AV Update - April 2014
From the Editors
It seemed to be a relatively subdued month for automated
vehicle (AV) developments, until Google made one of their very rare official
“We all dream of a world in which city centers are
freed of congestion from cars circling for parking and have fewer
intersections made dangerous by distracted drivers. That’s why over the last
year we’ve shifted the focus of the Google self-driving car project onto
mastering city street driving.”
“Our vehicles have now logged nearly 700,000
autonomous miles, and with every passing mile we’re growing more optimistic
that we’re heading toward an achievable goal—a vehicle that operates fully
without human intervention."
Since their last announcement in April
2013 when they had done 500,000 autonomous miles on public roads, it
seems that Google has transferred their attention to testing in the much more
challenging city street environment. This is an important development that
suggests they are well on the way to mastering highway driving.
There followed a flurry of articles around this official Google statement, with
one article in particular, in The
Atlantic Cities, which caught our eye due to its in-depth coverage and
interviews with the Google team.
Given Google’s optimism that fully self-driving is an achievable goal, and
their previous statements that they aspire to have their technology in public
hands by 2017, it seems prudent that we should all be aware of the potential
impacts of this technology when we are making plans for the future. It is
better to be over-prepared, than to be caught unawares by the transformative
impacts of a potentially disruptive technology.
zoox: they may not be manufacturing their vehicles just yet, but our friends
at Driverless Transportation
managed to be ‘Catching
up with zoox’ at an interesting time in their development.
Audi: The ‘Audi
Urban Future’ project will put its self-driving cars to work in cities
across the world in a competition to see which will provide the greatest
Honda: Honda believes, Asimo
(it’s kid-sized robot) will give the automaker an edge in building the car of
the future. To be confirmed…
Comet Robotics under the
leadership of Corey Clothier has an interesting business model around
demonstrations and pilots for AVs. We look forward to seeing some of the
projects that they get involved with.
QNX (a software company owned by Blackberry and based in Ottawa) and VisLab of
Parma University, Italy have teamed up to
produce an AV and eventually to produce a system for sale to the automakers.
algorithm aids in both robot navigation and scene understanding’ - MIT
researchers' new algorithm works on 3-D data of the type captured by LiDAR and
represents the data as points on a sphere.
Infra-Red (NIR) Technology Improves Driver Assistance Systems’ – through
the emergence of high dynamic range imaging devices. Essentially a camera that
sees in the visible and NIR spectrums and can filter out the unwanted NIR signal
to produce enhanced combined images that assist in adverse weather conditions
and nighttime driving.
Regulatory / Government
California authorizes the City of Lancaster to research and develop autonomous
Louisiana considers bills that not only authorize
research and testing of AVs, but their operation
Washington D.C. has published some allegedly ‘terrifying’ regulations
for AVs. Surely paying $20, being trained and obeying the traffic laws
isn’t that terrifying?...
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators' annual
conference has 3 sessions on the subject of AVs.
Over Control: Opportunities and Risks for Insurance’ from Lloyds is
an attempt to look at autonomous vehicles of all types and their impacts on
insurance. But they are having trouble predicting timescales – to which we
respectfully suggest they think sooner rather than later.
The Brookings Institution paper ‘Products
Liability and Driverless Cars: Issues and Guiding Principles for Legislation’
is also saying it will be many years before fully self-driving AVs are in
The Silicon Valley Autonomous
Vehicle Enthusiasts have assembled audio-only records of their numerous
meetings for anyone that is interested.
and application of a network-based shared automated vehicle model in Austin,
Texas’ suggests that a single shared AV could replace approximately 8.5 to
10 conventional vehicles.
Some statistics from a free-floating
car share pilot program in Seattle show that 39% of car share members have
either given up a car or are considering giving up a car. Imagine how much more
persuasive a shared AV fleet might be.
autonomous cars, driving dumb is key’ – all the time that they have to
co-exist alongside sub-optimal human drivers that is. Anyone for an automated
vehicle zone where AV benefits can be maximized?
