The Smart Transportation Dispatch

Search by Keyword

  • Search by Date Range


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

EU states reject WiFi plan for driverless cars

July 10, 2019

The European Commission has been forced into a U-turn after member states rejected plans to adopt a WiFi-based system for self-driving cars to communicate with each other.

The WiFi plan ran into resistance because of concerns it would mean 4G or 5G technology could not be used for driverless cars in the future because it would not be compatible.

A number of countries had initially backed the Wi-Fi system proposed by the commission because it could be implemented immediately and potentially improve road safety in the short term.

The commission proposed legislation backing WiFi in March, causing friction in the car and telecoms industry and setting EU politicians against one another. Telecoms companies and some countries including Finland argued that a “technology neutral” approach would be better, allowing the use of WiFi and 5G-based systems that could offer even bigger road safety benefits in the future.
More>>

The Road To Self-Driving Retail

July 10, 2019

Cars and trucks have always had close links to retail and retail innovation — for starters, just think of drive-thrus and curbside pickup. Those links promise to get even tighter and more numerous with the rise of the connected car ecosystem and also autonomous vehicles. The latest development on that front comes from Waymo…

The retail stakes involved when it comes automotive in the coming years — and decades — are nothing short of tremendous. A view at the situation involved commerce and connected vehicles — which still require drivers — shows why.

Sixty-four million cars featuring connected tech are expected to ship by the end of the year, according to the PYMNTS Commerce Connected Playbook. Many automakers are already looking into tools and mobile apps to add to the experiences of drivers through infotainment systems. At the same time, connected cars are impacting how quick-service restaurants (QSRs) look at their relationships with diners.
More>>

States Authorize Ridesharing for Medical Transport

July 3, 2019

Medicaid recipients in Arizona can use their benefits to pay for Lyft rides to and from medical appointments, the result of a recent policy change by the state’s program.

The change, announced in May by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, allows ride-sharing companies to register as providers for Medicaid beneficiaries “who do not require personal assistance during medically necessary transportation.”

Enrollees can’t request a ride directly from Lyft, the policy notes, but should continue to contact their health plan for transportation requests…

Arizona’s Medicaid program is the first in the country to partner with a ride-sharing company to offer transportation options to its members, though similar laws are on the books in Florida and Texas. Nearly a quarter of Arizona’s population is enrolled in Medicaid.
More>>

11 companies propose guiding principles for self-driving vehicles

July 3, 2019

This morning, a coalition of 11 companies — Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Here, Infineon, Intel, and Volkswagen — published a whitepaper (“Safety First For Automated Driving”) describing a framework for the development, testing, and validation of “safe” autonomous vehicles. The members claim it’s the broadest representation across the industry to date, and they say that the report — which runs 146 pages — is the largest to offer “clear traceability” proving autonomous vehicles to be “safer than the average driver.”…

Conspicuously absent from the list of contributors is Alphabet’s Waymo, which recently launched a commercial driverless taxi service that’s now servicing over 1,000 riders with a fleet of more than 600 cars. GM’s Cruise Automation, whose self-driving car prototypes racked up 450,000 autonomous miles in California last year, also opted not to participate. Neither did veritable AV powerhouses like Zoox, Tesla, Amazon-backed Aurora, Beijing-based Pony.ai, Nvidia, or Yandex’s driverless car division.
More>>

World Economic Forum to lead global smart cities alliance

July 3, 2019

The World Economic Forum (WEF), the international organisation for public-private cooperation, has been appointed secretariat of a new G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.

The alliance seeks to unite municipal, regional and national governments, private-sector partners and cities’ residents around a shared set of core guiding principles for the implementation of smart city technologies.

Currently, there is no global framework or set of rules in place for how sensor data collected in public spaces, such as by traffic cameras, is used. The effort aims to foster greater openness and trust as well as create standards for how this data is collected and used.

According to WEF, this marks the first time that smart city technologies and global technology governance have been elevated to the main agenda.
More>>

Scores of Cities, Counties Commit to Electric Fleet Future

July 3, 2019

Dozens of cities and counties from across the nation pledged to purchasing hundreds of electric vehicles and buses by the end of 2020.

The Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative announced that 142 cities and counties from 38 states have committed to purchasing more than 2,100 EVs by the end of next year.

The collaborative leverages the buying power of its dozens of member cities to better negotiate fleet vehicle purchases. It will apply that same approach to work through the bid process for electric school buses, hoping to transform those fleets as well.
More>>

Smart cities spending to reach $189 billion in 2023

July 3, 2019

Global spending on smart cities initiatives will reach $189.5 billion in 2023, with the top priorities for initiatives cited as resilient energy and infrastructure projects, followed by data-driven public safety and intelligent transportation.

