Savannah has been named a finalist for the Smart City Award

April 23, 2019
Posted in News

The City of Savannah has been named a finalist in the Transportation/Infrastructure category for its partnership with the company Roadbotics. It’s a recognition bestowed by International Data Corporation’s 2019 Smart Cities North America Awards. Roadbotics worked with the city to create a database of road infrastructure conditions through machine learning technology that grades every mile of the Savannah road network.
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Economic development is priority for Sandy Twp.

April 23, 2019
Posted in News

One of the biggest priorities on Sandy Township’s list is local economic development, according to Manager Shawn Arbaugh…

The township is also planning a five-year capital program for vehicles and equipment, in addition to a 10-year plan for township roads, he said.

RoadBotics, of Pittsburgh, takes hundreds of thousands of photos of roadways and then runs them through a computer modeling system to identify defects, Arbaugh said.

“It’s really great because you have all these photos cataloged so you can always go back and take a look at the defects and repairs needed,” said Arbaugh. “It just gives you a nice mapping of your roadways. So we’re looking forward to partnering with them.”

One of the things RoadBotics doesn’t have any experience with is dirt and gravel roads, Arbaugh said.

“They actually told us they could do those roads for us for free to help develop their software that they’re working on. So we’re going to partner with them later this year on that project,” he said.
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North Carolina trying to attract more ‘cleantech’ companies

April 23, 2019
Posted in News

“The Joules Accelerator goes out and tries to identify cleantech early-stage companies that can come back to our region between Charlotte and Raleigh and hopefully engage the community,” said Bob Irvin, executive director of the Joules Accelerator.

“A lot of it is happening out in California, Texas and New York, so we kind of have to bring it here,” Irvin said.

So they did. Eight startups from around the country were selected for this year’s program. One is based in Pittsburgh and has figured out a way to use cell phones to find potholes.

“Roadbotics assesses roads using a standard cellphone and AI (artificial intelligence),” said Roadbotics CEO Mark Desantis.

Their customers are usually cities, which can then save taxpayer money by using technology to be proactive in road maintenance.
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Volvo taught its cars to warn each other about icy roads

April 23, 2019
Posted in News

The Swedish company is also offering a “hazard light alert” across Europe. If one vehicle turns on its hazard lights, others get notified. While Volvo has already offered this features for a couple years in Sweden and Norway, they’re now rolling it out to the rest of Europe.

This kind of network-powered safety feature, coming straight from the car—as opposed to a smartphone app—is a “logical next step” in the field, says Christoph Mertz, a principal project scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Incorporating this type of technology into traditional cars also represents a type of halfway point between older, low-tech cars at one end of the spectrum, and fully autonomous vehicles, like those operated by Waymo, Cruise, or Drive.ai, at the other.

“You see that the car manufacturers, they’re doing one step after another,” Mertz adds. “Whereas other companies are trying to do autonomy all at once.”
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Aptiv opens autonomous mobility center in China

April 23, 2019
Posted in News

U.S. auto-parts supplier Aptiv said on Wednesday it was opening an autonomous mobility center in Shanghai, in a push to position its self-driving vehicles in China.

The center in the world’s biggest auto market would be one of Aptiv’s major autonomous driving engineering hubs, alongside Boston, Singapore, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas, the company said.

The Shanghai unit will focus on Aptiv’s L4 or level 4 technology that will allow cars to pilot themselves without a human driver under certain conditions.

Aptiv said it was in talks with partners for mapping and commercial deployment of its vehicles in China.
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Audi won’t say why the e-tron has a big battery but low range

April 15, 2019
Posted in News



There’s one problem though. The e-tron SUV has a 95 kWh battery, but only 204 miles (328 km) of range, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s rating announced on April 5. Tesla’s SUV, the Model X, has a 238-mile range with a 75 kWh battery, and has a range of 289 miles with a 100 kWh battery.

“Something doesn’t add up,” says Venkat Viswanathan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Audi isn’t the first victim of Viswanathan’s calculations. In 2017, when Tesla announced its planned heavy-duty, long-range truck (called the Semi), he did the math and found out it’d be impossible to make an electric truck that can go 600 miles on a single charge, which is the average driving distance for such vehicles. And indeed, when Tesla announced the range for the Semi, both models had a range of less than 500 miles.
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Mobility21 Hosts Second Annual National Mobility Summit

April 11, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 11, 2019

Today, Mobility21 hosted the Second Annual National Mobility Summit in Washington D.C.  The summit provided a unique opportunity for 125 people, made up of faculty members, researchers, government, community, and industry representatives from across the country to discuss improving mobility for people and goods.  The day also highlighted work from 10 of the mobility-themed UTC’s around the country (representing 50+ educational institutions) and a research showcase to share their ideas and create new collaborative efforts to transfer research to deployment.

