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Nvidia Launches 1,000 TOPS Automated Driving Chip, Volvo To Launch Orin-Powered System In 2022

April 20, 2021

Now, the forthcoming designs that feature as many as four Orin SoCs like the Nio ET7, will eventually be replaced by Atlan which Huang announced in his keynote. Atlan is a single chip that Nvidia claims will deliver 1,000 trillion operations per second (TOPS). For reference, the Xavier can hit 30 TOPS and the highest end version of the Orin family achieves 254 TOPS. The Carnegie Mellon University Chevrolet Tahoe that won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2007 was powered by 10 blade servers with Intel INTC -1.6% Core Duo processors that had combined capabilities of about 1.8 billion operations per second. Atlan will be about 50,000 times faster.

While most ADS developers are using some form of Nvidia hardware, not all are utilizing these SoCs. Some have created their own custom compute platforms using off-the-shelf GPUs and various other chips including Intel X86 CPUs.
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GM rolls out a new cloud-based mapping service for nearly 1 million vehicles

April 20, 2021

General Motors is launching a new in-car mapping service for nearly 1 million of its vehicles. The new service is called Maps Plus, and it will be powered by Mapbox, the open-source-based map provider that competes against Google and Here for enterprise deals for customized and in-app maps.

In addition to in-car navigation, Maps Plus will also integrate with other popular apps, including music streaming services like Spotify or voice assistants like Alexa, which will appear as individual widgets superimposed over the map. While plotting a destination, Maps Plus will also notify the driver of the current speed limit or if they will need to refuel along the way…

GM says the service will be available to select model year 2018 and newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles by the end of 2021. Maps Plus will be offered as part of GM’s OnStar Connected Services subscription service, which starts at $14.99 a month.
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URB-E looks to electric bicycles to make grocery delivery more efficient

April 20, 2021

Rolling along the busy streets of New York City, an electrically driven fleet of foldable cargo carts is quietly laying the groundwork for a California startup’s vision of the future of grocery delivery.

Propelled by battery-powered bicycles expressly designed to tow heavy loads, the compact containers designed and owned by Los Angeles-based URB-E can each haul 800 pounds of goods for a fraction of the cost of using a conventional van, said Charles Jolley, an investor in the firm who became its CEO in March. Twenty of the blue carts, which are designed to be maneuvered through a typical grocery store, can fit into a single parking space when not in use, according to the company.
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Minnesota Crafts Privacy Principles for Emerging Transit Tech

April 20, 2021

Getting the benefits of smart transit tech while minimizing the dangers may mean baking data privacy and security considerations into projects from the get-go, according to Kristin White, executive director of the Connected and Automated Vehicles Office (CAV-X) for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)…

To resolve connected and automated transit’s tension between utility and risk, MnDOT has been working to get ahead of growing trends and act now to establish privacy and data security policies that can guide public-sector approaches to the technology at present and in the long term. The Governor’s Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles recently released an annual report highlighting its latest efforts, including drawing together members of academic, business, government and nonprofit sectors last year to create the CAV Innovation Alliance charged with researching and developing best practices for emerging technologies.
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‘Tickets Please!’ Baidu Allowed to Charge for Robobus Service in Chongqing

April 20, 2021

Baidu has taken a step closer to becoming China’s first company to earn money from its self-driving technology.

The Chinese search engine giant said on Monday that it has obtained a license to launch a commercial autonomous bus pilot program in the western Chinese city of Chongqing in a renewed effort to explore monetization mechanisms for such services.

The company’s autonomous buses will be deployed on a 10-kilometer route that includes several pick-up and drop-off sites in Chongqing’s Yongchuan district, with passengers being able to book their rides through the Apollo Go app and the Baidu Map app…

The Chongqing push is Baidu’s second major attempt to accelerate the commercialization of its autonomous vehicle services. In March, the Beijing-based company received a license that allowed it to charge fees via discounts and coupons for its robotaxi service in the northern Chinese city of Cangzhou.
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BMW’s Virtual Factory Uses AI to Hone the Assembly Line

April 19, 2021

Encouraged by recent progress in AI, some startups are focused on having robots learn in simulation how to perform fiendishly difficult tasks like grasping irregular objects, technology that could eventually help automate much ecommerce and logistics work. This often uses an AI approach called reinforcement learning, which involves an algorithm experimenting and learning, from positive feedback, how to achieve a specific goal.