According to the latest IDC Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, these priority areas will account for more than half of all smart cities spending throughout the 2019-2023 forecast. The guide quantifies the expected technology opportunity around smart cities initiatives from a regional and worldwide level.
More>>

Fast-track Baltimore from Charm City to ‘Smart City’

July 2, 2019

Smart city technologies empower cities to operate more efficiently by leveraging technology and “internet of things” (IoT) sensors that deliver sustainable solutions to economic growth and improve the lives of citizens. Consider this a call-to-action to fast-track Charm City into “Smart City” fully connected for the digital world.

One need look no further than our rust-belt neighbor to the west, Pittsburgh, to find an American city that successfully made such a transition. Pittsburgh, once in dire economic straits after the decline of American steel, found a way to reinvent itself into Fast Company’s 2019 “Smart City of Future” through outstanding technology investments that transformed the city into an ecosystem of innovation.

By leveraging real-time traffic flow data to determine when traffic lights should turn red or green, thanks to smart traffic light technologies, intersection wait times in Pittsburgh have fallen by up to 40%, travel times by as much as 25% and auto emissions by up to 20%.
More>>

This computer vision tech actually sees around corners

July 1, 2019

A group of computer vision researchers from the US, Canada, and Europe have developed a technique to see around corners. It’s the first time researchers have been able to capture shapes of curved objects using non-line-of-sight (NLOS) imaging techniques.

“It is exciting to see the quality of reconstructions of hidden objects get closer to the scans we’re used to seeing for objects that are in the line of sight,” said Srinivasa Narasimhan, a professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. “Thus far, we can achieve this level of detail for only relatively small areas, but this capability will complement other NLOS techniques.”

The research is being conducted with the support of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s REVEAL program. Participating researchers are from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toronto and University College London.
More>>

WHAT BOEING’S 737 MAX HAS TO DO WITH CARS: SOFTWARE

July 1, 2019

The MCAS system detects when that erroneous pitch occurs at high speeds and uses the stabilizer on the airplane’s tail to move the nose back down. On the downed planes, a faulty sensor may have triggered MCAS when it shouldn’t have, leading the pilots to wrestle with the planes as they struggled to pull their noses back up.

Which is all to say: Building perfect software is hard, and testing it for faults is complicated. “I think there isn’t anything that makes finding defects in aircraft software uniquely difficult. Rather, finding subtle defects via testing is difficult in all software,” says Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and the CTO of the startup Edge Case Research, which tests safety-critical software for defects.
More>>

Drive for electric bikes to replace delivery vans

July 1, 2019

The “Urban 200” was invented by three childhood friends who grew up building bikes together in their sheds. Their company, Edinburgh-based PeddleSMART, is getting ready to launch its vehicle. It will be built in a new factory employing ex-offenders and people with disabilities. The premises at Ravenscraig, Motherwell, has been set up with a £400,000 grant from the economic development agency Scottish Enterprise…

PeddleSMART is initially pitching the vehicle at public sector organisations like the NHS, councils and organisations which run “campus” sites which are home to multiple buildings and companies, such as Edinburgh’s Bioquarter.

The firm is also targeting private companies such as food delivery firms and people who want to cut their car use.
More>>

Turnpike says electronic tolling working

July 1, 2019

Keith Mancia enjoys the convenience of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s toll-by-plate system at two Lackawanna County plazas.

With toll-by-plate, Mancia, 36, can roll through the Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit interchanges without stopping on the way to his Jessup home from his job as a project manager for American Asphalt Co. near Dallas.

High-speed plaza cameras snap a picture of his license plate and the turnpike bills him for the tolls later.

“It’s convenient but they charge you more to use toll-by-plate (than E-ZPass),” Mancia said.

Toll-by-plate is the same as paying with cash. E-ZPass, the turnpike’s other form of electronic tolling, comes with large discounts.

Regardless, turnpike officials say, the agency’s experiment with tolling by license plate at existing cash rates in Taylor, Clarks Summit and elsewhere has gone smoothly and enhanced the trend toward cashless tolling that started with E-ZPass.

By October 2022, turnpike officials expect electronic tolling to entirely replace human toll collection across the turnpike’s 552-mile system.
More>>

You Say Your AV Is Safe? Show Me

July 1, 2019

Arguing credibly about the safety of any autonomous vehicle (AV) requires somewhat more proof than a company like Waymo, Uber or GM declaring that its robocars are safe for commercial deployment. The automaker must be able to demonstrate that its AI-driven vehicles meet specific and rigorous standards…

Against this backdrop, Underwriters Labs, currently developing a “Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products” — UL 4600 — said the members on its Standards Technical Panel (STP) met in person for the first time on June 12 and 13, to review and discuss the initial draft standard.

