October 2019

AV Update
From The Editors
2020 is still a few weeks away, but we are already planning a couple of major events for next year:

There will be a joint CAVCOE / Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) student autonomous snow plow competition in 2020. University teams will  design and build small autonomous snows plows and compete against each other. The background is that in 2019, USC held the first, very successful competition. Key elements of this were the generous sponsorship by Transport Canada, the use of the Ottawa L5 test track, and excellent teams. Stay tuned for more information on the 2020 competition in future issues of AV Update.

Similarly, the fifth annual CAV Canada Conference will be held in 2020.  The organizers Kanata North Business Association, Invest Ottawa and CAVCOE are busy with early stage planning. The dates will be announced soon, both on the conference web site here and -- of course -- right here in AV Update. Don’t miss it!

Canadian AV News
The City of Toronto’s Transportation Services team has released a major 176-page report titled Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan.  This report is the culmination of a four-and-a-half-year effort by the City to see how autonomous vehicles will impact the City’s plans and operations in all areas of municipal government. CAVCOE is pleased to have contributed to this effort with three separate projects, including the first workshop on AVs for the City of Toronto staff back in March 2015.  A copy of the Tactical Plan can be downloaded from the City website at this link.

Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) recently held its annual conference in Ottawa. The attendance, panels and speakers were excellent. Barrie Kirk was there and moderated a panel on New Mobility.  To connect the dots with the first item above, Carleton University's winning snow plow from the 2019 competition was on display, thanks to Apeksha Budhkar (the team leader) and Provectus Robotics.

Calgary-based Novatel is a Canadian company with a long experience in GPS and other navigation systems. It was acquired by the Swedish company Hexagon in 2008 as part of Hexagon’s Positioning Intelligence Division. In collaboration with the City of Calgary, Novatel is now using one of the City’s facilities to test its various navigation systems and sensors.  More information is at this link.

Autonomous Vehicle Organization (AVO) is a Canadian startup in the AV space.  Started in October 2017 and based in Toronto, AVO is focused on the vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) segment. The CEO and Founder, David Hayes, is a graduate of Udacity’s self-driving nanodegree program.  More information is at the company website at this link.

International AV News
Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv Plc (formerly Delphi) have signed a US$4 billion deal to work together towards the development of autonomous vehicles.  Hyundai will contribute US$1.6 billion in cash, US$400 million in services, R&D and intellectual property for its 50% share. Aptiv will make available its intellectual property and 700 employees. The two companies hope to have an autonomous vehicle ready by 2022. More information at this link.

In a related development, President Trump tweeted to hail the Hyundai/Aptiv joint venture as "BIG NEWS" and saying he is pleased that "great jobs coming back to America”. Judging by the number of AV-related job postings on the popular job site, there appears to be great demand for people with expertise in various aspects of AV technology. The most sought-after skills are programmers in C or C++ and Python followed by image processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning. More information is at this link.

The City of Shanghai has issued its first permits for self-driving cars to a consortium formed by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), BMW and Didi Chuxing. The companies can deploy up to 50 AVs for carrying passengers and freight. If there are no incidents within the first six months, the companies can apply to increase their fleet size. Beyond autonomous capabilities, test vehicles will be joining a connected ecosystem, driven by urban-embedded sensors, tailor-made smart roads, and 5G-based transportation systems. More information is at this link.

There is solid data that proves that Uber and Lyft have increased traffic congestion due to their popularity. This has resulted in more vehicle miles travelled (VMT) in the cities that they operate. By extension, once driverless technology goes mainstream, the VMT may go up significantly because the cost-per-mile for driverless vehicles could be lower than other options. In a policy paper, UC Davis’s Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy advocates for a proactive approach by the government to mitigate the negative impacts of allowing AVs into the transportation system.  More information is at this link.

Waymo has teamed up with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to educate school children about autonomous vehicles and to solicit their input into how to make AVs safer from their point of view.  To this end, Waymo invited several School Safety Patrollers to one of its test sites to demonstrate automated vehicle technology and plant the AV seed in the young minds.  More information at this link. A short video can also be viewed at this link.
The UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in collaboration with UK-based AV developer Five AI  have published a 12-page report titled StreetWise - Abridged Safety Case for Public Road Trials of Automated Vehicles in London which takes a deep dive into all the safety issues prospective AV development companies need to abide by to ensure proper and safe deployment of AVs on UK’s public roads. A range of key safety topics are covered in this report such as compliance with the Department for Transport (DfT) Code of Practice for testing automated vehicles, UK vehicle standards, and UK driving rules and road traffic laws. Copy of the TRL/Five AI report can be downloaded from this link.

Staying in the UK, another AV development consortium known as Driven has begun trials of its autonomous vehicles on public roads in London. One of its aims is to introduce robotaxis in London and other cities. To this end, it has partnered with a major London-based taxi company called Addison Lee which currently employs 5,000 drivers. This £13.6m Driven project is partially funded by the UK government and employs AV technology developed by the Oxford-based firm Oxbotica in collaboration with a number of other firms and organizations such as TRL, Transport for London (TfL), Telefonica, RACE and others. Driven hopes to prove that autonomous vehicles can operate in real-life situations in large European cities. More information at this link and Driven’s own site at this link.

On October 3, 2019, The Washington Post published an article on how some of the tech savvy people working in Silicon Valley do not want autonomous vehicles using their neighbourhoods for testing.  Firms like Cruise and Waymo have deployed many AV test vehicles in California cities such as San Francisco and Mountain View. The issue is not that these folks do not understand AV technology -- they do. Silicon Valley types can be most skeptical of advanced technology because they know how it works and what its risks are. Parents with experience at large tech firms have famously cracked down on their children using Facebook and other social media. Some tech executives won’t let female family members ride alone at night with ride-sharing cars. The Washington Post article can be viewed this link.

