Artificial Intelligence Coming to Auto Glass—and Insurance

March 20, 2018
Posted in News

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming to the auto glass and insurance industries. Case in point, Mitchell International is exploring a computer vision application that uses image recognition to confirm repair vs. replace decisions.

This is according to the company’s 2017 Third Quarter Industry Trends Report.
Computer vision researchers at Carnegie Mellon demonstrated the ability to detect and understand small movements.

Mitchell said in its report, “Instead of an automotive repairer just getting guidance on the next step in a given repair procedure, they could get real-time evaluation of ancillary problems detected by computer vision.”
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Why millennials should start considering truck driving

March 20, 2018
Posted in News

“You may see them here and there in the next two years, but it will be at least 10 to 15 years before autonomous trucks can capture a significant portion of the industry,” said Vibhanshu Abhishek, assistant professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. “You need a ton of data to assess the optimal way to respond to whatever a truck is seeing or sensing to have the safest and best running vehicle. It will take a long time to get data for every kind of situation, and intuition is a difficult thing to build in.”
But even when it does happen, drivers shouldn’t think it means they’ll be out of work. If anything, they’ll just work differently, and perhaps more enjoyably.
“Maybe the driver won’t have to be staring all time out the window, and can do other things,” said Abhishek. “I can’t predict the exact business model, but I am certain that the whole trucking experience will change such that it will be appealing to young truck drivers. They’ll be attracted to the technology, and because the truck has so many safety features, they won’t need as much experience.”
“I also think that it will open the market up to more women,” said Abhishek. “It could really help solve this shortage, which is not just an American problem, but a global problem. Solving it could grow the economy worldwide.”
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The partnerships enabling disabled city residents to better explore their surroundings

March 16, 2018
Posted in News

Innovations don’t necessarily always begin as projects specifically for people with disabilities, either. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed an artificial intelligence-operated adaptive traffic signal system, Surtrac, that detects traffic and changes the lights accordingly instead of relying on pre-programmed light cycles. Pittsburgh piloted the system at dozens of intersections and found that traffic flowed better, but pedestrians initially weren’t taken into account. The research team tweaked the system based on feedback and also developed a complementary app for people with disabilities to communicate with the system and receive more time to cross the street. The changes proved beneficial not just for people with disabilities, but for all pedestrians…

One targeted innovation for which researchers at Ohio State University seek more partnerships is a road paint that reacts with specially-designed tips on canes for the visually impaired. The team is testing standard street paint with added light-converted oxides, which have the ability to convert one wavelength of light to another wavelength.
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How 5G will Transform Smart Cities: Infrastructure, Public Events, Traffic

March 15, 2018
Posted in News

Many tout the need for 5G to power self-driving cars. For an autonomous vehicle to smoothly travel through a city, it will need to have low latency that allows it to continuously “see” its surroundings. 5G will allow for smart traffic lights, which connect with cars on the road to improve traffic flow. Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh tested the use of smart traffic lights. The result? A 40 percent reduction in vehicle wait time, a 26 percent faster commute and a 21 percent decrease in vehicle emissions.

A 5G network will also make the roads safer. For example, as a car enters an intersection, a smart traffic light will notify it that a pedestrian has just hit the “walk” button, which will provide drivers more warning. Ambulances will be able to change traffic lights faster to accommodate their route and clear intersections.
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An actual ‘Westworld’ isn’t reality yet, but not everything about the show is science fiction

March 14, 2018
Posted in News

We’re already seeing evidence of people taking advantage of AI without thinking twice, Carnegie Mellon University’s Nourbakhsh said. In a ethical test he often gives, Nourbakhsh finds people are willing to take a parking spot from a driverless car if the owner isn’t around because they know the car can keep on circling forever.

“Making things that are designed to be as close to looking and acting human and then saying ‘go ahead and abuse these things,’ to me it says something about humans,” Georgia Tech’s Ridel said.

