News

How Intel and Mobileye are taking a simpler path to autonomy

May 17, 2018

Mobileye has created its fully autonomous prototype car using only cameras, a low-cost and (relatively) simple solution built atop the company’s decades of experience building adaptive safety systems. While the technology isn’t ready for prime time, it is good enough for Mobileye’s VP of technology, Shai Shalev-Shwartz, to take me for a demonstration ride around the tumultuous streets of Jerusalem. Hands-off, of course.
More>>

Cops have lots to learn when it comes to autonomous-car emergencies

May 16, 2018

As part of the application process for these fully driverless vehicles, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles stipulated that companies must submit a “law enforcement interaction plan” explaining in detail how it intends to work with law enforcement and first responders in the event of an incident involving one of its driverless vehicles.

IEEE has obtained a copy of Waymo’s “emergency response supplement,” a 41-page document that presents something of a learning curve for cops and others who are called to an incident involving one of its vehicles.
More>>

Smart City Hackathon to leverage data hub

May 16, 2018

Dive Brief:
The City of Columbus, Ohio will host a three-day Smart City Hackathon starting May 18, which will provide open data for developers to try to solve transportation problems in the city.
Organizations are making data available around topics including parking management, access to food supply for food insecure families, and bridge height intelligence. Participants can also propose their own problems to work on over the weekend.
The city is inviting hardware and software developers, industrial and graphic designers and other citizens to participate for a $30 entry fee, which includes coaching from local tech firms and representatives of The Ohio State University.
More>>

6 Pilots the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative May Deploy

May 16, 2018

The Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative launched Monday and plans to establish pilot programs addressing mobility gaps in Michigan’s largest city, a place notorious for being difficult to get around without a car. Detroit’s public transit is consistently ranked among the worst in the U.S., which was cited as a reason why the area didn’t make the cut for Amazon’s HQ2.

A public-private partnership involving both the city and state governments, the initiative aims to increase access to public transit for residents headed to work or health services, improve traffic congestion and parking, make roads safer for all travel modes and boost the use of electric vehicles.
More>>

This Scooter-Sharing Company Wants to Fill the Streets with ‘Transit Pods’

May 16, 2018

Lime, a company that runs sharing services for scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes, is developing a new type of vehicle known internally as a “transit pod.” The concept is in early stages and the design is still in flux. But Lime’s plan is to build an enclosed, electric vehicle that could hold one or two people, resembling a smart car or a deluxe golf cart. The vehicle wouldn’t be a car, exactly; it’s not even clear whether it would have three or four wheels. But it would drive in normal street traffic, and could hit a top speed of about 40 miles an hour, said Brad Bao, Lime’s co-founder and chairman.
More>>

Connected Cars Hit the Brakes

May 16, 2018

Almost 6 million cars with embedded telematics were sold worldwide in the first quarter, just 1.5 percent more than in the year-earlier period. Some manufacturers may be hesitant to increase their offerings until they can gauge the effect of hostile trade rulings on suppliers and data-privacy regulations on consumers, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Even so, the cars, which can communicate with other traffic, road infrastructure and cellular networks, accounted for about a quarter of total passenger vehicles sold.
More>>

South Bend tests new technology to assess road conditions

May 16, 2018

The city of South Bend is testing a new road assessment technology called RoadBotics in hopes it will be able to easier spot the roads most in need of construction.

“It’s part of the city’s theme to be a beta test city for new products, new technology,” said Deputy Director of Public Works Jitin Kain.

The data is collected for RoadBotics by cell phone video captured from a standard car driving the road. This could save manpower for the city. The city currently uses a PASER rating system, sending multiple crews out to visually assess the roads.
More>>

Uber to Help NASA Streamline Air Traffic for Planes, Delivery Drones, Air Taxis

May 16, 2018

Ride-sharing company Uber announced on Tuesday it signed an agreement with NASA to provide data support for the space agency’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) program, which would help to create an air transportation system in the future.

NASA stated that under the agreement, Uber would fork over data addressing traffic scenarios, collision mitigation and air space management.

“Using data from Uber, NASA will use it’s research facility at the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport to simulate a small passenger carrying aircraft as it flies through DFW airspace during peak scheduled air traffic and analyze if these operations would trigger traffic collisions advisories,” Uber said in a statement.
More>>

Solving DC’s gridlock with smarter cars, intelligent traffic signals

May 16, 2018

A data-sharing partnership between the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., and automobile manufacturer Audi of America has the potential to help the nation’s capital ease its notorious traffic congestion.

“The data that we are sharing with Audi in this case is our signal system information in real time,” said Soumya Dey, associate director for transportation operations and safety at DDOT. “What we want to get from Audi in return is the information about how long their vehicles are stopping at specific intersections.”

