The Smart Transportation Dispatch
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The Smart Transportation Dispatch

   Carnegie Mellon University

Despite ‘Car-Free’ Hype, Millennials Drive a Lot

Millennials, so famous for killing things, were poised to deliver the death blow to America’s auto addiction. We were supposed to put off our driver’s licenses, choose Lyfts over car loans, and settle in cities rather than suburbs, using mass transit and bike lanes instead of the traditional private car. We were supposed to make greener choices than our gas-guzzling older kin.

But research based on years of data rather than trend stories and anecdotes paints a different picture of how Generation Avocado Toast chooses to get around, compared to its predecessors.

After partnership, first all-electric airline on the way

Electric propulsion may be coming to commercial flight sooner than many thought. On the heels of a partnership between magniX, an electric aviation company, and Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline, comes the announcement today of a plan to convert the seaplanes in Harbour Air’s fleet into electric vehicles by swapping in magniX’s 750 horsepower all-electric motor for conventional gas engines…

“In 2018, 75 percent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range. With magniX’s new propulsion systems coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX.

Harbour Air operates routes between hubs like Seattle and Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, serving more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights each year.


Teleoperations is a little discussed but vital element of putting self-driving tech into the world. The serious players in this space aren’t about to let their robots into the world without the ability to drive, or at least direct them from afar. Waymo, General Motors’ Cruise, Nutonomy, Zoox,, Uber, and Nissan are all quietly developing teleoperation systems. California law says vehicles without drivers inside them must allow for remote control. Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington are considering similar rules…

Designated Driver sees a market there. Autonomy is a vast space, including ride-hail cars, trucks, shuttles, tractors, mining equipment, sidewalk robots, and more. Surely not every company will have the time, resources, or patience to develop their own remote control system. That makes them potential customers. “We’re still struggling with voice control, right?” says CEO Manuela Papadopol. “The reality is that communication is a challenge.”

NVIDIA Expands Driverless Vehicle Partnership With Toyota

Graphics chip leader NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) announced a slew of exciting new products and partnerships at last week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2019. The annual Silicon Valley event is widely considered the premier artificial intelligence (AI) happening of the year, though the company’s announcements and demonstrations span its businesses from gaming and data center to professional visualization and automotive.

This year’s event, along with NVIDIA’s annual investor day last Tuesday, likely held more importance among many industry watchers and investors than usual due to the company’s recent struggles in its flagship gaming business, along with its data center platform’s growth cooling down.

I rode with Nissan’s AR and 5G-powered virtual passengers

Nissan’s vision for the future of connected cars is about as buzzword-laden as possible. Making use of 5G, AR, and VR to power an advanced in-vehicle experience, the company’s “Invisible-to-Visible” (I2V) technology not only allows for HUD-style overlays but also humanoid virtual assistants that ride alongside you to provide conversation and locally relevant information…

Nissan’s I2V system makes use of what the company calls “the Metaverse,” which is not a reference to Persona 5’s alternate dimension but describes how virtual characters can appear in real-world vehicles through augmented reality. In my demos, I wore a Meta 2 AR headset which, despite being made by a company that no longer exists, is very comfortable and offers a much wider field of view than something like the Microsoft HoloLens.

Smart ticketing in Scotland: pay-as-you-go system trialled

Rail transport users in Scotland are set to benefit from a trial of an account-based smart ticketing system, initially deployed on the Glasgow Cathcart loop.
The system, a collaborative effort between transport solutions technology provider Cubic Transportation Systems and Scottish railways franchise Abellio ScotRail, will enable travellers to use a “pay-as-you-go” ticketing system operable by smartphone, contactless bank card or token. In a scheme similar to London’s Oyster card system, customers will be able to set up a single account which can be used across multiple modes of public transport.

As Columbus, Ohio, pursues ‘smart city’ plan, officials consider AI

Joanna Pinkerton, president of the Central Ohio Transit Authority, told the audience that she’s used AI to help her office adapt to consumer needs. There are more consumers than ever on Ohio’s roads, with millions more expected to move to the region over the next decade.

Pinkerton plans to use AI to optimize the road network and connected vehicle environment — motorcycles, pedestrians, buses and cars.

“The breadth of government is so broad that people don’t realize how [AI] could be applied to every single segment,” Pinkerton said. “We can’t do it all at once, so we do have to focus.”

Tesla is adding a stop light warning to Autopilot

Tesla says that it has begun to roll out a new feature for Autopilot called Autosteer Stop Light Warning, which is included in the latest vehicle software update. The feature is as it sounds: divers using the Autosteer feature will get a warning if they’re about to run a stop light…

The notification pops up for drivers that are using Autosteer, and if they’re driving fast enough that they might run a red light. The feature won’t apply the car’s brakes, but it will provide a visual and audible signal that lets the driver know that they need to resume control of the car and slow down right away.

The feature works by using information that Tesla’s accumulated in its mapping data to confirm the presence of a stoplight where it’s expected to be, as well as the car’s camera system, which has been trained to recognize red lights.

How AVs could help respond to disasters

Weather-related natural disasters are on the rise, and AVs could become powerful tools for activating response systems and for collecting and sharing data, news and warnings.