“This is definitely the way to go,” says Ding Zhao, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who focuses on AI and digital simulations. Zhao says simulations are crucial to using AI for industrial applications, partly because it is impossible to run machines through millions of cycles to gather training data. In addition, he says, it’s important for machine-learning models to learn by experimenting with unsafe situations, such as two robots colliding, which cannot be done with real hardware. “Machine learning is data-hungry, and collecting it in the real world is expensive and risky,” he says.
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Huawei to Invest $1 Billion on Car Tech It Says Surpasses Tesla

April 19, 2021

Huawei Technologies Co. will invest $1 billion on researching self-driving and electric-car technologies, accelerating plans to compete with Tesla Inc. and Xiaomi Corp. in the world’s biggest vehicle arena.

Huawei’s autonomous-driving technology has already surpassed Tesla’s in some spheres, for instance by allowing cars to cruise for more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) without human intervention, Rotating Chairman Eric Xu told analysts in Shenzhen Monday.

The Chinese telecom giant will partner with three automakers initially to make self-driving cars that carry the Huawei name as a sub-brand, said Xu, one of three executives who take turns to fill the post. It will keep its circle of partners small and get its logo onto cars — not unlike how Intel Corp. calls attention to its microprocessors on PCs — that adopt its autonomous driving technology, he added. The mobile giant has so far agreed to team up with BAIC Group, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
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Embark Carving Path To Market With Universal Truck Interface, New Fleet Partners

April 19, 2021

Introduction of the Embark Universal Interface (EUI) is especially important at this moment – it sends a clear signal to the market that, in contrast to the approaches taken by some other AV truck providers, Embark is able to work with virtually any fleet, regardless of what truck brands they use. For the U.S. market, PACCAR and Volvo Trucks have signed non-exclusive agreements with Aurora, Traton has done the same with TuSimple, as has Daimler with Waymo.

Embark describes the EUI as “a set of hardware and software components that allow Embark to integrate its self-driving technology with trucks from any of the four major truck brands in the US – Peterbilt, Volvo, International, and Freightliner,” calling this “the first and only integrated platform of its kind.”
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Domino’s pizzas now delivered with autonomous cars in Houston

April 19, 2021

Other companies may soak up more of the limelight, but Nuro’s been a quiet, busy bee. In fact, Nuro’s R2 self-driving car is the only vehicle to receive an exemption from the US Department of Transportation to operate despite having no human controls…

Domino’s and Nuro announced Monday that the latter’s autonomous car will report for pizza delivery duty this week. It’s only for customers in the vicinity of a single pizza shop in the Houston area, but still — this is wild. On certain days and in blocked-out periods of time, customers can request their pizza for delivery via a Nuro R2 if they place a prepaid order online. Domino’s will select a customer at random to carry out the delivery order, and the customer will receive text message notifications saying where the little robocar is. They’ll also get a PIN that’ll let them access their order when it arrives.
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GM-Backed Cruise Will Run Driverless Taxis in Dubai in 2023

April 19, 2021

Cruise LLC, the self-driving car unit backed and majority owned by General Motors Co., signed a deal with Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority to begin operating self-driving taxis in the city in 2023.

Cruise and Crown Prince Hamdan Bin Mohammed announced the agreement in a statement, making the company the exclusive operator of these services in the largest United Arab Emirates city until 2029. The company will start running a small number or vehicles in two years and plans to have 4,000 driverless Origin shuttles in the emirate by 2030, said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, chairman of the roads authority.