This month’s theme is AVs and Ownership vs. Shared Fleets
a World of Driverless Cars Be Heaven or Hell?’ compares scenarios of
privately owned AVs with shared fleets of AVs. The shared fleet solution is more
sustainable, but will the public go for it?
vehicles will force us to rethink car ownership’ – so maybe the public
will go for shared fleets?
Chunka Mui, one of the more respected and influential spokespersons on AVs
thinks we should consider ‘Could
Robotaxis Replace Private Cars And Public Transit?’ – it’s those
shared AV fleets again….
‘Lyft Raises $250
Million From Coatue, Alibaba, And Third Point To Expand Internationally’.
It is always interesting to follow developments in the on-demand transportation
service sector, but what made this particularly interesting is that to combat
the pushback from regulators Lyft have hired
the former Google X legal director. Coincidence?... Maybe there is
something about these shared fleets after all?
(Google) Patent Watch
User interface for displaying object-based indications in an autonomous driving
Not as off the wall as you might think
Born Today Will Never Have To Drive A Car, says Robotics Expert’.
Other AV News
Rio Tinto who started the truck rolling on commercial AVs announced
that 53 of the planned 150 Komatsu Automated Haulage System trucks
are now in operation across four mine sites. The trucks have
“"significantly enhanced" haul cycle times, extended tyre life,
reduced fuel usage and lowered maintenance costs.” We can’t wait for similar
improvements to be reported on our public roads.
on the road to a driverless future: Autonomous vehicles will be commonplace in
our lifetime, and we need to plan ahead.’ Is an opinion piece from
Minneapolis – but the comments could apply to most municipalities in developed
cars could keep seniors in the driver's seat: The technology is coming, and it
could be a blessing as the number of older Americans soars.’
truth about Google X: an exclusive look behind the secretive lab's closed doors’
– provides some great background to those unfamiliar with the Google way of
developing and realizing their ‘moonshots’.
Upcoming AV-related Events
April 30, 2014 – 2:00pm EDT: ‘Autonomous
Vehicles - Liability and Their Effect on Insurance’
a free webinar by Guy Fraker
May 25-28, 2014: The Canadian
Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) will hold their Annual
Meeting in Toronto. CAVCOE's Barrie Kirk will be on a panel
discussing autonomous vehicles.
May 28-29, 2014: Telematics Update's:Insurance
Telematics Canada 2014 in Toronto. Barrie Kirk will be a panelist
discussing how autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles will change auto
June 1-4, 2014: CITE/OTC's
"Transportationfest" conference in Waterloo, Ontario. Barrie Kirk
will present a paper on autonomous vehicles.
June 1-4, 2014:
ITS Canada's 2014 Annual Conference and General Meeting in Victoria BC.
CAVCOE is speaking at this conference.
June 1-4, 2014 CARSP CMRSC ‘Safer
Roads; Healthier Communities, Vancouver. Paul Godsmark is a panelist on
June 30 – July 2, 2014:
The Road to Automated Drive 2014, Stuttgart, Germany
July 14-18, 2014: there is the joining of the previous two best AV events of the
last couple of years into the one AUVSI
/ TRB AV Symposium in San Francisco.
September 7-11, 2014:, ITS World
Congress Detroit. Paul Godsmark is presenting on Automated Vehicle
September 14-17, 2014: IEEE
80th Vehicular Technology Conference in Vancouver. Barrie Kirk is the
Co-Chair of a full day on autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles. Both
Barrie and Paul Godsmark will be speakers that day.
September 28 - October 1, 2014: Transportation
Association of Canada's Annual Conference and Exhibition in Montreal.
Barrie Kirk is speaking on the impact of AVs on the transportation
infrastructure. Paul Godsmark is presenting on Automated Vehicle Zones.
November 17-18, 2014: Automotive Tech.AD: The
Future of ADAS.
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
Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark
Photography: Keith Fagan
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