 

 

 

 

Tens of thousands of cars were left exposed to thieves due to a hardcoded password

April 10, 2019
Posted in News

The maker of a popular vehicle telematics system has left hardcoded credentials inside its mobile apps, leaving tens of thousands of cars vulnerable to hackers.

Security updates that remove the hardcoded credentials have been made available for both the MyCar Android and iOS apps since mid-February, the security researcher who found this issue told ZDNet today…

According to a security alert sent out on Monday by the Carnegie Mellon University CERT Coordination Center, before the updates, any threat actor could have extracted these hardcoded credentials from the app’s source code and they could have been used “in place of a user’s username and password to communicate with the server endpoint for a target user’s account,” granting full control over any connected cars –such as locating, unlocking, and starting any connected cars.
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How we get to the next big battery breakthrough

April 8, 2019
Posted in News

Efforts like Leclanché’s show it’s possible to tinker with battery chemistries to increase their power. Still, nobody has yet built a battery powerful enough to rapidly deliver the energy needed for a commercial plane to defeat gravity. Startups are looking to build smaller planes (seating up to 12 people), which could fly on relatively lower power-dense batteries, or electric hybrid planes, where jet fuel does the hard lifting and batteries do the coasting.

But there’s really no company working in this space anywhere near commercialization. Further, the kind of technological leap required for an all-electric commercial plane will likely take decades, says Venkat Viswanathan, a battery expert at Carnegie Mellon University.
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Answers to burning questions on battery science and business

April 8, 2019
Posted in News

4. Are solid-state batteries going to be practical—and commercially available—for cars in the next few years?

It seems so. Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and an advisor to QuantumScape, one of the hottest solid-state battery startups, certainly thinks so. Typically, new battery materials take 15 years to go from lab to commercial scale. QuantumScape was founded in 2010.

For context, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte material instead of the typical liquid electrolyte. The job of the electrolyte is to shuttle ions between the electrodes, as the battery charges and discharges. Using solid electrolytes will open up the possibility of using new types of anode, such as lithium metal, which store a lot more energy than today’s graphite anode.

The difficulty is that, so far, liquids tend to be better at doing the job than solids. But companies like QuantumScape, Blue Current, and Toyota are trying to solve the problem.
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Transportation Club hosts Dinner with Women in Transportation

April 8, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 8, 2019

CMU Transportation Club co-hosted an event with Women in Transportation (WTS) that featured a panelists of women who currently work in the transportation industry. The panelists highlighted WTS and how students can get involved with WTS and the transportation industry.

Smart Mobility Connection Features John P. Shen and Abhinav Jauhri

April 5, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 5, 2019

This week’s Smart Mobility Connection Series featured Professor John Shen and PhD Student, Abhinav Jauhri from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. This talk highlighted their work with Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and how they’re using data sets to improve ride sharing services, mitigating traffic congestion and even what-if scenarios for intelligent transportation systems. Watch the talk here.

Mobility21 Fellow Wins CUTC Seat at Eno’s Annual Future Leaders Development Conference

April 3, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

April 3, 2019

The 2019 Eno Future Leaders Development Conference will be held in Washington D.C. from June 2-June 6, 2019 this year – and Mobility21 UTC’s Women in Transportation Fellow, Bonnie Fan, will be at the event at the winner of the CUTC’s reserved seat.

Could Driverless Cars Pick Up Passengers In Wheelchairs?

April 1, 2019
Posted in News

However, John Zimmerman, a professor of artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, had the most optimistic view out of the other two panelists. He believes that the medical field of technology will exponentially advance by 2040. He said, “There are other emerging technologies that could make this future scenario actually happen. There’s a bunch of new technologies. I’m curious, like would she be in a wheelchair or would she have a set of augmented legs. A wheelchair is sort of a fixed view, and there’s a bunch of new technologies coming out that are much more on the body.”

Zimmerman strongly believes that there would be a tremendous improvement in the realm of adaptive and medical technology that will improve the lives of people with disabilities, so equipment like wheelchairs would be a thing in the past.
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What will it take for humans to trust self-driving cars?