“In some ways that’s okay because you’re given permission to do that [in “Westworld”], but what that says about the individual human — if they have some issues — you may to have to question,” he added.
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UTC’s Stan Caldwell Speaking at PA Chamber’s Policy Roundtable

March 13, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

March 13, 2018

Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell spoke at the PA Chamber of Business and Industry’s Policy Roundtable and led a discussion about workforce, economic development and policy implications of disruptive transportation technologies.  Caldwell’s presentation followed a policy discussion with Pennsylvania Governor Wolf where transportation was also a topic.

A Look at the Future of 5G-Powered Smart Cities

March 12, 2018
Posted in News

Many tout the need for 5G to power self-driving cars. For an autonomous vehicle to smoothly travel through a city, it will need to have low latency that allows it to continuously “see” its surroundings. 5G will allow for smart traffic lights, which connect with cars on the road to improve traffic flow. Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh tested the use of smart traffic lights. The result? A 40 percent reduction in vehicle wait time, a 26 percent faster commute and a 21 percent decrease in vehicle emissions.

A 5G network will also make the roads safer. For example, as a car enters an intersection, a smart traffic light will notify it that a pedestrian has just hit the “walk” button, which will provide drivers more warning. Ambulances will be able to change traffic lights faster to accommodate their route and clear intersections.
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Edmonton to host Canada’s first smart network for vehicles

March 8, 2018
Posted in News

The University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton are lending new meaning to smart cars.

Researchers from the university’s engineering department are working on a pilot technology called “connected vehicles,” aimed at creating a safer, quicker and more efficient commute…
Coun. Andrew Knack said the technology will enhance what he’s expecting will be artificial intelligence installed at intersections around the city.

“I think it’s critically important to being prepared as a city for the future of transportation,” Knack said.

Knack has asked city staff to compile a report on how the signals are operating, how they’re designed to adapt to a change in traffic patterns, and compare information with new traffic signal infrastructure.

He points to Pittsburgh as a prime example of where artificial intelligence is used to apply real-time information to what’s happening on the road.

There, technology has reduced wait times by 40 per cent, travel times by 20 per cent and, in turn, emissions by about 20 per cent, Knack said.
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Smart Cities Talk shows the future role of a connected campus

March 8, 2018
Posted in News

Students who want to learn more about The Ohio State University’s role as a smart campus in the heart of a smart city recently filled a classroom to hear from the leaders of the effort.

Smart Campus, a student organization partnering with the university’s Center for Automotive Research, hosted leaders from the city of Columbus, Smart Columbus, CAR, the university’s Technology Commercialization Office and the Transportation Research Center this month in Scott Laboratory.

“We have a campus that rivals in size some of the smaller cities in the nation. With that, we have the unique opportunity to operate in a microcosm where we can test and find solutions that can then be extended to cities around the nation,” said Cameron Luther, co-founder of Smart Campus.

The Smart Campus organization is working to help students from across the university find ways to collaborate with the Smart Columbus initiative and engage in campus projects tied to a connected campus.
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Boeing Is Getting Ready to Sell Flying Taxis

March 5, 2018
Posted in News

One of HorizonX’s investments is in a Pittsburgh company called Near Earth Autonomy. The spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute has developed sensing technology that makes driverless aircraft a lot smarter. A company YouTube video shows a drone zipping over a country lane dodging trees and adjusting its course, on its own, without the aid of a global positioning system.

The possibilities of using the technology to improve safety are intriguing, said Steve Nordlund, a Boeing vice president in charge of HorizonX. “We’ll leverage their technology potentially inside the company,” he said. “It’s early but that’s plan.”
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Metro21: Smart Cities Institute launch

March 3, 2018
Posted in News

Carnegie Mellon University is at the forefront of smart cities research, development, and deployment. At the center of this effort is Metro21, the university’s smart cities initiative.

To spark bigger and better projects that will continue to improve the quality of life in metropolitan regions, Metro21 is entering a new phase by launching the Smart Cities Institute. This campus-wide academic center will address the complex challenges facing metro areas in the 21st century and build on the exciting work that has already come out of Metro21.