Why it matters: Connected AVs could contribute to new emergency response networks by disseminating critical information, routing people away from disasters and possibly even dispatching emergency AVs on optimized routes…

Early iterations of these systems exist, but typically run on smartphones or other connected devices brought into the car to supplement current vehicle capabilities. Eventually, this technology could be embedded directly in AVs, making it possible for autonomous vehicles to respond immediately to events.

Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has used dashboard mounted smartphones to collect and assess images of hillsides to track and anticipate landslides. This technology could be used to predict landslides and route vehicles around them.

Oslo to become first city to charge electric taxis over the air

Norway’s capital Oslo will become the first city in the world to install wireless charging systems for electric taxis, hoping to make recharging quick and efficient enough to speed the takeup of non-polluting cabs.

The project will use induction technology, with charging plates installed in the road at taxi ranks linking to receivers installed in the vehicle, Finnish utility Fortum said on Thursday.

From 2023 onward all taxis in Oslo will have to be zero emission and Norway wants all new cars to be zero emission by 2025. Among other nations, Britain and France have similar goals for 2040.

Volvo chief warns against ‘irresponsible’ self-driving roll-out

Hakan Samuelsson said it was “irresponsible” to put autonomous vehicles on the road if they were not sufficiently safe, because that would erode trust among the public and regulators.

“We have a responsibility and everybody who’s in this business has that responsibility, because otherwise you’re going to kill a technology that might be the best lifesaver in the history of the car,” he said.

His comments came as Volvo launched a new safety campaign, using technology to try to eliminate drunk driving, smartphone distraction and speeding among its owners in a move it hopes will spark change across the industry, in the same way that its introduction of three-point seat belts did 60 years ago.

Pittsburgh’s Locomation to test autonomous trucking convoys

Another Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle company will soon be joining the ranks of those testing their technologies in the state, but this one is different.

While Argo AI, Aurora, Aptiv and Uber are all testing self-driving cars for the taxi or personal transportation industries, startup Locomation is developing Autonomous Relay Convoying (ARC) technology for semi-trucks.

Pittsburgh-based Locomation was founded by Carnegie Mellon alumni CEO Çetin Meriçli, CTO Tekin Meriçli, VP of Engineering Michael George, VP of Product Venkat Rajagopalan and Chief Scientist Alonzo Kelly.

About a year ago, the company raised $5.5 million in its seed funding round, but Çetin Meriçli declined to disclose any other finances.

Meriçli said he and his co-founders, many who previously worked at the National Robotics Engineering Center, wanted to use their expertise in autonomous technology to address problems in the trucking industry, including a shortage of drivers.

Elgin Sweeper Partners with RoadBotics to Assess Road Conditions

Elgin Sweeper Company has partnered with RoadBotics, Inc. to offer Florida’s 400-plus municipalities the ability to collect road condition data during sweeping operations, exclusively using Elgin Sweeper street sweepers. The partnership aims to help local government officials managing road maintenance budgets – while facing mounting pressure from citizens to address potholes and other poor road conditions – to make data-driven road improvement decisions.

According to Mike Higgins, vice president and general manager at Elgin Sweeper, the partnership with RoadBotics will enable many of the company’s municipal customers across Florida to receive important data about the conditions of their roads as they sweep.

Microsoft Drives Stunning Success In New World Of Connected-Car Platforms

The way for investors to get ahead of this trend is connected car platforms.

These back-end networks ingest the deluge of digital information modern cars produce.

Today, this data informs cutting-edge driver-assisted features like automatic braking, advanced cruise control and lane assist.

Tomorrow, the information will be the backbone of autonomy.

The leader in that space, bar none, is Microsoft.

The Redmond software giant is quietly working behind the scenes to build the connected-car platform of choice in the industry. Renault Nissan became the first to join in January 2017. Volkswagen signed in October 2018.

Microsoft has cloud solutions relationships with Volvo, BMW, Toyota and Ford.

One year after Uber’s fatal self-driving crash, pedestrians aren’t any safer

By almost every metric, streets got safer last year—except for people walking. Over the past 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths has risen by over a third, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, which released preliminary 2018 data last month. Last year saw the highest number of pedestrians killed in the U.S. since 1990. Pedestrians now make up 18 percent of all traffic deaths; a decade ago they only made up 12 percent.

Over the last year, it’s also become more clear that SUVs, which have a larger body and a higher carriage, are twice as likely to deliver fatal blows to pedestrians…

A smartphone—which drivers used 57 percent more often in 2018 than they did in 2014, according to a new study—was also a factor in Uber’s crash.

Velodyne’s Godfather Of Laser Sensors Hits $500 Million Milestone, Sets His Sights On Safer Self-Driving Cars

Spinning laser lidar sensors, invented by Velodyne’s David Hall more than a decade ago, helped kick off a race to create self-driving cars. As his company marks a sales milestone for its vision technology, Hall is expanding into cheaper, modified sensors for use in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that are heading to market ahead of driverless vehicles.

