Ford has invested big in an AI startup
February 2017
From the Editors
2017 is going to be a very busy year for conferences related to AVs. The full list is at the end of this newsletter. Three key ones -- all being held in Eastern Canada -- are:

- April 2017: The Conference Board of Canada's Automated Vehicles 2017: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology; to be held in Toronto, Canada. CAVCOE is pleased to be a sponsor and knowledge partner.

- Sept 2017: IEEE's Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC). Barrie Kirk is a Co-Chair of the Autonomous, Connected, Electric (ACE) Vehicle track.

- Oct-Nov, 2017: ITS World Congress in Montreal, Canada.

A different type of AV was referenced in a letter from Barrie Kirk to The Globe and Mail.about Canada Post. The letter addressed the opportunity to use delivery robots to achieve door-to-door delivery of mail without the expense of mail carrier salaries. The letter also proposed that Canada Post launch a challenge and invite teams to develop and demonstrate a prototype.

The Automakers, Tier1s and AV Developers
Uber and Mercedes have entered into a partnership that speeds up their AV operations. Mercedes plans to use Uber’s existing huge customer base and the technology to connect riders with cars. Uber, on the other hand, gets to leverage Mercedes' expertise in making vehicles and can focus its efforts to further develop the AV tech.

Elon Musk was at the World Government Summit in Dubai and talked about Tesla’s entry to the Middle Eastern market and his future plans. "My guess is that in probably 10 years it will be very unusual for cars to be built that are not fully autonomous," he said, speaking about his vision of AVs. Here is the YouTube link for this talk.

Ford has announced an investment of $1billion over 5 years in ArgoAI, a Pittsburgh-based artificial intelligence company. Ford aims to have its self-driving cars on the road by 2021 and the startup is expected to help the automaker in developing the autonomous system. “The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile, and autonomous vehicles and will have as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, President and CEO, Ford.

GM’s Cruise Automation has released another AV video showing their mastery of San Francisco streets. The video shows the self-driving vehicle dealing with multiple different complex situations (four-way intersections, construction sites, etc.) en-route -- and the vehicle handles them with ease.  

AV Regulations
The US House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection recently held a hearing on Self-Driving Cars. The key part was that the people making self-driving cars spoke directly with people guiding self-driving policy. The Q&A session included a variety of topics of conversation such as skipping Level 3 automation, cybersecurity, automakers taking complete liability at level 4, and when is the perfect time to deploy AVs, etc.

Anders Karrberg, vice president of government affairs for Volvo, said that lawmakers should “encourage” NHTSA to update its policy on automated vehicles “with an explicit request that states refrain” from regulating or passing laws on driverless cars.

Members really wanted automakers to let them know when they expect to have fully autonomous cars ready for primetime. Nidhi Kalra, co-director of the RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty, claimed that it’s impossible to adequately test autonomous vehicle safety before the cars are widely deployed. Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune and Michigan Sen. Gary Peters are looking to introduce bipartisan legislation on driverless cars this year. Peters previously announced his plans to propose a bill that would raise the cap on the number of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards exemptions NHTSA can grant. Those standards require human controls that aren’t necessary for fully autonomous vehicles. “While these requirements make sense in today’s conventional vehicles, they could inhibit innovation or create hazards for self-driving vehicles,” Thune and Peters said in a joint statement Monday. The senators added that they “don’t have a specific timetable for producing legislation.” Here is the YouTube link to the entire conversation.

AV Lawsuits
This month has seen a couple of high profile lawsuits.

Tesla has brought a lawsuit against a former employee, Sterling Anderson, and a stealth startup called Aurora – co-founded by Chris Urmson who is also a named defendant. This is the first time details have emerged around Urmson’s activities since leaving Google.

Alphabet’s Waymo has brought a lawsuit against Uber and Otto, which alleges the theft of enormous amounts of secret data that has been used to facilitate the very rapid development and manufacture of a LiDAR that is remarkably similar to the one that Waymo say they have developed.

None of the allegations have been proved in court.

AV Research
Google has patented a technology that could minimize the impact felt by an object on collision with a vehicle. “The characteristics of the object with which impact is imminent may be used to adjust the amount of shear force necessary to break the one or more shear pins, in an effort to minimize the impact force felt by the object,” the patent says.

How can a vehicle navigate to stay within its lane when bad weather obscures road markings? Researchers from MIT Lincoln Laboratory have achieved real-time, nighttime, centimeter-level vehicle localization while driving a test vehicle at highway speeds over roads whose lane markings were hidden by the snow. This was made possible through localizing ground-penetrating radar (LGPR) program. The sensors use very high frequency radar reflections of underground features to generate a baseline map of a road's subsurface.

Other AV Articles
“The value of vehicles will likely pale in comparison to the riches from our cars' data.” The importance of data a car generates and the way the data can be put to use is both exciting and has privacy concerns. The quality and quantity of data from the car is only going to increase with the AVs. Sensors gather a lot of data that can be put to use to make money and new business opportunities.

Vehicle Platooning, a phenomenon in which vehicles move close together in uniformity like a train of vehicles, is gaining importance as it saves considerable amount of fuel because of reduction in aerodynamic drag for the vehicles. With use of AV technology, the vehicles can run even closer to each other, thus reducing the fuel costs further. Research results in this field have shown some great advancements, as illustrated in this article from MIT News.

Upcoming AV Related Events
Feb 27-28, 2017: Cyber Security 2017: Securing the Smart City of the Future; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Feb 28-Mar 2, 2017: Autonomous Vehicles Silicon Valley; Santa Clara, California, US.

Mar 6-7, 2017: Automotive Tech.AD; Berlin, Germany.

Mar 14-16, 2017: EEVC 2017 – European Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Congress; Geneva, Switzerland.

Mar 15, 2017: Autonomous Car Detroit; Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Mar 28-29, 2017: International VDI Conference - Autonomous Trucks, Dusseldorf, Germany. Our Paul Godsmark will be presenting at the event.

Mar 30, 2017: dSpace Tech Day; Santa Clara, California, USA.

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

April 19-20, 2017: Automated Vehicles 2017: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. AV Update subscribers can register using promotional code PRM2 to save $400 off the total conference rate. For more information, please contact Natasha Chipilova at

Apr 25-26, 2017: ATZ Live; Frankfurt, Germany.

May 15-17, 2017: UITP Global Public Transport Summit; Montreal, Canada.

May 16-18, 2017: Connected and Autonomous Vehicles; Santa Clara, California, USA.

May 22-25, 2017: AutoSens; Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Jun 7-8, 2017: TU Automotive Detroit 2017; Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Jun 20-22, 2017: Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium; Stuttgart, Germany.

Jul 5-6, 2017: The Future of Transportation World Conference; Cologne, Germany.

Jul 5-6, 2017: 4th International VDI Conference Automated Driving 2017; Berlin, Germany.

Jul 11-12, 2017: Autonomous Vehicle ADAS Japan 2017; Tokyo, Japan.

Jul 11-13, 2017: Automated Vehicles Symposium; San Francisco, California, USA.

Sep 19-21, 2017: AutoSens; Brussels, Belgium.

Oct 5-6, 2017: Automotive Simulation World Congress; Tokyo, Japan.

Oct 24-25, 2017: Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress 2017; Novi, Michigan, USA.

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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