The Cities With the Most Innovative Transportation Futures

February 14, 2019

To assess the situation around the world, Deloitte examined what mobility could be in a truly smart, livable, economically vibrant city. The report scores more than 50 cities across 60 data parameters. The data is primarily from 2016 and 2017. Major themes were: the performance and resilience of transportation systems, the service and inclusion, and vision and leadership.

TheStreet sorted the cities based on the innovation performance metric. The top cities are labeled Global Leaders, followed by Top Performers, Contenders, Aspiring, and Emerging. We included the percentage of the transportation ecosystem that is made up of private cars, the types of transport options available from principal transport authorities, and the cost of a monthly transport pass in U.S. dollars.

Based on the 2019 Deloitte City Mobility Index, here are the cities with the most innovative transportation futures.
More>>

Teach driverless vehicles to predict pedestrian movement

February 13, 2019

By focusing on the gait, body symmetry and foot placement of humans, University of Michigan (U-M) researchers are teaching self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movements with greater accuracy..

Data collected by vehicles through cameras, LiDAR and GPS allow researchers to capture video clips of humans in motion and then recreate them in 3D computer simulation. With that, they’ve created a “biomechanically inspired recurrent neural network” that catalogues human movements.

According to the researchers, they can use this to predict poses and future locations for one or several pedestrians up to about 50 yards from the vehicle.
More>>

Microsoft, Moovit, and TomTom team up for multi-modal transport platform

February 13, 2019

A triumvirate of tech companies today announced what they’re touting as the “world’s first truly comprehensive multi-modal trip planner.”

Taking the stage at the Move mobility conference in London, executives from Microsoft, TomTom, and Moovit outlined how they’re pooling their various transport, data, and cloud processing smarts so developers can integrate more extensive transport options into their own applications…

A few months back, Moovit and Microsoft announced a partnership that would allow developers who use Azure Maps to hook into Moovit’s transit data. Last week, GPS navigation stalwart TomTom announced an expanded tie-up with Microsoft, one that will bring TomTom’s extensive maps and traffic data into the Azure fold — in effect, TomTom will serve as the primary location data provider for Microsoft’s cloud platform, Bing Maps, and Cortana.

Fast-forward to today, and the three companies are now pooling their respective capabilities for an urban transport offering that any third-party developer can leverage.
More>>

Columbus, Ohio, Prepares to Launch Second AV Shuttle Service

February 12, 2019

Self-driving shuttles are headed into a residential neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, as the city sets out on its second autonomous bus project.

The Linden neighborhood in northeastern Columbus will be the site of a 2.7-mile route for a small, electric autonomous shuttle, capable of carrying about a dozen passengers. The new route, set to be operational in November, will be in addition to an existing AV shuttle route operating in downtown, known as the Smart Circuit. More than 3,300 riders have boarded the three downtown shuttles since they began operating, say city officials.

“While Smart Circuit continues to run downtown, the new Linden route will instead operate in a neighborhood environment, serving as a first-mile/last-mile solution connecting residents to community resources,” said Mandy Bishop, program manager for Smart Columbus. Some of those connections include a community center, recreation facility and the Linden Transit Center.
More>>

How transportation data can push autonomous vehicle deployment

February 12, 2019

On the latest episode of GIS Addressed, Minnesota’s chief geospatial information officer, Dan Ross, says all of those components that make up the road infrastructure play a role in how autonomous vehicles are integrated into the existing transportation ecosystem…

With that many variables, standardization and consistency will be key, Ross says. One huge challenge, he said, are the various levels of government bureaucracy where that data is stored, and the different conflicting ways government might refer to places and things…

Ross says his office has worked to develop standards to enable data sharing in the state government, which would lay a foundation for eventual data digestion by fully autonomous vehicles.
More>>

Qualcomm, Nokia, Samsung clash with Wi-Fi Alliance over 5.9 GHz for C-V2X

February 12, 2019

Qualcomm, Nokia and Samsung are among those supporting a request by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) for permission to conduct Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) in the upper portion of the 5.9 GHz band, something the Wi-Fi Alliance and other groups want the FCC to reject.

The 5GAA filed a waiver request back in November saying the FCC’s current rules for the 5.9 GHz band—adopted well before the development of C-V2X—restrict intelligent transportation system (ITS) operations to those that use the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) standard…

Those in support of the waiver say C-V2X can be a viable and in some cases preferable technology to DSRC, while those who oppose the 5GAA’s move say it threatens not only DSRC but also Wi-Fi’s ability to make wider use of the 5 GHz band. A separate evaluation of the 5.9 GHz band is currently underway at the FCC.
More>>

WILL AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES MAKE US BETTER PEOPLE?

