From the Editors
As usual, there has been a lot of activity
in the AV space. One aspect that is very evident from this issue is that
more and more people are starting to think about the impacts of AVs. The
largest section in this issue of AV Update is on the socio-economic
impacts of AVs.
We applaud the initiatives of the governments of the UK and Singapore (see
below). The key takeaway is that AVs should not be regarded as a problem
to be ignored for as long as possible, but as part of a technology innovation
and leadership initiative that is strategically important at the national level.
The UK and Singapore governments understand this dynamic and that is wonderful;
we hope that other governments will follow their example.
The AUVSI/TRB Automated Vehicles Symposium 2014 held in California in July was a
huge success. It is now the premier gathering for AVs in the world and
attracted many excellent presentations and hosted some interesting breakout
discussions. The AV
Symposium proceedings are well worth a review for those that want a summary
and wider perspective of developments over the last year.
Massive Testing Ground Where Volvo’s Perfecting Its Self-Driving
Cars is an interesting article that describes Volvo's plan to
eliminate deaths related to vehicle crashes and the site where the
company is evaluating its technology.
And staying with Volvo, the article Volvo’s
New SUV Will Be Super-Safe Because It’s Semi-Autonomous
describes the company's strategies in making its cars as safe as
possible and eliminating crash-related deaths. It's a great
objective and AVs can eliminate the large majority of traffic
deaths, but we wonder if Volvo's objective to eliminate all
crash-related deaths is setting the bar too high.
They may not be an automaker, but Mobileye
had a very successful IPO and have their sights firmly set on
driving sector of the market.
Google has built a digital
simulation of the entire California road system in which it is testing its
self-driving cars – and is lobbying the state's regulators to certify them
based on virtual rather than real driving. Google's cars have already
virtually "driven" more than 4 million miles inside it, facing
challenges just like those in the real world, such as lane-weaving drivers,
wobbly cyclists and unpredictable pedestrians. Google argues that computer
simulations are actually more valuable, as they allow manufacturers to test
their software under far more conditions and stresses than could possibly be
achieved on a test track or a real road.
Impacts of AVs
AVs are expected to be a catalyst for a trend away from car ownership to
Transportation-as-a-Service. A recent study
shows that this trend has started even before AVs are commercially
available. In San Francisco, between 2000 and 2012, households that own no
cars at all increased from 28.6% to 31.4%, the fifth-highest rate among large
American cities. The statistics also show that the city’s average car
ownership rate is declining, even as the population is growing. The
introduction of AVs will accelerate this trend. Paul Godsmark commented on
this on reddit,
"The fastest growing transportation trend in SF is the Uber and Lyft ride
service model. Shared automated vehicle fleets extend these services to a new
level of service and convenience and lower costs at the same time."
Awareness is rapidly growing of the little-known link between AVs and organ
donations. A recent article in Fortune asked "If
driverless cars save lives, where will we get organs?" The
back-story is that traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for young
people aged 18-30. Young, healthy people who die suddenly are an important
source of organ and tissue donations. One body can help up to 50 other
people with eyes, heart, kidney, liver, skin tissue, etc. If AVs can save
the lives of 80% or more of the people who are killed in traffic collisions,
this leads to a chronic shortage of organs and tissue for donation. 3D
printing of tissue and organs can help fill the need, but the technology is not
for the Unpredictable is an article published by the CATO Institute, a
US-based think-tank. It asks: "How do you plan for the unpredictable?
That’s the question facing the more than 400 metropolitan planning
organizations (MPOs) that have been tasked by Congress to write 20-year
transportation plans for their regions. Self-driving cars will be on the market
in the next 10 years, are likely to become a dominant form of travel in 20
years, and most people think they will have huge but often unknowable
transformative effects on our cities and urban areas. Yet not a single
regional transportation plan has tried to account for, and few have even
mentioned the possibility of, self-driving cars." (Our emphasis.)
This is a US article, but we expect that the same applies in Canada.
CAVCOE is happy to discuss this subject with any parties involved in the
development of long-range transportation plans.
forward thinking academics have decided that it is already time to train
graduates to focus “on designing for mobility at the systems level rather than
drawing concepts of individual automobiles.” At least some graduates of
these programs will be able to assist with the problem identified by the CATO
Institute above. Better late than never…
A study by Pew Research titled ‘AI,
robotics and the Future of Jobs’ identified self-driving cars as a key
issue that many experts believe could lead to societal transformation.
