New Orleans adds AI technology to improve traffic safety around streetcar lines

September 20, 2023

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority announced on Sept. 14 the completion of a traffic monitoring system powered by artificial intelligence to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety around the city’s streetcar lines.

The RTA partnered with the New Orleans Department of Public Works and with NoTraffic for their AI sensors and software…

In 2018, the most recent year for which data was available, streetcars were involved in 114 collisions, according to Nola.com. Injuries can include motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and those riding the streetcars. In 2021, 173 pedestrians were injured and 21 killed in all traffic crashes in New Orleans.

“Implementation of this technology will constitute a significant breakthrough in the field of communications between road users and traffic infrastructure and is a fundamental milestone in the smart mobility era for the city of New Orleans,” the companies said in a press release.

Bosch, EU and blockchain companies to build decentralized IoT: IAA Mobility

September 20, 2023

The engineering and technology company Bosch is at the head of a forthcoming, blockchain-based digital mobility project with backing from the German government, which was demoed live at IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich, Germany.

At the event, Bosch, alongside collaborators such as Mobix and Peaq Netowork, revealed a peer-to-peer parking and charging scheme utilizing moveIDs on the Peaq ecosystem.

MoveIDs act as self-sovereign identities (SSIs) built on the blockchain, permitting autonomous transactions between vehicles and connected infrastructure. The demonstration at IAA Mobility highlighted autonomous transactions between connected devices: a smart car, charging station and signal for parking…

When asked why mobility was the right sector to begin implementing SSI on a large scale, Dorlöchter highlighted that “with mobility especially, there’s a lot of fragmentation.”

When it comes to mobility, the goal for users is to move from one point to another. This is done via public transport, micro-mobility scooters and car sharing or personal cars, which need parking spots and charging.

Traffic camera programs in Pa. are reducing fatalities and speeding, officials say

September 19, 2023

Pennsylvania transportation officials told lawmakers that pilot programs for the automatic enforcement of traffic laws have led to improvements in traffic safety over the last three years.

In a Senate Transportation Committee hearing on Monday, Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said the programs, which allow the use of cameras in work zones and on school buses to catch violators, should be extended and expanded before they expire over the next several months.

“We have construction workers that we have to consider. We have school students that we have to consider. We have pedestrians and bicyclists that we have to consider,” Carroll said. “They often fall under the banner of vulnerable highway users…”

The PennDOT and turnpike commission programs will expire in February, state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Clearfield, said…

Several pieces of legislation are pending, including a bill passed in the state House in June and now before the Senate Transportation Committee, that would extend and expand the programs to include speed cameras in new locations.

This driverless car company is using chatbots to make its vehicles smarter

September 19, 2023

Self-driving car startup Wayve can now interrogate its vehicles, asking them questions about their driving decisions—and getting answers back. The idea is to use the same tech behind ChatGPT to help train driverless cars.

The company combined its existing self-driving software with a large language model, creating a hybrid model it calls LINGO-1. LINGO-1 synchs up video data and driving data (the actions that the cars take second by second) with natural-language descriptions that capture what the car sees and what it does…

In a demo the company gave me this week, CEO Alex Kendall played footage taken from the camera on one of its Jaguar I-PACE vehicles, jumped to a random spot in the video, and started typing questions: “What’s the weather like?” The weather is cloudy. “What hazards do you see?” There is a school on the left. “Why did you stop?” Because the traffic light is red.

Smart, Mobileye Bring Advanced Automation to New EV

September 19, 2023

Smart has become the latest automaker to pair up with Mobileye to use its SuperVision driver assistance system.

The brand, jointly owned by German giant Mercedes and China’s Geely, is to launch a special edition of its Smart #1 model later this year that will feature an array of automated features facilitated by the Israeli company’s tech.

The EV will offer “Smart Pilot Assist 2.0,” which will be designed to enable point-to-point automatic navigation on highways and urban expressways, automated lane changes, automated on/off-ramp assist and intelligent traffic safety functions within specific locations, or “identified operational design domains.”

SuperVision uses 11 cameras – including seven eight-megapixel cameras – and radar to deliver this functionality. The system runs on two Mobileye EyeQ5 system-on-chips, which have the ability to handle AI tasks in these domains, allowing the vehicle to react similarly to a human driver.

