The Smart Transportation Dispatch
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The Smart Transportation Dispatch

   Carnegie Mellon University

Truckmakers getting connected to improve logistics

Logistics operations now have to be much more dynamic in terms of coordination and planning, factoring in such demands as driver working time regulation, cost-effective and efficient route planning, and environmental impact. Truckmakers, their technology providers and the operators using their products are all involved in gathering and analysing telematics data to make the delivery process as efficient, secure and profitable as possible.

At last week’s SMMT Connected conference hosted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, speakers from some of the leading truckmakers and fleet management technology providers discussed the latest developments in connectivity and logistics.

Tens of thousands of cars were left exposed to thieves due to a hardcoded password

The maker of a popular vehicle telematics system has left hardcoded credentials inside its mobile apps, leaving tens of thousands of cars vulnerable to hackers.

Security updates that remove the hardcoded credentials have been made available for both the MyCar Android and iOS apps since mid-February, the security researcher who found this issue told ZDNet today…

According to a security alert sent out on Monday by the Carnegie Mellon University CERT Coordination Center, before the updates, any threat actor could have extracted these hardcoded credentials from the app’s source code and they could have been used “in place of a user’s username and password to communicate with the server endpoint for a target user’s account,” granting full control over any connected cars –such as locating, unlocking, and starting any connected cars.

Collaboration Announces First Cross-Border Demo for C-V2X Direct Communication

AUDI AG, Ericsson, SWARCO Traffic Systems GmbH, the University of Kaiserslautern, and Qualcomm Technologies have announced the first cross-border demonstration for C-V2X direct communication. The collaboration, who originally formed the Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow (ConVeX) group in 2016 to present the first C-V2X trial based on the third Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 14, has participated in cross-border digital testbed Project Day in Schengen, Luxembourg. The event took place at the new trilateral testbed hosted by France’s Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Luxembourg Ministry of Mobility & Public Works, and the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy.

Wayve says self-driving cars don’t need sensors. Experts aren’t so sure.

Why weigh down a self-driving car with a lot of sensors, HD maps, and equipment when you don’t have to?

That’s the philosophy of British startup Wayve. It claims it only needs a camera, GPS tracker, and a powerful computer to be able to drive anywhere autonomously.

But experts who specialize in sensing technologies like light-based LiDAR and radar say the idea mostly comes across as preposterous — or the very least, short-sighted.

Uber, Before IPO, Joins Others in Adjusting Timeline for Driverless Cars

Uber Technologies Inc. expects it will be a long time before one of its biggest investments, self-driving cars, is ready for wide-scale deployment, a senior scientist said on Monday, as the ride-sharing firm gears up to go public.

Raquel Urtasun, who is chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) and heads the group’s unit in Toronto, spoke about the challenges for self-driving development at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York.

“Self-driving cars are going to be in our lives. The question of when is not clear yet,” Urtasun said. “To have it at scale is going to take a long time.”

MTA’s Initial Foray Into Facial Recognition at High Speed Is a Bust

First attempts last year to record and identify faces of drivers as they zip along the highway at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge have failed, according to an internal Metropolitan Transportation Authority email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Experts say there are significant technical challenges and privacy concerns related to capturing the faces of drivers through their windshield as they pass by at speed. But the state-controlled MTA, which handles 900,000 vehicles on average each day at seven bridges and two tunnels, says it is pressing ahead…

Several months later, in the Nov. 29 email reviewed by the Journal, an MTA official wrote to a senior official in Mr. Cuomo’s administration that the “initial period for the proof of concept testing at the RFK for facial recognition has been completed and failed with no faces (0%) being detected within acceptable parameters.”

Transit app releases data on e-scooter use in DC

Transit analyzed data for the last six months of DC’s dockless scooter pilot and revealed that, at the beginning of last summer, 4.8% if its app users had downloaded a scooter company’s dedicated app; that has grown to nearly 9% today. But Transit asserts users have “download fatigue” and are less likely to download additional scooter companies’ apps, in some instances preventing consumers from finding the scooter that’s actually closest to them or most reasonably priced.
The report suggests if users don’t download multiple scooter apps and therefore can’t see all their scooter options at once, scooters may cease to be a reliable, daily commuting option. But open APIs could double the number of scooters available to users without actually putting more scooters on the streets. Plus, open data allows smaller micromobility companies to compete with those that are larger and more well known.

