CDC to Study Scooter Accidents

December 13, 2018

These devices let users zip around town quickly, but they also expose people to more accidents. And now the scooter phenomenon has grown large enough that the Centers for Disease Control has sent special researchers to Austin, Texas to study it.

The researchers, working with the Austin Transportation Department and Austin Public Health, will examine data from a 60-day period, from Sept. 5 to Nov. 4, where the city documented 37 emergency calls and 68 injuries related to scooters. Interviews begin next week, according to the Austin American-Statesmen.

Ultimately, the city hopes the epidemiologists will spot patterns that will be used to determine new local rules around scooter use.
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Move people around a city without mass transit? This city says they’re doing it

December 13, 2018

ARLINGTON
Those Via vans that have been zipping around the center of Arlington are going to be sticking around.

This city that has been long been known as the largest in the United States without mass transit, appears to have found something that they believe is at least a partial answer to traditional public transportation.

Last week, the City Council approved another one-year contract for Via, the on-demand rideshare transportation program, which has provided more than 85,000 rides since rolling out last December.

“We have hit on something that is tremendously successful that is getting the ridership we’ve all been hoping for — at a fraction of the costs of traditional transportation like buses or light rail,” said Mayor Jeff Williams at a Nov. 27 council meeting.
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USDOT, NACTO release guidelines to redesign large vehicles for urban areas

December 13, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) recently released two reports, Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments, with one report focused on downsizing and the other on advanced driver assistance systems. Large vehicles include, but are not limited to, freight trucks, waste management vehicle and fire trucks.

The reports detail opportunities for the public sector, considering that public agencies buy a notable number of large vehicles. Some recommendations are to use smaller yet equally capable emergency response vehicles, retrofit existing fleet vehicles for better visibility and use advanced driver assistance systems that include cameras, radar and sensors.
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All the places self-driving cars are being tested around the world

December 13, 2018

Americans’ enthusiasm for cars is now rivaled by their eagerness to automate them. Europeans are plugging away on new pilot projects, but the US has raced ahead with more self-driving pilots than any other country.

Sven Beiker, a former BMW engineer who now runs the consulting firm Silicon Valley Mobility, analyzed data on autonomous vehicle pilots around the world. There are 24 pilots in the US and 50 others from Europe to Australia, according to data from the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’ll see many more pilots next year and get from pilots to actual products and services,” said Beiker.
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BlackBerry launches security credential management system for intelligent transportation, smart cities

December 13, 2018

The Security Credential Management Service (SCMS) is available with no service fees for public office and automakers with smart city and connected vehicle pilots. The effort is part of BlackBerry’s push into the Internet of things, transportation and smart cities.

According to Mark Wilson, BlackBerry CMO, the SCMS service will initially launch in Ottawa for an autonomous vehicle test track under the Invest Ottawa program. The system allows infrastructure like traffic lights to connect to vehicles as well as manage public keys to exchange information.

For BlackBerry, the SCMS service is part of a stack designed for automakers and companies and governments involved in smart infrastructure.
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Report: autonomous vehicle technology to have profound impact on real estate

December 13, 2018

Those funny looking cars by Argo AI driving around the Strip District, along with other cars from autonomous vehicle companies, may have the greatest impact on the American real estate market since “the mass adoption of the car and the expansion of the federal highway system in the 1950s,”

That’s according to a new national report by CBRE called “Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Change for Real Estate,” which studies how the roll out of self-driving car usage will affect the American office market by 2030, expecting profound change, suggesting both renewed prospects for both suburbs that have often taken a hit amid a back-to-cities trends as well as for walkable areas most typically in cities to become more valuable.
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UPenn Hosts ‘How To Stop Distracted Driving’ Event

December 13, 2018

Every day, nine people are killed by distracted driving. The University of Pennsylvania addressed how to stop the dangerous trend on Tuesday.

Research has shown young people are the worst culprits when it comes to using their phones while behind the wheel of a car.

At the event, experts were reviewing what kinds of advanced auto safety technologies could help save lives.

Everybody knows how dangerous texting and driving is but drivers are constantly on their phones and distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes.