Pittsburgh’s top driverless carmakers are pivoting to trucks. What does that mean for driverless cars’ future?

September 19, 2023

Bryan Salesky, Peter Rander and Brett Browning, all industry veterans and former leaders of the Pittsburgh robotaxi company Argo AI, are some of the brightest minds in autonomous vehicle development.

Their pivot from self-driving cars to self-driving trucks is the latest sign of how difficult it is to fully take our hands off the wheel, industry experts and researchers said.

“It is becoming more and more evident that automating trucks and transportation on highways is a more realistic goal for AVs than solving the general urban traffic automation problem,” said Dimi Apostolopoulos, senior scientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and the National Robotics Engineering Center…

Experts say a commitment to safety will be a key part of future regulatory approvals and positive public perception…

“The safety problem is receiving a lot of attention in autonomous driving, but so far a definitive solution has not emerged,” said John Dolan, a principal scientist at the CMU Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research. The problem is especially acute for trucks given their size and momentum and the damage they can cause in accidents, he said.

Philadelphia’s smart cities team reflects at the 4-year mark

September 18, 2023

When Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology published its “Smart Cities Roadmap” in early 2019, the concept of a smart city wasn’t universally understood, city officials said.

OIT team members had been exploring programs with this lens — collecting and using data to pilot accessible, tech-enabled solutions within city programs — since they established the SmartCityPHL initiative in 2017. But funding from the Knight Foundation allowed them to formalize this work and dedicate a team to it in 2019…

The original Smart Cities Roadmap has evolved enough that city leaders are thinking it’s time to make a new one. Malik has found that projects fall into three categories: mobility, non-mobility infrastructure and software systems.

Curb-management innovations: Lessons from smart and zero-emission loading zone pilots

September 18, 2023

Cities are implementing “smart loading zones” to address the growing competition for curb space, driven largely by increasing online orders, ride-sharing, outdoor dining, micromobility needs and open streets efforts.

What makes the zones smart? These designated areas for delivery drivers to load and unload goods are managed by telecommunications and advanced monitoring systems that allow authorized drivers to reserve a space for a limited amount of time through a smartphone app or other mechanism. Other cities are increasing incentives for electric or human-powered delivery vehicles by implementing zero-emission delivery zones.

While such efforts can encourage more orderly curbs, cities have encountered implementation challenges including local business pushback, technical challenges and regulatory barriers.

Here’s what experts and city officials experimenting with curb management strategies say they’ve learned to date.
-Pittsburgh’s gradual SLZ roll-out
In 2021, Pittsburgh received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Energy to establish 20 smart loading zones, said David Onorato, executive director of the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh, which oversaw the project.

My hands-free drive halfway across the U.S.

September 18, 2023

I drove round-trip from Detroit to New York City over Labor Day weekend — a grueling 10 hours each way — but for a good chunk of that time, the car took the wheel for me.

Why it matters: Cars with hands-free driver-assistance features are coming on the market thick and fast, but consumers are still wary of them…

Where it stands: You still cannot buy a self-driving car, but more than half of the 2023 auto models on the market are available with a feature that’s a step in that direction: an optional active driving assistance system (ADAS)…

The best systems, according to Consumer Reports, use a driver-monitoring camera to ensure that the driver is paying attention.
Active driving assistance is meant to be a convenience, not a substitute for the driver’s responsibility…

The bottom line: A long road trip was much better with a robot as my co-pilot.

Expert: Expect driverless trucks on Central Pa. highways ‘within five or six years’

September 18, 2023

Driverless trucks are coming. But where and when?

Start with where: They’ll be on interstate highways long before other roads, said Noël Perry, a transportation economist who speaks internationally — most recently this week at a conference in Indianapolis — but is based in Cornwall Township, Lebanon County.

The reason?

“There are no pedestrians, which is a big problem for automation,” Perry said. “It means that “Everybody is going in the same direction on one side of the road and the other. And there’s controlled access, so you don’t have to worry about somebody coming in and running a stop sign.”

As for when, Perry said the world won’t suddenly flip a switch and go from manual to automatic.