April 1, 2019
Posted in News

Ultimately, not everyone will have to trust driverless cars enough to go for a ride, and especially not at first. Indeed, the public isn’t homogeneous, says Raj Rajkumar, who directs the Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He notices three categories of potential users: tech skeptics, who know that their computer crashes and worry about getting into a vehicle controlled by one; early adopters, who are delighted by the promise of new tech; and people who are stressed by driving and would rather not do it if they don’t have to. The early adopters will buy in first, followed by the folks who just dislike driving, and then finally the skeptics, he argues. “So it’s a long process.” Trust grows like a self-driving shuttle drives: slowly.
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Automation continues to be relevant issue

April 1, 2019
Posted in News

Carnegie Mellon University research, from the College of Engineering to the School of Computer Science to Heinz College, is focusing on one of the more positive aspects of delivery automation: energy-saving and consequent environmental friendliness. The U.S. Department of Energy has provided Carnegie Mellon with $2.5 million for research on energy efficiency and mobility intelligence for drones, autonomous vehicles, and robots.

Carnegie Mellon associate professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering and 2019 ASCE Pittsburgh professor of the year, Costa Samaras, is one of the leaders in the project, and discussed the implications of this ongoing research in an interview with The Tartan.

Primarily, his team is trying to figure out how much energy automated delivery robots and their complementing networks could save in the goods transportation market. Samaras estimates at least a 20 percent energy savings.
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How AVs could help respond to disasters

March 27, 2019
Posted in News

Weather-related natural disasters are on the rise, and AVs could become powerful tools for activating response systems and for collecting and sharing data, news and warnings.

Why it matters: Connected AVs could contribute to new emergency response networks by disseminating critical information, routing people away from disasters and possibly even dispatching emergency AVs on optimized routes…

Early iterations of these systems exist, but typically run on smartphones or other connected devices brought into the car to supplement current vehicle capabilities. Eventually, this technology could be embedded directly in AVs, making it possible for autonomous vehicles to respond immediately to events.

Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has used dashboard mounted smartphones to collect and assess images of hillsides to track and anticipate landslides. This technology could be used to predict landslides and route vehicles around them.
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Elgin Sweeper Partners with RoadBotics to Assess Road Conditions

March 27, 2019
Posted in News

Elgin Sweeper Company has partnered with RoadBotics, Inc. to offer Florida’s 400-plus municipalities the ability to collect road condition data during sweeping operations, exclusively using Elgin Sweeper street sweepers. The partnership aims to help local government officials managing road maintenance budgets – while facing mounting pressure from citizens to address potholes and other poor road conditions – to make data-driven road improvement decisions.

According to Mike Higgins, vice president and general manager at Elgin Sweeper, the partnership with RoadBotics will enable many of the company’s municipal customers across Florida to receive important data about the conditions of their roads as they sweep.
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The City of Portland reduces travel times at Maine’s busiest intersection by 20%

March 20, 2019
Posted in News

The Surtrac adaptive traffic signal control technology was originally developed in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and is now offered by spin-off company Rapid Flow Technologies. Using real-time data and artificial intelligence (AI), Surtrac works well in more predictable suburban arterial environments, but it is also ideal for more complex networks, including grids and closely spaced intersections, where competing traffic flows require service from different directions or where flows are unpredictable and change in ways that makes time-of-day patterns obsolete very quickly. These were the very conditions present at Morrill’s Corner, and why Surtrac has been so effective in reducing congestion there. As Portland’s population continues to grow, the traffic conditions at Morrill’s Corner will evolve and change over time. Surtrac naturally adapts to these changes using its second-by-second AI optimization.
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Montgomery – The Capital of Dreams – Brings Big Ideas to City Governance

March 20, 2019
Posted in News

From pavement management to sanitation fleet efficiency, Montgomery is making things happen. The city recently won two separate Smart 50 Awards! In recent years, Montgomery has experienced a renaissance both economically and structurally. In addition to serving as the second largest city in Alabama and the seat of state government, Montgomery is home to a major military installation (Maxwell-Gunter AFB), the USAF Air University, Civil War and Civil Rights historical monuments, and an industrial base that includes Hyundai Motor Manufacturing. From street paving to sanitation, Montgomery strives to provide the best public goods and services it can to the community. It was our pleasure to dig in a little bit deeper on what it means to be a smart community with Savio Dias, IT Manager for the City of Montgomery. Here’s what he had to say:

SD: Last July, we engaged in a pilot program with a private company to scan and analyze a significant portion of our roadways using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
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Investors likely to put $1 billion into Uber’s self-driving unit

March 14, 2019
Posted in News

Uber Technologies Inc. may see around $1 billion in investment headed its way in the coming months, as a group including SoftBank Group and an unnamed automaker are in late stage talks to invest in the company’s self-driving unit, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

Raj Rajkumar, co-director of the General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Vehicular Information Technology Collaborative Research Lab, said the likely investment reinforces Pittsburgh’s place as a leader in the autonomous vehicle space.