On March 2, 2018, Carnegie Mellon faculty and partners will participate in panel discussions and poster sessions centered on Metro21’s potential and plans for the future. Academic experts noted for their smart cities work will be joined by government and industry leaders on panels that will explore smart cities activities underway in research and education, science, and public/private partnerships.

An estimated 125 researchers from Traffic21, the T-SET, and Mobility21 University Transportation Center, as well as leaders from government, industry, foundations, and academia will attend the activities taking place in Hamburg Hall on CMU’s campus.
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Researcher Fei Fang shows why AI doesn’t have to be inherently evil

March 1, 2018
Posted in News

My research aims to address some of the most pressing challenges faced by the society: security, sustainability and mobility.

I believe that AI can deliver benefit to society in multiple areas now and in the near future, and this is also the aim of my research…

I foresee my research leading to applications that help improve security level in various scenarios, ranging from infrastructure security to cybersecurity and potential applications that can improve the pricing mechanism in commercial ride-sharing platforms…

I hope my research can serve as examples of how AI can be used to tackle the societal challenges we are facing today, illustrating the concept of ‘AI for social good’.

Also, I started a new course, Artificial Intelligence Methods for Social Good, at CMU. In this course, we highlight state-of-the-art AI research and how the advances are leveraged for social good.
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Aurora On The Rise: Robocar Startup Snags $90 Million, Adds Reid Hoffman, Mike Volpi To Board

March 1, 2018
Posted in News

Venture firms Greylock Partners and Index Ventures co-invested in Aurora’s $90 million Series A round, Aurora said. Greylock’s Reid Hoffman, who also-co-founded LinkedIn, and Index’s Mike Volpi are also joining the young company’s board of directors.

“The money is important, but the headline for us is the people that are joining the board,” Chris Urmson, Aurora’s CEO and a former head of Google’s self-driving car project, told Forbes. “These are Class A people.”

Along with Urmson, Aurora’s other co-founders include Sterling Anderson, who previously led Tesla’s Autopilot team, and Drew Bagnell, a Carnegie Mellon University scientist and former top member of Uber’s autonomous technology team. Although a new company, the extensive experience the three have in self-driving cars elevates Aurora into the technology’s top tier, which includes Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors’ Cruise, Uber, Tesla and Aptiv, the autonomous tech company spun out of Delphi last year.
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Traffic21 Funded Research Published in Elsevier Journal

February 28, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

2018

UTC Faculty, Sean Qian, with another faculty member from CEE at CMU were published in the Elsevier Journal for their research titled “User-centric interdependent urban systems: Using time-of-day electricity usage data to predict morning roadway congestion”. Check out the full article and the research being funded by CMU’s UTC.

Proposed hyperloop to Chicago could be in line for federal infrastructure funds

February 27, 2018
Posted in News

Mr. Katz said the corridor was attractive to Virgin Hyperloop and should be to federal officials as well because it would improve the movement of freight in an important part of the country. About 5.9 million tons of goods moved through the corridor in 2015, and that is expected to grow to 9 million tons by 2040 without hyperloop.
Pittsburgh’s leadership in transportation technology, particularly through Carnegie Mellon University, also is an advantage, he said. Ohio planners announced Wednesday the start of a Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative, the feasibility and environmental impact studies expected to cost about $2.5 million. The two studies are an outgrowth of the commission’s previous effort to study passenger service from Columbus to Chicago and now will review rail service throughout the 488-mile corridor as well.
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Why BMW keeps Mini undercover in Brooklyn

February 21, 2018
Posted in News

Last week I visited Urban-X Demo Day held at A/D/O in Brooklyn, a 23,000 square foot space that houses co-working space and a restaurant, and is low-key funded by BMW’s Mini brand. I say low-key because there’s not a single Mini logo on the site, or Cooper-like vehicle parked out front of the facility. I arrived with the same skepticism I take to any carmaker-sponsored event that feels like an attempt to sell me the future. How can anyone sell the future, when no one knows exactly what will stick?