On October 9, 2019, Waymo notified members of its Early Rider Program in Arizona that it will soon be deploying driverless vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers. Till now, Waymo has had a safety driver behind the wheel just in case. The driverless vehicles will arrive empty when summoned by passengers through Waymo’s app and transport them to their destination. The vehicles will be monitored from Waymo's remote operations center in Chandler, Arizona. Riders with questions or problems can push a button to talk to a human representative. More information is at this link.

In a somewhat related and lighter side of things, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tricked ABC studio’s parking attendant called Guillermo to take a ride in a Waymo driverless car. The short video clip is rather hilarious!  It can be viewed at this link. Waymo also has its own one minute promotional video for its driverless car. It can be viewed at this link.

The October 12, 2019 edition of The Economist magazine published an article on AV development work in China. The article explained why Chinese AV companies have it a lot easier than their Western counterparts in terms of government regulations, government subsides, testing sites, etc.  It is worth reading. The article can be viewed on The Economists’ site at this link or at this link.

As we reported in the September 2019 issue of AV Update, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDoT) awarded over US$52m in federal grants for development and integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS) on U.S. roads. In all, USDoT received 73 proposals from various cities and organizations in response to this competition.  Copies of all 73 proposals can be viewed/downloaded from this link. The seven winners and amounts awarded are:  Texas A&M ($7.1M), U of Iowa ($7.0M), Virginia Tech (2 @ $7.5M), Ohio DoT ($7.5M), Penn DoT ($8.4M), City of Detroit ($7.5M), and Contra Costa Transportation Authority ($7.5M).

One of the latest organizations to join the automated shuttle ecosystem is Taiwan’s Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC). The shuttle dubbed WinBus meets the Society of Automotive Engineering's (SAE) Level 4 autonomous-driving standard according to the Government of Taiwan. The aim is to launch a commercial service for the shuttle in an industrial area of western Taiwan and to export the components and know-how of the shuttle technology to global markets.  More information is at this link. A short YouTube video about the Winbus can also be watched at this link.

Silicon Valley based investment banking firm Woodside Capital Partners has published an 84-page report titled Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AI). This detailed industry report covers the countries that are key players, the state of available technologies, and how the technological innovation is shifting from hardware to software. The report also discusses opportunities and threats, market participants along with their profiles. A copy of the report can be downloaded from this link.

Not that long ago, investment banking firm of Morgan Stanley was very bullish on AVs and had valued Waymo at about US$175 billion.  Due to the challenges and delays in bringing AV technology to mass markets, Morgan Stanley has now cut its valuation estimate by 40% to US$105 billion. The recalculation of market value of Waymo is based on discounted cash flow analysis by Morgan Stanley. The firm states that the biggest factors in lowering Waymo’s valuation are that the overall industry is developing more slowly than anticipated and that losses in ride-sharing will continue mounting, largely because of the continuing need for safety drivers. More information is at this link.

On October 2, 2019, the World Safety Automation Day conference was held at the Levi Stadium in California.  The main aims of this conference were safety issues and public concern in the realm of autonomous vehicles and the hope of reducing fatalities and property damage caused by the 94% of collisions due to human error. Luminaries from the AV ecosystem such as Chris Urmson, Larry Burns, Alain Kornhauser and Mark Rosekind were among the speakers.  More information about the conference is at this link. The full list of speakers can be viewed at this link.

On September 4, 2019, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published an update to its J3018-201503 standard. First published in March 2015, this document outlines what the SAE believes are the appropriate precautions and procedures for AV companies to follow when conducting self-driving vehicle tests on public roads. More information is at this link. The updated document costs US$81 and can be purchased directly from SAE at this link.

Next summer's Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo from July 24th to August 9th, 2020. As expected, Japan will showcase many of its advanced technologies for the world to see. One of these is an automated shuttle developed by Toyota for transporting athletes and staff between Olympic venues. Dubbed the e-Palette, Toyota will deploy 20 of them at the 2020 games. With a range of 150 Km and a top speed of 19 Km/h, the e-Palette has sport benches and lift-up seating, room for up to four wheelchairs and seven standing passengers. It has large sliding doors, low floors and electric ramps. The floor, trim, seats and parts have contrasting colours to help those with colour blindness. More information is at this link.

And finally, calling all young innovators. The Six Minute Pitch, a Transportation Startup Challenge, is a special Young Member Council (YMC) session at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting during which selected presenters pitch their cutting-edge, research-based concept for a transportation product- or service-based business to a panel of distinguished transportation industry investors and entrepreneurs in just six minutes. It’s basically the transportation industry’s national version of Shark Tank, Startup Battlefield, or Dragons’ Den! Details are here.

Upcoming AV-Related Events

Nov 26-27, 2019: The Future of Transportation World Conference, Vienna, Austria

Dec 2, 2019: Ahead of the Curve by Autonomous Transportation Canada; Toronto ON

Jan 7-10, 2020: CES 2020, Las Vegas NV

Oct 4-8, 2020: ITS World Congress, Los Angeles CA

Nov 3-5, 2020: Unmanned Systems Canada's annual conference, Calgary AB

TBA, 2020: CAV Canada 2020 conference, Ottawa ON

AV Update is a free, monthly roundup of news and analysis in the world of automated vehicles and their impact on all levels of government and the private sector.

Chief Editor: Ahmad Radmanesh
Contributor to this issue: Barrie Kirk

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© CAVCOE 2019
CAVCOE (formerly the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence) provides advice to public and private sector organizations to help plan for the arrival of self-driving vehicles

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