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.


The Automakers
The 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 the automated driving sector of the market.

Google Update
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.

Socio-Economic 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 here yet.

Planning 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.

Meanwhile, some 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 destinations.

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 ten years.
-  To lawyers who participate in automotive accident or product liability cases; the world may be about to shift under your feet.

Detecting 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 this space.

Government / Regulatory
The UK government is blazing a trail to promote AVs.  A recent press release "UK 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 Speakers' Bureau

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.

Other AV Articles
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!

IEEE 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.

Upcoming AV-related Events
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 Connected Vehicles"

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 experience".

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.

Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark
Photography: Keith Fagan

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CAVCOE provides consulting services, information, analyses, expert advice, recommendations 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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