The Traffic Light Information vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system, built in partnership with Traffic Technology Services, enables select 2017 and 2018 Audi models to communicate with the city’s traffic signal infrastructure.
More>>

Sharing in 5.9 GHz band gets renewed focus, but auto makers still hitched to DSRC

May 13, 2018

The Wi-Fi community is encouraged by efforts at the FCC to free up more unlicensed spectrum by re-examining the 5.9 GHz band, but the auto industry remains divided over the use of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and C-V2X.

FCC Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel sent a letter to Toyota on Thursday noting Toyota’s announcement last month that it would be deploying DSRC in Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. starting with the 2021 product line. Toyota’s technology will use the 5.850-5.925 GHz band allocated for Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Asked about the 5.9 GHz band during a press conference after the commission’s open meeting on Thursday, Rosenworcel said they were supposed to receive testing results from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce and the FCC regarding how the U.S. could simultaneously accommodate unlicensed and auto safety use in this spectrum. But those test results were never presented when they were due in January 2017.
More>>

4 ways technology could ease Nashville’s traffic crunch

May 13, 2018

Politics, religion … and now traffic.

All are proving to be risky topics at any Nashville dinner party these days.

The failed Nashville transit plan managed to pit friends against friends and family against family, each side making very valid arguments to support their position but neither willing to budge.

There is still hope, though…

A.I.-enabled traffic lights
Surtrac, an innovative start-up that was spawned out of Carnegie Mellon University, has built an “artificial intelligence enabled traffic light system.” Combining A.I., cameras, radar and traffic theory research, traffic lights communicate with each other in real time to optimize traffic flow. So far, initial tests in Pittsburgh have reduced drive-times by 25 percent.
More>>

35% of Americans combine ride-sharing with public transit, survey finds

May 13, 2018

Dive Brief:
Results from a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. residents revealed that public transit is underutilized, with only 19% of respondents using it every week.
The survey, conducted by London-based technology company Masabi, found people are willing to combine ride-sharing with public transit options, with 35% already doing so on an occasional basis.
Convenience is a top priority for riders, and even minor improvements to increase convenience can boost ridership of public transportation.
More>>

GM sees custom designs, personal ownership for self-driving cars

May 13, 2018

Custom-designed vehicles could be owned or leased by individual customers, including those outside of large cities, and used in peer-to-peer car sharing applications, said Mike Abelson, GM’s vice president of global strategy.

GM is “thinking about several models” to drive revenue from self-driving cars, according to Abelson, speaking at Citi’s Car of the Future conference in New York.

Abelson, one of the key architects of GM’s future transportation business, said self-driving cars used for ride sharing “are going to evolve quickly into purpose-built vehicles” that do not look like conventional cars.
More>>

First trackless Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit starts trial operation in China

May 13, 2018

The trial operation, which launched Tuesday in the city of Zhuzhou, is scheduled to last three months, according to Feng Jianghua, chief engineer of the system developer, the research arm of Chinese railcar maker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd.

The smart electric vehicle, seen as a crossover between a bus, train and tram, runs on rubber tires and follows double-dashed white lines painted on the road, instead of conventional rail tracks.

Sensors on the vehicle can detect the dimensions of the road and send travel information back, which provides the basis for developing it into a driverless vehicle in the future.
More>>

CMU president, computer science dean to attend White House AI summit

May 10, 2018

Carnegie Mellon University’s new president and the dean of its School of Computer Science will head to Washington on Thursday to attend a summit on artificial intelligence at the White House.

President Farnam Jahanian and Andrew Moore will join executives from nearly 40 companies, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Intel and Ford, and AI researchers and experts from other universities.

The gathering will focus on ways to encourage the use of AI in farming, health care and transportation and how the government can further fund research into technologies like machine learning, according to the Washington Post .

The meeting will include tech heavyweights Microsoft, Nvidia and Oracle and companies such as Land O’Lakes, MasterCard, Pfizer and United Airlines.
More>>

Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer Than Human Drivers?

May 10, 2018

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the hedge fund that’s gutting the newsrooms of local newspapers across the country—and racking up huge profits. They also discuss the futuristic news out of Google’s annual developer conference, including an A.I. that can hold a conversation and book you a dinner reservation.

Oremus is joined by professor Raj Rajkumar, a self-driving-car expert who serves as co-director of Carnegie Mellon’s autonomous-driving-research lab. They discuss the future of self-driving cars, but also how today’s technology stacks up to human drivers in terms of safety, and what’s behind the recent spate of crashes.
More>>

Five Breakthroughs That Could Make You Love the Bus

May 10, 2018

The appearance of battery-powered electric buses in American cities could represents a technological milestone for this workhorse of mass transit. Give or take the addition of air-conditioning and a few other tweaks, riding a bus hasn’t changed much in the decades since diesel coaches supplanted streetcars. But big changes are now coming to the bus world. Here are five breakthroughs in technology and design that could help this humble mode reclaim its place atop the urban mobility food chain.
More>>

Ohio approves self-driving car tests on public roads

May 10, 2018

Expect to see driverless cars roaming around the Buckeye State in the near future. Ohio Governor John Kasich has issued an executive order permitting self-driving car tests on public roads, adding to a small but growing list of autonomous-friendly states that includes Arizona, California and Michigan. There are conditions, of course, although they’re not extremely strict at first glance.