Hoping to find new solutions, Penn hosted a symposium aiming to harness science and innovation to combat distracted driving.
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Big strategy: Innovation campus may finally launch development near Pittsburgh’s airport

December 12, 2018

While the site work takes place, the authority will be working on a strategy to attract companies and business to the campus, CEO Christina Cassotis said.

It also will be collaborating with local universities to help chart a course for the development, she said.

Carnegie Mellon University already is partnering with the authority to make Pittsburgh International “the smartest airport on the planet” through the use of apps, sensors and other technology.

“This is really a big vision for the airport in terms of bringing the manufacturing that will take advantage of the region’s destination as a leader in [artificial intelligence] and robotics,” Ms. Cassotis said.
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LA Metro Signs Letter of Intent to Begin Construction Negotiations on Dodger Stadium Gondola Project

December 12, 2018

The Aerial Rapid Transit (ART) project is estimated to cost roughly $125 million and Metro says ARTT will provide the necessary funding for the mobility partnership and plans to obtain third party private financing for the construction of the ART system. ARTT says it is not seeking Metro funding for construction or operating costs for the proposed ART system between Union Station and Dodger Stadium.

The proposed ART project will transport Dodger fans and visitors from Downtown Los Angeles to the Dodger Stadium property in five minutes. By landing at or near Union Station, the ART system will connect people to the region’s transportation hub, where they can connect to Metro’s Red, Purple, and Gold lines (and the future Regional Connector), Metrolink, Amtrak, bus, shuttle, and pedestrian connections at Union Station.
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Didi restructures to focus on safety and efficiency

December 12, 2018

Two new senior executive positions – Chief Safety Officer and Chief Security Officer – have also been created to see through both user safety and data security of Didi’s platforms, while teams such as emergency response, local government coordination, and external advisory teams are enlarged to spur efficiency and timely response.

Unlike the other super apps out in the market, Didi is laser-focused on transportation. It seeks to become the transportation app that can provide all possible forms of transport for the consumer.

The Beijing-based ride-hailing mammoth operates under a trident structure which consists of ride hailing, automobile, and smart transportation. All of these work seamlessly together for Didi to provide optimal transportation methods for the user, whether it be via ride-hailing, bike-sharing etc. Didi drivers, on the other hand, will have their needs taken care of on Didi’s automobile solutions platform.
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Innovation of the Week: Pulling over a driverless car

December 12, 2018

At 3:30 a.m. in Redwood City, Calif., one recent morning, officers in a California Highway Patrol cruiser pulled alongside a Tesla Model S traveling 70 miles per hour — only to observe that the driver was falling asleep, his car apparently set to autopilot. Their siren and flashing lights, the Los Angeles Times reported, failed to wake him up. So the officers had to improvise. After they radioed for backup, a second cruiser arrived to block traffic from behind. The first cruiser then sped up, moved in front of the Tesla, and then slowed to a stop — on the theory that the car had been programmed to do the same.

Did it work? Yes. “The cameras and computer algorithms of the vehicle’s self-driving system did their job,” the Times reported, “slowing to avoid ramming the officer’s car.”
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Almost Every Electric Scooter in the World Comes From This Chinese Company

December 12, 2018

Ninebot has quietly become the single-biggest source of scooters deployed in U.S. cities. The little-known manufacturer is an essential provider for just about everyone trying to ride the rise of “micro-mobility,” a movement that aims to transform urban transportation through the proliferation of cheap alternatives to cars and mass transit…

In this surprise year of the scooter, Ninebot was one of the only assemblers with the expertise to turn them out in large numbers. But, as the aftermath of the Lime recall shows, there are risks from being the biggest maker of scooters.
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These Robots Help Amazon’s Competitors Narrow the Delivery Gap

December 12, 2018

In an enormous space at an undisclosed U.S. location, a four-wheeled autonomous vehicle the size of a microwave oven rolls up to a robotic arm and stops suddenly. The arm swivels, inserts a probe into the vehicle’s plastic bin, and, with a whooshing sound, retrieves a box of Hamburger Helper.

Amazon and other retailers still use humans to pick up items, because replicating the human hand, which can just as easily grab a lightbulb as it can a pack of AA batteries, is one of the toughest problems in robotics. The key technical breakthrough was suction cups, says Matt Mason, Berkshire Grey’s chief scientist and a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who specializes in grip.