How we get to the next big battery breakthrough

Efforts like Leclanché’s show it’s possible to tinker with battery chemistries to increase their power. Still, nobody has yet built a battery powerful enough to rapidly deliver the energy needed for a commercial plane to defeat gravity. Startups are looking to build smaller planes (seating up to 12 people), which could fly on relatively lower power-dense batteries, or electric hybrid planes, where jet fuel does the hard lifting and batteries do the coasting.

But there’s really no company working in this space anywhere near commercialization. Further, the kind of technological leap required for an all-electric commercial plane will likely take decades, says Venkat Viswanathan, a battery expert at Carnegie Mellon University.

Sixth-graders design ‘Smart School Bus Stop Sign’ to help save bus riders

Now a group of 19 sixth-graders has created a device to help drivers see exactly when and where a bus will stop.

Students at Holly Grove Middle School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, have designed the “Smart School Bus Stop Sign,” which uses technology to activate flashing lights and alert drivers before the bus arrives.

The device was a part of the students’ submission that won top prize in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. Debbie Schelin, a sixth-grade science teacher who oversaw the project, said a mobile app tracks bus routes and stops, and it sends signals to stop signs as the bus approaches. When the bus is 400 feet away, the lights flash yellow, then red as the bus arrives.

China makes first smart inspection vehicle for medium-low-speed maglev lines

China’s first intelligent inspection vehicle for medium-low-speed magnetically levitated (maglev) railway lines has rolled off the production line in central China’s Hunan Province.

The vehicle, 5.81 meters long and 2.6 meters wide, was unveiled in the Changsha industrial park of China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Co. (CRCHI) earlier this week, filling the blank of dynamic and intelligent inspection equipment for medium-low-speed maglev lines.

With a maximum speed of 25 km per hour, the vehicle can carry six maintenance workers, raising the efficiency, accuracy and safety of maglev line maintenance, which currently relies heavily on manual inspection.

Grant to Help with Truck Parking along I-10 in Southwest

Four Southwestern states have received a federal grant to fund the development of a program alerting commercial truck drivers to available public parking at Interstate 10 rest areas…

he I-10 Corridor Coalition will use the funding to implement a truck parking availability detection and information dissemination system at 37 public truck parking locations along I-10 from California to Texas. The system will make real-time truck parking information available to truck drivers and dispatchers to assist them in making informed parking decisions.

FHWA’s ATCMTD program funds early deployments of cutting-edge technologies that can serve as national models to improve travel for commuters and businesses.

Answers to burning questions on battery science and business

4. Are solid-state batteries going to be practical—and commercially available—for cars in the next few years?

It seems so. Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and an advisor to QuantumScape, one of the hottest solid-state battery startups, certainly thinks so. Typically, new battery materials take 15 years to go from lab to commercial scale. QuantumScape was founded in 2010.

For context, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte material instead of the typical liquid electrolyte. The job of the electrolyte is to shuttle ions between the electrodes, as the battery charges and discharges. Using solid electrolytes will open up the possibility of using new types of anode, such as lithium metal, which store a lot more energy than today’s graphite anode.

The difficulty is that, so far, liquids tend to be better at doing the job than solids. But companies like QuantumScape, Blue Current, and Toyota are trying to solve the problem.

‘Smart cities’ contemplate turning big data into big money

Monetizing data generated by new urban technology projects was the topic of an hourlong panel Tuesday at the Smart Cities Connect conference in Denver, where representatives of three local governments and one Sprint executive discussed whether cities can — and should — turn their new data streams into new sources of revenue by selling them to third-party developers in the private sector…

Johnson compared cities’ potential to sell data to a recent agreement between Germany and Bolivia for the German battery industry to access the South American nation’s lithium reserves.

“You all and others are sitting on a huge deposit,” he said. “There are data brokers out there. It’s a great time to take advantage of that.”

Amazon to offer broadband access from orbit with 3,236-satellite ‘Project Kuiper’ constellation

Amazon is joining the race to provide broadband internet access around the globe via thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, newly uncovered filings show.

The effort, code-named Project Kuiper, follows up on last September’s mysterious reports that Amazon was planning a “big, audacious space project” involving satellites and space-based systems. The Seattle-based company is likely to spend billions of dollars on the project, and could conceivably reap billions of dollars in revenue once the satellites go into commercial service.

It’ll take years to bring the big, audacious project to fruition, however, and Amazon could face fierce competition from SpaceX, OneWeb and other high-profile players.