The company, which has supplied lidars to almost every self-driving car program at some point since 2007, has shipped 30,000 of the laser sensors since it started making them, generating cumulative sales of $500 million, CEO and founder Hall told Forbes. Velodyne continues to expand sensor production for self-driving fleets, but there’s demand for shorter-range units for ADAS safety tech, monitoring road conditions, blind spots and objects in a driver’s path.

Why 6G research is starting before we have 5G

While much of the world is still wondering how long it will take to get 5G networks, and what it could mean to their lives and economies, a group of telecommunications researchers is looking further ahead to what comes after that: 6G.

Next week in Levi, Finland, a group of 250 researchers will gather for one of the first global summits on the 6G Wireless standard to begin asking the most basic of questions: What is it and why does the world need it?…

The most obvious starting points are speed and spectrum. The initial thinking is that 6G will target speeds of 1 terabyte per second. Yes, terabyte. To get those speeds, signals will need to be transmitted above 1 terahertz, compared to the measly gigahertz range where 5G operates.

SK Innovation starts constructing battery plant, $1.7B bet on Georgia

SK Innovation broke ground Tuesday on a sprawling factory that will supply batteries for electric vehicles, a venture expected to bring 2,000 jobs to Jackson County, northeast of Atlanta, the largest economic development deal in Georgia since Kia Motors a decade ago.
The company, part of a South Korean conglomerate known as SK Group, said the nearly $1.7 billion factory will open in phases and should reach its full jobs potential by 2025. The project is a coup for Georgia, officials said, adding that the facility will be on the leading edge of the electrification of automobiles.The new factory is expected to produce enough batteries to power 250,000 electric vehicles, or EVs, per year at full capacity.

Volvo will use in-car cameras to combat drunk and distracted driving

Volvo said on Wednesday it will use cameras installed inside its vehicles to monitor driver behavior and intervene if the driver appears to be drunk or distracted. It’s a risky move by an automaker, even one with a reputation for safety like Volvo, which could raise concerns among privacy advocates.

Volvo’s in-car cameras will monitor eye movements to gauge driver distraction and / or intoxication. If a driver looks away for a period of time, such as at a smartphone, or fails to keep their hands on the steering wheel, a representative from Volvo’s on-call assistance centers will call them to check in. Drivers who aren’t watching the road, or even have their eyes closed, will be warned as well. If they don’t respond, the car will slow and even stop. The system will roll-out to all Volvo cars by early 2020…

As cameras proliferate in the name of safety, there’s a real chance they can be misused to invade privacy. At an event in Sweden Wednesday, the company preemptively dismissed this criticism by likening it to early objection to seatbelt laws.

A New Smart City Pilot Program in Massachusetts

Draper, a not-for-profit advanced technology developer, is providing the pilot with expertise in data fusion, statistical analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and visualization tools to inform decision-making, often with high stakes outcomes. Miovision is providing TrafficLink, a smart intersection platform, which provides all the tools needed to monitor and understand traffic flowing through an intersection, including signal monitoring, video streaming and an open architecture for sharing and analyzing the resulting traffic data.

The technology-community partnership—dubbed Data Driven Comprehensive Road Safety—features a video-based traffic safety measurement system. The system generates data that will be used to objectively and continuously measure the risk to the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians and cyclists…

The intended outcome will be a first-of-its-kind capability to inform cities trying to design future intersection for safety and drastically reduce the time to make a safety intervention—to days or weeks in comparison to months or even years associated with current approaches to post-incident investigations.

Ford will build its first driverless cars at a new plant in Michigan

Ford’s first wave of autonomous vehicles will be produced at a new center in southeast Michigan, the company announced Wednesday, as part of a $900 million investment to reshape its manufacturing operations in the state.

Workers there will begin installing self-driving technology into hybrid vehicles in 2021, the company said. “As we ramp up AV production, this plan allows us to adjust our investment spending to accommodate the pace of growth of this exciting new technology,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said in a news release. “This new plan combines our core strength in mass manufacturing with the agility and leanness we’ve shown with our modification centers for specialty manufacturing.”

Ford’s wider restructuring in Michigan is projected to create 900 jobs in the next four years.

How do you insure a driverless car?

David Williams, technical director at AXA Insurance UK, explained that British rules set out a clear structure for liability, with car owners still required to purchase an insurance policy that complies with road traffic rules.

Many automated cars will be able to switch modes, from automated to driver-controlled, but having two distinct insurance policies to cover each scenario is “too complicated,” according to Williams.
Instead, car owners will buy one insurance policy that covers both driving modes. Insurers will continue to pay out for claims, but could recoup some costs from carmakers when their technology causes an accident.

Williams expects the number of road accidents to decline, which means insurers will likely face fewer motor claims. “And a proportion of these claims will be passed on to the manufacturers,” he said.

Yandex teams up with Hyundai Mobis to develop driverless cars

Russia’s biggest internet search engine Yandex signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Mobis, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor , on the joint development of control systems for driverless vehicles, Yandex said on Tuesday.

Yandex and Hyundai Mobis plan to present their first driverless prototype vehicle before the end of the year, a spokesman for the Russian group said.

The companies may expand into other areas of cooperation such as developing joint products that would integrate Yandex’s speech, navigation, and mapping technologies, Yandex said.

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