Ohio State researchers developing app for pedestrian safety

January 23, 2023

After working with the City of Marysville and observing data from one of their smart intersections, these professors, including Professor Levent Guvenc, Ph.D. who teaches mechanical and aerospace engineering, noted pedestrians’ movements can be quick and unpredictable, and they are often hard to see.

They asked themselves how could drivers be alerted to pedestrians without necessarily needing to see them first.

That’s where their app development started.

Most cellphones people use have GPS systems and Bluetooth capabilities allowing them to connect to each other.

From those capabilities, Doctor Guvenc and his team at the Ohio State University’s College of Engineering created an app for pedestrians and drivers to keep everyone on the road safe.

Drivers and pedestrians who download the app will be able to get alerts that tell drivers, for example, to slow down because there is a pedestrian they may not be able to see around their vehicle.

Feds reviewing Musk tweet about disabling driver monitoring

January 16, 2023

A tweet from Elon Musk indicating that Tesla might allow some owners who are testing a “Full Self-Driving” system to disable an alert that reminds them to keep their hands on the steering wheel has drawn attention from U.S. safety regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it asked Tesla for more information about the tweet. Last week, the agency said the issue is now part of a broader investigation into at least 14 Teslas that have crashed into emergency vehicles while using the Autopilot driver assist system…

Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, argued that Tesla is contradicting itself in a way that could confuse drivers. “They’re trying to make customers happy by taking their hands off the wheel, even while the (owners) manual says ‘don’t do that.’ ”

Destination unknown? Pittsburgh’s autonomous vehicle industry seeks a new course after a disastrous season.

January 16, 2023

“We’re definitely in a colder period now,” said John Dolan, a systems engineer and professor at the CMU Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research. “A bit of an autonomous driving winter perhaps, as we’ve seen with some of these recent closures. I just don’t know how it’s going to go in the future.”

Pittsburgh put itself on the autonomy map in 2007, when Carnegie Mellon University’s Tartan Racing team won the DARPA Urban Challenge, a 60-mile driverless race. Notable alumni of the CMU team include Urmson; Raj Rajkumar, director of Mobility21, a smart transportation initiative; Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI; and Dave Ferguson, co-founder and president of Nuro, another AV company.

In 2008, General Motors revitalized an early 2000s partnership with CMU to advance driverless technology. The industry really started rolling a few years later. “In the middle 2010s, I was getting contacted on almost a weekly basis by reporters asking about what was going to make the difference,” said Dolan. “What were the gaps in autonomous driving technology? When were things going to be broadly deployed on roads?”

Electric planes sound like a fantasy but they may be the future for short-haul in Australia

January 13, 2023

The main obstacle for long-haul operators is weight. Two decades before the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903, a two-man crew took the airship La France on the first round trip by an aerial vehicle.It carried a 435kg zinc-chlorine battery on its 8km journey – the equivalent of hauling around a grand piano.

A modern battery this massive would still provide only a fraction of the power required for a commercial passenger aircraft with 150 or more seats.

In January Carnegie Mellon University’s Prof Venkat Viswanathan wrote an article for Nature on the future of batteries in aviation which has become a call-to-arms for engineers in the industry. Viswanathan and his coauthors concluded that it was possible to make significant gains in battery chemistry for use in aviation by 2030 – but only if everything went right along the way. And even then, they would still not be capable of powering the largest passenger aircraft.

What Happens to the Future of Electric Cars if Tesla Dies?

January 13, 2023

Tesla revolutionized the way the world sees and drives EVs—but with its back against the wall and the financial situation looking more and more bleak by the tweet, we might very well soon find ourselves in a situation where the biggest name in the game has gone belly up.

Let’s be clear: there’s a fairly low chance of that happening… but what if it does?

To understand the impact Tesla’s disappearance would have on the future of EVs, it’s important to wrap our minds around how exactly we got here.

“I give Elon Musk a lot of credit. He almost single-handedly made electric vehicles glamorous and sexy,” Ragunathan “Raj” Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and autonomous vehicle researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, told The Daily Beast. “People associated them with the person who was transforming the automotive industry and doing the right thing for the planet.”

