetical future where the price of electric vehicles is more economical.

Lyft unveils Amp, the rideshare industry’s first in-car connected device

Lyft's new light-up dashboard icon 'Amp' helps riders find cars. Lyft introduces new in car signage system called 'Amp,' which will replace the pink Glowstache and light-up the dashboard to help riders and drivers to find each other.

U-M offers open-access automated cars to advance driverless research

The open CAVs are based at Mcity, U-M's simulated urban and suburban environment for testing automated and connected vehicles. While a handful of other institutions may offer similar research vehicles, U-M is the only one that also operates a high-tech, real-world testing facility. The combination will be "transformational," said Carrie Morton, deputy director of U-M's Mobility Transformation Center. MTC, which operates Mcity, is a public-private partnership that involves more than 60 industry partners. "By providing a platform for faculty, students, industry partners and startups to test connected and automated vehicle technologies, open CAVs will break down technology barriers and dramatically speed up innovation," Morton said. "We're democratizing access to automated vehicle technology for research and education."

Korean Researchers Test First 5G-Connected Cars

Researchers at SK Telecom announced Tuesday that they have tested the world’s first 5G-connected cars to enable the networks on which those communications will occur. “5G will offer much more than just faster data speeds. It will serve as a true enabler for a whole new variety of powerful services that deliver unprecedented value to customers,” SK Telecom CTO Alex Jinsung Choi said Tuesday. “Today’s demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step towards achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G.”

Hello, Alexa? Call your Hyundai car from home

Starting today, Tuesday, Hyundai vehicle owners who subscribe to the Blue Link connectivity service will be able to sign up to use it in conjunction with Amazon Echo. You can call your car hands-free from inside the house on a cold morning, start the car and have it all warmed up by the time you go outside. Owners can also lock or unlock their cars, flash the lights and perform other functions by voice. You just call Alexa by name to get the system's attention, then issue a command.

Fleet of driverless Baidu cars takes to the road in Wuzhen

Without drivers, a fleet of 18 autonomous vehicles drove along the city’s Ziye Road, as a demonstration for the technology gurus arriving from around the globe for the three-day event, which started on Wednesday. The cars will be available for delegates to try out throughout the week.
The first passengers were taken on a 10-minute, 3-kilometre test run in the blue-striped driverless cars. Baidu has co-produced the vehicles based on three existing car models: BYD’s plug-in hybrid compact sedan Qin, Chery Automobile’s minicar model EQ and BAIC’s compact sedan EU260. The company is partnering with German car maker BMW in building the cars.

California hits milestone of 250,000 electric plug-in cars

The milestone was announced by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative. Executive Director Christine Kehoe commented on the announcement:  “Just a few years ago, you could count the number of plug-in models on one hand. Times have changed. Today, anyone thinking about buying a car can check out more than 30 electric models. And with federal and state rebates, they are more affordable than ever.”
The state is aiming to reach 1 million electric plug-ins by 2025, but it will hopefully reach the goal sooner with several new electric vehicles hitting the market in the next few years. The Chevy Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 alone could make a significant contribution to the tally next year.

Hybrids, Electric Vehicles Must Be Loud Enough for Blind to Hear

Automakers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal safety standard. Half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be in compliance one year before the final deadline.
“This is a common-sense tool to help pedestrians — especially folks who are blind or have low vision — make their way safely,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, it is vitally important we take every action to protect the most vulnerable road users.”

Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps

“This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” Mark R. Rosekind, the head of the agency, said in an interview...

...A second, related effort would focus on setting longer-term goals and speeding the introduction of autonomous-driving technologies that many safety experts say have the potential to prevent accidents by removing distracted humans from the driving equation. One concern so far, though, is that current generations of automated driver-assistance systems, like the Autopilot feature offered by Tesla Motors, may be lulling some drivers into a false sense of security that can contribute to distracted driving.

