The Smart Transportation Dispatch
Einride partners with UAE to deploy a massive freight grid filled with electric, autonomous trucks
June 7, 2023
Einride shared details of its new partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in a press release this morning, outlining that an MoU has been signed that enables the freight mobility company to deploy an entire ecosystem of EVs, autonomous trucks, and chargers across 550 km (341 mi) of grid called “Falcon Rise” (see map above).
According to the agreement, Einride’s full freight mobility offering will include 2,000 electric trucks, 200 autonomous trucks, and eight charging stations offering over 500 charging points. That’s not a typo. A spokesperson for Einride told Electrek the company is planning to have at least 50 chargers at each of its new stations across Falcon Rise in the UAE.
Officials say $20 million grant can help lower the death toll on the nation’s roads
June 7, 2023
On Tuesday, officials gathered in Pittsburgh to discuss an effort to bring the number down to zero. They plan to use technology to reach that goal.
Key to that effort is a $20 million, five-year grant to establish a new national consortium, known as Safety21, to be led by Carnegie Mellon University. U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-Swissvale, announced news of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation grant during a news event at Mill 19, an old Jones & Laughlin steel mill building that’s been converted to a modern research and development hub in Hazelwood…
Robert Hampshire, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of transportation for research and technology and a CMU alum, framed the issue in personal terms by describing the loss of a cousin…
Pittsburgh is uniquely situated to play a role in making roadways safer. The city is the birthplace of autonomous vehicle technology, explained Raj Rajkumar, a CMU professor who will lead Safety21. It’s a history that dates back to 1983.
Teledriving mobility service Vay to remotely deliver EVs in Vegas as it expands to US
June 7, 2023
Europe’s first teledriving (remotely driving) service is entering the US market and intends to setup shop in Sin City to begin. Vay is establishing its new US headquarters in downtown Las Vegas, where it will begin testing its teledriving service by dropping off and picking up rental EVs to customers around the city.
Vay is a German teledriving specialist based in Berlin that has taken a remote-first approach to driverless vehicles in which an operator drives a given EV from a dedicated hub. Vay is aiming to gradually introduce more autonomous driving functions in its system as they become more safe and are permitted to do so.
For now, however, the service relies on teledrivers, whose immediate focus is on the driverless transportation of rental EVs to customers. Those customers can then hop in the EV, drive off and then park whenever they are done, enabling Vay to step back in and remotely drive the vehicle back to base.
FHWA awards $52 million in technology grants to improve travel safety
June 7, 2023
The U.S. Department of Transportation‘s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the allocation of more than $52 million in grants to eight states through the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) programme.
These grants, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aim to support technology-based solutions that enhance the travel experience for millions of Americans using highway and transit systems. The funding extends to projects in communities that have previously lacked investments, including rural areas and regions facing persistent poverty…
The ATTAIN programme promotes advanced technologies that enhance safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders. The selected projects will serve as national examples of innovation, with a focus on improving transportation access for all communities.
Self-Driving Tech Firms Split Over Need For Detailed Maps
June 7, 2023
Imagry demonstrated its autonomous tech this week by driving through chaotic Tel Aviv traffic, successfully avoiding the kind of obstacles and hazards a busy city throws at a driver. Imagry’s system does use a basic navigation system, but not a specialized, highly detailed one developed for self-driving purposes.
“There is no industry standard. There are multiple paradigms being worked on by multiple companies,” Raj Rajkumar, an engineering and robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon University told Automotive News. “The best ideas will come out on top.”
But while Rajkumar thinks mapless systems, or ones using only basic map data, might be fine at lower levels of autonomy and maybe even at higher levels in good weather, he believes highly-detailed maps will be necessary in bad weather conditions.
Study: EVs Get the Headlines, but More Americans Shop for Hybrids
June 6, 2023
Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the news everywhere you look. But twice as many car shoppers consider buying a hybrid. And a much-hyped revamp of federal EV tax credits did almost nothing to change demand for EVs.
Those conclusions come from Kelley Blue Book’s first-quarter Brand Watch report for electrified vehicles.
Our Brand Watch Report is a consumer perception survey that also weaves in shopping behavior to determine how a brand or model stacks up with its segment competitors on a dozen factors key to a consumer’s buying decision. We publish separate reports for the non-luxury and luxury car markets.
About a quarter of all new-car shoppers considered an electrified vehicle – an industry term encompassing hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs – last quarter. Eighteen percent researched a hybrid or plug-in hybrid…
Half that total, just 9%, looked at an EV.
Tesla Model Y is the first electric vehicle to be the world’s best-selling car
June 6, 2023
For the first time ever, an all-electric vehicle — the Tesla Model Y — is now the world’s bestselling car.