Hawaii autonomous race car team places third in driverless challenge

January 13, 2023

The University of Hawai?i‘s autonomous race car team finished in third place at the Autonomous Challenge at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) on Jan. 7 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

UH AI Racing Tech is a collaboration between UH Maui College, UH M?noa’s College of Engineering, UC San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkeley.

One team member described the race as a “rollercoaster” competition…

Since UH AI Racing Tech was able to overcome its mechanical issue, according to race bylaws, organizers modified the schedule and bracket, and UH AI Racing Tech was able to race for third place against MIT–PITT–RW, which defeated KAIST in the quarterfinals…

PoliMOVE out of Italy defended its Autonomous Challenge at CES title, winning the inaugural event in 2022.

We asked 17 smart people to predict the future of transportation in 2023

January 6, 2023

Here at The Verge, we keep our unwavering eyes always on the future, which is why I thought it could be cool to reach out to a bunch of my favorite smart people in transportation to get their predictions for 2023…

Raj Rajkumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

There will be an ongoing retrenchment of the AV industry. Expect more layoffs in the large AV companies and at least one more high-profile flameout like Argo AI. Emphasis will dramatically shift from full autonomy and robotaxis to ADAS++ and high automation features. I, for one, am very bullish on the viability and appeal of advanced autonomy (as opposed to full autonomy, which will still take time).

Some existing partnerships between OEMs and high-profile AV startups will f(l)ail since the latter are unable to deliver. This will be particularly true for startups that only depend on cameras as their AV sensors.

This robot is on a mission to eliminate short car trips

December 27, 2022

Many of the world’s robots got their start at Carnegie Mellon University, where people like Gabriel Goldman, a senior commercialization specialist, try to close the gap between vanguard engineering and actual revenue. Goldman says much of his time is spent convincing potential partners that “small, progressive gains towards a realistic solution” make more sense than expensive autonomous robots. “There’s a huge benefit to just augmenting what an operator can do,” he says.

Still, Goldman doesn’t expect machines like Gita to be ubiquitous for another decade or so, simply because it still costs too much to make a truly killer version — one that can climb stairs, for example, or follow its owner through a whiteout blizzard.

“It’s all those edge cases that are probably holding them back a little,” he explains. “For most consumer-grade robotics right now, the price point that actually makes it achievable from a market standpoint really limits the ability of what it can actually do.”

Indy Autonomous Challenge returns to CES 2023 to spotlight autonomous racing

December 26, 2022

The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) returns to CES 2023 to push the boundaries of head-to-head autonomous racing and showcase the future of autonomous mobility…

The following university teams are competing in the Autonomous Challenge @ CES 2023:

AI Racing Tech – University of Hawai’i (Hawai’i), with the University of California, San Diego (California), Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania), and University of California, Berkeley (California)

Autonomous Tiger Racing – Auburn University (Alabama)

Black & Gold Racing – Purdue University (Indiana)

Cavalier Autonomous Racing – University of Virginia (Virginia)

KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea)

MIT-PITT-RW – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts), University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Rochester Institute of Technology (New York), University of Waterloo (Canada)

PoliMOVE – Politecnico di Milano (Italy), University of Alabama (Alabama)
TII EuroRacing – University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), Technology Innovation Institute (United Arab Emirates)

TUM Autonomous Motorsport – Technische Universität München (Germany)

25 years of autonomous vehicles: The challenge towards Level 5

December 20, 2022

The source of the many groundbreaking developments in autonomous vehicles (AVs) today came in the 1990s. Inspired by the futuristic image of self-driving cars of the sci-fi genre, the 90s witnessed several developments in autonomous driving:

1995: Carnegie Mellon University completed the first US coast-to-coast autonomous driving of 4,500 km. Over 98% of the journey was driven by the computer RALPH built into a minivan.
1996: Mercedes S Class managed to drive from Munich to Copenhagen through computed vision.
1997: One of the pillars of Autopilot technology, Adaptive cruise control (ACC), debuted on the Toyota Celsior.
1998: The US Congress requested an “automated highway system” demonstration.
1999: The first driverless vehicle, ParkShuttle, produced by Connexxion, rolled onto the roads.