“You could have trucks going one after the other with a driver in front, controlling the rest,” he said. “So it’ll be a gradual thing, but we’ll start noticing it within five or six years.”

Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $80 Million in Grants to Improve Highway Safety, Including Better Access to Truck Parking

September 15, 2023

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced more than $80 million in grant awards from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…

The High Priority grants include a 65% increase in funding for truck parking projects over last year and enhance critical efforts to support truck drivers and improve safety such as:
– Expand access to truck parking by helping truck drivers locate available rest area truck parking spaces in real time via dynamic message signs along highways in Kentucky, Delaware, and Indiana.
– Research to support automated, location-based driver alerts via electronic logging devices that inform drivers of upcoming work zones — improving safety for both the drivers and the workers.
– Enhancement of electronic screening technologies to detect vehicle violations (such as automated license plate readers, USDOT number readers, tire monitoring system, and hazardous materials placard readers).
Outreach and education to combat human trafficking, an effort in which truck drivers can play a key role given their time and attention on the road.

Nighttime Visibility for Safety: Visible Solutions

September 15, 2023

How can transportation professionals protect pedestrians crossing the roadway at night when drivers often cannot see them? The answer: apply the latest technology improvements where they are needed most.

The nighttime fatality rate on U.S. roadways is three times higher than the daytime rate, and 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. Nighttime visibility for safety, an Every Day Counts round seven (EDC-7) initiative, will accelerate the deployment of methods for enhancing nighttime roadway visibility that can save lives…

Research indicates that continuous lighting installed on both rural and urban highways may reduce nighttime injury crashes by 28 percent. Nighttime crashes at rural and urban intersections can also be reduced by up to 38 percent using lighting.

DOT releases Complementary PNT Action Plan

September 15, 2023

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has unveiled its Complementary Positioning Navigation and Timing (CPNT) Action Plan, which contains steps the department is taking to drive CPNT adoption across the United States transportation system and within other critical infrastructure areas. This plan was mentioned by Robert Hampshire — Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer, U.S. DOT — during his keynote address at the annual Civil GPS Service Interface Committee (CGSIC) meeting on September 12, at ION GNSS+, which GPS World’s Editor-in-Chief, Matteo Luccio, is attending…

The U.S. DOT have selected 11 candidate technologies to demonstrate positioning or timing functions:
-Two vendors demonstrated low-Earth orbit satellite PNT technologies — one L-band and one S-band;
-two vendors demonstrated fiber-optic timing systems, both based on the White Rabbit Precision Time Protocol;
-one vendor demonstrated localized database map matching database, inertial measurement unit, and ultra-wideband technologies; and,
-six vendors demonstrated terrestrial radio frequency PNT technologies across low frequency, medium frequency, ultra-high frequency, and Wi-Fi/802.11 spectrum bands.

Aurora CEO to Congress: Autonomous trucking is this nation’s opportunity to leverage modern technology

September 15, 2023

The CEO of Aurora Innovation Inc. met before U.S. congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to explain what autonomous vehicle technology has accomplished and where it might be heading in the years to come.

Chris Urmson, who co-founded Strip District-based Aurora in 2016, was joined by Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association Executive Director Jeff Farrah, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President Cathy Chase as part of a nearly four-hour discussion hosted by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure…

Many representatives also raised concerns about the impact this tech will have on the trucking industry’s 1.8 million-person workforce. Farrah and Spear consistently argued that the current gap of about 80,000 workers is reason enough alone for their belief that this technology will complement and add to the workforce, not replace it.

It’s a belief Urmson held as well, though he also said his company’s efforts will ideally bring about safer road conditions for everyone who uses them.

AI playing increasing role in managing traffic on nation’s roads

September 15, 2023

From traffic signals to traffic flow, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, information on what’s happening on all the roads in Delaware streams into the state’s Transportation Management Center…

That complex system involves traffic lights, cameras and sensors, along with data coming in from weather stations and emergency responder channels, which all coalesce within A.I. The artificial intelligence then makes traffic-management decisions based on that information…

“In any computing system, the more information a system has, the better decisions it can make,” said Stan Caldwell, executive director of the Traffic 21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University…

Last December, Caldwell spoke about how self-driving vehicles will be communicating with these so-called ‘smart roads’ in the near future. That testing is ongoing in a number of states, including Virginia and Ohio.