Life-Saving Auto Technology Is Here, Just Not in Most Cars

The problem, according to a U.S. safety agency and accident-prevention advocates, is that these life-saving technologies are optional equipment that makes its way onto a tiny minority of vehicles. “We’re not talking about the future. This is not flying cars,” said Robert Molloy, director of the highway safety office at the National Transportation Safety Board, which on Monday called installation of such automation one of its “Most Wanted" safety enhancements. “This can be done.”

Frustrated by last year’s 7.2 percent jump in highway deaths to more than 35,000 -- the steepest increase in 50 years -- and the slow adoption of new technologies designed to address the problem, the NTSB has included several roadway safety issues on its Most Wanted list this year.

You might want to make sure the person you’re sending a text to it to isn’t driving, or else

Under a novel legal theory on distracted driving moving through the courts, a person who texts a driver could be held liable for a crash, too.

The idea that the sender is no less responsible than the driver first surfaced in New Jersey. Now it’s being tested in a lawsuit arising from a fatal crash in western Pennsylvania that prompted lawmakers to impose stricter penalties for distracted driving. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a measure into law last week that could add five years behind bars for a driver involved in a fatal crash who was texting and driving.

"Data is the new oil:" Intel announces new investment $250M in autonomous driving

Intel Capital is making a new investment of more than $250 million into autonomous vehicles over the next two years, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced Tuesday at the LA Auto Show's AutoMobility conference. "You could say oil is the key technology that allowed the automotive world we know today," Krzanich wrote in a blog post coinciding with the event. "When it comes to the car of the future and automated driving experiences, however, data is literally the new oil. Data has the potential to radically change the way we think about the driving experience."  Krzanich pointed to the several ways autonomous cars will collect data, such as cameras, radar, sonar, GPS, and LIDAR. It's projected each vehicle will generate around 4,000GB (4TB) of data a day.

Friday, November 11, 2016

How can Pittsburgh's Port Authority tackle a common public-transit problem?

According to Traffc21’s executive director, Stan Caldwell, the project’s goal is to figure out how to use “technology to improve a system rather than concrete.”  According to Caldwell, Surtrac will allow buses to communicate with traffic signals, indicating the route’s schedule and how full it is. Those factors will then let the signal make a decision to either prioritize the bus with a green light or slow it down with a red one.  Currently, progress has been slow. Surtrac has modernized some traffic lights in the East End, but the buses still can’t communicate with the lights.

Carnegie Mellon's 1986 Self-Driving Van Was Adorable

Computer scientists have been at the self-driving vehicle problem for longer than you might think. Early research into the automated logic required for autonomous cars was published in the mid-70s, while the first fully robotic van came around in the early-80s courtesy of Ernst Dickmanns and his team at Bundeswehr University Munich. Efforts at Carnegie Mellon, meanwhile, were pushing the technology on the other side of that Atlantic. First came Terregator, in 198. Piloting city streets wasn't yet part of the plan. Then came NavLab, in 1986.

Carnegie Mellon to Study Ethical Issues in Smart Tech, Robotics

Many CMU faculty members already “are interested in this great intellectual pursuit,” said CMU President, Dr. Subra Suresh, noting research and policy development already underway in various departments including engineering, computer science, public policy and the social sciences.

“It is not just technology that will determine how this century unfolds,” Mr. Suresh said in a statement. “Our future will also be influenced strongly by how humans interact with technology, how we foresee and respond to the unintended consequences of our work, and how we ensure that technology is used to benefit humanity, individually and as a society.”

11/16: Traffic21/Metro21 Presents Martin O'Malley: Getting Things Done: A New Way of Governing

Martin O’Malley served as the 61st governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015 and the 47th mayor of the city of Baltimore from 1999 until 2007. His time as governor and mayor was marked by a steadfast commitment to datadriven decision-making. As mayor, he introduced CitiStat, a performance based management system that produced dramatic improvements in city services and efficiency and led to Baltimore being awarded the Innovations in Government Award from the Kennedy School at Harvard in 2001. CitiStat has served as a model for cities across the world. As governor, he continued to demonstrate resultsdriven leadership with the introduction of StateStat and BayStat, a system which has since inspired other systems including EPA’s ChesapeakeStat program. In 2009, Governing Magazine named O’Malley Public Official of the Year for his ability to “improve performance by measuring what [states] do and relentlessly monitoring their progress”. Governor O’Malley received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University and his law degree from the University of Maryland.

