The Smart Transportation Dispatch
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The Smart Transportation Dispatch

   Carnegie Mellon University

2019 Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Summit Call for Presenters

If you are interested in being a speaker, student poster presenter, or hosting a demonstration, please fill out the appropriate form below. Deadline for submissions is April 5.

Dates for he Summit are Sept. 4-6 at Kalahari Convention Center in Pocono Manor, Pa.

Paccar CEO Outlines Path Toward Zero-Emission Trucks, Automated Driving

Paccar Inc. CEO Ron Armstrong said the trucking industry is moving toward ever cleaner and more energy-efficient vehicles and will adopt increasingly advanced automated driving technology to assist drivers.

“The future of the industry is very dynamic, with technology accelerating the pace of change,” Armstrong told an audience of truck dealers from across the country during remarks here Jan. 25 at the 2019 American Truck Dealers Show. “Now more than ever, we need to innovate to stay relevant.”

Paccar is the parent of Kenworth Truck Co., Peterbilt Motors Co. and international brand DAF Trucks.

The Places Most Likely to See Jobs Disrupted by Automation

Parts of the Midwest and South, and smaller and more rural communities, have workforces that will be especially susceptible to disruption by automation in future years, according to a new report.

Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program researchers emphasize that automation and artificial intelligence could help boost productivity and economic growth. But they also caution that about a quarter of U.S jobs will face “high exposure” to automation in the coming decades.

“The next phase of automation, increasingly involving AI, seems like it should be manageable in the aggregate labor market, though there are many sources of uncertainty,” Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings and lead author of the report, said in a statement.

Designing with resilience to prepare for a changing world

o doubt, the climate is changing. Yet uncertainty lies in predicting precisely how those changes will affect individual communities, cities, and natural landscapes. So how can we prepare for the impacts, whether it’s a super-sized storm like Sandy or Katrina, saltwater entering drinking water sources, or increased flooding from rain or sea-level rise?

A desire to confront these challenges was the impetus behind two events held at Penn this week. The first, “Building Resilience in Design,” timed to commemorate the launch of the School of Design’s Certificate in Urban Resilience program, gathered a rich cross-section of leading academics and practitioners for a day of presentations and discussion on how resilience is being integrated into the practice and teaching of design.

Radar technology used to target grit and salt on Scotland’s roads

MicroSense Technologies has developed a sensing system – about the size of a mobile phone – to ensure an equal spread of grit across road surfaces.

When fitted to a gritter it uses advanced data analysis and radar sensing to detect how much de-icer salt is already on the road.

It can also spot the early signs of potholes before they develop into craters.

Last year 122,000 tonnes of salt and grit were spread on Scotland’s main roads and motorways.

The UK-wide bill for gritting motorways and main roads is about £150m a year, and for potholes it is estimated at £120m.

Michigan leans on manufacturing history in bid to become a hub for autonomous vehicles

It was the latest in a string of announcements aimed at reinforcing the narrative Michigan economic leaders have been pushing for years — that Michigan’s manufacturing history will give it a leg up in becoming a center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

“Michigan is a good location if you’re looking for people with regular assembly skills, as well as skilled tradesman, and you know electrical and mechanical engineers,” Gartner autonomous vehicle analyst Michael Ramsey told VentureBeat in a phone interview…

One advantage that Michigan has is its relatively low cost of living. Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly expensive — spurring engineers and technical talent to move elsewhere — which could encourage Ford and GM to invest more in Michigan. For now, however, with Silicon Valley’s reputation as the cutting-edge center for technology and Pittsburgh’s reputation for producing top talent out of Carnegie Mellon, automakers are likely going to continue to hedge their bets and spread out their R&D investments between those cities.

Microsoft and MIT can detect AI ‘blind spots’ in self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are still prone to making mistakes, in part because the AI training can only account for so many situations. Microsoft and MIT might just fill in those gaps in knowledge — they’ve developed a model that can catch these virtual “blind spots,” as MIT describes them. The approach has the AI compare a human’s actions in a given situation to what it would have done, and alters its behavior based on how closely it matches the response. If an autonomous car doesn’t know how to pull over when an ambulance is racing down the road, it could learn by watching a flesh-and-bone driver moving to the side of the road.

Sedona Utilizes Artificial Intelligence To Help Improve Roads

Fixing city roads can be a long and costly ordeal, but Sedona has piloted a system to improve the process.

The city hired RoadBotics Inc., and its specialty is assessing road conditions via data collection and machine learning.

“They go out in regular passenger vehicles and they have video cameras in those vehicles and they go through the streets and video the streets,” said public works director and city engineer Andy Dickey. “They then take that recorded video data and run it through some algorithms that assess the pavement condition”…

“The observations are completed in a matter of a few days and then the data is sent to us within a couple weeks, so it’s much faster and therefore much cheaper than having people do it.”

City of Detroit to launch new ‘Roadbotics’ program for roadwork

The city needs to assess the entire system and rank each section in order of need before repairs can begin. That usually requires an engineer physically going and inspecting every meter of road, which is very time consuming.

