Delivery robots may soon hit the streets of Dallas

October 23, 2018

The Dallas City Council was briefed last Wednesday on a six-month pilot program that would allow companies to deploy up to 20 robotic delivery devices on the city’s streets, as reported by Dallas News and others.

The pilot would allow fleets of electronically powered, autonomous devices, no more than 26 inches wide and 48 inches high, with maximum speeds of 5 miles per hour. So far, San Francisco-based Marble is the first company to express interest in the pilot.

The City Council is expected to take a formal vote this week on the program, according to NBCDFW. If approved, Marble says it will deploy its delivery bots on Nov. 1.
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THE ROAD TO CHINA’S GLOBAL 5G DOMINATION IS HERE

October 23, 2018

“The combination of ease of construction and ready access to hardware has meant that China has been able to experiment with smart cities,” says Peter Young, international partnerships manager at Future Cities Catapult.

One area where 5G is expected to particularly make a difference is in the integration of a smart transportation infrastructure, a network built on the ability of multiple elements to interact with each other in real time. “For the implementation of smart transportation, ubiquitous connectivity and automation technology are crucial,” says Bilal Farooq, director of the Laboratory of Innovations in Transportation and an assistant professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. Thus, 5G would allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and even traffic signals in real time, facilitating remote-driving and pedestrian and cyclist warning, and reducing road accidents.
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AI Weekly: For evidence of academic investment in AI, look no further than Pittsburgh

October 23, 2018

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced this week that it would invest $1 billion in a new college of computer engineering: the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. It’s the single largest investment in artificial intelligence (AI) by a U.S. academic institution to date. And when the new building hosts its first classes in 2022, it’ll be the largest structural addition to MIT’s campus since the 1950s.

But MIT isn’t the only university channeling funds toward AI education.

Yet another AI-forward institution of note is Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which partnered with Bosch’s Center for Artificial Intelligence on an $8 million research project that goes through 2023. CMU has the additional distinction of being the first university to offer an undergraduate degree in AI, and it neighbors the ARM Institute, a $250 million initiative focused on accelerating the advancement of transformative robotics technologies and education in the U.S. manufacturing industry.
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Former NYC mayor Bloomberg announces $2.5 million award to help Pittsburgh’s environment

October 23, 2018

Three other winners announced today include Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C. They join six cities named as winners in the first round.

Winners will receive technical assistance and a support package valued at up to $2.5 million per city.

Peduto said Pittsburgh will use the money to create and implement a benchmarking policy for buildings, develop a statewide clean energy financing program, scale renewable power through community solar programs and expand bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The goal is to see 100 percent renewable energy in city operations, a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption and a shift in transportation energy use…

Peduto credited teamwork among Pittsburgh City Council for promoting a green-first agenda, and also partnerships between government and higher education, like the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, that strengthen 21 st Century cities.
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Ohio Turnpike to add first electric vehicle charging stations

October 23, 2018

The stations will be placed at the Wyandot and Blue Heron plazas near Toledo as well as the Indian Meadow and Tiffin River plazas closer to the Indiana line. The sites were selected based on near-term electric vehicle demand for turnpike users, Electrify America said in a news release.

Each station will feature four charging dispensers that offer 150 to 350 kilowatts of power. The units can charge a vehicle up to seven times quicker than today’s most commonly used fast chargers.

“This is yet another example of Ohio staying ahead of the curve and preparing our state for the future of transportation,” said Ohio Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole.
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Feds shut down self-driving school bus pilot in Florida

October 23, 2018

The Trump administration has taken a hands-off approach to regulating self-driving cars, but on Friday, federal regulators decided that one self-driving car project had gone too far. In a sharply worded statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has ordered the French transportation company Transdev to stop transporting schoolchildren in a self-driving vehicle in Florida…

“School buses are subject to rigorous Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that take into account their unique purpose of transporting children, a vulnerable population,” the NHTSA writes.
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Ford will test self-driving cars in Washington, DC, with an emphasis on ‘equity

October 23, 2018

Ford announced Monday that it would begin testing its self-driving cars on the streets of Washington, DC, early next year, with a particular emphasis on “equitable deployment.”

