The Smart Transportation Dispatch

Search by Keyword

  • Search by Date Range


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Why autonomous vehicles will rely on edge computing and not the cloud

November 6, 2019

To understand why, let’s consider the notion of autonomy. Autonomy is defined as ‘independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions’. Can you be autonomous, when relying on someone else’s computer? Not really.

Yes, there is redundancy, and yes, there may even be SLAs in place. But when all is said and done, using the cloud means you are connecting to someone else’s computer, usually over the internet. When you are in a moving vehicle, and this vehicle relies on cloud-based compute for its essential functions, what happens if you run into connectivity issues?

This is not the same as a lag in loading your favorite cat pictures. A lag in a moving vehicle scenario is a matter of life and death. So what can be done in situations like these? Enter edge computing.

Edge computing is the notion of having compute as close to the data as possible, in scenarios where data is generated outside of the data center. What this translates to in real life is very small, prefabricated data centers.
More>>

Indianapolis Motor Speedway sponsors $1 million driverless race car event

November 6, 2019

Driverless race cars are coming to Indianapolis Motor Speedway … eventually.

IMS and Energy Systems Network on Tuesday announced a $1 million winner’s prize in a competition open to develop software that would enable cars to race on the Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval.

A driverless car race, the Indy Autonomous Challenge, is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021.

Universities will compete to develop software for the race cars, in hopes that some of those ideas could incorporated into driverless or software-assisted passenger cars.

The challenge will include five rounds, including a white paper introduction, a video showing a vehicle in development, simulated races, testing at IMS and the race.

Registration is open through Feb. 28, 2020,
More>>

Microsoft wants to teach drones, robots and drills how to think

November 6, 2019

A Microsoft partner based near that company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters wants to use it for tractors and Carnegie Mellon University deployed the software as part of a mine-exploration robot that recently won a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency challenge. Microsoft has also suggested the software could work well for drones that check power lines and wind turbines and for disaster recovery operations where autonomous devices scout out the situations that may not be safe for human rescuers.

“The industry is fixated on autonomous driving and that’s it, but if you look around you in the world, you can find literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of scenarios where automation can improve things,” said Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft vice president, business AI. “A lot of these folks who build these systems are mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, etc. They are not AI people. We are bringing AI to these engineers in a way that they can operate.”
More>>

Guide to autonomous vehicles: What business leaders need to know

November 6, 2019

Few technologies have been more anticipated heading into the 2020s than autonomous vehicles. Tantalizingly close and yet still perhaps decades from market adoption in some use cases, the technology is as promising as it is misunderstood.

You’ve heard the consumer hype, but what gets less ink are the transformative changes that autonomous vehicles will bring — in some cases already are bringing — to the enterprise.

Affecting sectors as disparate as shipping and logistics, energy, agriculture, transportation, construction, and infrastructure — to name just a few — it’s hard to overstate the impact of the diverse and versatile set of technologies lumped into the decidedly broad category of ‘autonomous vehicles’.

This guide will help you sort the hype from the business reality and tell you all you need to know about the autonomous vehicle revolution on the ground, in the air, and even at sea.
More>>

Take a peek inside Lyft’s lab where 400 engineers are working on self-driving cars

November 6, 2019

Lyft, the second largest ride-hailing service in the U.S., once helped disrupt the taxi industry. Now, the company is working hard to avoid being disrupted itself as self-driving cars turn from sci-fi into reality.

According to Taggart Matthiesen, vice president of product at Lyft’s Autonomous Group, the company has assigned around 400 of its engineers to work on two distinct self-driving initiatives.

One is the “open platform” where Lyft connects passengers with semi-autonomous vehicles created by its partners, including Aptiv in Las Vegas and Alphabet’s Waymo in Chandler, Arizona. The other is Lyft’s effort to create its own self-driving systems, work that it does primarily at Level 5, its sizable lab in an unassuming office park in Palo Alto, Calif.
More>>

Cities are missing smart environmental opportunities, says new EIC report

November 5, 2019

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has launched a new report analysing the extent to which cities are capitalising on the potential of smart environmental opportunities.

The report, Strategy to reality: Getting smart cities to deliver for the environment, finds that cities face huge challenges to deliver their environmental ambitions. Cities that have recorded 2020 emissions targets though the Carbon Disclosure Project are on average still 47% short of meeting those targets. The report also looks at city recycling rates and air pollution.

There is a disconnect between cities’ environmental policies and their smart city strategies, according to the report. Of 12 cities analysed, while all had comprehensive environmental strategies, aside from smart energy management initiatives, cites only on average had one other smart environmental initiative.
More>>

What Should We Do With “Old Mobility”?