The agreement will give Cruise a presence in its first location outside the U.S. Cruise is working to get driverless services going as a revenue-generating business in San Francisco before the Dubai launch, probably using a self-driving version of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric car as an autonomous taxi. The company didn’t say when it will start charging for services.
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Beta hopes its electric vertical aircraft deal with UPS validates this new mode of transport

April 16, 2021

Beta Technologies, which agreed to sell electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft to United Parcel Service, sees the deal as a major milestone for the acceptance of eVTOLs as commercially viable.

“UPS is a step function change for our business,” Beta founder Kyle Clark told CNBC ahead of Wednesday’s announcement. “It telegraphs to the entire business community that electric vertical aircraft are real.”

Beta Technologies will design and build 10 of its Alia-250 eVTOLs to be delivered to UPS in 2024, pending certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft is powered by an electric battery. It has five propellers, allowing it to take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. It can carry 1,400 pounds. It can travel up to 250 miles at 170 mph once fully charged, a process that takes 50 minutes.

UPS, headquartered in Atlanta, plans to test the eVTOLs in its Express Air delivery network to replace small planes that can carry 500 to 3,000 pounds.
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NTSB picks mandatory collision avoidance and connected vehicle technologies as one of most wanted transportation safety improvements

April 16, 2021

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its 2021 – 2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements; one of the 10 items in the list was “Require Collision Avoidance and Connected Vehicle Technologies on All Vehicles”.

These technologies include forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, which can warn the driver of an upcoming hazard and act if the driver doesn’t respond. Connected-vehicle technologies allow vehicles to relay important safety information to each other to avoid crashes.

Most passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles (such as heavy-duty trucks and school buses) on the road today are not equipped—nor required to be equipped—with such technologies. Consumers are often unaware of the availability and capabilities of these technologies.
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As rainstorms grow more severe and frequent, communities fail to prepare for risks

April 16, 2021

“The take-home message is that infrastructure in most parts of the country is no longer performing at the level that it’s supposed to because of the big changes that we’ve seen in extreme rainfall,” said Daniel Wright, a hydrologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and co-author of the study.

He points to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, which found heavy downpours increased 71 percent in the Northeast, 37 percent in the Upper Midwest, and 27 percent in the Southeast from 1958 to 2012. It may cost more initially to build for bigger storms, but it’s less expensive than making fixes later, said Constantine Samaras, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

“The place that we want to get to is designing for the future rather than designing for the past,” he added.
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China’s Legislation on Autonomous Cars Rolls out

April 16, 2021

In China, on March 24, 2021, the Ministry of Public Security of China issued the Draft Proposed Amendments of the Road Traffic Safety Law (the “MPS Proposed Amendments”). The MPS Proposed Amendments clarify the requirements related to road testing of, and access by, vehicles equipped with automated driving functions, as well as regulating how liability for traffic violations and accidents will be allocated.[3] This marks the first time China has proposed specific legislation for autonomous cars at the level of the Road Traffic Safety Act. This is a significant milestone…

Taken together the MPS Proposed Amendments and Shenzhen Draft Regulations can be seen as the beginning of China specifically legislating in respect of autonomous cars.

This article will provide an introduction and brief commentary on the main provisions of the MPS Proposed Amendments and the Shenzhen Draft Regulations.
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Why Shares of These Electric-Vehicle Start-Ups Got Crushed in March

April 16, 2021

Here’s how these three companies’ stocks fared in March, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Decarbonization Plus Acquisition (NASDAQ: DCRB), a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that is in the process of merging with electric-truck start-up Hyzon Motors, fell 10.9% in March.

Hyliion Holdings (NYSE: HYLN), a maker of electric and hybrid powertrains for heavy trucks that went public via a SPAC deal in 2020, fell 29.4% in March.