That’s why Roadbotics created an artificial intelligence program utilizing video from a cellphone to help get a better picture of what the road really looks like and using those images to assess the entire roadway system. The cellphone can be placed in a windshield and all someone has to do is drive the streets to gather detailed data.

“We’ve done this now for 96 cities in 17 states and 3 countries so our system is quite good,” says RoadBotics CEO Mark DeSantis.


For the public and private entities building out that infrastructure, knowing where to put charging stations is essential. According to the analysis, most locales will need to up the number of plug-in places they build each year by 20 percent to keep up with demand. Even in California metros, where utilities and private companies already have plans to build more than 26,000 new stations by 2025, the analysis finds that the state may come up almost 41,500 chargers short.

“It’s a tough position for cities—if they don’t build enough charging stations the growth of EVs will be slower, hampering local climate and air quality goals,” says Costa Samaras, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies electric transportation and climate change. “But if they overbuild charging stations, it’s expensive and these chargers might sit empty for a little while during the transition.”

Germany to fund research facility for EV battery technology

The German government will fund a research facility to offer firms in Germany know-how to develop battery cells for electric vehicles (EVs), the science minister said on Wednesday, seeking to compete with Asian producers which dominate the industry.

Anja Karliczek said her ministry would invest 500 million euros ($568 million) to support research into both existing and next-generation EV battery cell technology.

“The German car industry shouldn’t depend on Asian suppliers,” Karliczek told a business conference in Berlin. “This is not only a question of independence, but also a question of keeping the German economy competitive.”

The new facility aims to transfer known-how from Germany’s Fraunhofer science institute to private firms, helping reduce the risk for companies ready to start EV battery production.

Risky phone use while driving is soaring, and it’s killing Americans, IIHS study finds

Americans are using their phones in riskier ways while driving, worsening the nation’s crash crisis, according to a new report.

Although overall cellphone use on the road is down, drivers were “observed manipulating their phones” 57 percent more often in 2018 than they were in 2014, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

That means people are putting themselves at significantly higher risk of dying in a car crash.

“People are talking on the phone less than they were in 2014 and they’re manipulating it more, which is things that include texting and potentially browsing the internet or potentially using it for navigation, audio, music,” said David Kidd, senior research scientist for the Highway Loss Data Institute, a sibling organization to IIHS.

Developers Seek to Advance Truck Platooning Through Higher Automation, Global Demonstrations

Truck platooning has not yet advanced beyond the testing and development stage, but proponents and developers of the technology continue to explore ways to eventually deploy it in real-world freight operations.

Industry and government experts from around the globe spoke here Jan. 15 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board to outline their next steps to pave the way for platooning, which uses vehicle-to-vehicle communications to form convoys of two or more closely spaced trucks with synchronized braking and acceleration.

Some developers, such as Scania, are turning their efforts toward semi-autonomous platoons where a lead truck with a driver onboard guides a train of unmanned follower trucks, thus reducing labor costs and addressing the driver shortage while also improving fuel efficiency.

Driverless car system can spot if owner is drunk, dozing off or texting and call police

A tech giant is working on a system that will be able to spot whether the owner is drunk — and report them to police. Huawei is designing a “self-learning” interior cabin that would stop people who are over the limit being able to set off in vehicles in which the driverless features can be disabled. Being drunk in charge of a vehicle — even if not driving — will still be an offence.

The car would then decide on a course of action, ranging from a verbal warning, to locking up the controls — and even calling police.

The system would kick in even if the driver had no intention of taking over the controls. It would also be able to pick up if they are drowsy, distracted, texting or experiencing road rage.

5G will turn your car into a talking, thinking super-computer. And it’s coming soon

The next generation of wireless data communications is called 5G because it succeeds 4G, 3G, and older protocols. Most of the current discussion about 5G concerns your phone and other mobile devices. Because 5G can bring up to 20 Gbps data speeds to your devices, it enables a better experience. What might get lost in the noise is that 5G is also going to enable automakers, governments, and the aftermarket to put smarter, more connected vehicles on the road through Cellular Vehicle-to-Anything (C-V2X) communications…

When it comes to automotive applications, there’s another key feature: 5G doesn’t necessarily have to rely solely on the cellular network. That means that C-V2X communications can happen using 5G protocols in the absence of a connection to the general wireless data infrastructure.

Ride-hailing services want to disrupt—and bring order to—Kenya’s unruly public bus system

Kenya’s ad-hoc matatu bus system has been described as cool and colorful but it is also very chaotic. For years now, transport officials have tried to rein in the sector in a bid to decongest major urban areas and introduce rapid bus transits that would improve capacity and reliability. But those efforts have so far proved vain, and with little or no light railway, trams, or cycling lanes, millions of commuters in cities like Nairobi and Mombasa use the unruly and loud matatus to move around daily.

Now, a slew of app-based, hailing services wants to disrupt public transit in Kenya by testing ways to get customers to destinations with fewer stops, at affordable prices, while maintaining high quality and safety standards.

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