AASHTO Committee on Construction Meeting Tours NavLab

August 15, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

August 15, 2018

The AASHTO Committee on Construction Meeting was held in Pittsburgh this year and attendees were able to tour CMU’s NavLab. The tour included presentations from Christoph Mertz of CMU’s Robotic’s Institute and Mobility21 Director, Raj Rajkumar. Attendees were from different DOT’s from around the country, who were eager to talk AV, policy and have a seat in the autonomous vehicles in the NavLab.

Claire Bornzer, Legislative Assistant for Congressman Mike Doyle Visits CMU

August 8, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

August 8, 2018

Claire Bornzer, legislative assistant for Congressman Mike Doyle visited CMU’s Pittsburgh campus today, which included an overview of the Traffic21 Institute and the Mobility21 University Transportation Center, and a tour of the NavLab.  Pictured (L – R):  Christoph Mertz, CMU Principal Project Scientist, Claire Bornzer, Cody Januszko, CMU Scott Institute, Chris Hendrickson, CMU Director of Traffic21, and Debbie Tekavec, CMU Director of Federal Relations.

UTC Spin-off, Roadbotics Uses Their Technology to Improve the Roads of Montgomery, Alabama

August 7, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

August 6, 2018

UTC Spin-off company, Roadbotics, has partnered with Montgomery, Alabamda to analyze 200 miles of roads and improve upon their binary system of road rating. City officials are eager to use the new technology to decide what roads need to be repaired. Director of Public Works in Montgomery said that Roadbotics was cheaper then sending out workers and that it would take subjectivity out of deciding paving needs.

Full article

Chris Hendrickson gave keynote at the University Transportation Center for Advance Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education Research Symposium

August 6, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

August 6, 2018

Chris Hendrickson, Director of Traffic21 Institute, gave a keynote presentation at the University Transportation Center for Advance Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education Research Symposium today in Charlotte, NC. His talk was titled ‘Transition to Connected and Automated Vehicles.’ He also served as a judge for the student poster competition. Pictured are Hendrickson and some of the symposium participants.

Dan Klinedinst was a Panelists at ITS America Forum on Cyber Security Risk and the Future of Mobility

August 1, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

August 1, 2018

Dan Klinedinst of Carnegie Mellon University was a panelists at ITS America Forum on Cyber Security Risk and the Future of Mobility in Denver, Colorado. Dan was on ‘The Cyber Industry’ panel where the panelists discussed resources available to address cybersecurity challenges, how do you attract, cybersecurity talent, and building a cybersecurity workforce.

Mobility21 Faculty Discusses UTC Technology and Policy Research with Norfolk Southern

July 31, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 31, 2018

Mobility21 faculty members Raj Rajkumar, Chris Hendrickson and Stan Caldwell participated in a visit to Carnegie Mellon University by corporate leadership from Norfolk Southern. The group discussed Mobility21 UTC technology and policy research, issues concerning the railroad industry, and potential opportunities for collaboration.

Self-driving car companies muted on updated PennDOT guidelines

July 31, 2018
Posted in News

Carnegie Mellon University, which has been testing autonomous vehicle technology in Pittsburgh since the 1980s, will comply with the guidelines, said Raj Rajkumar, head of CMU’s self-driving car research. Rajkumar said the guidelines achieve goals of both ensuring public safety and enabling Pennsylvania to remain a leader in autonomous vehicle testing.

The guidelines — PennDOT can’t regulate the testing of self-driving cars without authorization from the state Legislature — take effect Aug. 1. Richards expects all companies testing in Pennsylvania to comply.