Reflections about leadership and progress in city and state government and how city-university collaborations will open a new frontier in urban innovation.

Traffic21 and SUDS Transportation Camp Hack Night, Friday, November 18, 5:30-7:30PM

For this Hack Night we're welcoming Transportation Camp attendees to join SUDS for a night of transportation data and projects. Transportation Camp is an unconference being held at CMU on Saturday Nov 19th, so you should check that out too!

5G for V2X, V2P V2I & V2I connected cars

5G Americas published a report showing how 5G cellular can be used to for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications. The white paper is titled V2X Cellular Solutions that details new connected car opportunities for the cellular and automotive industries.The whitepaper describes the benefits that Cellular V2X (C-V2X) can provide to support the U.S. Department of Transportation objectives of improving safety and reducing vehicular crashes. Cellular V2X can also be instrumental in transforming the transportation experience by enhancing traveler and traffic information for societal goals.

Qualcomm teams with Preh for wireless charging of electric vehicles

“As a leading global supplier to the automotive industry, Preh represents a great fit for Qualcomm, expanding our automotive supplier network and becoming a contributor to the dissemination of this exciting new technology,” said Steve Pazol, vice president and general manager of the Wireless Charging busiess at Qualcomm. “Qualcomm Halo technology covers all aspects of WEVC systems, allowing Preh to deliver highly efficient, safe and flexible systems to meet the market needs.”

Qualcomm is providing Preh with a comprehensive technology transfer package, aimed to enhance their ability to develop commercially and technically viable WEVC systems, as well as to support the future design of improved high-power WEVC systems based upon advanced magnetics.

3D Printed Drone Helps Autonomous Cars To Avoid Traffic

Finn Yonkers is the designer of the drone. He invented it to participate in a contest – which he also won. The “fly mode” was created because: “I wanted to flip the idea of autonomy on its side.”
He continued: “So by introducing the element of flight, you are actually increasing the sensory experience of travel, giving you a viewpoint that’s out of context so you’re not really inside the vehicle anymore. You’re outside of it, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to expand on the experience.” Although this technology is slightly unattainable for your commute to work, it gives an interesting insight into what future transportation could be like. So, what do you think? Would 3D printed autonomous cars and drones be too dangerous for the roads? Let us know in the comments.

Bikeshare conference brings pedal power to the people

As the North American Bikeshare Association begins its annual conference in Austin, Texas, participants will be focusing on social equity.  Freedman predicts that in the next couple of decades, most people will not be driving, nor will they own their transportation. “People will be mode agnostic,” she went on. “What an individual cares about is getting from point A to point B the fastest way possible, the least expensive way possible, with the most comfortable experience.” Users will mix bikeshare, walking, public transit, and rideshare every week — and maybe even every day.

“You’ll see all of the modes intertwine,” Freedman said. “And that will be made possible by better tech that allows a single payment for all systems.”

BMW: ‘Supercomputers, AI and 5G crucial to make self-driving real’

The architect of BMW’s autonomous car strategy, Elmar Frickenstein, has said that supercomputers, 100pc 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence will be needed to make self-driving cars a worldwide reality by 2021. Frickenstein, who is senior vice president of electrics/electronics and driver environment at BMW, told the Web Summit in Lisbon that the world has already had 100 years of people driving themselves – now is the time for the machines to do the work. “Autonomous driving is definitely coming at BMW – we are working to have fully automated driving by 2021.”

Fasten Raises $10M Series A to Up the Competition with Uber & Lyft

"We complete more rides than all companies combined" in Austin, Evdakov said of Fasten in comparison to other ride-hailing companies operating there on a monthly basis, without providing specific numbers. While Fasten has been operating in a crowded market, the startup aims to stand out by charging less for rides, taking a smaller cut of fares from drivers and putting a premium on treating drivers like customers. Fasten drivers are only charged a flat fee of $1 per ride. Uber and Lyft, on the other hand, take a larger cut from drivers based on a percentage of every ride. Fasten also recently opened a lounge in Boston for its drivers, giving them a space to network or get questions asked.