November 5, 2019

One approach is to re-purpose our transport assets so that they align more with what’s coming rather than with what exists. The minds at Wunder Mobility, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, offers solutions that address the current stock of vehicles on our roads today. This writer had the opportunity to speak to Sam Baker, Chief Operations Officer and co-founder of Wunder, and obtained some insight on how we might begin to capture more utility from our existing mobility assets…

Another example of re-purposing existing infrastructure is the use of standard city light poles as charging stations for shared micromobility devices. Baker referenced Kuhmute, a startup that offers a solution for shared scooter operators that could solve the expensive pickup-recharge-deploy problem faced by companies like Bird and Lime. Rather than paying third-party contractors to recharge the devices, operators could require their customers to dock their devices at an equipped light pole after use, which solves the charging and the “unsightly sidewalk obstacle” problem at the same time.
More>>

Bendix Prepares for Electronic Braking Transition

November 5, 2019

Bendix said it is preparing for a shift toward electronic braking systems, or EBS, in the North American market to support truck manufacturers as they introduce automated and electric vehicles.

“Highly automated driving and e-mobility are two significant trends that are taking shape in our industry, and they’re creating new demands for our brake system,” said TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s controls business.

EBS, which uses electronic control signals, essentially is an extension of today’s antilock braking systems, he said, adding that Bendix’s parent company, Knorr-Bremse, has offered EBS as a proven technology in Europe for many years.

“We predict within three to five years, EBS will become standard in many applications in North America,” Thomas said. “We believe the time is right to start educating and making the general market aware of this technology.”
More>>

DOWN UNDER TRUCKING: garbage trucks go electric

November 4, 2019

Signs of the impending transition to electric vehicles continue to gather apace. The authorities in the Western Australian City of Fremantle are trialing an electric garbage truck. “So what?” a reader might reasonably say. But when the operator of the electric truck is Cleanaway, which operates 4,000 heavy vehicles across Australia, the potential fuel savings are huge. Read on for more. In other news: mandatory data sharing; engine fuel lines could catch fire; Federal government takes over; biofuel boost; truck-side under-run protection; National Freight Data Hub.

A new electric-powered garbage truck, “EVie,” will be trundling around the streets of Fremantle in November as part of a four-week trial.
More>>

Volkswagen’s upcoming Golf lineup will be able to talk to other cars and infrastructure

November 4, 2019

German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) unveiled the latest generation of its popular Golf compact passenger car with a host of new technologies, according to Automotive News. Among the car’s new features is vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology, called Car2X. The Golf, the most popular passenger vehicle in Europe, will be the manufacturer’s first model to boast the technology.

Car2X uses WLANp, a communication standard similar to Wi-Fi, to allowvehicles to communicate information between other vehicles and their environment. The technology will enable eligible Golf models to communicate road hazards or incidents with other Car2X-enabled vehicles or sensors within half a mile. For instance, cars can communicate instances of sudden braking ahead.

VW isn’t the first to implement inter-vehicle communication, as automakers around the world are implementing V2V technology, though they’re taking varying paths to do so.
More>>

How autonomous systems use AI that learns from the world around it

November 4, 2019

If a mine collapses or an earthquake strands people underground in a subway car, first responders can’t rush into that unknown subterranean environment without potentially endangering themselves.

A rescue team must ensure an area is structurally sound and air is breathable before pushing forward — ­­which sometimes means help moves slower than anyone would like.

In a competition sponsored by DARPA, teams are designing autonomous robots that can explore and map these potentially dangerous underground landscapes and also identify objects of interest to first responders like survivors, backpacks, cell phones or fire extinguishers.

“With a robot, you’re able to take much more risk and potentially move much faster in a rescue,” said Sebastian Scherer, Carnegie Mellon University associate research professor and co-leader of Team Explorer, which took first place in the initial leg of that Subterranean Challenge using Microsoft’s AirSim technology to train its robots to recognize objects in a simulated mine.
More>>

Elaine L. Chao column: Encouraging news in latest traffic crash data

November 4, 2019

We know also that, thanks in large measure to the Department of Transportation’s efforts, new vehicles today are safer than ever when crashes occur. More new vehicles are equipped with advanced safety technologies that can prevent or reduce the severity of crashes in the first place. Unfortunately, our fleet is the oldest in history right now. But if we can help more families afford new vehicles, we expect to see significant safety improvements.

The result of these comprehensive efforts to save lives has been encouraging: Traffic fatalities have declined 33% since 1972. That’s remarkable, especially since there has been a 156% increase in vehicle miles traveled. In fact, the fatality rate in 1972 was nearly four times higher than it is today. Our roads are thankfully much safer than they were 50 years ago, but we still have a long way to go.
More>>

Waymo let a reporter ride in a fully driverless car

November 3, 2019

Last month, Waymo told people in its closed testing program that they’d start getting rides in driverless vehicles. Now in a new piece for Techcrunch, Ed Niedermeyer reports on his own experience riding in a fully driverless car.