“While we await legislative action on our request for permanent authorization, our new guidance underscores our expectation that companies are taking every possible step to prepare their vehicles and personnel for on-the-road testing,” Richards said in a statement released this week.
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Traffic21 Program Manager and Vanpool Council Chair for the Association for Commuter Transportation, led the Vanpool Council meeting at the organization’s international conference

July 30, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 30, 2018

Today Traffic21 Program Manager and chair of the Vanpool Council for the Association for Commuter Transportation, Lisa Kay Schweyer, led the Vanpool Council meeting at the organization’s international conference in California. The Vanpool Council addresses and shares information related to vanpools, vanpool programs, public-private partnerships for delivery of vanpool services, contracting, program management, customer services, and promotional issues.

 

ASCE International Conference on Transportation and Development Tours NavLab

July 18, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 18, 2018

The ASCE International Conference on Transportation and Development was in Pittsburgh from July 15 – July 18. A technical tour was offered to visit (1) an intersection equipped with a Surtrac Adaptive Traffic Signal Controller with Research Professor, Steve Smith and (2) the CMU NavLab to view and hear a short presentation on two autonomous vehicles and a video roadway infrastructure inspection system from Executive Director, Stan Caldwell and Principal Project Scientist, Christoph Mertz.

Carnegie Mellon University Students and Researchers make an impact at the International ASCE Conference in Pittsburgh

July 18, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 15 – July 18

Two University Transportation Center projects were presented at the ASCE Conference by CMU PhD Students, Xidong Pi and Matthew Battifarano. CMU Undergrad and Vice President of the CMU ASCE Chapter, Sharika Hedge, participated in the Three Minute Pitch competition for younger members where she presented her research on real-time vehicle to vehicle transactions. The winner of the competition was CMU PhD student, Jacob Ward.

Tesla owners’ battery data show it won’t win through chemistry, only a better factory

July 18, 2018
Posted in News

When it comes to winning the battery race, only one thing matters, says Jay Whitacre, a materials science researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. “It’s all cost,” he said by phone. “This is completely an economic battle. The innovation is doing this as cheaply as possible. It’s less about building the cell, and more about building the factories that make the batteries.”

It’s unlikely anything will shake up the market for at least five years, say battery researchers. New battery types take years to move from the lab to production, and there’s still room for improvement in lithium-ion cell design and manufacturing methods. Yet potentially cheaper designs such as “pouch cells” are already popular with rival EV makers. New battery factories larger than Tesla’s are breaking ground in Europe and Asia. Tesla’s clever engineering gives the carmaker an advantage over its rivals, for now. But change may arrive faster than many think.
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Update on Traffic21’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) participant, Hameed Abdul

July 18, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 18, 2018

Traffic21’s RISS participant, Hameed Abdul is now about half way through the scholar’s program. He describes his experience thus far as “broadening.” Hameed reports that he has “visited labs, discussed thoroughly [his] research ideas with [his] mentor and grad students, had the opportunity to do outreach, worked on an abstract, and attend a research-focused conference.” In addition, yesterday, Hameed was a speaker at the AI for All, where he presented his research to high school students.

Stan Caldwell Testifies at Act 89 transportation funding at hearing in Monroeville

July 17, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

On Tuesday July 17, Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of the Traffic21 Institute and the Mobility21 UTC, testified at a hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee on Act 89, a 2013 transportation bill that generates 2.3 billion per year for infrastructure improvements. This field hearing was held in Monroeville to review the work done in Southwestern PA and Allegheny County because of Act 89, and to consider future needs.

Professor Caldwell spoke about the current benefits from Act 89 including how the funding allowed collaboration between researchers, industry, the City of Pittsburgh and the Port Authority of Allegheny County on new technologies and impacts on mobility. Stan highlighted the fact that due to Act 89 funding stabilizing budgets, state and local agencies have been able to begin planning for the opportunities and impacts of disruptive new technologies on transportation safety, mobility and workforce.  The Traffic21 and UTC researchers were able to work with the City of Pittsburgh on deploying the world’s smartest traffic signals, help PennDOT plan for autonomous vehicles, and partner with the Port Authority of Allegheny County on connected vehicle research and data analytics to improve service.

