AV Update - November 2013
From the Editors
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence. CAVCOE (www.cavcoe.com)
provides information, analyses, expert advice,
recommendations, networking and other support to
stakeholders who are involved in the launch of Automated
Vehicles (AVs) and/or those who will be impacted by
Robo-Trucks coming to the Canadian Oil Sands
Following Rio Tinto’s highly successful foray into the use of Komatsu’s Automated Haulage System in their Australian and Chilean mines from 2008, and at a particularly prudent time interval, Suncor have announced they have started testing a self-driving truck in the Alberta oil-sands.
said that they are developing a prototype of a
$10K 16-line sensor that is a quarter of the price of
their 32-line sensor and one eighth the price of their
64-line sensor. Although better value for money than
their current offerings, we wonder if companies like Quanergy that are
waiting in the wings may be able to offer more.
Nevertheless, the trend is that LiDAR costs are falling
Texas Instruments has launched a family of chip processors designed for Advanced Driver Assistance systems (ADAS) which will help "reduce the number of collisions on the road and enable autonomous driving experiences".
Diary Dates for November
Nov 14-15: The first Florida
Automated Vehicle Summit is being held in Tampa,
FL. This is an open event and will be “exploring the
issues and creating the framework for implementation of
automated vehicles in Florida to save lives and enhance
Nov 19: The US House of Representatives are holding a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing – "How Autonomous Vehicles Will Shape the Future of Surface Transportation" (originally scheduled for October). Still no news on participants, but the title shows that AVs and their implications are being taken seriously.
Google Related News – AVs now ‘…somewhere inevitable…’
Given the recent $258M investment by Google in Uber
we are wondering if this
example of Uber lobbying on the subject of
“Innovation in the transportation marketplace” is in
any way related to fully automated shared fleets that
might end up using the Google technology.
Anthony Levandowski of the Google Self-Driving Car
Team is the headline Keynote Speaker at the American
Trucking Association Executive Summit in Irving,
TX on 4-6 December. We can imagine that trucking
company owners will be keener to deploy AV technology
than the drivers.
Dr Chris Urmson of Google explained at the Robo Business conference on the subject of their self-driving car that “We’re spending less time in collision near-states,” and “Our car is driving more smoothly and safely than our trained professional drivers.” He also didn’t think that legal or regulatory problems pose a major barrier to completely self-driving cars.
Rumour and Speculation around AVs
A photo of a Google self-driving car outside the Tesla
factory possibly caused the biggest stir of any
single article on the forums dedicated to AVs. We
conclude that someone from Google may have been
visiting Tesla – and that this would make for a great
Minor AV speculation on the forums also surrounded the fact that an Apple VP (former Segway Exec) will be joining Tesla to be VP of vehicle programs. This may, or may not, be connected to Tesla’s Autopilot program. But we do know that Apple have considerable experience with robots and automation, notably with their Foxconn plants, and they not only have staff with automotive backgrounds, but one who has autonomous driving as his primary descriptor.
AV Articles and Sites of Interest
AVs could transform the rental market" is
interesting, and it's good that the automotive press
see this possibility. But we think that it will go
much further than this and affect taxi, car share,
ride share and P2P models too, as our Paul Godsmark
wrote in his blog.
reports that aging population is seen as a
strong driver for the uptake of AVs in Japan, and we
think that there are numerous other demographic trends
that will also find an affinity with AVs.
At the ITS World Congress (ITSWC) the concept of the
fully self-driving car seemed to get a reality
check from automakers and connected vehicle
experts. However, the ITSWC planning committee acknowledges
that AVs will be at the forefront in the next annual
Congress in Detroit. There is also a thoughtful article
from the MIT Technology Review that explains why AVs
are further away than we think; however, this is based
mostly on what the automotive sector has to say. We
think that the disruption to the car is coming from
outside the traditional automobile sector incumbents,
and that is almost certain to be Google. Given the
societal implications of the fully self-driving car is
it safe to plan for any other eventuality, or any
other date than the 2017 indicated by Google?
AV legal expert Bryant Walker Smith, Stanford
University, had some interesting comments
to make on Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). In
the US, and a number of other countries, EIS are a
legal requirement to demonstrate that the impacts on
the environment have been appropriately taken into
account. At some point soon, planners and designers
are going to have to start demonstrating that they
have taken automation (such as AVs) into account
within EIS. Our opinion is that automation should
already be considered within major transportation
A special mention goes to the Eno Center for
Transportation which released a paper; "Preparing
a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles" as it
attracted very considerable media interest and has
moved the discussion of AVs forward in the public
arena. However, we don’t entirely agree with how it
handled the AV subject, and would have preferred it to
have gone into much more depth on how a nation should
actually prepare for AVs.
Milestones Magazine, published by the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) has an article titled "How Automated Vehicles will change Municipalities", written by Paul Godsmark and Barrie Kirk of CAVCOE. Click on the link and then go to page 25.
Politicians and AVs
Just as we predicted in last month’s AV Update, the
French PM was not the last to talk about AVs. Sure
enough, we can report that the Japanese PM Abe has
help advance auto-piloting technology as part of his
economic policy". He is the first national
leader that we know of to be publicly driven by an AV
– and not just one, he tried out versions from Toyota,
Honda and Nissan.
Update is a free, monthly roundup of news
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Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark
Photography: Keith Fagan
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CAVCOE provides information, analyses, expert advice, recommendations, networking and other support to stakeholders who are involved in the launch of Automated Vehicles and those who will be impacted by their arrival.
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