From the Editors

Another incredible month for AVs. The month saw several advancements related to the testing of AVs on public roads. Tesla, Uber and Volvo led the news. California and Michigan also made some strides on the legislative front.

AVs are being taken more and more seriously across the globe. Japan, UK, Australia got in the news this month following the plans of pilot tests of AVs in their cities. We are also seeing an increasing number of startups and partnerships between giants that are taking the autonomous vehicle technology (and its application) forward. Starship Technologies and Spothero were also in the limelight this month.

The Conference Board of Canada, following its very successful AV conference in April 2016, will organize another conference for April 2017 in Toronto. Stay tuned for details. CAVCOE will be closely involved, as it was for the April 2016 conference.

The Automakers, Tier1s and AV Developers
After the fatal accident in May this year, Tesla has decided to upgrade its Autopilot technology with better radar abilities to go with the cameras already installed in the vehicles. You can read more about this in Dayshoppe article. In another Elektrek news, a Tesla Model S was spotted with additional sensors, probably LiDARs, on the top of the vehicle near the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto.

Here is the Curbed article on Los Angeles city’s vision of the future to create smarter and efficient transportation that combines self-driving vehicles with on-demand sharing services. The full report presenting the road-map to the city’s plans can be found online at Urban Mobility In A Digital Age.

This Guardian article looks into the options for initiating communication between the driverless cars and pedestrians or cyclists on the road. The article cites text messages, illuminated road surfaces and electronic signage as possible communication options with vulnerable road users.

SpotHero, a service that allows drivers to prepay for a parking space in a garage via app, recently raised $20 million in Series B funding. Currently, the driver requests the app to book the parking space. But, to go with the title of this TechCrunch article “Spothero is ready for future of autonomous parking”, the future can well be cars itself, instead of humans, talking with the app and booking a garage space.

Securing America’s Future Energy, SAFE, a Washington based non-profit, is aiming to bring together a group of transportation, research and government officials to provide recommendations about how AVs should be tested on roads. The motive behind the move is to improve the public confidence in the safety of these vehicles. Here’s an article in Automotive News to read more about the same.

To learn more about how AV customers will be using these vehicles in their daily lives, Volvo has launched its “Drive Me” program. The program is touted as “world’s most ambitious and advanced public autonomous driving experiment”. The tests will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Here’s the Simplebotics article to read more. The article also mentions that similar pilot tests will follow in London and China.

Autoliv and Volvo have signed a letter of intent to form a jointly-owned company to develop autonomous driving software. The plan is to have the venture develop the advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technologies for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenue shared by both companies.

In Japan, the aging population and the reducing customer base of bus companies Is becoming a big hurdle. To counter that, Softbank Group Corporation is building driverless buses that can reduce the operating costs of the country’s bus companies by half. A plan is being put to place that will allow Softbank’s driverless buses to carry the aging population of cities in Japan. Here is the article on Bloomberg to read more.

Starship Technologies, a German startup, is building a fleet of autonomous robots to deliver goods locally. Recently, the startup announced partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans to develop “Robovans” that integrate the vans with autonomous bots. The vans will drive the bots around to the neighborhood of delivery, while the bots will allow for door to door feature. It is expected that Robovans can help increase the volume of packages delivered by 120%. Read more about the news directly from Starship press.

In Perth, Australia, a new driverless bus, RAC Intellibus which is made by the French company NAVYA, is being tested to study and investigate how the driverless buses and cars can be integrated in the daily commutes and Australia’s transportation system. Read more about the news in this Start Up Daily article.

Two news items from Uber. The company has begun testing driverless taxis in Pittsburgh, although with an attendant who can take over if needed. Click here for more details. In addition, Uber is testing its own self driving car on the streets of San Francisco. Here’s the news and some stills of a sighting of Uber’s self-driving car.

Apple has laid off more than dozen of team members from its Autonomous Driving Project. Here’s the Dayshoppe article on the news.

AV Regulations
The US Department of Transportation has published a major policy statement regarding driverless cars. It includes guidance on vehicle performance and model regulations for the states so that there is consistency across the country. The full document is here.

As far as legislation is concerned, AVs could very well see some improvements coming their way from the City of Michigan. This article from Stanford Law School lists some interesting observations by Bryant Walker Smith on Michigan’s automated driving bills.

On the ethical front, Germany is preparing to lay down three key rules for autonomous vehicles.
1.  It is clear that property damage is always preferable to personal injury.
2.  There must be no classification of people, for example, on the size, age and the like.
3.  If something happens, the manufacturer is liable.

An ethics team has been formed to work out the specifics but the three rules can serve as a good starting point. Read more about the news in this Inverse article.

In California, legislative efforts are being made to ensure driverless cars are allowed testing even without the presence of the driver. Here is the news from California Legislative Information. The article also talks about the progress in allowing the testing of AVs without a steering wheel, an accelerator or a braking pedal on roads, albeit with some restrictions.

Other AV Articles
The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, has sent a new mandate letter to Steven Del Duca, the Minister of Transportation. The mandate includes working with the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth to develop an autonomous vehicles Centre of Excellence.

This Telematics Wire article comments on the expected market penetrations of AVs in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The article mentions that North America and Europe will lead the way initially with Asia Pacific to follow in the coming years.

This LinkedIn article is a good refresher on the three game changers in transportation industry: driverless vehicles, connected vehicles and electric powertrains. Readers can learn about some benefits that each of these game changers offer. In addition, the article recommends some key strategies for the vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to adapt.

An article was posted in NY Times that lists the critical situations that self-driving cars are encountering today. The article talks about ethical dilemmas, unpredictable human behaviour and inconsistency in lane markings that AVs use to stay within the lane, among others.

Upcoming AV Related Events
Sep 28, 2016: Webinar on "Truck Platooning - Spreading the word"; Online. Prof. Homayoun Najjaran, Senior Associate at CAVCOE will be one of the presenters at this webinar.

Oct 3-4, 2016: TU-Automotive ADAS & Autonomous USA; Novi, Michigan, USA.

Oct 4-6, 2016: SAE 2016 Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress; Rosemont, Illinois, USA.

Oct 10-14, 2016: ITS World Congress; Melbourne, Australia.

Oct 25-26, 2016: Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress 2016; Novi, Michigan, USA.

Nov 1-3, 2016: UnmannedCanada 2016, the annual conference of Unmanned Systems Canada; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Nov 2-3, 2016: TU Automotive Europe 2016, 14th Annual Conference and Exhibition; Munich, Germany.

Nov 18, 2016: Transport Futures - Mobility Pricing and Automated Vehicles Conference; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. AV Update subscribers are eligible for a 10% conference discount; use discount code CAVC5 in the "DC" box.

Nov 29-Dec 1, 2016: SAE 2016 From ADAS to Automated Driving; Munich, Germany.

Apr 4-6, 2017: SAE 2017 World Congress and Exhibition; Detroit, Michigan, USA.

April 19-20, 2017: AV Conference organized by The Conference Board of Canada; Toronto, Canada.

Oct 29-Nov 2, 2017: ITS World Congress; Montreal, Canada.
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.

Chief Editor: Geetansh Kakkar
Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark

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