Furthermore, these technologies have created spinoff companies that are creating good paying jobs here in southwestern Pennsylvania.

After testifying, Stan was asked by the committee about broadband infrastructure outside of the city and if that hinders the ability for autonomous vehicles to expand. Stan explained that past infrastructure investments were made for both transportation and economic development interests.  These include port, canals, railroads, streets, highways and airports.  The next critical transportation infrastructure investment will on need to focus on information and communication technology and that the investments and technology rollouts should be equitably distributed.

Here is a link the video testimony, a link to the written testimony and below are the recommendation provided.

Recommendations:

  • Maintain a high quality of existing roadways and provide real-time information on road closures.
  • Support the development of information and communications technology infrastructure to enable safety and mobility applications as well as economic development.
  • Invest in research and test beds to develop next generation technology, evaluate emerging disruptive technology and recommend policy.
  • Assist local government in technology investment and policy development.
  • Encourage and promote the emerging transportation technology industry in Pennsylvania.
  • Develop policy to mitigate the risks and unintended societal consequence.

Director of the Traffic21 Institute, Prof. Chris Henrickson speaks at the ASCE International Conference

July 16, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 16, 2018

Pittsburgh hosted the American Society of Civil Engineers’ International Conference on Transportation & Development 2018.  Pictured is Prof. Chris Hendrickson, Director of the Traffic21 Institute, speaking from the plenary podium.

Mobility21 Executive Director, Stan Caldwell Presents Examples of UTC Tech Transfer at ASCE Conference

July 15, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

July 15, 2018

Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of Mobility21, participated in a panel where he presented examples of Mobility21 UTC Technology Transfer.  This Pre-Conference Workshop: University Transportation Center (UTC) Technology Transfer was part of the ASCE International Conference on Transportation and Development in Pittsburgh.  Also participating on the panel were Kevin Womack and Amy Sterns from the US DOT UTC Program and fellow UTC representatives; Larry Rilett from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln Atorod Azizinamini from Florida International University and David Noyce from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Lost? Ask This Robot for Directions

July 3, 2018
Posted in News

Rathu Baxter has been designed by the robotics team to act as a guide for people with low or no sight. It’s intended to help them to move through public spaces, such as train stations and local government-run facilities, after gaining instructions from the robot. Here’s how it works.

“Where do you want to go?” said Rathu after an initial “hello” message that alerts non-sighted humans to its presence.

“Elevator, please,” said Dr. Aaron Steinfeld, Associate Research Professor, Robotics Institute.

Rathu gently moved its arm towards Dr. Steinfeld. As the robot has vision via its onboard cameras and sensors, it won’t accidentally bump into him. Dr. Steinfeld then held his right hand flat under Rathu’s left end effector, which has a small cylindrical tube at the end. Once in position, Rathu prompted him to grasp the tube.

This is because it’s customary, in the non-sighted experience of the world, to ask a sighted person to “draw out” a map with steps on your palm. Then your brain translates it into a mental 3D map and you can move ahead.
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From Mechanical to Technological: The Evolution of Smart Cars

July 2, 2018
Posted in News

They need to talk. No, not him and her. It’s your car. Your car and the road.

The ability for that to happen is what’s driving the change from standard cars to autonomous vehicles.

Research into autonomous vehicles is already unleashing a change in education and igniting concerns among owners of small repair shops.What makes a self-driving car work is less about the mechanics and more about the controls.

“It’s about the software and hardware within the vehicle and how they interact with the sensors; whether it’s Lidar sensors, radar sensors; those types of visual systems, and how those feedback into the computer systems of the vehicle. ” said Maryn Weimer, senior associate director of Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research in Columbus.
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FUTURE U.S. COMBAT VEHICLES HAVE ‘SHAPE-SHIFTING’ WHEELS, VIRTUAL WINDOWS

June 28, 2018
Posted in News

Technology-enhanced combat vehicles with Transformers-like capabilities, such as “shape-shifting” wheels, autonomous driving and virtual windows, may soon be on the battlefield.