I watched presentations from nine startups focused on improving life in cities. Some focused on infrastructure ideas, like RoadBotics, designed to cure the pavement of potholes through machine learning, or Swiftera, a company that makes high-altitude balloons to generate hi-res maps, or the San Francisco based car-sharing company Upshift that specializes in loaning out Toyota Priuses.
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RoadBotics – AI system for tracking road quality

February 21, 2018
Posted in News

“We are using a standard smartphone connected to our cloud platforms of a deep training platform to assess the quality of roads, including road surfaces, signs and other similarities common to urban, rural roads and highways,” Mark DeSantis, head of RoadBotics, told Digital Trends. – The phone is connected anywhere in the dashboard or windshield when the camera is turned on and facing the road. The application turns on and begins to collect video data. Data is stored in your gadget until the phone enters the friendly Wi-Fi zone. At this point, all captured video data will be automatically downloaded to our platform. AI analyzes the received data and creates a dynamic map of the road network rating, a color indicating the degree of road wear.
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WOULD DELIVERY DRONES BE ALL THAT EFFICIENT? DEPENDS WHERE YOU LIVE

February 15, 2018
Posted in News

So for Amazon, which now owns Whole Foods, drones could, say, deliver groceries from the roof of stores already dotted throughout cities like San Francisco.

Still, it’s hard to imagine an urban scenario where this doesn’t get messy fast. A delivery truck can carry hundreds of packages, after all. “So every time you would see one of those vans or trucks, you might imagine hundreds of drones in the sky,” says co-author Costa Samaras, a civil environmental engineer at Carnegie Mellon. “That has a noise component, it has a visual component, it has a safety component, it has a privacy component.”

While delivery drones, like any other kind of automation, could be great for the bottom line of these companies, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this. “It’s pretty clear that companies are interested in doing this,” says Samaras. “What’s important is understanding the ways that policy makers could guide the beneficial outcomes now before there are a bunch of drones in the sky delivering packages.”
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Researcher Costa Samaras Drone Delivery Emissions Paper Covered by National Media

February 13, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

February 13, 2018

News outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and Wired wrote about UTC researcher Constantine Samaras’ paper, “Energy use and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of drones for commercial package delivery.” Says Samaras in Wired, “It’s pretty clear that companies are interested in doing this… What’s important is understanding the ways that policy makers could guide the beneficial outcomes now before there are a bunch of drones in the sky delivering packages.” Two of the research paper’s authors also wrote an op-ed for The Conversation that you can read here.

Ohio Maintains Its Standing

February 9, 2018
Posted in News

“We’re ahead of everybody,” Gov. John Kasich told me just after I attended the latest legislative briefing on self-driving vehicles. His effort to convert the Rust Belt state into a hotbed of investment in connected technology recently spawned an executive order creating “Drive Ohio,” the latest initiative to keep Ohio’s transportation profile state-of-the-art…

Since Michigan and Pennsylvania have joined Ohio to form the Smart Belt Coalition, two more of the nation’s designated top automotive proving-grounds will be brought on board: the City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and Michigan’s American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run. Carnegie-Mellon University will join the academic powerhouses at Ohio State and the University of Michigan.
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Massachusetts City Looks at Smart Traffic Light Software to Ease Congestion

February 7, 2018
Posted in News

The city of Quincy, Mass., hopes its upcoming smart traffic light system will reduce people’s travel time by the end of the year.

The city is aiming to have new traffic software controlling a dozen major Quincy intersections, said Chris Cassani, the director of the city’s Department of Traffic, Parking, Alarm and Lighting, commonly known as TPAL.

Cassani said the city is looking at using the new software, likely from a company called Surtrac, for areas such as the Hancock Street corridor, the Wollaston area and Southern Artery. The city hopes the software eases traffic, which is one of the most common complaints among Quincy resident.
Surtrac was created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The team behind it says studies showed the system reduced traffic on some main roads in Pittsburgh by 25 percent. Cassani, who took over as director of the city department at the start of the year, said every few minutes shaved off people’s commutes is important.
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Officials consider hiring AI firm to look at Cecil roads

February 7, 2018
Posted in News

Cecil is considering hiring a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff to help assess the surface conditions of roughly 100 miles of local roads.