How autonomous shuttles are changing city transportation

For cities and their partners, a major benefit of these pilot programs has been using the shuttles to educate the general public about autonomous vehicles (AVs) and get them comfortable traveling in one. Public polling from companies like Gallup and AAA has found a majority of people are nervous to ride in an AV due to safety concerns, while similar concerns have made tech and auto industry officials and regulators skittish about wide rollouts.

To curb that, the shuttles’ safety drivers have been a key part of the education effort. Malek said that while the human drivers are there to make sure that nothing goes awry, they are also available to answer riders’ questions and allay any concerns about riding in an AV — something that they are typically experiencing for the first time.

Toyota to give royalty-free access to hybrid-vehicle patents

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp will offer free access to its hybrid-vehicle patents through 2030, it said on Wednesday, seeking to expand use of the lower-emission technology even as the global industry shifts toward fully electric cars.

The pledge by one of the world’s biggest automakers to share its closely guarded patents, the second time it has opened up a technology, is aimed at driving industry uptake of hybrids and fending off the challenge of all-battery electric vehicles(EVs).

Autotalks completes C-V2X field test on public road in China

Israeli startup Autotalks said it’s gaining momentum in the Chinese market following the successful completion of a C-V2X field test with an unnamed Chinese technology giant.

Other field tests have been done before; what’s special about this one is it was conducted mid-day in real traffic on a public road in China, according to Yaniv Sulkes, vice president of business development and marketing at Autotalks…

Because Autotalks can support both DSRC and C-V2X on the same chipset, it stands to win regardless of which technology dominates. But, Sulkes said the ideal is for a single standard in a given geography. The two standards are not interoperable, and since vehicles will need to talk to one another, it’s important that they’re talking the same language, but it isn’t as critical in his view to have the same language used throughout the world.

VW tests self-driving cars on the streets of Hamburg

VW will need to hustle if it’s going to make automated driving a practical reality by 2025, and it appears it’s moving quickly. The automaker is now testing self-driving versions of the e-Golf in real-world conditions in Hamburg — the first time its driverless vehicles have roamed a major German city. They’re Level 4 vehicles (fully autonomous in most situations) that will putt around a roughly 1.9-mile section of a “digital test bed,” but they’ll have to contend with urban traffic like anyone else.

The cars will be loaded to the hilt with sensors, including 14 (!) cameras, 11 laser scanners and seven radars, not to mention enough computing to rival “15 laptops.” This is still early tech, then, although it will ensure that the car isn’t caught off-guard by pedestrians or less-than-courteous cars.

Multi-city platform aims to unlock the kerb

Coord has announced it is making kerb data publicly available through a new open access platform to help users better understand city accessibility.

The start-up, which is backed by Sidewalk Labs, claims Open Curbs is the first open and multi-city platform that makes standardised kerb data publicly available through an open database licence.

Target groups for the platform include city agencies, engineering firms, mobility providers and community groups. Coord’s goal is to support more than 100 cities across the globe by 2022.

This latest move by Coord also serves to highlight the intense focus that the kerbside is attracting because of its growing importance in the mobility industry in areas such as ride-hailing, scooter- and bike-sharing, as well as delivery.

GM, Ford and Toyota unite to push driverless car safety rules

Three major car makers said on Wednesday they were forming a consortium to help draw up safety standards for self-driving cars that could eventually help create regulations in the United States.

General Motors, Ford and Toyota said they were joining forces with automotive engineering group SAE International to establish autonomous vehicle “safety guiding principles to help inform standards development”.

The group will also “work to safely advance testing, pre-competitive development and deployment”, they added…

The new group, dubbed the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium, will begin by deciding priorities, with a focus on data sharing, vehicle interaction with other road users and safe testing guidelines.

A Modest Proposal to Eliminate 11,000 Urban Parking Spots

This week, Amsterdam is taking its reputation for pro-bike, anti-car polices one step further by announcing that it will systematically strip its inner city of parking spaces.

Amsterdam transit commissioner Sharon Dijksma announced Thursday that starting this summer, the city plans to reduce the number of people permitted to park in the city core by around 1,500 per year. These people already require a permit to access a specific space (and the cost for that permit will also rise), and so by reducing these permits steadily in number, the city will also remove up to 11,200 parking spaces from its streets by the end of 2025.

The cleared spaces won’t be left empty, however. As room for cars is removed, it will be replaced by trees, bike parking, and wider sidewalks, allowing Amsterdammers to instantly see and feel the benefits of what will still be a fairly controversial policy among drivers.

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