Ford currently has vehicles on the road in DC gathering mapping data, and will begin operating those cars autonomously in the first quarter of 2019. A safety driver and a second engineer will remain in the vehicle at all times, Ford says, but the company plans to remove both when it feels confident enough in its technology. Ford has also secured a fleet terminal for its autonomous vehicles within the district. The facility will serve as a home base for Ford’s cars when they aren’t out on the streets and a place where they can transfer data and have their sensors cleaned and calibrated.

Washington will be the fourth city for Ford’s AV testing, in addition to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami.
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We Need To Stop Talking About Smart Cities And Start Building Smart Regions

October 21, 2018

Often overlooked in the enthusiasm around smart cities and next generation transit, however, are the needs of suburban and rural communities. Although data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the nonmetro poverty rate is only about 3 percent higher than metro poverty rate, the gap increases dramatically when filtering out large metro areas. In actuality, nearly 66 percent of the country’s poor population lives outside of major metro areas. Rural communities also have a much higher rate of concentrated poverty, which tracks counties in which more than a fifth of the population is poor—31 percent rate of concentrated poverty compared to 19 percent for cities. Suburban poverty has also risen in recent years, with suburbs accounting for 48 percent of the increase in the national poverty rate from 2000 to 2015.
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Fleet management data drives changes to driver behavior, new Verizon analysis says

October 19, 2018

The use of fleet management software to analyze information from connected vehicles is resulting in real value for businesses in terms of safer and more efficient driver behavior, according to new analysis from Verizon Connect, the operator’s telematics’ business.

“For field service businesses, vehicle utilization can be a primary source of lost efficiency and a leading indicator of areas of improvement,” Verizon Connect said in a new report. The company’s analysis was based on report utilization figures from 720 U.S.-based fleets and more than 27,000 individual vehicles that Verizon Connect supports.
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Zoov launches an ebike sharing system that fits in with existing roads

October 19, 2018

Zoov’s president is Eric Carreel, who co-founded Withings and recently purchased the wearable company back from Nokia. The bikes were designed by Elium Studios, responsible for many of Withings’ products, including the recent scales and watches.

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The small stations are made possible by a design that only requires a single terminal that the first bike plugs into, and then every other bike daisy-chains on from there. The electric bikes adjust their power assistance level to what the rider needs without gears, and unlocking or locking one only requires a Bluetooth connection to their phone running the Zoov app. The engine itself is the lock, while sensors on the bike keep track of any potential maintenance issues.
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Shaken by hype, self-driving leaders adopt new strategy: Shutting up

October 19, 2018

Three former executives at Google, Tesla and Uber who once raced to be the first to develop self-driving cars have adopted a new strategy: Slow down. And shut up.

At their new company Aurora Innovation, which is developing self-driving technology for carmakers including Volkswagen and Hyundai, the rules are simple: No flashy launches, mind-blowing timelines or hyper-choreographed performances on closed tracks. “No demo candy,” said Chris Urmson, a co-founder and former head of Google’s self-driving car team.

Aurora’s long-game technique reflects a new phase for the hyped promise of computer-piloted supercars: a more subdued, more pragmatic way of addressing the tough realities of the most complicated robotic system ever built.
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Waymo details how emergency services should deal with self-driving incidents

October 19, 2018

Waymo has officially published guidelines cops and first responders can follow in case an autonomous car is involved in an accident. Without a human driver controlling the wheel, after all, there’s nobody to ask license or information from. More importantly, authorities need to know how to safely pry open or deactivate self-driving vehicles if their passengers are unconscious and need help. The Alphabet-owned company submitted the guidelines to the California DMV back in May, and now you can read (PDF) the whole thing online.