Niedermeyer reports that the trip involved an unprotected left-hand turn, “busy city streets,” and speeds as high as 45 miles per hour. Niedermeyer says that his 10-minute ride from a park to a coffee shop was uneventful—which makes sense given how carefully Waymo must have prepared for it.

Still, this represents yet another baby step in Waymo’s journey toward full autonomy. And despite Waymo’s slow pace of progress relative to expectations it previously set for itself, the company still appears to be the industry leader. No other company is testing fully driverless rides on the scale or at the speeds Waymo is.
More>>

Waymo’s Latest Partnership Shows Self-Driving’s Potential in Deliveries

November 3, 2019

Waymo, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) self-driving car company, announced this week that it’s expanding its partnership with AutoNation (NYSE:AN), an automotive retail company, to include auto parts deliveries. Waymo said that its autonomous vehicles will be used to help shuttle car parts between several AutoNation locations and other repair shops in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The announcement adds to Waymo’s existing partnership with AutoNation, in which some of the self-driving car company’s vehicles are used to provide rides to AutoNation customers…

Why focus on self-driving vans for package deliveries and autonomous freight trucks? Because the market for B2B deliveries could eventually be as high as $1 trillion, according to Bloomberg.

Autonomous vehicle deliveries are being seen as the answer to the growing truck driver shortage in America. Sixty-five percent of the consumable goods in the U.S. are moved via trucks, and the American Trucking Association says that the shortage of long-haul drivers has reached 60,000.
More>>

‘Smart pods’ blaze a trail for autonomous public transport

November 1, 2019

The NEXT Future Transportation module is a far cry from the sleek visions of self-driving cars designed by Tesla or Mercedes.
With an average cruising speed of 20 kilometers per hour, the electric pods are unlikely to set pulses racing.
But perhaps the most crucial distinction is that this self-driving vehicle is passenger ready.
Following trials in 2018, several NEXT units are expected to be in action at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai, providing short-distance rides for some of the estimated 25 million visitors attending the six-month world fair.
The Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has set the demanding target of having 25% of journeys in the city to be made through driverless transport by 2030 — going beyond the existing driverless metro and monorail systems.
More>>

Chicago Collaboration Looks to Redefine Modern Transportation

November 1, 2019

A new effort to use innovation to address transit and transportation in urban areas will focus on establishing more seamless transitions from one transportation source to another, better management of freight and resident deliveries, and even the use of drones.

The project, known as the Advanced Mobility Initiative Roadmap, is an extension of the Advanced Mobility Initiative launched by City Tech Collaborative in Chicago in April 2019. The roadmap will function as a guide for the Advanced Mobility Initiative, a three-year project…

The roadmap concept will focus on six “impact areas of urban mobility.” They include: multimodal connectivity; smart and improved infrastructure management; the adoption of drones and autonomous vehicle technologies; electric vehicles and other forms of electric mobility; better management of freight; and altogether improved public transit.
More>>

LADOT to suspend Uber scooters, bikes as data-sharing lawsuit looms

November 1, 2019

Dive Brief:
A months-long struggle came to a head on Monday when Uber sent a letter of intent to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) threatening a lawsuit to protect its dockless bike and e-scooter data (under the Jump brand). Despite intentions to file a lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, that action had not yet been taken as of Wednesday morning, Uber confirmed with Smart Cities Dive.

Last week, LADOT notified Uber that it was not in compliance with the agency’s requirement that mobility companies report certain trip data via the Mobility Data Specification (MDS), as mandated in their one-year operating permits. LADOT said in an emailed statement that Uber is the only operator that has”repeatedly refused” to comply. Uber says the city’s mandate violates its customers’ privacy.
More>>

Work zone speeders in Pennsylvania will be caught on radar under new pilot program

November 1, 2019

Last year, there were more than 1,800 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania resulting in 23 deaths. This year, PennDOT, the Turnpike Commission and the state police aim to do something about it.

Those three entities announced Wednesday the start of a statewide pilot program that will use radar to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 mph or more. The Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement systems will only be operational in active work zones where workers are present, PennDOT said in a news release…

Automated speed enforcement units will be deployed to a number of active work zones during the pre-enforcement period, initially focusing on interstate and other limited access work zones, such as Interstate 78 in Berks County. Work zones are selected by a data-driven process to maximize the effectiveness of the systems and will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area, PennDOT officials said.
More>>

Forget self-driving cars, this plane landed itself

November 1, 2019

I don’t have a pilot’s license. I’m not crazy about heights. I’m not even great at flight simulators on a computer.

None of these obstacles, however, stopped me from landing a small private jet recently at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, New York. It was easy, really.

OK, full confession: Actually, the plane landed itself. I merely pressed a single red button on the roof of the main cabin, transforming it into an autonomous aircraft.

