From the Editors
I know we covered this last month, but here is a reminder about CAV Canada 2019.
Canadian AV News
On November 21st, there was a meeting of potential partners of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Institute (CAVI). There was an excellent discussion that confirmed the need and vision for CAVI. The next step is to identify and sign up Contributing (i.e. paying) Partners.
On November 9, Barrie Kirk spoke at the Canadian Science Policy Conference, and specifically on a panel organized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The panel was on Digital Futures: The Impact of Digital Threats to Democracy. and included Professor Elizabeth Judge from the U. of Ottawa. Barrie spoke about the privacy issues of AVs (a negative if not managed correctly) and improved mobility for seniors and the handicapped who will be able to continue to participate in society and politics.
Barrie also organized and moderated a panel on New Mobility at Unmanned Systems Canada's recent conference in Vancouver. The other panelists were from the City of Vancouver, Pacific Western Transportation and Uber, who all described what their organizations were doing in the new mobility space. Barrie closed out the panel by summarizing what other organizations in Canada were doing.
Global News reported that Employment and Social Development Canada had a presentation on the negative employment impacts of AVs. According to this report, over 1 million jobs could be at risk because of vehicle automation. Jobs such truck drivers, subway operators, taxi drivers and even courier services. Other jobs at risk are parking attendants, auto-body repair workers, and police and emergency workers. More information is at this link.
On October 31st, the University of Waterloo invited a number of journalists to see a demonstration of its latest progress in the development of self-driving cars. The project dubbed Autonomoose uses a modified Lincoln MKZ as its test bed. UoW researchers state that the software code developed for their self-driving car is entirely their own. They also state that they have made most of this code available to the public. However, some of the code is not made public due to liability issues. More information is at this link.
Toronto’s MaRS District is now home to technology companies developing artificial intelligence for use in autonomous vehicles. This is in addition to other Ontario locations actively working on various aspects of AV development. Among them are Durham focusing on human-machine interface and user experience, Hamilton on multi-modal and integrated mobility, Ottawa on networks and communication, London/Windsor on cybersecurity and cross-border tech and Waterloo on high-definition mapping and localization. Each site is already partnered with local universities and will receive in-kind support from industry. More information at this link.
A UBC psychology professor, Azim Shariff, is a contributor to a controversial study called The Moral Machine Experiment published in Nature earlier this year. This online experiment was a more sophisticated version of the old trolley problem where an AV needs to make ethical/moral decisions on who to save if there is an emergency or unusual situation. Millions of people from all over the world have participated in this experiment. The report concludes that these life and death decisions are largely based on cultural issues and values held by different people from different parts of the world. More information is at this link. If you would like to take the test, you can do so at the Moral Machine website at this link.
On November 20, 2018, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) issued a Request for Information (RFI) for an Automated Transit Shuttle. This project is funded in part by Transport Canada’s ACATS program. The purpose of this RFI is to research the market place and gather information from potential suppliers, solution providers and service providers in order to help the TTC, the City of Toronto and Metrolinx understand the opportunities, technology and limitations of an automated transit shuttle with a capacity of up to 8 -15 persons. Closing date for this RFI is December 12, 2018. More information is available from MERX at this link.
International AV News
At the Paris Motor in October, NAVYA, a leading company in the autonomous vehicle market announced a 3-year partnership with AXA, a global leader in insurance company to develop insurance solutions tailored to autonomous vehicles. Insurance and liability issues for AVs are complex issues. The involvement of a major insurance company like AXA is a step in the right direction. More information is at this link.
Also in October, NAVYA announced a partnership with Charlatte Manutention to develop automated baggage transport vehicles for use in airports. The prototype vehicle dubbed Autonom Tract AT135 and is the first such vehicle coming out of this new partnership. Charlette Manutention is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of airport utility vehicles. More information is at this link.
On a related topic, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure has published a 36-page report titled Ethics Commission Report on Automated & Connected Driving. As the name suggests, the report is focused on ethical/moral issues that could arise as automated and connected vehicles make inroads into the transportation system. Among its conclusions: in the event of unavoidable accident situations, any distinction between individuals based on personal features (age, gender, physical or mental constitution) is impermissible. More information is at this link. A copy of the report can be downloaded from this link.
In a setback for the deployment of slow speed electric autonomous shuttles, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered Transdev in Florida to immediately stop shuttling kids to school in what NHTSA described as a “driverless” shuttle, and said the company’s use of the vehicle as a school bus is “unlawful". Transdev was granted a temporary permit by NHTSA to import an EasyMile EZ10 Generation II vehicle for demonstration purposes. Using this vehicle as a school bus was not what NHTSA had in mind when the permit was issued. School buses are subject to more rigorous regulations under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. More information at this link.
On November 12, 2018, the Wall Street Journal published an article on how the economy is being transformed by the rise of mobile internet, automation and artificial intelligence. The article touched on the substantial investments in AVs since 2009. The charts below put these investments in perspective.
The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is keeping an eye on emerging vehicle technologies such as ADAS and AVs. They assert that newer vehicles packed with many sensors are more expensive to repair. As a result, the insurance premiums have gone up by 10% for vehicles equipped with emergency brake-assist and parking guidance systems. Similarly, they expect the insurance rates for AVs would initially go up before rates go down when AVs go mainstream. More information is at this link.
One of the oft repeated reasons for promoting shared autonomous vehicles is the fact that the average private car is used only 5% of the time. The other 95%, it sits parked doing nothing. To put this in perspective, there are 274 million cars in operation in the US. Assuming they have an average value of $20K, we have cars forming a $5.39T asset base. This capital infrastructure registers 5% utilization. Companies like Uber and Lyft developed software that lets any one of us with a smartphone tap into a previously fallow $5.12T asset. This is one of the reasons Uber currently has a valuation of over US $120 billion. More information is at this link.
On November 3, 2018, the BBC published an article with the title Why Big Tech pays poor Kenyans to teach self-driving cars. The article describes how many Kenyans are employed by U.S. tech companies to manually mark-up images to be used as ‘training data’ in artificial intelligence systems. The work involves loading up an image, and then using the mouse to trace around just about everything. People, cars, road signs, lane markings - even the sky, specifying whether it's cloudy or bright. Ingesting millions of these images into an artificial intelligence system means a self-driving car, to use one example, can begin to "recognize" those objects in the real world. The more data, the supposedly smarter the machine. More information is at this link.
And finally, advances in connected vehicle technologies now allow information picked by sensors about pedestrians and cyclist to be transmitted to CV-equipped vehicles nearby. BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford and Siemens are all working to develop these technologies for manually driven vehicles and for future self-driving cars. More information is at this link.
Feb 28 – March 1, 2019 Operational Safe Systems for Level 5 Automation (OSS5), South San Francisco Conference Centre
April 28 – May 1, 2019 IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
June 2-5, 2019 Canadian Institute of
Transportation Engineers (CITE) annual conference at
the Westin hotel in Ottawa
Sept 22-25, 2019 IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii
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