According to analyst data from Jato Dynamics published by Motor1, the Tesla Model Y has surpassed Toyota’s RAV4 and Corolla models to top global sales rankings in the first quarter of 2023 even though the price for the 2023 Model Y starts at $47,490 or more than the 2023 Corolla ($21,550) and RAV4 ($27,575).
The figures reported by Jato Dynamics reveal that the Tesla Model Y sold 267,200 units globally in the first quarter, compared to the 256,400 Corolla and 214,700 RAV4 units sold during the same period, or about a 69 percent year-on-year increase for the Model Y…
The Model Y placed third in the overall global rankings for 2022, breaking into sixth place on America’s list of the top ten bestselling cars, despite competition from trucks and full-size SUVs.
Toyota, Daimler Truck, Hino, Mitsubishi Fuso joining forces in ecological technology
June 6, 2023
German truck maker Daimler, Japan’s top automaker Toyota and two other automakers said Tuesday they will work together on new technologies, including using hydrogen fuel, to help fight climate change.
The companies said Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., whose top stakeholder is Daimler Truck, and Hino Motors, the truck maker in the Toyota group, will merge. Daimler Truck and Toyota Motor Corp. will equally invest in the holding company of the Mitsubishi-Hino merger, they said without giving a dollar amount for the deal.
The companies plan to cooperate in reducing carbon emissions and developing other technologies such as autonomous driving, net-connected services and electric vehicles.
Shared micromobility boosts job access when linked with public transit: report
June 6, 2023
Local governments can improve access to jobs by further integrating shared micromobility, such as electric bikes and scooters, into their public transit systems, according to research published earlier this month by the New Urban Mobility alliance and Transport for Cairo.
The study found that, compared with cars, micromobility provided similar access to jobs for trips under 15 minutes and, in large metro areas with good public transit, 30-minute trips. But cars usually offered better access for longer trips than micromobility alone or a combination of micromobility and public transit.
For the study, researchers developed a new, open-source approach that, according to NUMO, better accounts for traffic congestion, car parking, the availability of shared micromobility vehicles and where people are most likely to use micromobility. Others can use it free of charge.
Remote driver car rental service launches in Milton Keynes
June 6, 2023
A car rental service that delivers a remotely driven vehicle to the user has been launched in a city.
The Fetch vehicle system has been tested in Milton Keynes for 18 months and will now be available to customers.
For now, all of the cars are delivered with a safety driver in the front of the vehicle who can take over the controls if necessary.
Chief executive Koosha Kaveh said: “It’s driverless but not autonomous – yet.”
Imperium Drive, the company behind the service where cars are controlled by an office-based operator, claimed it was the first of its kind in Europe.
Although the cars currently have a safety driver, the firm hopes they will no longer be needed after about 18 months of further testing.
The remote operator of the car has a 360-degree view of the roads using cameras built into the vehicle, as well as anti-crash safety systems in the operating software.
New survey shows 97% of highway workers think work zones are more dangerous than last year
June 5, 2023
More than half of highway workers polled reported that vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones in the past year, according to results of a new national highway work zone study by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and HCSS released Thursday.
“Elected and appointed officials are not doing enough to protect workers and motorists in highway work zones,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist and author of the annual survey. “Our transportation networks may be invaluable, but the lives of workers and motorists are priceless.”
According to the survey results, motorists are in even greater danger from highway work zone crashes than construction workers, Simonson noted. Twenty-eight percent of contractors participating in the survey experienced crashes that resulted in injury to construction workers. But more than twice as many firms—59 percent—reported experiencing a crash in which drivers or passengers were injured.
Thousands of delivery robots to join Uber Eats
June 5, 2023
Uber ditched its work on developing self-driving cars in 2020 but in recent weeks the company has signaled that it’s still interested in exploring elements of autonomous technology for its services.
This week, for example, it’s emerged that Serve Robotics is planning to expand its tie-up with Uber Eats to deploy 2,000 of its diminutive delivery robots in locations across the U.S. and Canada from later this year or early next, TechCrunch reported.
The partnership currently involves a small-scale delivery service in a small part of Los Angeles that started last year, with more than 200 restaurants now using the wheel-based bot to deliver meals to hungry customers between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
It’s not yet clear which locations will host the new meal-delivery robots, though San Jose, Dallas, and Vancouver are reportedly prime candidates.
Who’s testing the latest autonomous vehicle tech? The Port Authority. Here’s how
June 5, 2023
When Angel L. Rios started working for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1987, the agency was beginning to introduce PCs to employees. Now, 36 years later, it’s testing an autonomous vehicle in his department.
Right now, the agency uses typical human-driven street sweepers to suck up garbage on the 60 miles of road across the ports in the two states, as well as 18,000 linear feet of public wharf space that a cleaning crew is responsible for clearing of trash.