EE Times last week caught up with Phil Koopman, co-founder & CTO at Edge Case Research, a principal technical contributor to the draft.

The minutes of the first meeting are yet to be made public. Koopman, however, described the first meeting as “very positive and constructive.” He said the members hit all the main issues of UL 4600 that must find solutions.
More>>

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and Brazilian Minister of Infrastructure announce partnership

July 1, 2019

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Brazilian Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (Memorandum) that will strengthen collaboration on transportation infrastructure investment strategies and on key transportation priorities in technology and innovation between the U.S. and Brazil.

“The Department is committed to strengthening our longstanding cooperative relationship with Brazil by sharing data and best practices to build safer and smarter transportation systems,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao…

The Memorandum will enable the two nations to exchange information, data and best practices on topics such as automated vehicles, intelligent transportation systems, unmanned aircraft systems, and the use of public-private partnerships to support infrastructure development. This agreement, along with the U.S.-Brazil Open Skies Agreement and the U.S.-Brazil Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, demonstrates the comprehensive transportation relationship between the two countries.
More>>

Waymo hires former CEO and technical team from failed robotics startup Anki

July 1, 2019

Alphabet-owned self-driving startup Waymo is hiring the former CEO of Anki, the robotics startup that sold millions of AI-infused toys and burned through more than $180 million in venture capital before failing earlier this year.

Boris Sofman will head up the trucking division at Waymo, bringing along a dozen engineers from Anki’s original technical team.

“While I’ve spent the last fifteen years working in robotics, it was autonomous driving that first sparked my attraction to the field and was the focus of my thesis at Carnegie Mellon,” Sofman wrote in a LinkedIn post today, first spotted by Axios.

“Throughout the last decade, I would look over at what was happening at Waymo and be inspired by the progress they were making, and the inevitable impact their technology would have on everyone’s lives in the years to come.”
More>>

Airbus Electrifies the Single-Engine H130 in Hybrid Experiment

July 1, 2019

Airbus Helicopters is integrating an electrical backup system into an H130 demonstrator as part of a research project.

In conjunction with the French Ministry of Transport (DGAC), Thales and Adeneo, the goal is to prove out the use of a hybrid-electric system onboard a single-engine helicopter. First flight is planned for 2020 with the rotor being powered exclusively by the electrical system for up to 30 seconds…

Airbus and the DGAC are hoping that the program, which will get to technological readiness level 6, can ultimately be brought to certification and production. As with the burgeoning air taxi market, the goal of integrating electrification is reducing fuel consumption and lowering noise levels during critical phases of flight in a bid to improve public acceptance.
More>>

AI and crowdsourcing fueling mapping innovation to meet smart city and mobility needs

July 1, 2019

To address these challenges, new mapping companies are turning to artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing, among other things, to deliver far more complex geodata. This increasing diversity and competition is the catalyst behind a global mapping market that is growing more than 11% annually and is expected to be worth $8.76 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.

“It’s a very exciting time to be building a mapping company, because the world is getting connected,” said Alex Barth, head of auto for San Francisco-based Mapbox. “And it creates all sorts of new ways of thinking about location.”

Google Maps triggered a revolution when it was launched in 2005. The embeddable, adaptable mapping service quickly supplanted then-leader Mapquest, which had built its early lead on static maps that provided directions. In 2012, Apple broke with Google to create its own maps, which were initially regarded as a disaster, though they have continued to improve in quality.
More>>

Waymo makes autonomous vehicles available to Lyft riders

July 1, 2019

Waymo, a subsidiary of Google-parent Alphabet which is developing autonomous vehicles and related services, has officially expanded its reach and is now making some of its self-driving minivans available for customers of ride-share firm Lyft.

The rides are restricted to a small area just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, where Waymo has been testing self-driving vehicles and has started its own autonomous ride-share service called Waymo One.

Waymo’s limited partnership with Lyft is the latest example of the company branching out to work with more companies as it develops autonomous vehicles and services. Earlier this month, Waymo struck a deal with Nissan and Renault to build self-driving vehicles for those automakers.
More>>

On Pothole Patrol in South Jackson

July 1, 2019

One of the tools Montgomery used to its advantage was RoadBotics, a road-survey product that uses artificial intelligence to evaluate road conditions for local governments and organizations responsible for maintaining roads. RoadBotics assessed the road every 10 feet, took photos, and showed engineers areas where the pavement was in bad condition, he said.