Property Solutions Acquisition (NASDAQ: PSAC), a SPAC that is in the process of merging with luxury EV start-up Faraday Future, fell 14.4% in March…

Hyliion went public after completing a merger with a SPAC last year. The Texas company, led by Thomas Healy, an engineer trained at Carnegie Mellon University, designs hybrid and fully electric powertrains for heavy trucks that are then built and distributed by established truck-industry partners, including Tier 1 auto supplier Dana (NYSE: DAN).
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VIRGINIA TAKES INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM-SOLVING

April 14, 2021

The Commonwealth is focusing on performance-based planning, using today’s readily available big data to identify transportation problems at a corridor level. Performance-based planning provides a holistic approach to problem identification and serves as the basis for targeted solutions that most effectively address underlying transportation issues…

This approach begins with combing through transportation data sets to identify key problem areas. The Commonwealth, in turn, engages with the public to validate these data points and incorporate travelers’ input into the process. Following validation, a stepwise approach centered on targeted solutions begins. The first step is to maximize the efficiency of existing infrastructure—this entails a corridor-level review of operations upgrades to the interstate (including cameras, changeable message signs, towing and quick clearance of incidents, motorist assistance patrols, ramp metering, and variable speed limits), as well as improvements to parallel facilities (e.g., signal upgrades and coordination) that can become de facto interstates during incident situations.
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Toyota Takes a Special Route To Autonomous Driving With Independent Updates

April 14, 2021

Toyota president Akio Toyoda has been driving the conversion of the car manufacturer into a software-driven mobility company since he took office in 2009. This Thursday, an important technological step for the realization of his project followed. The world’s largest car manufacturer presented its first two vehicles, the built-in technology of which should open higher levels of autonomous driving: the new generations of the fuel cell car Mirai and the Lexus hybrid vehicle LS500h.

But Toyota is taking a different approach.

While many manufacturers want to offer hands-free driving on level 3 of the five-level scale for fully automatic robotic cars this year, Toyota drivers still have to lend a hand in some situations on the motorway. This corresponds to the second stage, in which the driver has to keep an eye on the traffic at all times.

“Toyota’s principle is automation with a human touch,” said Head of Technology Masahiko Maeda…
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State’s new drone fleet to help with investigations, inspections

April 14, 2021

A federal innovation grant is helping the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Highway Patrol launch a statewide drone program.

Lt. Matt Brackin, the Highway Patrol’s first certified pilot, said options are endless for how drones will help in their everyday work.

“From a crash reconstruction standpoint it will be invaluable for us,” Brackin said.

Rather than keeping a highway closed for hours while investigators measure and collect evidence, now they can fly a drone over the scene to capture images and reopen the highway more quickly and continue the investigation elsewhere.

Software can stitch together photos of the scene, allowing investigators to estimate speeds and directions of the vehicles involved.

Because Brackin works in Teton County his drone will also be used for avalanche-related highway work.
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Tech Giants Enter Their Chips in the Race for Self-driving Cars

April 14, 2021

ADAS and other autonomous driving technologies can apply automatic braking, park your car, adapt cruise control to road conditions, monitor blind spots, watch out for pedestrians, and more. These advanced functions are the result of innovations in embedded technology and chip design.

To achieve the very best in this technology, however, chips must be designed specifically for self-driving cars or advanced driver-assist systems, and there are plenty of chipmakers doing just that: it’s a market expected to be worth $7.77 billion by 2025.

Samsung…

Qualcomm…

NXP Semiconductor…

GlobalFoundries
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AI safety system offers autonomous vehicle drivers seven seconds warning

April 14, 2021

To make self-driving cars safe in the future, development efforts often rely on sophisticated models aimed at giving cars the ability to analyse the behaviour of other traffic. But researchers have now asked: what happens if the cars come across a complex situation they have never seen before and cannot handle alone?

A team working with Prof. Eckehard Steinbach, who holds the Chair of Media Technology and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) at TUM, is taking a new approach.