February 12, 2019

There has been much speculation about how the coming wave of self-driving cars will change our lives. New research offers a welcome possibility: This new technology may prompt us to shift our thinking away from our own desires, and more toward the common good.

In a series of experiments, participants “programmed their autonomous vehicles to act more cooperatively than if they were driving themselves,” writes a research team from Northeastern University, the University of Southern California, and the United States Army Research Laboratory.

The researchers, led by Celso de Melo, report that making driving-related decisions in advance of a trip shifts our focus away from “selfish, short-term rewards.” The results point to the possibility of “designing autonomous machines that contribute to a more cooperative society.”
More>>

Driverless delivery startup Nuro raises almost $1 billion

February 12, 2019

The autonomous delivery startup Nuro has raised $940 million from The Softbank Vision Fund, making it one of the most lavishly funded startups in the driverless car sector. The news comes after Nuro became one of the first startups in the world to begin operating a fully driverless commercial service on public roads.

Under a deal announced last year, a Kroger-owned Fry’s Foods store in the Phoenix area is using Nuro’s technology to deliver groceries to nearby customers. Initially, the deliveries were conducted by modified Toyota Priuses. But in December, Nuro added two custom-designed robots to its fleet. These robots are smaller than a conventional car and are fully driverless—they don’t even have space inside for a human driver to sit.
More>>

It’s the Real World—With Google Maps Layered on Top

February 11, 2019

In fairness, even when GPS is screwy, it’s typically close enough for driving. But when a drone’s dropping a package on your stoop, close isn’t good enough. Self-driving cars can’t muddle through for a few dozen yards the way a human driver can. Honestly, even if you’re just looking for your Uber driver or Lime scooter, locations need to be more exact.

By making use of smartphone cameras, apps can get a more-detailed sense of where you are and where you need to go. The app knows which direction you are pointing in, even what you’re looking at. And because it’s all seen through a camera view on your phone, the app can layer directions on top of the real world, turning navigation into an augmented-reality experience.
More>>

Driverless Truck Startup Ike Completes Series A Round, Raises $52 Million

February 11, 2019

The Series A round was led by Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures, which also welcomed Ajay Agarwal (partner at Bain Capital Ventures) to the startup’s board. Other participants in the financing round included: Redpoint Ventures, Fontinalis Partners, Basis Set Ventures and Neo.

“The temptation when you’re working on this technology — because there’s so much potential and because there’s so much excitement for it — especially for small companies in the early stages, is to try and hack something together and try to get up and running really quickly,” cited Alden Woodrow, Co-founder and CEO of Ike.

Woodrow is one of three individuals who co-founded the company. Jur van den Berg and Nancy Sun (the other co-founders of the startup) previously worked at Apple, as well as Uber’s Otto. Woodrow, Berg and Sun teamed up to form Ike after Otto encountered massive setbacks in 2018.
More>>

Cities wising up to disruptive transportation tech: ‘Why should they use our public right of way to become billionaires?’

February 11, 2019

As cars clogged Seattle’s streets, desperately trying to escape a rare snowstorm, transportation experts high above discussed the future of urban mobility.

Transportation leaders from West Coast tech hubs gathered Friday afternoon to explore technology’s impact on how we get around as part of the 2019 State of Downtown event, hosted by the Downtown Seattle Association. And one thing quickly became clear: Cities are wising up to the tactics of transportation technology companies.

“The private sector is going to keep disrupting transportation,” said Margi Bradway, Portland Metro’s deputy director for transportation planning. “It’s going to happen again and again and again.”
More>>

As Public Transport Ridership Dwindles, L.A. Metro Offering Car-Sharing Service for Rides to Stations

February 11, 2019

Angelenos can now make connections between metro station parking lots using a car-sharing app to rent and drive a car to the desired station, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a news release.

Users can find a nearby car, book it and unlock it through the app, with prices beginning at $5 per hour depending on the vehicle type, Metro said.

The new transportation feature is a result of a partnership between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Getaround, a San Francisco-based car-sharing app, which is licensed to occupy 110 parking spaces at 27 L.A. Metro station lots.
More>>

Airbnb targets transportation with new hire

February 11, 2019

Dive Brief:
Airbnb has announced the hiring of founding Virgin America CEO Fred Reid to be its first-ever Global Head of Transportation as the hospitality company eyes a new transportation venture.

Airbnb did not detail what the new transportation division will entail but said there would be a focus on new partnerships. In a statement, Reid said “there are tremendous opportunities to create products and forge partnerships with other companies that make travel easier and even fun.”