Mason and Berkshire Grey’s 100 employees, spread across a Lexington, Mass., headquarters and a Pittsburgh research and development lab, designed a system that uses cameras connected to artificial intelligence software to scan and identify each item, verifying that it belongs in the shipping queue and determining where to grab it.
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Tech execs at White House field ideas for US dominance

December 12, 2018

Top executives from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Qualcomm gathered Thursday at the White House amid strained ties between President Donald Trump’s administration and the tech industry and an ongoing trade war with China.

The White House described the Thursday meeting as a listening session to field ideas for securing American dominance in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing and faster wireless technology known as 5G…

The meeting also included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has recently expressed interest in AI, and presidents of top engineering universities such as Carnegie Mellon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Ohio’s first autonomous shuttle will start accepting passengers

December 12, 2018

Passengers can ride Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle along the Scioto Mile starting Monday.

Smart Circuit will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week at no charge to riders. Smart Columbus and DriveOhio, in partnership with Ohio State University, are leading the initiative. The shuttles are operated by May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup. The Ohio Department of Transportation’s DriveOhio is the state agency devoted to autonomous-vehicle research.

“Smart Circuit gives us an opportunity to learn more about self-driving technology in real time as we work to improve our city’s transportation ecosystem,” Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said in a news release.

The shuttle, which reaches a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, will make four stops along the 1.4-mile route along the Scioto Mile at COSI, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Bicentennial Park and the Smart Columbus Experience Center.
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Samsung to build 5G and V2X networks for autonomous car tests at South Korea’s K-City

December 11, 2018

“The prominence of autonomous vehicles and connected cars is growing rapidly in the 5G era, and Samsung’s commitment to collaborative innovation in this area is stronger than ever,” said Samsung executive Jaeho Jeon in a press release.

The Samsung/KOTSA collaboration isn’t just about 5G, however — it will cover 4G LTE, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication systems, and related hardware infrastructure.

“By building various telecommunication networks — including 5G, 4G, and V2X — in one place, K-City will provide real-world experiences of autonomous driving for people and businesses across the industry,” added KOTSA director Byung Yoon Kwon. “This open environment is expected to be served as a unique innovation lab for industry partners that will ultimately [accelerate] the availability of the autonomous driving era.”
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Florida transportation agencies demonstrate connected vehicle tech

December 11, 2018

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Florida recently demonstrated connected vehicle technology in HART transit vehicles for the first time.

The live demonstrations, which took place on Thursday, Nov. 29, were a milestone for the THEA Connected Vehicle Pilot, which has now deployed the technology in 1,000 cars, 10 buses, and eight streetcars to improve safety and mobility in downtown Tampa.

Connected vehicle technology enables vehicles to communicate wirelessly with each other and with traffic signals, crosswalks and other infrastructure. In a series of controlled demonstrations, onboard equipment successfully alerted drivers to potential collisions between a car and a TECO Line streetcar; between a car and a HART bus; and between a car and a pedestrian.
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Autonomous Vehicle Design Begins To Change Direction

December 11, 2018

popularity
Tools that are commonly used in semiconductor design are starting to be applied at the system level for assisted and autonomous vehicles, setting the stage for more complex simulated scenarios and electronic system design.

Simulation is well understood for designing automotive ICs, but now it also is being used to design vehicle architectures and sensors, as well as for sensor miniaturization and for integration within a vehicle. So instead of just simulating chips, these tools are being used for modeling dynamic behavior and possible interactions of vehicles, which is much faster and more efficient than driving billions of miles to find the corner cases.
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DriveOhio unveils strategic plan for drone research

December 11, 2018

DriveOhio, the state’s autonomous vehicle research office, announced a strategic partnership with the Ohio UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Center to research how drones can fit into smart air and ground traffic control.

The strategic plan will have three main initiatives, including the development of an unmanned traffic management system to integrate delivery and transport on drones called FlyOhio. The partnership will also look at the business service applications of UAS like data collection and aerial photography, as well as a workforce development program to create smart mobility jobs around the technology.
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Alphabet is coming for Uber

December 11, 2018

The driverless taxi race is on.