Waymo opened its instructions with a toll-free, 24-hour hotline number. The company is encouraging emergency responders to call it — or press the Live Help button on the ceiling of the vehicle — so they can talk to one of its trained specialists who can help them find the best solution for the situation at hand.
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Peduto Administration Wants To Get Rid Of ‘Dumb’ Street Lights

October 19, 2018

The Peduto administration wants to connect all of Pittsburgh’s roughly 40,000 street lights to the internet, which it says will save money and energy…

“By having that connection to the internet we’re going to be able to evaluate and actually meter that light,” said Pazuchanics. “We expect that there is savings as of result, just of knowing precisely how much energy is actually being used.”

To protect the smart lights from hackers, the city has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University. But Laura Meixell, assistant director in the city’s department of innovation and preformance, wouldn’t go into too much detail.

“We are pretty confident … that we can build a secure system,” said Meixell. “We have vetted that technology … to be able to understand that what we’re getting is best in class.”
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Most Big Cities Are Planning for Autonomous Vehicles

October 19, 2018

More than half of the largest U.S. cities are preparing for autonomous vehicles in their long-range transportation plans—up from less than 10 percent three years ago, according to a new National League of Cities report.

Between 2011 and 2017, 22 states passed 46 bills, and five governors signed executive orders related to AV development and use—most permitting pilots. A second wave is underway with 28 states introducing 98 bills in 2018, according to “Autonomous Vehicle Pilots Across America”.

Pilot projects range from informal agreements to structured contracts between cities and AV companies.
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Civil engineers should be ‘retrained for tech revolution’

October 19, 2018

There was overwhelming support for retraining and upskilling from the 100 civil engineers surveyed as part of the Readiness for Industry 4.0 report, which was officially launched at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure conference yesterday. Forty two per cent identified upskilling with new qualifications as the best route to take, with retraining on the job also cited by 37%.

It comes after the World Economic Forum identified civil engineering as a discipline that is set to decline between now and 2022.

While 34% of respondents said their firm is developing competency in advanced data analytics, just 29% lay claim to their firm being at the stage of using it.
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What impact will driverless cars have on our future buildings?

October 19, 2018

CAVs offer the biggest opportunity to redesign our urban environment since the invention of the motor car itself. Like the internet and mobile phones, if implemented wisely it can be a force for enormous good. But it represents a retrofit rather than a reinvention. The car was created to meet 20th-century problems, constraints and aspirations. Will the cities of the 21st century choose to rely on an upgrade of a 20th-century solution when – in the same way the first combustible engines rejected rather than adapted the horse and cart – they could come up with brand-new solutions of their own?
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Pittsburgh nears top of the list for Virgin Hyperloop One connection cities

October 19, 2018

Virgin Hyperloop One announced Wednesday that Black & Veatch confirmed the commercial viability of its hyperloop technology, a transportation system that could have an impact on Pittsburgh, according to a news release.

The report by Black & Veatch considers the proposed route across Missouri along the I-70 corridor and validates both the safety and sustainability opportunities that come with a hyperloop system in the first-ever feasibility study of a hyperloop system in the U.S.

The first route will link St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. Then, plans show a “Midwest Megaregion” to connect Pittsburgh, Columbus and Colorado, according to Marcia Christoff, public relations manager for Virgin Hyperloop One.
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MetroLab Launches Civic Innovation Challenge with National Science Foundation

October 19, 2018

The MetroLab Network is launching new initiatives to strengthen and grow the bonds between universities and cities to use innovation and data to solve complex issues related to mobility, economic development, resiliency and other areas.

MetroLab, a network of 44 cities, five counties and 55 universities dedicated to growing partnerships to solve complex urban problems, has launched its next major initiative, the Civic Innovation Challenge. The project is a joint effort by MetroLab, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Smart Cities Lab.

The Foundation awarded a grant to MetroLab to support a Research in Action competition in the “smart and connected communities area,” said Meghan Houghton, a staff associate with NSF.
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New CCTV system to ease immediate penalties for rule-breakers on E-way

October 18, 2018

In some long-awaited use of modern technology to increase safety on the vital thoroughfare that connects Pune to Mumbai, police will soon be able to capture speeding and lane-cutting indiscretions on camera and crack down on careless commuters before they evade punishment.
Anyone driving through the 95-km Pune-Mumbai Expressway will now have to be extra cautious, as Highway police have declared they will be imposing charges on offenders clicked making traffic violations, with the help of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and the integrated traffic management system (ITMS).
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Clermont-to-Orlando highway could be high tech

October 17, 2018

The speaker was Allie Kelley, the executive director of a “living laboratory” in west Georgia, an 18-mile stretch of I-85 known as The Ray.