Reid led Virgin America for three years and was formerly the president of Delta Airlines and of Lufthansa German Airlines. Most recently, Reid was the president of Kitty Hawk’s Cora Aircraft Program, heading up development of an autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
More>>

‘Air traffic control’ for driverless cars could speed up deployment

February 11, 2019

Here’s how it would work—all within the space of five seconds or less:

Software in the vehicle would analyze real-time vehicle data and electronically guesses 10-30 seconds into the future to estimate the likelihood of a “disengagement”—a situation where the car’s automated systems could need human help.
If the likelihood exceeds a pre-set threshold, the system contacts a remotely located control center and sends data from the car.
The control center’s system analyzes the car’s data, generates several possible scenarios and shows them to several human supervisors, who are situated in driving simulators.
The humans respond to the simulations and their responses are sent back to the vehicle.
The vehicle now has a library of human-generated responses that it can choose from instantaneously, based on information from on-board sensors.
Such a system might sound expensive and cumbersome, but Robert Hampshire, a research professor at UMTRI and U-M’s Ford School of Public Policy, says it would be far less expensive than having a human driver in every vehicle.
More>>

A Self-Driving Dream Team Gets $530 Million From Sequoia, Amazon

February 11, 2019

The self-driving startup Aurora Innovation Inc. has raised $530 million from a group of investors led by Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley’s storied venture capital firm, that includes financial backing from Amazon.com Inc. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. This second round of funding for Aurora values the company at more than $2.5 billion.

Aurora’s three co-founders are legendary within the tight community of roboticists and engineers who are leading the charge to make self-driving cars a reality. Chris Urmson, the chief executive officer, was an early leader of the driverless car project launched within Google that later became Waymo, now widely seen as the first robotaxi business to emerge. Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s chief product officer, previously led Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot team that developed driver-assistance technology for the electric-car maker. Drew Bagnell, the chief technology officer, was a founding member of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
More>>

Latency: What it is and why it matters to the next generation of technological advancement

February 11, 2019

How do professional baseball players hit a 100 mph fastball? Consider that there’s a 100 millisecond delay between seeing an object with the eye and processing that information in the brain. By the time the eye can actually see the path of the ball and process the necessary information to swing the bat, the ball should be past the batter and safely in the catcher’s mitt. The short answer is, exceptional athletes don’t wait to see the ball. Research shows that neurological activity in the V5 region of the visual cortex essentially enables them to “see” something that hasn’t happened yet…

Increasingly, however, in arenas like telesurgery, intelligent transportation systems, and remote-controlled robots, latency isn’t just frustrating, it can be critical. Certainly, display technology—including resolution and refresh rates—continues to improve, which reduces lag times. But more responsive, more reliable data transmission promised by future 5G technologies are what’s needed for the latency-critical services that will shape our future.
More>>

10 Ways Smart Cities Will Restructure The Economy

February 11, 2019

When the devices start becoming smarter, it inevitably leads to a smarter ecosystem of devices. The extension of such a development forms something that is called a smart city – A whole city that uses electronics to keep the area running at high or peak efficiency.

Such a development surely means that existing technologies need to be upgraded to meet the specifications and demands of the system. This costs investment and the government of a state or a country is responsible to make the investment.

Like anything that we invest in, if it doesn’t return any tangible value, the money goes down the drain with nothing of an impact to speak about, both for the government and the people who live within the city.
More>>

Philadelphia Adopts Smart City Road Map

February 11, 2019

Smart city projects in Philadelphia are set to move forward in a more collaborative and organized fashion, better integrating private-sector partners, community stakeholders and public agencies.

Philadelphia released its SmartCityPHL Roadmap, a foundational document that serves as the guideline for growing innovation and collaboration across a number of city agencies.

About two years ago when Philadelphia began exploring the idea of crafting a smart cities strategy, officials realized, “there was already a lot that was happening related to this larger strategy around smart cities,” said Ellen Hwang, smart city director in the Office of Innovation and Technology.
More>>

Pittsburghers Still Feel Safer Beside Self-Driving Cars Than Those Driven By Humans

February 7, 2019

Bike Pittsburgh released its second-ever survey on how Pittsburgh cyclists and pedestrians feel about sharing the roads with self-driving cars.

The group’s advocacy director, Eric Boerer, talked to 90.5 WESA’s The Confluence just before the survey was released Tuesday. He said the death of Elaine Herzberg, who was struck in March by a self-driving Uber in Tempe, Ariz., last year, clearly affected the results.

“For the most part, people still feel pretty confident about the technology itself, but it really soured how they feel about Uber,” and how the company handled its aftermath, Boerer said.