On Dec. 5, Waymo, the driverless car company spun out of Alphabet neé Google, unveiled a commercial ride-hail service, Waymo One, in the greater metro area of Phoenix, Arizona. While it’s far from a robotaxi takeover, hundreds of pre-approved riders in greater Phoenix can now book and pay for a ride in a driverless taxi using Waymo’s technology.

Waymo One is in every way a competitor to Uber. Customers request rides and confirm their location through an app. Waymo decides the best route and drop-off spot, which may require the passenger to walk a few minutes to their final destination, similar to a discount service Uber offers. Waymo even provides a price quote at the time of booking, employing the “upfront pricing” method that Uber introduced in 2016 as an alternative to the traditional taxi meter.
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Did that car just wink at you? Daimler previews car-to-pedestrian signals

December 11, 2018

If you’re walking or driving in San Jose, California, later this year and have the sense that a late model Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan just made eye contact with rooftop lighted sensors and a quick flash of a signature LED lamp, you could be right. The car could be one of several in a pilot program that will be testing, among other things, its ability to communicate with people and other cars.

German firms Daimler and Bosch partnered on a large-scale autonomous car project starting in 1986. Last month the companies announced a plan to test a ridesharing service in San Jose using autonomous S-Class cars. Riders won’t be charged for the trips, at least not at first. The rides will follow specific routes in the Silicon Valley city.
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Uber could buy Bird, makes key hire as 2018 winds down

December 11, 2018

Uber is currently pondering a multibillion-dollar acquisition of electric scooter company, Bird, with competitor Lime serving as a possible backup, per The Information. This won’t be the first time that Uber has gotten involved with methods of mobility that involve two wheels. The ridehailing giant participated in Lime’s GV-led $355 million financing in July, which valued the company at $1.1 billion. And in April, it acquired Jump Bikes, a creator of both bikes and scooters, for a reported $200 million…

Uber has brought on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) veteran Nat Beuse to bolster the company’s efforts to commercialize self-driving vehicles, per Reuters. Beuse, who joined the NHTSA in 2007, was responsible for directing agency research programs focused on occupant crash safety, automated vehicles and driver assist technology in his previous position.
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Hyundai partners with AI start-up to make HD maps for autonomous cars

December 11, 2018

Hyundai Mnsoft will collaborate with AI startup Netradyne for the development of high definition maps for next-generation vehicles, the companies announced.

Hyundai Mnsoft, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group focused on navigation solutions, will leverage Netradyne’s crowd-sourced deep vision technologies for the development of HD maps.

Netradyne, founded in 2015, specialises in using AI for driver and fleet safety. The startup recently won a proof of concept trial against rivals for the partnership with Hyundai.

Netradyne said its crowdsourced deep vision analytics for HD map generation was more affordable compared to the light detection and ranging (LIDAR)-based mapping of other companies. Its vision-based driver recognition safety program, dubbed Driveri, captures the driving experience and delivers the view of the driver to safety managers.
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Where Toronto sees smart sidewalks, residents see ‘1984.’ So what now?

December 11, 2018

It is touted as a unique opportunity to build a smart city within a major city, literally from the ground up. Environmental remediation, new infrastructure, digital electrification plans, new-age mobility options — the whole shebang.

If only people would stop complaining about privacy issues.

Up in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, there’s been much ado about what will happen to all the data that the future Sidewalk Toronto project will generate. The focus of the debate has been, predictably, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) whose Sidewalk Labs is the primary partner in the project. And yet, for all the sturm und drang about personal information, not a single spade-full of dirt has been spilled yet.
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Smart City Dive: City of the Year: Columbus, OH

December 11, 2018

Two years on from winning the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) inaugural Smart City Challenge, Columbus, OH is rolling out new programs as its work through Smart Columbus becomes more public-facing.

Having spent the first year of its four-year smart city program working behind the scenes and conducting research, 2018 has been the year of introducing new city features and initiatives, including transit updates and efforts to battle climate change.

“In general, 2018 has been more exciting than any year to date since winning, which is a good thing. That means forward progress,” Smart Columbus Director Jordan Davis told Smart Cities Dive.

Perhaps the biggest area of progress this year has been in the city’s increased reliance on electric vehicles (EVs), including in its bus fleet and other government vehicles.
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