The final period of the 1990s saw the establishment of some critical tech companies in autonomous driving, such as Google in 1998 and Mobileye in 1999.

Check it out: CMU’s Robotics Institute is getting robots to predict human actions

December 16, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute wants you to imagine a future filled with robots — not to replace humans, but to support them.
One promising application of robot-human interaction is on the manufacturing floor. We’ve seen this play out most prominently in Pittsburgh from the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute, which recently scored Build Back Better Regional Challenge funding to create a “de-risking” center for small manufacturers that allows them to try out robotics solutions, among other programs.

CMU researchers are thinking about the challenge, too. The first of many steps to get to collaborative work could include an industrial robot strong enough to lift engine blocks, and smart enough to predict its human partner’s actions. To get there, following three years of work this past October, the Robotics Institute demonstrated for Ford Motor Company technology that could enable robots to partner with humans during manufacturing.

Pittsburgh startup says its tech will let electric vehicles go the distance without recharging

December 12, 2022

Range anxiety remains one of the greatest obstacles to the broader adoption of electric vehicles, but local startup CorePower Magnetics is developing electrical components that could eliminate the problem.

The two-and-a-half-year-old company makes lightweight motors, inductors and transformers that allow battery-powered vehicles to travel farther without recharging, according to president and CEO Sam Kernion. He said the technology promises to speed up the charging process, too…

Based on a decade of research at Carnegie Mellon University, CorePower’s technology has attracted $7.5 million in investment, including a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, according to the startup. It is working with agricultural equipment maker John Deere and power management company Eaton Corporation to expand its production…

At the site, CorePower will make the nanocrystalline alloy its founders created as graduate students at Carnegie Mellon. The material is a metal composed primarily of iron, nickel, and cobalt, and Kernion said it could eliminate the need to use costly rare earth elements in motor components.

How Uber and Lyft are transforming U.S. cities

December 7, 2022

Over the last decade, the meteoric rise of ridesourcing services like Uber and Lyft have transformed the urban landscape, affecting travel patterns, car ownership, and congestion, and more broadly, the economy, the environment, and equity.

The ways in which Uber and Lyft are redefining mobility is the focus of a new policy brief series, ” Uber and Lyft in U.S. Cities: Findings and Recommendations from Carnegie Mellon University Research on Transportation Network Companies (TNCs).”

The brief series, a compilation of studies conducted by Jeremy Michalek, the lead author, and other Carnegie Mellon Engineering researchers, delves into the implications and opportunities that TNCs present…

On the plus side, the researchers found that TNCs have increased economic growth, employment, and wages for intermittent jobs in U.S. cities.

“However, Uber and Lyft affect different kinds of cities differently, and that is important to understanding their impact,” explains Michalek.

Nagoya startup offers unique tactic to sell driverless tech

November 18, 2022

In the field of self-driving cars, Japanese companies are being left in the dust of their U.S. rivals, including Waymo LLC of Google operator Alphabet Inc. and General Motors affiliate GM Cruise Holdings.

However, a Nagoya University startup is throwing its hat in the ring using a unique strategy.

Tier IV Inc. is contemplating a business plan that offers its software for free, in principle, to encourage more companies to use its self-driving technologies.

Shinpei Kato, chief technical officer of the company who studied autonomous driving at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, founded the Nagoya-based company.

“The value of software will continue to rise. We want to enhance the system capabilities and increase sales,” Kato said.

Tier IV purchased a chassis from automakers to develop an autonomous driving system.

Automakers were brought together in late September for a trial experiment on their self-driving cars along Tokyo’s Aomi waterfront.

All routes lead to cleaner air

November 8, 2022

One of the longest running smart transport projects is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. In July 2012, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University deployed its adaptive traffic signal technology, Surtrac in nine traffic junction sites in the East Liberty area of the city.