I was aboard a $2.75-million Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet, newly outfitted with an aptly named safety system called Safe Return, which is in the final stages of getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration…

All kidding aside, the Safe Return system is designed to address a dead serious problem: What happens if the pilot becomes incapacitated and is unable to act? In just such an emergency, the system can let any passenger safely land the plane.
More>>

How Bike Sharing Can Be More Efficient

November 1, 2019

Identifying the point at which no additional bikes should be moved is critical; for that, we cannot rely on our intuition but must instead take a data-driven approach.

With that in mind, my colleagues and I—David B. Shmoys and Shane G. Henderson of Cornell University; Hangil Chung, a Cornell graduate; and Eoin O’Mahony, a Cornell PhD—set out to develop sophisticated algorithms and advanced analytics to tackle the novel challenges of bike-share operations.

One area in which our methods were applied was the Bike Angels program that our industry collaborators at Motivate (now part of Lyft) run in cities across the country. As part of the program, cyclists earn points by renting or returning bikes at certain high-need stations. Initially, the program awarded points for the same pattern of stations every morning, and a different fixed pattern each afternoon.
More>>

Microsoft’s A.I. project will replace human driving instructors

November 1, 2019

A new artificial intelligence project from Microsoft aims to replace driving instructors during driving tests to ease the nerves of drivers.

Known as the HAMS project (Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety), it is essentially a smartphone mounted to the windshield with the front camera focused on the driver and the rear camera focused on the road ahead and any driving obstacles to keep track of how the driving is doing…

Instead of having a driving instructor seat in the passenger seat critiquing your every move, HAMS uses multiple sensors using features that the smartphone already has like a camera and an accelerometer at the same time. In this way, the phone can detect things like sharp braking, vehicle-to-vehicle distance, and driver distraction.
More>>

Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle Plant Goes Online in Detroit

November 1, 2019

In April, Waymo said it was leasing and would repurpose a plant owned by American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. on its Detroit headquarters campus bordering Hamtramck. The $14 million investment puts the Silicon Valley tech company at the center of the North American hub for automakers, suppliers and engineering talent. It also sits across the Detroit River from the Windsor assembly plant that produces Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans it uses in its self-driving fleet.
But at least initially the Detroit factory is focusing on integrating Waymo’s fifth-generation driver technology with the help of Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. into the electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs, which come from Austria. The factory has outfitted 30 vehicles that are now in California for development and testing.
More>>

Heavy-Duty Driverless Truck Reached 55 mph on a Florida Highway

November 1, 2019

Starsky Robotics’ goal was to build a feasible self-driving truck that is safer, and it looks like the company’s just reached a milestone.

Instead of using entirely autonomous systems to drive the trucks, they are instead driven remotely by people behind a steering wheel — miles away from the road.

For the first time ever, one of their heavy-duty commercial trucks hit 55 mph (88.5139 kph) on a Florida highway. The truck was officially allowed to be on the road without anyone behind the wheel.

Starsky Robotics was in charge of building the systems and coming up with the idea in the first place.
More>>

TOP 100 SMART CITY PARTNERS – THE NEWSWEEK MOMENTUM AWARDS

October 30, 2019

Cities are architectural triumphs where the vibrancy of life sparks daily. They are pillars of human achievement, and bulwarks to the chaotic natural world. Though too like the natural world, they are places of hardship and inequality. But for the first time, with the advent of incredible new technologies, our cities are becoming unspeakably “smart,” where digital intellect crossed with human compassion helps actualize the world we care to dream. We’re seeing the upswing of momentum; of technology, mobility, and design.

These are the partners taking action, whose initiated projects are enacting real change. Whether it’s integrating sustainable infrastructure, taking savvy approaches to micromobility, or using big data analytics to inform legislative policy for the betterment of all, each partner is doing something bold and unique that is leading us into the land unknown.

As part of the 2019 Momentum Awards, Newsweek is proud to present the Top 100 Smart City Partners.
Including CMU’s Metro21: Smart Cities Institute
More>>

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson Says There’ll Be Hundreds Of Self-Driving Cars On The Road In Five Years

October 30, 2019

Chris Urmson, CEO of self-driving car company Aurora, predicts there will be hundreds or maybe thousands of self-driving vehicles on the road within five years, “delivering packages or moving people around.”

Rather than crowd your driveway, these robot vehicles will be parts of large taxi fleets and cargo delivery services, he said. “I think both economically, it’s going to make much more sense as part of a fleet, and socially I think it’s better that these are shared resources,” he told attendees at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

The 15-year veteran in the still-nascent field of autonomous driving made his bones in the DARPA Challenges that ran from 2004 to 2007, then became an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, noted for its artificial intelligence and robotics research, before joining Google to lead its self-driving car project.
More>>