They claim that thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), their system can learn from past situations where self-driving test vehicles were pushed to their limits in real-world road traffic. Those are situations where a human driver takes over – either because the car signals the need for intervention or because the driver decides to intervene for safety reasons.
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There’s Another Way to Pay for Infrastructure Projects

April 13, 2021

Increasingly, our roads and bridges, drinking water and sewer pipelines, buildings, ports and hospitals are outfitted with sensors and other data collection systems. An urban internet of things is emerging, and its data have the potential to generate an incredible amount of added value. We can harness this technology to deliver insights that will make financing more efficient and to develop the next generation of public-private partnerships.

Sensors can pull data on water flow, traffic congestion, air pollution and more—all of which can be processed to illuminate how to deliver services more efficiently and cost-effectively. The data are attractive to insurance companies because they help to hedge risk, and to investors because the information can give rise to new revenue streams, or create value well beyond the infrastructure itself.
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Technology plays key role in decarbonizing freight rail: Wabtec exec

April 13, 2021

GEBHARDT: “What we’ve seen is that the cost continues to come down and the supply chains to grow in order meet the needs overall…

“How do we make sure that we can get hydrogen where we need it? How do we make sure it’s green hydrogen? How do we go ahead and charge these battery-electric locomotives, looking at that whole ecosystem? What’s exciting to me is that for rail, there’s a couple of thousand fueling stations in the U.S. … They would be easier to transition to electrification and to hydrogen than, say, the tens of thousands of gasoline fueling stations for automobiles and for trucks today.

“We think it’s a much more practical challenge, and that’s why we’re excited about Freight 2030. Carnegie Mellon has a lot of logistics capability, a lot of AI capability on how to do the planning for all of that.
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Will apps like PayPal and Venmo make financial inequality worse?

April 13, 2021

Given the cleanliness concerns spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, mobile payments have generally been used for contactless transactions and thus are better for public health, said Beibei Li, associate professor of IT and management at Carnegie Mellon University. For underbanked customers, in particular, mobile payment apps allow consumers to access their money without needing to go to an ATM, which can be inconvenient for people in low-income communities with fewer ATM locations nearby, Li said…

Li noted that, according to her research examining payment apps and other mobile banking apps, consumers were able to better manage their money, including incurring fewer overdraft and late credit card payment fees.

“It seems like these mobile applications are able to facilitate better for people’s financial management in general. We definitely see that there is a benefit for disadvantaged [groups],” Li said.
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Research: Technology Will Help Provide ‘Barrier-Free Mobility’

April 13, 2021

New research compiled by the Autonomous Vehicle Alliance (AVA), the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), and AARP examines how technology can provide “barrier-free mobility” to people with age-related or physical impairments – helping them navigate their immediate surroundings when they enter and exit the vehicle.

The research outlines three “opportunity areas” where technology can increase and improve mobility options:

Merging the physical world with digital wayfinding tools…

Understanding the impact of Universal Design language on AVs…

Coordinating vehicle design language with infrastructure…

The research also includes “journey maps” detailing how people with varied ability levels – prosthetic limbs; white cane; hearing loss; etc. – would navigate various trips that include an accessible vehicle.

Many of the findings also suggest applying common functionality and design language to other vehicles in the mobility mix, such as buses and streetcars, would better serve people of all abilities.
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SAE and Argo AI collaborate on robotics for autonomous vehicles training program

April 13, 2021

Warrendale-based SAE International, in partnership with Pittsburgh-based Argo AI and Clemson University, launched a 12-week Robotics for Autonomous Vehicle Systems bootcamp.

The idea for the training program stemmed from a discussion between Frank Menchaca, chief growth officer at SAE International, and Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI…

Menchaca said Salesky told him that while autonomous vehicle companies may see a stream of students coming from elite schools like Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the industry need to increase that pipeline.

SAE referenced a study completed by Boston Consulting Group and Detroit Mobility Lab that reported that the autonomous vehicle industry is expected to create more than 100,000 mobility industry jobs, including about 30,000 engineering jobs, over the next 10 years…

The bootcamp targets both students coming out of four-year engineering degree programs, as well as entry-level working engineers who want to upskill.
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