The AI/robotic system treats traffic control at these junctions as a single machine scheduling issue…

Stephen F Smith, research professor and director of the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Lab, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University explained: “At the beginning of each planning cycle, a given intersection perceives the approaching (or already queued) traffic from its local sensors and builds a prediction of when it expects each approaching vehicle to arrive at the intersection. Then, in real-time it constructs a “signal timing plan” (a schedule of ‘green’ times for each intersection phase) that moves all of the sensed traffic through the intersection in a way that minimises cumulative wait time.

Gov. Wolf signs legislation permitting driverless vehicles on public roads into law

November 4, 2022

With the stroke of Gov. Tom Wolf’s pen, House Bill 2398 has now become law following months of negotiations and the bulk of it will take effect in July 2023. Late last month, the bi-partisan bill passed the House with a vote of 119-79 in favor after making its way through the Senate with a vote of 29-20 in favor…

The bill’s adoption is the result of work from a coalition of advocates, including Pittsburgh-based AV companies, research firms, universities and PennDOT. Opponents of the bill have expressed concerns over the potential labor implications it carries especially as it relates to claims that there aren’t enough protections for unions and workers, like truck drivers, that the implementation of this technology is set to impact the most.

“I encourage the General Assembly to ensure that Pennsylvania workers are supported in the event that highly automated vehicles cause disruption to the current and evolving workforce,” Wolf said.

Self-driving car company’s sudden shutdown is a ‘shock’

November 1, 2022

A promising autonomous vehicle company that had raised billions of dollars has suddenly folded.

Argo AI, headquartered in Pittsburgh, had been considered an up-and-coming startup. News of its shutdown came as its main backers, Ford and Volkswagen, decided to no longer invest.

“The shutdown of Argo AI was a big shock to the Pittsburgh community, especially because they were kind of seen as a Cinderella story for autonomous vehicle companies, growing up with homegrown talent and getting on the national stage, being based here in Pittsburgh,” said Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of Traffic21, a traffic research institute with Carnegie Mellon University…

With that said, he doesn’t expect the industry to take a downward turn.

“I believe the industry is still going to be thriving, here in Pennsylvania and nationally,” he said. “But this has just been such a volatile industry. This is a very new industry. And there are a lot of players that continue to come in and out.”

Self-driving car company’s sudden shutdown is a ‘shock’

October 31, 2022

Argo AI, headquartered in Pittsburgh, had been considered an up-and-coming startup. News of its shutdown came as its main backers, Ford and Volkswagen, decided to no longer invest.

“The shutdown of Argo AI was a big shock to the Pittsburgh community, especially because they were kind of seen as a Cinderella story for autonomous vehicle companies, growing up with homegrown talent and getting on the national stage, being based here in Pittsburgh,” said Stan Caldwell, Executive Director of Traffic21, a traffic research institute with Carnegie Mellon University…

“I believe the industry is still going to be thriving, here in Pennsylvania and nationally,” he said. “But this has just been such a volatile industry. This is a very new industry. And there are a lot of players that continue to come in and out.”

Your Car’s Driving Assistance Tech Isn’t Meant to Be Used Alone—Here’s Why

October 25, 2022

A new study finds that drivers using driver assistance features often treat their vehicles as fully self-driving.

“These applications still require the human to keep their eyes on the road and hands ready to take over the wheel, just as we have been doing with traditional cruise control for decades,” Stan Caldwell, a professor of transportation and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University told Lifewire in an email interview…

Vehicles that you can buy currently can have levels 1 and 2 automation and include applications such as automated lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking, Caldwell said.

“Level 3 automation is coming, and already on some roads in Germany with Mercedes, where eyes can be off the road, but the human driver still may have to take over,” he added. “My concern is that if people are already over-relying on Level 2 automation, the situation may get worse.”

Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute is moving into new space

October 14, 2022

Currently located within Newell – Simon Hall at 5000 Forbes Ave. along CMU’s Oakland campus, the RI is setting its sights on leasing additional space in a former Barnes & Noble location on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. This will be an expansion to the institute’s current footprint, which is also scattered across other buildings on CMU’s campus…

CMU professors Jean Oh, head of the Bot Intelligence Group; Zac Manchester, who runs the Robotic Exploration Lab; and Sebastian Scherer, the AirLab leader, will use the space for their respective research teams that conduct robotics-based work relating to aerial autonomy, collaboration and exploration, among others.

“This move is just the beginning of a major expansion of the Robotics Institute,” Aupperlee said in an email to Pittsburgh Inno. “When the Robotics Innovation Center opens at Hazelwood Green, it will provide CMU robotics researchers with roughly 150,000 square feet for research, integration, iteration and commercialization.”

Tesla will remove more vehicle sensors amid Autopilot scrutiny

October 14, 2022

Tesla Inc said on Tuesday it will remove ultrasonic sensors from its vehicles starting this month, as it moves ahead with using only cameras in its safety and driver-assistant features.

Tesla vehicles now have 12 ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers, and short-range sound sensors are mainly used in parking applications and to detect close objects…

Tesla said it will remove ultrasonic sensors from the Model 3 and Model Y globally over the next few months, followed by the Model S and Model X in 2023.

The transition will temporarily limit automated parking features, but not affect crash safety ratings, Tesla noted.

“It remains to be seen whether this will be ‘two steps forward and one step backward’ or the other way around,” said Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

The Long Road to Driverless Trucks

October 11, 2022

Eventually, the industry will also embrace electric trucks powered by battery rather than fossil fuel, and this will raise still more questions for autonomous trucking. Where and how will the batteries get recharged? Won’t this prevent self-driving trucks from running 24 hours a day, as the industry has promised?

“There are so many issues that in reality are far more complex than they might seem on paper,” said Steve Viscelli, an economic and political sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in trucking. “Though the developers and their partners are putting a lot of effort into thinking this through, many of the questions about what needs to change cannot yet be answered. We are going to have to see what reality looks like.”

Drones could make last-mile package deliveries greener

October 11, 2022

Using drones for the last mile of package deliveries uses less energy and creates fewer emissions than conventional means, a new study shows.

As consumers, we’ve gotten used to the immediacy of deliveries. Order a product one day and have it at your house the next. But the logistics behind this massive movement of goods—and its environmental impact—mean that better solutions are needed to balance consumer demand and the energy consumption of “last-mile” deliveries.

To address this issue, researchers looked at what they refer to as “an increase in the demand for last-mile delivery while trying to reduce the environmental impacts of the transportation sector.”

Many companies are exploring using autonomous vehicles to perform last-mile delivery, says Thiago Rodrigues, a PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

‘Pittsburgh knows how to make things’: Global manufacturing summit takes stage in Downtown

October 10, 2022

It was the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit, the latest major international conference to take over (part of) the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

When Pittsburgh was first announced as the location of GMIS’s inaugural America edition, everyone from Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development issued statements about the honor. Previous GMIS events have been in Dubai and Yekaterinburg, Russia. The summit is co-chaired by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the United Arab Emirates.

The panels were star-studded — at least when it comes to Pittsburgh tech.

Bryan Salesky, CEO of Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle company Argo AI, spoke with Carnegie Mellon University professor Martial Herbert about another buzzword that had been on previous panelists’ lips: automation.

“The field has evolved tremendously over the past decade or so,” Mr. Hebert said. And that has meant tighter collaboration between academic institutions and industry, which he described as a “complete transformation.”

Using AI and robots to speed up optimization of new battery development

October 7, 2022

A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a new approach to speeding up the process of creating ever more optimized batteries. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how they paired a unique type of robot with an AI learning system to create ever more useful non-aqueous liquid electrolytes.

As sales of handheld devices have skyrocketed and car makers have turned to electric vehicles, demand for batteries that last longer and charge more quickly has risen as well. Unfortunately, the science of developing new batteries to serve such needs has lagged—it typically involves the use of intuition on the part of chemists along with persistence. Such efforts can take years. In this new study, the researchers in Pittsburgh sought to speed up the process by using automation techniques.