A Slow Ride Toward the Future of Public Transportation

The Helsinki bus is a project of several universities with cooperation and money from government agencies and the European Union. The two-year, $1.2 million project, called Sohjoa, is just one manifestation of a movement to reduce the use of cars, and the traffic jams and greenhouse gases that come with them. “A good possible outcome is that less and less people will own personal vehicles in the cities because they really don’t need them anymore,” said Harri Santamala, who coordinates the project and directs a “smart mobility” program at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

One Person Can Build This Electric, Self-Driving Van in 4 Hours

Businessman Denis Sverdlov just unveiled an electric delivery truck that could be seen on UK streets by as early as next year. Sverdlov is the chief executive of Charge, the firm responsible for this truck, and he says they “are making trucks the way they should be — affordable, elegant, quiet, clean and safe.”  The truck is an electric vehicle built from lightweight composite materials, which reduce the weight of the vehicle. It comes with a modular design, meaning that it can easily be customized before assembly. Best of all? Charge claims that a single person can build the truck in just four hours.

Connected cars driving consolidation in chip sector

The chip sector consolidation is being fueled by the projected growth in autonomous vehicle technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). These technology darlings are replacing smartphones as drivers of growth, as phone sales growth continues to flatten. Automotive has been driving M&A and will be the force behind M&A in the chip sector for some time,” said NXP’s general manager, Automotive, Kurt Sievers. “Maybe in a broader perspective, all things connected to the internet.”

Toyota To Introduce Volume-Selling Electric Vehicle By 2020

Toyota is demanding a range between battery re-charges of at least 300kms but is determined to keep costs low and also provide vehicles which meet its ‘Fun To Drive’ mantra.While exact vehicle details have not been revealed, the reports claim the current platform for the Prius and Corolla hybrids could be stretched for use in a Toyota all-electric compact SUV. Commercial viability underwrites everything Toyota does and it seems certain the Japanese giant may, to a degree, have been pushed into a corner on EVs with toughening legislative requirements favouring zero emissions vehicles in major markets like the U.S. state of California (where annual new car sales exceed all of Australia) and also China which provides generous government-funded subsidies for the purchase of EVs.

NYT Prompts Student Opinion: Are Self-Driving Vehicles the Wave of the Future?

Imagine a world where driverless vehicles — cars, buses and trains — zip passengers around from place to place. Sound far-fetched? Copenhagen already has a driverless light metro; Pittsburgh has a fleet of self-driving cars. And now Helsinki, Finland, is experimenting with self-driving buses on short routes.

Do you think self-driving vehicles are the wave of the future? Will they someday be everywhere?

Tesla’s Autopilot chip supplier NVIDIA on new self-driving system: ‘It’s basically 5 yrs ahead and coming in 2017’

On a conference call with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang following the results, analysts were particularly interested in the company’s push in AI and the automotive industry, especially since Tesla’s started delivering every single one of its vehicles with NVIDIA’s Drive PX2 supercomputer. “And I think what Tesla has done by launching and having on the road in the very near-future here, a full autonomous driving capability using AI, that has sent a shock wave through the automotive industry. It’s basically five years ahead. Anybody who’s talking about 2021 and that’s just a non-starter anymore. And I think that that’s probably the most significant bit in the automotive industry. I just don’t – anybody who is talking about autonomous capabilities in 2020 and 2021 is at the moment re-evaluating in a very significant way.” Huang continued by saying that autonomous driving is not a “detection problem” but an “AI problem” and he insists that it’s going to be solved in 2017.