The road includes solar panel roads with more traction than a fresh asphalt road, electric vehicle charging stations and a WheelRight station that gives drivers a full report of their tire pressure and wear and tear.

Kelly told the audience tire pressure is something people take for granted, but which causes 2 billion gallons of gas to be wasted each year.

The tire station was said to be the most developed in the bunch, as the UK-based company of the same name had already debuted the technology in Colorado.
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American Center for Mobility in Michigan Loses Federal Proving Ground Designation

October 15, 2018

The outlet points toward a document that outlines guidelines for autonomous vehicles that was released earlier this month by the Trump administration, more specifically the U.S. Department of Transportation, that stated it would be rescinding the Willow Run facility’s designation. Not only that, nine others would have their designation rescinded, as well.

Earlier this year, Congress put aside $20 million for each of the 10 proving-ground facilities that received the designation. As The Detroit News reports, the $20 million was part of a larger fund of $100 million that Congress had set aside for grants that could be put toward the testing of self-driving tech.

In the document, the U.S. Department of Transportation states that it “recognizes that given the rapid increase in automated vehicle testing activities in many locations, there is no need for U.S. DOT to favor particular locations or to pick winners and losers.”
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The physics of why we don’t have solar-powered cars

October 15, 2018

Will it work? Don’t bet on it, says Jeremy Michalek, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and director of its Vehicle Electrification Group.

Quartz asked Michalek to estimate how far the best solar panels could propel a typical electric car on the market. He broke down the math for us.

Michalek says about 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar energy falls on a square meter of the Earth’s surface on a clear day. That’s all the solar energy available to collect. For a company like Sono, which says it can convert about a quarter of that energy into electricity (although that’s very optimistic), a full site of panels might generate roughly 8 kilowatt hours of energy per day (a best-case scenario with four square meters of solar panels).

Michalek says that’s enough to drive a car like the comparable Nissan Leaf about 25 miles.
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Navigating through a smart city

October 15, 2018

As part of its Expo 2020 plans, Dubai has placed great focus on smart city initiatives to help drive innovation and its Road and Transport Authority (RTA) unveiled robot cleaners for its metro stations, a smart app for public transport and the region’s first autonomous taxi.

Designed in partnership with Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) and DG World, the autonomous taxi will run on dedicated routes in DSO before being rolled out across the emirate.

The initiative is part of the Dubai Smart Self-Driving Mobility Strategy which aims to transform 25 per cent of the emirate’s total journeys into self-driving ones by 2030. It is intended to cover the “last mile” journeys from the metro and tram stations to the customer’s destination.

One other solution for the “last mile” problem is electric scooters, which can be hired using a dedicated mobile app.
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Self-driving cars could change the way you get around in retirement

October 15, 2018

At The Villages retirement community in central Florida, there are approximately 125,000 residents and about 750 miles of road.

And by the end of this year, those streets are slated to have a new service to help its residents — ages 55 and up — get around: a ride-sharing service using self-driving cars.

“Retirement villages are just the perfect first place we see for autonomous driving,” said Oliver Cameron, co-founder and CEO of Voyage, the company that is bringing the autonomous ride-sharing services to the community.

“We help people who need transportation improvement every single day,” Cameron said. “It’s also a big market. It has tons of people.”
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Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

October 15, 2018

What if you never had to stop at a red light again? Ford believes future connected cars could coordinate their movements in order to pass through intersections without stopping. Ford believes this could save time and reduce crashes. It’s testing that idea in the United Kingdom.

Ford’s experimental “Intersection Priority Management” system is currently being demonstrated on the streets of Milton Keynes. The system uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), a Wi-Fi-like communications medium that allows cars to send and receive signals.
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