As part of an ongoing program known as Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently demonstrated a number of new “disruptive” advancements, including a mechanism integrated into a U.S. military Humvee that transforms a round wheel to a triangular track in a matter of seconds while the vehicle is on the move.

The futuristic function, officially called Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT), is being developed by a team from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. It was one of many new traversal capabilities exhibited at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in May.
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UTC Researchers were featured speakers at the Accessible Transportation Symposium

June 27, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 26, 2018

UTC Researchers Steve Smith and Aaron Steinfield were featured speakers at the Accessible Transportation Symposium. Over 80 people attended the event. The event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell participated in the Federal Highway Administration’s National Dialogue on Highway Automation

June 27, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 26 & 27, 2018

Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell participated in the Federal Highway Administration’s National Dialogue on Highway Automation to provide input from the University Transportation Center perspective and share both technology and policy research on vehicle automation. This two day workshop in Philadelphia focused on Planning and Policy is was the first of five national.

Read a complete summary of the two-day symposium here.

Traffic21 Presentation to the Allegheny County’s Green Action Team

June 26, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 26, 2018

Traffic21 Program Manager, Lisa Kay Schweyer shared the history of Traffic21 and the University Transportation Centers (T-SET and Mobility21).  She also provided an overview of the research, the way research involves and is shared with the public, and how green action team members could learn more.

UTC Faculty, Rahul Mangharam joins Panel as Moderator at SAE Symposium

June 20, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 20, 2018

Rahul Mangharam, UTC Faculty, Associate Professor, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Univ. of Pennsylvania moderated a panel on Evaluation of insurance and liability issues across the ADAS spectrum at the SAE Automated and Connected Vehicle Systems Testing Symposium. Included on the panel was Philip Koopman, Associate professor in the Department of ECE at CMU.

Raj Rajkumar and Stan Caldwell Join Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force Meeting

June 15, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 15, 2018

Mobility21 National UTC Director, Raj Rajkumar and Traffic21/Mobility21 Executive Director, Stan Caldwell attended the Pennsylvania Autonomous Vehicle Policy Task Force. The task force is compromised of Commonwealth Reps, Stakeholders, PennDot and Legislative support. Following several meetings, PennDot has issued guidance to enhance safety oversight of Highly Automated Vehicles in Pennsylvania.

Traffic21/Mobility21 Exec. Director, Stan Caldwell, Attends SPC Resource Panel

June 12, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

June 12, 2018

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission is the regional planning agency serving the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania region. They held a Forces of Change Expert Resource Panel in Pittsburgh. Stan Caldwell joined to represent Traffic21’s research and initiatives.

CMU Student’s Report on The Future of Work: Truckers on the Road to Automation

June 12, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

The Future of Work Systems Synthesis graduate capstone class team, composed of five Carnegie Mellon University students, partnered with the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative to explore potential impacts to long-haul truckers and policy responses to automation in the trucking industry. The team set out to answer two primary questions:

  1. How might highly automated commercial vehicles disrupt the trucking workforce and long-haul trucking industry?
  2. How are states and state trucking advocacy groups responding to this potential disruption?

The next steps, concluded in the thesis, was that policy makers need to systematically manage the future of work for long-haul truckers through data collection. The data might include the exit and entry of drivers in the workforce, rate of displacement from automation and tracking new jobs created by automation. Data could also be collected on the drivers themselves, such as who leaves the industry and where they go.

The team concluded that regulators and policymakers need to focus in the short-term on understanding how autonomous technology will be used in the long-haul trucking industry. This will aid policymakers in being empowered and informed when developing policy on how autonomous technology will be used in the long-haul trucking industry, including performance, safety and workforce issues.

Read the full reports below:

Future of Work: Truckers on the Road to Automation Prediction

Future of Work – Truckers on the Road to Automation