Uber's Hiring of University's 'Driverless' Experts Leaves Pittsburgh in Better Shape

CMU's robotics program has no connection with Uber's driverless car project. Eighteen months on, the university has rebounded from the events surrounding Uber's hiring of its staff and has replenished its ranks. Martial Hebert, head of the Robotics Institute, said "the stories about what happened were worse than the event. As everyone knows, there's normal movement between universities and industry." The Institute today is alive with experiments of all kinds, from repair robots that can enter a crippled nuclear power plant to software that manages the "handoff" when a driver must resume control of autonomous technology following a malfunction. Some projects are underwritten by private corporations, some from government -- the U.S. military is vitally interested in battlefield applications.

Hyperloop One releases “comprehensive concept design” for high-speed rail in Dubai

The announcement is the most concrete yet from any group working on a Hyperloop design. But building a brand-new transportation system is difficult, and if California's High Speed Rail project has taught us anything, cost, time, and feasibility projections can belie how difficult executing such a project actually is. For perspective, Ars spoke to Gil Tal, a researcher and faculty member with the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, who said that he had little doubt that a Hyperloop was technically feasible. Still, “I don’t know if Hyperloop actually makes sense economically,” Tal said. “I think probably technological barriers are not that hard to overcome."

The What, How, and Why of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Self-Driving Cars

Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Self-driving cars. If you’re keeping up with the rapid changes in the technology industry, you’re seeing a bunch of terms thrown around as if they’re interchangeable—but really, there are some pretty important distinctions. In this post, we’re going to demystify the differences, and clarify the relationships, among these terms, especially artificial intelligence, machine learning, and self-driving cars. 

Friday, November 4, 2016


Have you ever circled a large parking lot searching for an available space?

Ting-Yao Hu a Principal Systems Scientist in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss the progress of his collaboration with Pittsburgh International Airport to develop a smart parking system for improved parking in large parking lots. The effort uses camera observations to track cars and identify available, reserved and occupied parking spaces. A database will hold this information and an app for smartphones that will be activated when people pass enter the parking lot and will pass along information about the most efficient parking spaces. This smart parking partnership will be able to save travelers time and avoid the anxiety and the environmental impacts of searching for parking spaces.
Thursday, November 9, 2016,
 Noon-1:20 p.m. 
Hamburg Hall 1206 Lunch will be provided. cancels breakthrough self-driving vehicle kit amid federal inquiry

George Hotz,’s CEO, boasted that the company would go to market with Comma One by the end of the year at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF conference in September. His entire talk (embedded above) centered around the difference between and its competitors including Google and Tesla, shipability. He cited Google for having many hours of on-road testing but never actually shipping a product. Unfortunately for, the Comma One has been cancelled.

This cancellation comes after an inquiry sent to Hotz by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association requesting proof that the Comma One was safe. Failure to comply with the request would result in a fine of $21,000 per day.


In September, the DoT released a landmark autonomous vehicles policy that will speed up the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles: self-driving cars, the report asserted, will save lives and make transportation both more efficient and accessible. The policy sets forth rules for manufacturing and sales of autonomous vehicles, requires companies to share research data with federal regulators, and promotes protection for passenger privacy. Foxx’s vision for US transportation also includes high-speed rail, GPS tracking systems for airplanes, and drones that will replace trucks to deliver goods to your doorstep.

Pittsburgh Launches New ‘Burgh’s Eye View’ Online Map Tool for City Data

Pittsburgh residents will be able to view a variety of municipal data, like 311 requests, crime incidents and building code violations, using an online map tool the city released Monday. The new web application is called Burgh’s Eye View. It was built internally by the analytics and strategy team within the city’s Department of Innovation and Performance, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s office. In the coming weeks, the city plans to “open source” the computer code for the app, meaning it will become publicly available to other jurisdictions looking to replicate the project. Burgh’s Eye View users see a map of the city with color-coded icons indicating the location of various types of data points.

Navigator Award Finalist: Chelsa Wagner and Team, Allegheny County Controller’s Office

In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh and surrounding jurisdictions, Controller Chelsa Wagner and her members of her team, Amy Weise, Tony Cholewinski, and Mario Rudolph, have fully embraced transparency efforts to make government accounting more accessible to residents and other local stakeholders. They’re using financial management and data tools from OpenGov, a Redwood City, California-based cloud-based company that works with more than 1,200 public agencies across the nation. Allegheny County’s old system simply wasn’t set up for rapid reporting and knowledge-sharing. Delayed reporting means delayed decisionmaking. And that’s when time can really matter.