“It was a great tool for us. We had about $15 million dollars of streets that were in disrepair, and we knew we didn’t have enough money to rank those streets. RoadBotics provided that,” he said.

#At RoadBotics, certified technicians collect images using smartphones mounted to the windshield of a car. These photos are analyzed by the company’s artificial intelligence that rates the images on a scale of one to five, with one being in good condition and five being roads that need immediate repair.
More>>

A.I. and DIY: Inside Montgomery’s blue-collar approach to ‘smart city’ government

July 1, 2019

STAR Watch launched late last year. A few months earlier, a separate initiative brought in artificial intelligence to gauge the quality of Montgomery’s streets.

The city was facing $15 million worth of immediate street work, until a team from Pittsburgh-based startup RoadBotics used windshield-mounted smartphones and machine-learning technology to detect faults in the roads and give each stretch of street a quality grade. It found that the worst streets needed a total of $4 million in repairs.

“Our previous system … you had different opinions on what was a bad street and what was a good street,” Public Works Director Chris Conway said. “It could vary district to district, neighborhood to neighborhood depending on who looked at it. Using an artificial intelligence device and system, you may not agree with it but it’s consistent across the board.”
More>>

How automation could make airports more efficient

July 1, 2019

Transportation authorities, airlines, tech companies, and others are experimenting with ways to automate and streamline airport pain points.

Curbside pick-up and drop-off: Ride-hailing services account for 62% of airport transportation for business travel, leading to increased congestion.

In response, airports are contemplating using AVs to reduce low-occupancy vehicle traffic, including a shuttle-type AV pilot at Denver International Airport…

Security: The TSA allocated $71.5 million for adding more than 145 machine learning–based CT scanners into security checkpoints to expedite carry-on baggage inspections.

The further expansion of this technology could automate the detection of firearms, knives, explosives, lithium ion batteries and other prohibited items.

Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh International Airport developed a model for estimating security wait times and distributing passengers across checkpoints.
More>>

Voices in AI – Episode 90: A Conversation with Norman Sadeh

July 1, 2019

Episode 90 of Voices in AI features Byron speaking with Norman Sadeh from Carnegie Mellon University about the nature of intelligence and how AI effects our privacy.

Listen to this episode or read the full transcript at www.VoicesinAI.com

Transcript Excerpt
Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI brought to you by GigaOm I’m Byron Reese, today my guest is Norman Sadeh. He is a professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. He’s affiliated with Cylab which is well known for their seminal work in AI planning and scheduling, and he is an authority on computer privacy. Welcome to the show.
More>>

There’s an app for that: Transit agencies tackle MaaS platform development

July 1, 2019

The modern urban trip no longer centers around a single form of transportation. With a flurry of mobility options on the rise, more city residents and commuters experiment with customized combos of mobility modes to get from door to door…

Different transportation modes — public transit, bike-share, e-scooters, ride-hailing, taxis — tend to require separate modes of payment. Therefore the concept of combining them all into a single MaaS platform where users can plan and pay for multimodal trips is creating buzz.

Despite interest in single MaaS platforms, only a handful of true MaaS applications are available, which raises a pressing question: Why is execution so slow?
More>>

Utah to Offer Road Use Fee Option for Electric, Hybrid Vehicles

July 1, 2019

Road Usage Charge, or RUC, is an annual fee that charges vehicle owners based on the miles driven instead of gallons of fuel used. The model is intended as a response to the rising number of drivers using electric and hybrid vehicles who cannot be charged for road usage using traditional gas taxes. Currently the only state with a permanent RUC program is Oregon, which implemented its voluntary program in 2017, but other states such as California and Washington have undergone pilot programs to test the fee’s viability. Most states charge an annual flat fee to owners of cars that use alternative fuel, according to documents from the Utah Department of Transportation.

Utah’s RUC program, which is scheduled to begin by Jan. 1, 2020, will be voluntary. During annual registration renewal times, drivers of electric and hybrid cars choose between taking part in the program or paying the current flat fee.
More>>

Data Drives Our Driverless Future

July 1, 2019

The pace of technology adoption has never been faster, which is why we’re seeing reports about the new features of autonomous driving introduced by car manufacturers. The policy implications from a land use and development standpoint are significant. Before you scoff at the idea of how driverless cars will change anything, consider this: legislators rushed to enact laws against distracted driving, not because of CB radios, DVD players or the proliferation of drive-thru coffee accidents. It was the insurance industry demonstrating the link between auto accidents and mobile phone usage in cars. We’re inundated with the message to stop texting and driving. Yet, today’s cars are being sold as mobile entertainment.
More>>