During Monday’s supervisors meeting, officials discussed a proposal by Pittsburgh-based RoadBotics to create an interactive map of township roads. The maps the company develops are meant to help guide decisions about road maintenance and repair.

“It doesn’t do the engineering work,” said township engineer Dan Deiseroth, president of Gateway Engineers. “What it does is, it does the inspections, so that (public works director) Bill (Botoroff) and our office can look at those pictures, with the grade, and say, ‘Hey, does this make sense to take care of this road this year?’ Then you can begin to prioritize them.”
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Why the Time is Now to Reimagine City Life

February 5, 2018
Posted in News

Startups are uniquely positioned to solve some urban problems, but they face unique challenges when working with cities and the large, established industries that manage critical city services and infrastructure.

That’s why URBAN-X was created—to help a new class of urbantech pioneers engineer the city-as-a-service and steer past the roadblocks; from how best to work with city governments and highly regulated marketplaces such as energy and real estate, to dealing with slow budget cycles and local bureaucracies. MINI experts guide founders in design, manufacturing, engineering, marketing, community building and branding. Urban Us connects startups with the leading community of founders, investors, companies and city officials…

AI-powered road diagnostics
RoadBotics builds on research from Carnegie Mellon University to automate the inspection and analysis of streets. They precisely identify and rate a wide array of important roadway features and conditions, including cracks, potholes, signage, vegetation, debris and other characteristics. The company is currently serving municipal customers in Pennsylvania and California.
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Traffic21 Founder and Professor Rick Stafford Leads Weekend Course on the Societal Consequences of Autonomous Vehicles at Heinz College

February 5, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

Traffic21 Founder and Professor Rick Stafford Leads Course on the Societal Consequences of Autonomous Vehicles

 

On February 3rd and 4th, CMU students from a variety of colleges and disciplines gathered to learn about the impact of autonomous vehicles in the City of Pittsburgh. The weekend course was strongly supported by Mobility21 University Transportation Center (UTC) staff and faculty, and well attended by UTC student leadership.

Shown above: Metro21 Executive Director Rick Stafford

Over the weekend, students were instructed to prepare a presentation and report to the Mayor on the impacts autonomous vehicles might have on the future of Pittsburgh’s Central Business District (CBD). The final products will be used to inform policy makers on what challenges they will face, and the research that should be done to ensure a sustainable and equitable CBD.

Students heard from experts in transportation, disruptive technology, and infrastructure. To prepare for the class, students studied pre-work materials from UTC Director Raj Rajkumar. Speakers throughout the weekend included UTC Executive Director Stan Caldwall, UTC researcher and Director of Mobility Data Analytics Center Sean Qian, and UTC researcher Costas Samaras. Heinz College Alumnus Alex Pazuchanics, a Smart City Challenge leader from the City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, informed students of challenges specific to the Pittsburgh CBD.

Shown above: UTC Executive Director Stan Caldwell

Facilitators included former Secretary of the Department of Transportation Al Biehler, and UTC/Mobility21 faculty and Smart City Challenge leader Don Carter. In attendance were four UTC student leaders – Ph.D. students Allanté Whitmore and Matthew Battifrano, and Heinz graduate students Ngani Ndimbie and Amanda Johnson.

Students hear from experts about the challenges of autonomous vehicles

Students worked with speakers and facilitators to learn more about the impact of autonomous vehicles, interact with real-world policy makers, and determine policy interventions that may be a model for other mayors and other cities. UTC faculty, staff, and students were integral in this effort in ensuring that Carnegie Mellon students are well-informed about the societal consequences of autonomous vehicles.

Researcher Erick Guerra featured on WHYY Podcast

January 30, 2018
Posted in What's Happening

January 30, 2018

UTC researcher Erick Guerra of the University of Pennsylvania was featured on a Radio Times podcast titled, “Hands off: our self-driving future.” You can also listen to Erick in a Facebook Live interview by Milenio here.