Otonomo raises $12 million to make data from connected cars useful

The company’s systems gather driver and vehicle data from disparate automakers and original equipment manufacturers. It then normalizes the data, so different organizations can use it to learn more about drivers collectively, or reach them with new products and services. Otonomo has raised $12 million in venture funding to scale its technology and business. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, joined by StageOne Ventures, Maniv Mobility and LocalGlobe. Along with the venture funding, Otonomo announced that Steve Girksy, a former vice chairman of GM, and Mary Chan, a former general manager of OnStar, have joined its board of advisors. Andy Geisse, who previously ran AT&T Business Solutions, joined Otonomo’s board of directors, as well.

Uber’s Discrimination Problem Is Bad News for Public Transit

Discrimination is bad (and illegal) on its face, but Uber and Lyft’s involvement in government services makes these findings especially problematic. The companies can provide cash-strapped municipalities with quick, flexible solutions to their transportation problems. They can even increase ridership on local public transit systems. For governments, the point of working with Uber and Lyft—as with all public transportation—is to help more people get around, regardless of race, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status.

Now, those alliances make the sharing economy’s implicit bias problem a government service’s implicit bias problem.

Uber’s New Car Rental Partner Is None Other Than a Major Lyft Investor: GM

Uber Technologies said on Tuesday it would partner with car-sharing service Maven, operated by General Motors, to allow Uber drivers to rent GM vehicles on a weekly basis. The 90-day pilot is a surprise move for Maven and General Motors, which with Lyft - Uber's main competitor in North America - announced a program in March called Express Drive used mostly by Lyft drivers. Maven operates in 10 U.S. cities. After GM invested $500 million in Lyft in January, the Express Drive program was the first initiative to come out of the partnership.

GM Wants Cars to Talk More in China

“We now have intelligent and connected vehicle technologies along with the capability to bring them to the market—and do it quickly,” GM Executive Vice President and GM China President Matt Tsien said. “However, no one company or one organization has all the answers.” Widespread use of V2X will need support from the Chinese government, including laying down regulations and building smart traffic systems. “It’s a chicken-and-egg problem,” Mr. Tsien said. The U.S. will likely mandate inclusion of V2X for all cars as early as 2019, and GM will begin offering the technology on the 2017 model year of the Cadillac CTS. By contrast, China has no national standard.

Will 5G Enable Connected Cars?

A number of companies already are considering the potential of next-generation mobile networks, including 5G, to connect vehicles. Many believe the connected car will go the way of the mobile ecosystem, particularly for software downloads and updates.

“When you look at the vehicle being connected to the cloud, whether to be able to do over-the-air (OTA) updates, upload diagnostic data from the vehicle, or infotainment streaming down media to the car — it’s going to do the same things we are doing on phones today,” said Richard Barrett, senior product marketing engineer, automotive wireless technology at Cypress Semiconductor. “It’s OTA updates you’re doing on your iPhones. Everybody is getting rid of storage, and everything is coming from the cloud. The DVD is going to go the way of the cassette desk. The large memory storage that you have inside the vehicle is going to go away, as well, at least for storing media, because you’re going to pull it down from the cloud just like you do with your mobile device.”

The New Chevy Bolt Is a Tesla for the Rest of Us

The price tag is the first thing buyers are likely to linger on. The Bolt starts at $37,495, but with federal tax credits and other incentive programs, the overall cost can drop well below $30,000. The Bolt also goes a ways toward smoothing the big speed bump with all-electric, plug-in vehicles — range. The EPA estimated range rating for the Bolt EV is 238 miles, which is more than analysts expected and plenty high enough to satisfy the average city and suburb driver. With a number like that, drivers don't have to worry about being stranded on their commute.