“There will be positive impacts and there will be negative impacts,” he said. “And so being able to get that real-world data in a real-world environment is very important for the researchers to be able to help guide the policymakers in how to manage this in the future.”

Intelligent Transportation Systems: Benefits Related to Traffic Congestion and Safety Can Be Limited by Various Factors

September 13, 2023

Deploying intelligent transportation systems (ITS) is one way that state and local transportation agencies have attempted to address issues related to traffic safety and congestion. ITS consists of sensors, computer hardware and software, and communications systems that, for example, automatically change the timing of traffic signals (“adaptive signal control technology”).

According to Department of Transportation (DOT) 2020 surveys of state and local agencies, some technologies are widely deployed on arterials (roads with traffic signals) or freeways, while others are less widely deployed. Examples of widely deployed technologies include dynamic message signs, which provide information to travelers; technologies that detect vehicles and other roadway users to provide information on traffic flow; and emergency vehicle preemption, which provides green lights to emergency vehicles (see figure). Examples of technologies deployed by less than 30 percent of survey respondents include adaptive signal control technology and ramp meters that control vehicle access to freeways.

TEAMSTERS AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE FEDERAL POLICY PRINCIPLES

September 13, 2023

or the first time in our history, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is releasing an “Autonomous Vehicle Federal Policy Principles” framework, a guiding document for federal policymakers as they continue to address issues surrounding autonomous vehicles (AVs).

As a union that represents hundreds of thousands of workers who turn a key for a living, and the only union substantially representing commercial truck drivers, the Teamsters have a deep interest in the outcome of federal AV regulation and legislation. This includes consideration of safety and workforce impacts to our members, the millions of other Americans who operate a vehicle for their livelihoods, and the public, who are increasingly asked to share the road with AVs.

Federal laws and regulations that do not meaningfully address the operations and effects of AVs will result in catastrophic impacts on American workers and risk increasing preventable roadside fatalities… On behalf of our members and the American people, we strongly urge the adoption of the proposals contained within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ “Autonomous Vehicle Federal Policy Principles.”

Autonomous Vehicles Will Soon Be Safer Than Humans, Some Already Are

September 13, 2023

The promise of autonomous vehicles has been a long time coming. While many are still waiting to see the fruits of all this work, there are some cities like Arizona and San Francisco where autonomous cars are starting to become a reality. Furthermore, IDTechEx’s new industry report “Autonomous Cars, Robotaxis and Sensors 2024-2044” predicts a coming rapid growth in the number of cities that will offer robotaxi services in the next few years. So, with robotaxis rapidly becoming an everyday reality, the industry and experts must ask, are autonomous robotaxis safe enough?

Apple is adding Roadside Assistance via satellite to the iPhone

September 13, 2023

During the iPhone 15 launch event in Cupertino, Apple announced it’s adding satellite-powered Roadside Assistance to the iPhone in a partnership with AAA. Buying and activating a new iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 series device will include two years of Emergency SOS and Roadside Assistance access for free. The services they connect you to are covered under the AAA membership terms or available on a pay-per-use basis for non-AAA members.

The Roadside Assistance service — which is US only — is an expansion of the Emergency SOS via satellite feature launched with iPhone 14 last year. If you have car trouble, you can text AAA for assistance for your emergencies, such as being locked out, running out of fuel, or a flat tire (you know, those times when you wouldn’t call 911 but still need help). The service works by leveraging Apple’s Emergency Text via satellite option when you have no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

How electrified roads could help fix America’s electric vehicle charging problem

September 13, 2023

Electric vehicles are taking up an increasing percentage of the overall auto market share every year — rising from 4% in 2020 to 14% last year. Among the holdouts, a lack of charging infrastructure seems to be one of consumers’ most common reasons for not switching from gas to electric vehicles.

But now, electric road projects are appearing across the world as a potential solution to supplement static charging, allowing EV drivers to wirelessly charge their cars while they drive…

Israel-based Electreon is one wireless EV charging provider with many pilot projects and case studies in operation in Sweden, Norway and Italy, among others. One project in Sweden, which connects the airport to the town of Visby, cost about $10.5 million and was almost entirely financed by the Swedish Transport Administration.