The survey, which includes data and excerpts from its 795 respondents, finds Pittsburghers still feel safer alongside self-driving cars than those driven by their human counterparts, but would support better policy that’s more clearly communicated to the public. Just over 1,100 people responded to a similarly worded survey in 2017.
More>>

Lime raises another $310 million, bringing its valuation to $2.4 billion

February 7, 2019

Confirming rumors that have been swirling for some time, on-demand electric scooter and bike startup Lime today announced that it has closed a $310 million series D financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Fidelity Investments, GV, and IVP. It values the company at a whopping $2.4 billion — double the previous valuation of $1.1 billion.

Existing investors Alphabet, Coatue, Fifth Wall, GGV Capital, Singapore’s GIC, and others participated, along with several new investors including GSV Capital, FJ Labs, Bling Capital, Europe’s GR Capital, and St. Augustine Partners. CEO Toby Sun said the funding will be used to expand Lime’s service into new markets, enhance its technology, grow its team, and pilot “new opportunities.”
More>>

Oil companies and utilities are buying up all the electric car charging startups

February 7, 2019

For decades, oil and gas companies and utilities dismissed electric cars. Now, the old petroleum and power giants are muscling into the driver’s seat of the “new fuels” industry.

It’s projected to be a big business. McKinsey counts more than 350 new electric vehicle (EV) models debuting by 2025, one of the conditions for mass-market adoption. Global demand for gasoline is set to peak around 2021 thanks to electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel efficiency gains. The energy research and consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts charging infrastructure investment in the US will exceed $18 billion annually by 2030 for equipment, installation, operations, and services. China is expected to have three times more energy demand from EVs by then.
More>>

Speed, Distracted Driving Make U.S. Safety Board’s ‘Most Wanted’

February 6, 2019

Federal safety advocates are targeting three of the worst habits by drivers that kill more than 10,000 people a year: speeding, impaired driving and distractions from electronic gadgets.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board unveiled its “Most Wanted” list of safety enhancements on Monday and three of the 10 focused on driver behaviors that could help reduce the annual death toll on the roadways that now exceed 37,000 a year.

Another four spotlight such things as sleepy drivers, better anti-collision technology and mandating seat belts on buses and other types of vehicles.

The NTSB is bucking controversy with some of its push. It wants more use of speed cameras, for example, which are unpopular with motorists.
More>>

The Cost of Self-Driving Cars Will Be the Biggest Barrier to Their Adoption

February 6, 2019

Our results suggest we need to change how we think about the future of mobility. Thus far, public scrutiny of self-driving technology has centered around answering questions like how safe is “safe enough?” Can safety provision be left to the private marketplace? And, are existing regulations effective and worthwhile? Addressing these questions is important given self-driving technology’s potential to address what the United Nations has labelled a major public health problem. Doing so, however, demands making the technology cost competitive with existing, older vehicles. Our work suggests this is unlikely.

In our view, consumer subsidies will be crucial to realizing the life-saving benefits of this technology. Although politically challenging, public revenues already pay for a portion of road crash-related expenditures. In the United States alone, this amounts to $18 billion, the equivalent of over $156 in added taxes for every household.
More>>

CMU to receive nearly $3M in funding from U.S. Department of Transportation

February 6, 2019

Carnegie Mellon University was one of 32 universities selected nationally to receive funding by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the department announced Tuesday.

CMU will receive just over $2.8 million for its role as a University Transportation Center. According to the federal agency, the UTCs “are comprised of groups of universities seeking solutions to national, regional and local transportation issues.

A total of $60 million will be distributed among the 32 UTCs.

As one of five national UTCs, CMU’s funding is among the highest being given to a single university. The other four receiving $2.8 million each are Portland State University, the University of North Carolina, the Regents of the University of California-Davis, and Virginia Tech.
More>>

DHL goes a little greener with 63 new Workhorse electric delivery trucks

February 6, 2019

Logistics giant DHL has welcomed a new set of zero-emission vehicles into its delivery fleet, today announcing plans to deploy 63 electric cargo vans acquired from electric mobility startup Workhorse. The deal is part of DHL’s wider plan to clean up the first- and last-mile portions of its operations.

DHL has outlined plans to use clean transport solutions for 70 percent of its first- and last-mile journeys by 2025, and reduce its emissions to zero by 2050. And it has taken some noteworthy steps to that end, investing in the development of its own electric vehicles, including vans and drones.

It is not the first delivery titan to turn to Workhorse in an effort to clean up its act. FedEx recently collaborated with the company to put the first fuel cell electric delivery van on the road in North America, while UPS also bought 50 of its electric trucks back in February.
More>>