Rajkumar said Uber spends close to $800 million per year on it’s self-driving tech, and an investment of this size could fund that development for about two years. Yet, Rajkumar said he expects Uber will need more where that money came from to get its products to a place where they would be commercially available.
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PA Rural Robotics Initiative Takes Off and Thanks CMU’s Traffic21/Mobility21 for Assistance

March 12, 2019
Posted in What's Happening

March 12, 2019

Twelve months ago, Franklin Area High School had four lonely VEX robots that students traveled around Pennsylvania and West Virginia with, searching for teams to compete against. Fast-forward to the end of this February and those four robots have 180 new companions right next door. Together they make up the Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative, a consortium of 11 school districts, one technology center, and an intermediate unit that all share a common robotics platform and curriculum. Twenty-five schools, covering five counties, have found like-minded friends in higher education, business and industry, state and local government, non-profits, and regional economic and workforce development that not only support their initiative but help it to thrive.

The Traffic21 and Mobility21 Institute’s leadership team has been a trusted advisor since the conception of PA Rural Robotics and continues to look for ways to support their mission. Both faculty and graduate students from the Robotics Institute are working to bring CMU and these young STEM students together. PA Rural Robotics was also excited to find themselves partnered with a team of CMU undergraduate students as part of the Information Systems Spring Project. The Office of Outreach and Engagement have provided a menu of options that can further the CMU connections as the initiative grows. The most recent Carnegie Mellon connection was with the CMU CS Academy. PA Rural Robotics plans to introduce their member schools to the CS1 course and discuss the potential it could have in expanding computer science offerings within all of the member districts.

Smartphones, Electric Cars, and Green Buildings Need a Better Battery. This MIT-Trained Scientist Just Might Have Built One

March 12, 2019
Posted in News

The electric-vehicle market demonstrates some of the problems that battery makers have yet to solve. Today, most EVs still can’t go as far on a single battery charge as a traditional vehicle can on a tank of gas. But that EV is more expensive to make and to buy–in part because the batteries that power it are big, inefficient, and expensive. They’re the same, after all, as the batteries in your fast-draining iPhone, except that “there are about 10,000 times more cells in a car than in a smartphone,” says Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering professor Venkat Viswanathan. “What we need for the mass-market electric car is some more reduction in battery cost and some increase in energy density.” Fewer than one million vehicles sold in 2016 were powered solely by batteries; but by 2025, that number will increase to eight million and another 25 million hybrids will be on the road, which combined will account for 31 percent of the global automotive market, according to JPMorgan predictions.
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Chapter 90 funding will not cover funding needed for road repair in Ashburnham

March 11, 2019
Posted in News

Budrewicz said during a recent Board of Selectmen discussion concerning the 2020 pavement plan that the Chapter 90 funding from the state was $341,000, meaning the town would have to find supplemental funding to complete the roads listed for repair. She told the selectmen she was looking for ways to make up for the gap through the town’s operational budget.

Ashburnham has contracted with a firm called Beta, a company that has teamed with RoadBotics to provide the latest technology in automated pavement management inspections. Beta is analyzing all roads to make recommendations on which roads should first be addressed because of their deterioration. A completed list will be submitted when the analysis is done.
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1 big thing: A sky-full of cars

March 11, 2019
Posted in News

Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who advises flying vehicle startups, tells Axios that enormous improvements in lithium-ion batteries are a key enabler of this new age, but that much more progress is required.

It’s all about the economics: Developers are relying on autonomous electric technology because they cheapen the cost-per-mile operation of such vehicles over internal combustion systems, Viswanathan said.
“Having access to a pilot for that number of flying taxis will be nearly impossible,” he said.Currently, Viswanathan said, commercial electric car batteries can last about 1,000 cycles of charging and recharging, enough for hundreds of thousands of miles of driving.

But flying passenger vehicles will require batteries that can endure many thousand more cycles, he said, in order to make the vehicles work economically.
That is the next hurdle — developing more durable lithium-ion batteries.
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