Humans Will Bully Mild-Mannered Autonomous Cars

Discover points to a study carried out by the London School of Economics, which found that drivers who are “combative” on the road are more welcoming of autonomous cars. That could be because they think they’ll be pushovers.

Pedestrians may think similarly. A new study from the University of California, Santa Cruz, has modeled how pedestrians and autonomous vehicles might interact using game theory—in essence applying a little academic thinking to the everyday game of playing chicken with traffic. The conclusion? “Because autonomous vehicles will be risk-averse ... pedestrians will be able to behave with impunity, and autonomous vehicles may facilitate a shift toward pedestrian-oriented urban neighborhoods,” writes the author, Adam Millard-Ball.

Obama Administration Gives Electric Car Charging Grid A Boost

Now, the Obama administration says it will significantly expand the nation's infrastructure for electric vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors. Those vehicle routes dotted with charging stations are intended to cover 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states. The idea is to add thousands of electric charging stations around the country. In addition, states and local governments signed up to increase electric vehicles in their fleets.

Adrian Flux, world’s first driverless car insurer, on self-driving cars and insurance

Despite embracing driverless technology, Bucke admits that it is “clearly a threat to traditional models of insurance,” but says that right now the danger is not immediate. “It will be a long, long time before every car on the road is a driverless car; there will be a lengthy period of transition with vehicles of varying autonomy sharing the roads, so there will be a need for accident insurance for some time yet,” he said. “In the future, if there is such a time when all road transport is automated, and if the accident statistics fall to very low levels, then it’s true that the nature of insurance will change,” he conceded, but stressed that accidents are still likely to happen, meaning there will be a continued need for third party insurance – “albeit at a potentially much reduced cost.”

Traffic in London Is Still Out of Control. Now What?

The problem is that the space vacated by those private cars has since been filled up (and then some) by other vehicles—specifically, private-hire cabs and online shopping delivery vans from the likes of Uber and Amazon. The on-demand economy is choking the city.
These new congestion-charge-immune vehicles motor into a city whose road space has shrunk, thanks to lane closures caused by major construction work and new cycle highways. Add London’s galloping population growth, which surpassed its previous peak of 8.6 million in 2015 and could reach 10 million by 2030, and you have a complex knot of problems that will take some unpicking. But how?

BTS Asks for National Transit Map Data by Nov. 15

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is asking transit agencies to submit data by Nov. 15 for the second edition of the National Transit Map. Agencies must register their General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data in a voluntary process by that date for BTS to harvest it for the second edition, which will be released in late 2016. The National Transit Map is a geospatial database containing information from transit agencies that provides open, machine-readable data about transit stops, routes, and schedules. The first version of the National Transit Map, released in September 2016, contained data from more than 200 transit agencies including 84 percent of the top 25 urban transit agencies with fixed-route service, 74 percent of the top 50 agencies, and about one third of all urban transit agencies with fixed-route service. The ranking of transit agencies included urban transit agencies with fixed route services and were based on maximum revenue vehicles operated or Vehicles Operated in Annual Maximum Service (VOMS).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ford to use Blackberry system as platform for automated cars

BlackBerry is hoping the new deal will expand use of BlackBerry's software in Ford vehicles as the two companies identify other systems where it might be used.  "We can form the basis of the entire vehicle all the way from autonomous drive through to infotainment," John Wall, the head of BlackBerry's QNX unit, said in a phone interview. Ford is ramping up its driverless vehicle efforts and plans to offer a fully automated vehicle for commercial ride-sharing in 2021, it announced in August.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The best show on TV right now is about living carless in the suburbs

The best show on TV right now, [ATLANTA] is about working-class African-Americans in the Southern suburbs, and it highlights one of the country’s biggest, least-appreciated problems: living without a car in the midst of sprawl.  Earn, the show’s main character (played by Glover), doesn’t own a car. He works at the airport, one of the few major spots in Atlanta well served by the city’s limited transit system. But getting to the train is another story. Hardly anyone, especially anyone who isn’t affluent, lives right near a train station. So Earn rides the bus to the train, suffering through long, slow rides and walking on streets without sidewalks.