Every vehicle will need a human operator from the company performing the tests and reporting any accidents. Every hopeful firm will also have to register with DriveOhio, a central hub for mobility initiatives (conveniently established by Kasich in January) that will collect information on both the cars and their testing locations.
More>>

White House to hold artificial intelligence meeting with companies

May 9, 2018

The White House will convene a meeting on Thursday on the future of artificial intelligence in U.S. industry with major companies including Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Oracle Corp as well as senior government officials…

The Pentagon and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor and Transportation are due to take part in the daylong event that will look at artificial intelligence (AI) innovation and research and development and removing barriers to its application…

Facebook Vice President of AI Jerome Pesenti, Google senior research scientist Greg Corrado and the presidents of California Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University also are set to participate.
More>>

How Big Data Can Help Prevent Deaths By Speeding

May 9, 2018

Two transportation researchers say a national map of dangerous traffic speeds could be possible. Eric Sundquist and Michael Brenneis at the State Smart Transportation Initiative report that U.S. DOT has purchased a vast set of traffic speed data collected by the firm INRIX, which it will share with state DOTs.

The feds aren’t thinking about analyzing speed as a safety problem, however. “The US DOT is buying the data from INRIX so that DOTs can comply with performance measure requirements around delay and reliability,” Sundquist and Brenneis write. In other words, U.S. DOT is thinking about congestion and traffic delay.

But with the data now in the hands of state DOTs, Sundquist and Brenneis say there’s no reason it can’t be used to save lives:
More>>

Smart cities: Why Oslo wants its buses to do far more than just transport people

May 9, 2018

Smart cities need lots of data for planning, decision-making and new services. Mass-transit vehicles are everywhere in the city, so using them to provide real-time data for these applications make obvious sense.

However, Oslo’s buses currently have seven separate and proprietary systems on board, to support live data for several functions, including ticketing, passenger information, position reporting to the control center, and providing technical maintenance data to the bus operators.
These systems don’t interoperate and, in some instances, they even need separate radio communications for their respective uses.
Ruter has been engaged in international standardization work through public transportation tech association ITxPT to address the vendor lock-in it’s been experiencing.
More>>

Belgium to allow driverless cars for testing on its roads

May 9, 2018

Belgium is one of the rare European countries to authorise tests for driverless cars on its public roads.
Belgian consumers have a bright outlook on the safety of autonomous vehicles, though concerns remain. Significantly fewer people in the 2018 study feel that autonomous cars will not be safe, with half (50 %) of Belgian consumers holding this view — a dramatic decrease from 2017, when 69 % felt autonomous vehicles would not be safe.
Pilot projects for testing totally driverless cars on Belgium’s roads are technically already authorised, but the Federal Minister of Mobility will have to give the go-ahead to the respective car manufacturers and technology companies. It will thus be possible to see a car circulating without a driver, monitored from a distance by an operator, on a public road.
More>>

May 8, 2018

Since CES, the software underpinning Aptiv’s self-driving system has evolved. Then, software developed by Ottomatika, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff purchased by Aptiv in 2015, controlled perception and vehicle movement. In the intervening months, engineers have integrated software from NuTonomy, the self-driving software startup Aptiv acquired in 2017 for $450 million.

Further, Aptiv has enhanced its mapping of the city. During the CES demos, vehicle systems controlled their own movements along public roads, but human safety drivers retook control in parking lots of the casinos and other destinations. An Aptiv spokesperson told C/D that the newly launched program will offer autonomous service all the way to pickup and drop-off spots in parking lots, which suggests the company has now mapped the applicable parking lots.
More>>

Driverless car startup Drive.ai is launching a ride-hailing service in Texas

May 8, 2018

Those vans will soon become the first driverless vehicles to pick up passengers in the state of Texas. In July, Drive.ai, a Mountain View, California-based startup, plans to launch a six-month pilot program in Frisco, a small city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

The Frisco pilot will use the Nissan NV200, the same boxy van that roams New York City streets as a yellow taxi. Drive.ai is starting small with just four vehicles that will operate during weekday daylight hours, serving an office park complex where about 10,000 people work.
More>>

MIT is teaching self-driving cars to deal with the unknown

May 7, 2018

Country roads are the best example of this: they have very few markings, and are often completely unmapped because so few people use any given one that there’s no real incentive to map them. But if driverless cars can’t cope, then does that mean future generations will have to learn to drive just for these scenarios?

Not if MIT can help it. Researchers are currently working on a new framework called Maplite which they hope will allow driverless cars to figure out roads they’ve never driven on before, without the need for 3D maps. Combining Google Maps GPS data with the car’s own LIDAR and IMU sensors, the idea is that the car can figure out the way the road is twisting and turning without needing to know exactly what lies ahead.
More>>