Even today, before AVs have been deployed, a new study by MIT and others shows
that if taxi users in New York City were willing to share, the cumulative
trip length could be cut by 40%. Additionally operational costs could
be cut by 30%, with only minimal delays in bringing passengers to their
A good examination of the broad impact of AVs is the article Why
Driverless Cars Will Wreck Your Legal Practice. Three of the many
points in the article are:
- What could happen if billions of dollars of auto insurance premium
vanished (or was spent by people other than drivers) overnight. Lawyers for
insurers should be thinking about driverless cars.
- To lawyers who do DWI defence work: your practice area may not exist in
- To lawyers who participate in automotive accident or product liability
cases; the world may be about to shift under your feet.
and responding to tailgaters is a US patent awarded to Google that uses
various criteria to determine if a vehicle behind the AV is tailgating and the
decision criteria used to respond to that situation.
Another patent application by Google is called How
Google's Driverless Car Detects Aggressive Drivers, Google says it's figured
out how its cars will detect those with road rage, and then adjust its driving
modes to be safer.
Velodyne have launched a 3D
Real-time ‘LiDAR Puck’ at $7,999 which has 16 lasers/lines and marks a
significant step forward in LiDAR development. How much benefit it will be
to AV developers is unclear, but it is clear that LiDAR are getting better and
the prices are coming down.
Meanwhile Quanergy who also hosted a
demonstration at the AV Symposium are looking to provide some competition in
The UK government is blazing a trail to promote AVs. A recent press
Government fast tracks driverless cars" announces two initiatives:
- UK cities are invited to bid for a share of a £10 million competition
to host a driverless cars trial. The government is calling on cities to join
together with businesses and research organizations to put forward proposals to
become a test location.
- UK Government Ministers have also launched a review of the current road
regulations to establish how the UK can remain at the forefront of driverless
car technology and ensure there is an appropriate regime for testing driverless
cars in the UK.
The city/state of Singapore is also moving quickly to embrace AVs with two key
developments of its own:
- The recent announcement
of the launch of CARTS; the Committee for Autonomous Road Transport for
Singapore. The committee brings together expertise from different
backgrounds and asks what could AVs do for Singapore?
- The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore and the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have announced the Singapore
Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), in which the two agencies will work
together to develop and introduce autonomous transport for Singapore's roads.
CAVCOE has announced
that it has launched a Speakers Bureau focused on -- you guessed it -- automated
vehicles. If you require a speaker for your corporate event, Paul Godsmark
and Barrie Kirk are well-known and respected public speakers. They will
engage your audience with a fascinating insight into the near future, address
the latest developments and trends in the world of AVs, and explain how AVs will
impact your specific business / industry. Please contact
us to discuss your requirements.
The Globe and
Mail published the article "Rise
of the machines: Why the robot car is inevitable". Barrie
was interviewed for this article and provided much of the information.
We recognize that some people are not as passionate about AVs as we are.
To demonstrate the other side of the AV coin, Why
do I hate driverless cars? is a good article by someone who loves driving,
preferably with three pedals not two, even if a human is slower at changing
gears than a machine!
Vehicular Technology Conference
We don't usually mention an upcoming conference in the
body of the newsletter, but the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference is
different. It will be held in Vancouver on September 14-17, and on Tuesday
16th, there is a full day on automated vehicles and connected vehicles. It
promises to be a very interesting day; there will be speakers from QNX, Volvo,
Cisco and other organizations. Barrie Kirk and Paul Godsmark of CAVCOE
have been very involved in the preparations and both will be speaking at the
conference. Click here
for the conference flyer.
September 7-11, 2014:, ITS
World Congress Detroit. There is an Automated Transportation Track
with many papers on a wide variety of AV issues.
September 14-17, 2014: IEEE
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.
September 28 - October 1, 2014: Transportation
Association of Canada's Annual Conference and Exhibition in Montreal.
Paul Godsmark is presenting on "Emerging Modal Technologies: Autonomous and
November 17-18, 2014: Automotive Tech.AD's conference on The
Future of ADAS; Detroit
November 30 - December 3, 2014: The Association for Commuter Transportation of
Canada (ACT Canada) conference on Sustainable
Mobility & Healthy Communities Summit 2014 in Markham ON. Ryan
Lanyon (City of Toronto) and Barrie Kirk are co-presenting a paper on
"Automated vehicles: the technology that will change our mobility