AV Update - May/June 2014
The past few weeks have been very busy in the AV space and for CAVCOE,
which is why we are publishing this joint May-June 2014 issue of AV
The convergence of rapidly advancing sensor technology and software means
that fully-automated vehicles are moving ever closer to
introduction. But we think we have seen the future potential for an
even more serendipitous convergence, which might just lead to more rapid
deployment of AVs into our everyday lives.
told the world about their new prototype vehicle which does not have a
steering wheel or pedals (see the above photo). It is intended
to comply with Neighborhood Electric Vehicle regulations and is limited to
25 mph. Having a foam front and a flexible windscreen means that it
has been designed with pedestrian and road user safety in mind. Our
Paul Godsmark wrote
an article on this new development and the implications it has for all
of our businesses – it ended up being the most popular article on
LinkedIn at the time and was viewed over 150,000 times.
Second, by fortuitous coincidence, the NY State legislature approved plans
York City to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph. Suddenly
the comments from many analysts about the limited nature of the benefits
of Google’s ‘bug car’ take on a new perspective and NYC now becomes
a prime candidate for a Google pilot program. Any success in NYC
could easily be replicated elsewhere if all that is required is copying a
law that makes a city’s roads slower and safer.
Third -- and we think that this could be a big deal in the AV ecosystem --
is the announcement by the US Energy Secretary that up
to $16 billion may be available as Advanced Technology Vehicle
Manufacturing loans to AV makers.
These are examples of how the convergence of a rapidly developing
technology with a suitable environment and the money to help fund it might
just result in a sum that is greater than the parts.
Musk said “In less than a year you'll be able to go from highway
on-ramp to highway exit without touching any controls.”
cars may hit roads in 2018’ according to Carlos Ghosn,
Renault-Nissan CEO, who pointed out legislation as being the key problem
that needs to be overcome . Interestingly enough, this deployment won’t
be in the US, but in the “pioneer countries” of France and Japan.
Empty Car Convoy’ provides a very dramatic demonstration of the
Hyundai platooning, lane assist and autonomous emergency braking systems.
Automotive Executive Survey 2014 showed a surprising lack of interest
in AVs in our opinion. For example: when will we see SDCs on public
• 2% of respondents see this within 5 years
• 4% within 5 to 10 yrs
• 25% within 10 to 20 yrs
• 40% greater than 20 yrs
• 31% NEVER! (our emphasis)
Automakers and Google
can do anything with enough time and money” GM Product development
chief Mark Reuss said. “If they [Google] set their mind to it, I have no
doubt” that they could become “a very serious competitive threat.”
…but the caveat seems to be ‘eventually’.
Detroit diverge on road map for self-driving cars’. In other
words, two very different perspectives and philosophies meet head-to-head
when discussing a potentially disruptive technology; and they don’t feel
that they are even talking the same language.
Soon after the Google ‘bug’ was launched we
found out from Google themselves that as people become more trustworthy of
their freeway driving technology, they
cannot be trusted to take back control when needed. Or as
Nathaniel Fairfield put it: “people go from plausible suspicion to way
overconfidence.” The new prototype ‘bug’ is therefore being
designed to take over the entire driving task and not require any
Chris Urmson and Ron
Medford of Google were interviewed by Charlie Rose and they provided
some great snippets of new information, as well as possibly de-bunking a
few AV myths along the way.
Google's cars have been sporting new
sensors – probably not related to this
application with the FCC to use vehicle radars.
Cruise is a start-up that as soon as next year, wants to provide an aftermarket
product to convert certain production cars into Level 3 semi-automated
vehicles. We look forward to hearing more on the capability and
safety of their system.
study of crash data from 2010, NHTSA found that the societal cost of
crashes in the US was $871 billion – with direct economic costs of $277
billion (1.9% of GDP). Surely we can improve on this? Let’s
develop and deploy AVs as soon as they are safe enough to make a
Bill Shuster and Carnegie Mellon’s demonstration
of their driverless vehicle to members of Congress in Washington was
going well until one of the delegates hit the big red button whilst
stationary and unfortunately brought demonstrations to a premature end.
The more legislators are exposed to this technology, the better the
chances that they will understand it and make well-informed decisions.
This year’s World Cities Summit carried on from
last year and explored the potential impacts of AVs. Singapore-MIT
research suggests that AVs could reduce urban traffic by up to 80%,
and they are planning to test their low-speed vehicles in residential
areas this year They are in talks to do trials on the tourist island
as off the wall as you might think
On the discussion forum Reddit, the question was
asked ‘In the future, will spam traffic
be a problem?’. Please pause and think about this and the
concept of ‘spam traffic’ – it may sound crazy at first, but this
could be a very real problem one day.
Uber London protest: 'black-cab
drivers blockade Trafalgar Square in go-slow demonstration over taxi
fare row’. Uber says they had an 850% increase in sign-ups that
Bear in mind that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says that the company will
adopt autonomous cars when they are readily available.’ Plus how
else do you explain Uber’s
jump in value from $3 billion to $18 billion in a year?
Could Foxconn, the main assembler of many Apple products, become
an electric vehicle manufacturer? That would add an interesting
dimension to the discussion above between Detroit and Google.
Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have announced their support for AVs in
the hope that they can help eliminate drunk driving completely.
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.
Aug 4-6, 2014: COM.DriverlessCar
2014: The 1st International Summit on Driverless Car Computing;
September 7-11, 2014:, ITS
World Congress Detroit. Paul Godsmark's presentation is on
Automated Vehicle Zones
September 14-17, 2014: IEEE
80th Vehicular Technology Conference in Vancouver. There is a
full-day track on automated vehicles and connected vehicles. Barrie
Kirk is the Co-Chair and will open the day with a keynote presentation on
"Three Technologies that will change the World". Paul
Godsmark will moderate the session on AVs and will also be a speaker.
A flyer on the conference is available here.
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 sector.
Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark
Photography: Keith Fagan
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recommendations to stakeholders who are involved in the launch of
automated vehicles and those who will be impacted by their arrival.
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