Your Next Green Car May Run on Gas and Get 100 Miles to the Gallon

September 12, 2023

Sayan Biswas is inventing an unusual kind of green car: one that burns gas…

Squeezing more efficiency out of internal combustion engines is a difficult challenge. Engineers have been designing and redesigning car engines for more than a century, and in recent years progress has slowed. To Biswas, the problem came down to one thing: a better spark plug…

Cars equipped with plasma spark plugs could have a big impact on efforts to tame climate change. But trucks, boats, planes and helicopters may be a bigger opportunity. Unlike cars, all-electric versions of heavier, higher-powered vehicles can’t yet match the range of gas or diesel engines at a reasonable cost.

“Moving heavy vehicles like school buses. construction equipment and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower,” says Kate Whitefoot, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University who studies transportation. “That’s where improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines will be important.”

San Antonio retailers turning to license plate readers to help curb theft

September 12, 2023

SAN ANTONIO – You might notice some new features at stores and shopping centers around the city: automatic license plate readers…

The automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs, were installed back in July as part of a pilot program through Brookfield Properties, the company that owns The Shops at La Cantera.

Here’s how they work:

The cameras capture the license plate of every car that comes and goes, but only a few get flagged.

If your car is associated with previous thefts, a missing person, or other alerts, security is notified…

By using this technology, security will be alerted before known thieves even get in the doors, which could be a gamechanger as we’re seeing those types of crimes spike.

“It’s something that large and small retailers across the country are seeing,” said Holly Beilin with Flock Safety, the company that makes these cameras. “And it’s causing a lot of shrinkage for retail customers. It’s really, really cutting into profits.”

Smart Cities and Digital Transformation: Building a Sustainable Future

September 12, 2023

Urbanisation is on the rise, and it is projected that 65 percent of the global population will be residing in cities by 2040, with a staggering 1.3 million people migrating to urban areas daily…

The Indian Smart Cities Mission, launched in June 2015, has been a transformative urban renewal initiative aimed at redefining the urban landscape in India…

Some notable examples of progress include:

Jaipur: Jaipur launched its Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC), providing real-time data for better urban planning and emergency response.

Surat: Surat focused on waste management and achieved a commendable reduction in landfill waste through efficient waste segregation and processing.

Bhubaneswar: Bhubaneswar’s ambitious smart city plan aimed at improving public transportation through a modern and integrated bus rapid transit system (BRTS).

Indore: Indore revamped its waste management system and became one of the cleanest cities in India through innovative waste-to- energy projects.

Pune: Pune focused on developing smart mobility solutions, such as cycle tracks, improved footpaths, and a city-wide Intelligent Transport System (ITS).

An exploratory analysis on city characteristics likely to affect autonomous vehicle legislation enactment across the United States

September 12, 2023

As Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology enters developmental maturity, the need for real-life testing is crucial. AV testing and deployment in a city or State must be preceded by favorable legislation in that jurisdiction. However, research on which city characteristics affect the likelihood of adopting AV legislation remains in question. In this paper, we investigate city characteristics of different urbanized areas (UZAs) in States across the US. Panel data was collected from 29 UZAs and 23 States over the span of eight years (2011–2018) on variables such as existing AV legislations, electric vehicle score, congestion, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT)…

The findings reveal that an increase in electric vehicle use, GDP per capita, freeway VMT, and land use score of a UZA increase likelihood of AV testing adoption, while an increase in fatality cases negatively impact the likelihood of adoption.

Is the Driverless Car Revolution Stuck in Reverse?

September 11, 2023

After a series of incidents in San Francisco, California authorities have asked General Motors to take some of its Cruise robotaxis off the road. It comes not long after California regulators gave the greenlight for Cruise and its competitor Waymo to charge for robotaxi rides in the city at any time of day. So what does that mean for the future of driverless cars? In today’s episode, we examine what it’s like to ride in one and why the technology has become a flashpoint in multiple cities.

Guest: Veronica Miracle, CNN Correspondent