Those machines are limited because they aren’t used at night, when there’s low visibility; they require someone to operate; they are too big to reach more complex areas, like the berths by the water; and they can’t be used inside warehouses because of their size and because they run on diesel. The autonomous vehicle the Port Authority is piloting, which was manufactured by Finland-based Trombia Technologies, would solve most of those issues as an all-electric smaller sweeper that doesn’t require a driver.
New APWA Report Shows Benefit of Investment in Transportation Infrastructure
June 5, 2023
A recent report from the American Public Works Association (APWA) found that American communities are benefitting with funding in water, surface transportation and emergency management.
The APWA’s report, conducted in conjunction with the National Journal, produced findings about the potential for investment in transportation and water infrastructure.
The report found every $1 invested in transportation returns $5 in economic benefits, with every $1 billion supporting the creation of 50,000 jobs. That $1 billion also more than doubles business sales and creates a 20 percent increase in GDP. A similarly sized investment in operations creates an increase in business sales and a near double increase in GDP.
Due to an $81 billion funding gap in water infrastructure, 2.1 trillion gallons of drinking water worth $7.6 billion is lost due to aging infrastructure according to the report. This will create lower production volumes that result in the loss of 636,000 jobs by 2039.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces More than $52 Million in Advanced Technology Grants to Improve Safety and Reduce Travel Times
June 5, 2023
Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced more than $52 million in grants for eight states from the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program. As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the grants will fund technology-based solutions that improve the travel experience for millions of Americans who use our highway and transit systems, with expanded eligibility for projects in communities that have previously lacked investments, including rural areas and areas of persistent poverty.
“Your zip code shouldn’t determine whether you have access to safe, affordable transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With President Biden’s investments in innovative technology, we’re helping communities make transportation safer and more efficient, particularly in places that haven’t received enough resources in the past.”
Ford EVs will use Tesla charging tech in surprise partnership between rival automakers
June 2, 2023
Under the agreement current Ford owners will be granted access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, starting early next year, via the use of an adapter. And, Ford’s next-generation of EVs — expected by mid-decade — will include Tesla’s charging plug, allowing owners of Ford vehicles to charge at Tesla Superchargers without an adapter, making Ford among the first automakers to explicitly tie into the network.
The initiatives were announced by Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a live, audio discussion on Twitter Spaces. They come as Ford attempts to ramp up production of its fully electric vehicles in an attempt to catch up to — or someday surpass — Tesla’s sales in the segment.
NHTSA Proposes Stricter Pedestrian Protection Crashworthiness Tests
June 2, 2023
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is issuing a request for public comment on a new crash testing program that will include revised and stricter regulations for pedestrian protection. This move is part of the NHTSA’s proposed updates to its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) and the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to improve safety on US roads.
The agency will try to encourage automakers to spend more time and money developing new cars that are safer not only for their passengers but for pedestrians as well. The NHTSA also wants to make rule setting safety standards for automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The road safety organization will take comments on the proposal for the next 60 days and you can follow the conversation at this link.
ZeroAvia and Natilus team up to develop a hydrogen-electric autonomous cargo plane
June 2, 2023
Autonomous freight aircraft developer Natilus has announced it will offer ZeroAvia’s ZA600 hydrogen-electric engine as a propulsion option on its blended wing body (BWB) cargo plane. The two aviation companies have formed a strategic partnership to jointly-develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flown entirely by hydrogen-electric propulsion.
As one of the more prominent zero-emission aviation developers that is actually putting planes in the air, ZeroAvia has been an exciting company to follow over the years. We’ve watched it garner huge funding, share a decades-long timeline of zero-emission plane development, and achieve permits to fly in the UK…
With experimental certification from both the CAA (UK) and FAA (US) secured, and $10 billion in pre-orders, ZeroAvia continues working toward its goal of delivering and certifying two zero-emission engine classes by 2027.
Self-driving delivery trucks are already on North Texas highways. How safe are they?
June 2, 2023
For now, these delivery trucks making stops at Sam’s Clubs, Krogers and other destinations do have a human behind the wheel — a safety driver in case of emergencies or technology glitches. Soon, that will no longer be the case…
While some states have different rules on testing and deploying autonomous trucks, Texas is very hands off on regulation, experts say. Texas’ regulatory environment means we could see more of these trucks on our roads. But that’s concerning to Philip Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been working on self-driving car safety for more than 25 years. Autonomous trucking companies decide for themselves when they think their vehicles are safe enough to operate on public roads, Koopman said.
“The government probably made that decision for jobs and economic growth,” Koopman said. “But the cost of that decision is you’re potentially putting other road users at risk, and there’s no way to figure out how safe it is.
Meet the new Rotterdam rapid response anti-litter team
June 2, 2023
Yesterday, authorities in the Dutch city of Rotterdam unveiled its new fleet of electric litter-cleaning vehicles. According to an official statement, the fleet of so-called Stint Cargos will be on the roads looking for trash and responding to reports in real time.
The city has acquired three new green electric machines that function similarly to electric scooters, operators will have to ride upright. However, they have four wheels and are much more stable, with a large compartment for trash collection.
Reportedly, Rotterdam will be one of the first cities in the Netherlands to use such a rapid reaction system to clean up the city. At the same time, the high mobility of the electric cleaners will allow work teams to reach very hard and off-the-beaten-track places to combat littering even in more remote areas.
How self-driving cars and human-driven cars could share the road
May 31, 2023
Similar to when the first automobiles traveled alongside horses and buggies, autonomous vehicles (AVs) and human-driven vehicles (HVs) must someday share the same road. How to best manage this transition is the topic of a new Carnegie Mellon University policy brief, ‘Mixed-Autonomy Era of Transportation: Resilience & Autonomous Fleet Management.’ Carlee Joe-Wong, the Robert E. Doherty Career Development Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CMU, shares her thoughts with AAVI on how this might play out…
Technology development continues to make driving safer as the auto industry pushes us toward eliminating human drivers. Who knows if humans will ever be totally out of the equation, but what is inevitable is that cars with varying levels of autonomous driving capacity will be sharing the roads. It would behoove us to get in front of this issue and learn what benefits can be derived from mixed autonomy on our highways, so that we can develop policies and regulatory structures that will keep people traveling safely and efficiently regardless of whether a person is behind the steering wheel or not.
DOE funds $87M of EV projects from GM, Deere, others; details additional $99.5M opportunity
May 31, 2023
General Motors will receive $7.5 million to assist in the development of a multilevel, inverter-integrated electric drive system, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Friday with 44 other projects the agency will fund in order to speed the transition to electric vehicles.
In total, DOE announced $87 million for projects through its Vehicle Technologies Office.
The selected projects range “from expanding convenient charging options, to growing the future workforce and developing the key technologies that will lead to our fully electrified transportation future,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement…
Working with DOE’s Clean Cities coalitions, 10 projects “will demonstrate and deploy clean energy solutions to electrify school buses, food and consumer goods delivery bicycles, and even commercial fishing vessels,” DOE said.
Millions ditched cars for bikes during the pandemic. These cities want the habit to stick
May 31, 2023
Case studies led by global urban planning researchers Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech and John Bucher of Rutgers University track what more than a dozen cities have done in recent decades, and specifically during the pandemic, to improve pedal-powered commutes and recreation…
Some steps have phased out as the virus has faded, like many of the temporary “pop-up” bike lanes that appeared as if overnight. But many have stuck, thanks to an increase in lanes with permanent barriers against traffic, central arteries where cars can’t go, and other concessions to a pent-up demand to get around without gas…
Here are snapshots of what some of the most ambitious pro-cycling cities on three continents have done for cycling before and during the pandemic. The findings are drawn principally from the MIT-published book “Cycling through the COVID-19 Pandemic to a More Sustainable Transport Future
Uber partners with Alphabet’s Waymo to offer driverless rides
May 31, 2023
Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) will offer driverless cars on its ride-hailing and food delivery platform later this year through a partnership with Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Waymo, the companies said.
Uber customers will be able to use a set number of Waymo’s driverless vehicles for rides and deliveries within a 180 square mile area in Phoenix, Arizona, they said in a blog on Tuesday.
Commercializing fully autonomous vehicles, especially robotaxis, has been harder than expected with tough regulations, complicated technology and heavy investments forcing some to cut jobs and even shut shop.
Uber’s wide network will give Waymo, which also operates in San Francisco and is looking to expand to Los Angeles, “an opportunity to reach even more people,” Waymo’s co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana said.
For Uber, this provides a fillip to its long-held self-driving ambitions just as its ride-hailing service reaches pre-pandemic levels.
We’re still waiting for self-driving cars, but autonomous boats are already here
May 31, 2023
On the water, the situation is a little different: with fewer vehicles in canals, rivers, and on the open water than on roads, and without the problem of wayward pedestrians, autonomous boats have fewer obstacles to contend with. Additionally, boats often follow set routes – for example shipping routes and ferry crossings – so navigation is easier than with an autonomous car.
There are already a number of self-driving boats operating on our waterways. Powered by advanced artificial intelligence and sensor systems, these boats navigate, avoid obstacles and adapt to changing conditions in real-time.
From cargo transportation to search and rescue missions, and passenger ferries to tugboats, they can be programmed to carry out complex tasks, such as monitoring water quality, collecting oceanographic data, or even assisting in offshore construction projects.
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