The NMA Foundation presents The Car of the Future Weekly Roundup:
In this week’s roundup:
–Waymo/Uber dispute goes to trial—
–GA now allows AV testing—
–So does NY—
–Can a few AV improve traffic flow?–
Mobility Industry News
In the ongoing war between Uber and Lyft for ride-sharing supremacy in the not-so distant future where human drivers are rendered obsolete, the latest battle has gone in favor of Lyft. The New York Times reported Sunday that Google-owned Waymo, the self-driving car project that emerged from the secret Google X labs, is partnering with the distant second-place rideshare service Lyft to pair Lyft’s customer base with Waymo’s technology in hopes of driving Uber’s autonomous vehicle aspirations off the road.
Waymo won a ruling that may strengthen its trade-secrets suit against Uber Technologies Inc. even as the Alphabet Inc. unit fell short of its goal to bring its rival’s driverless-car program to a standstill.
At this point, Ford is basically a tech company. The stalwart US auto manufacturer is testing out 3D-printed car parts, integrating Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant into its cars, and investing heavily in infotainment systems and electric car technology. Ford is also going all-in on self-driving cars with a $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence (AI) startup Argo AI.
Alphabet’s driverless-car unit, Waymo, and attorneys for Mr. Levandowski didn’t respond to requests for comment.
When it comes to challenging entrenched taxi companies, few have a bigger reputation than Uber. The ride-hailing company has successfully forced taxi drivers to compete with it in hundreds of markets around the world. But now, a top official at the European Court of Justice has said Uber is more like the transportation companies it’s sought to disrupt than the firm would have regulators believe.
There’s a search engine giant getting into the autonomous vehicles game, and it’s not Google. Chinese search engine company Baidu has announced an autonomous vehicle development platform, called Project Apollo, that it says will democratize autonomous driving.
City and State Car of the Future News
In most of the crashes, a conventional vehicle had rear-ended an autonomous test vehicle at a traffic light or while the autonomous vehicle waited to …
Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation to allow testing of driverless vehicles in up to four municipalities to help the state determine how best to prepare for the cars’ seemingly inevitable arrival on a large scale.
Georgia is officially joining the autonomous vehicle party. On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill that would allow self-driving cars to test drive in the state.
The Georgia Supreme Court Monday upheld a 2015 state law authorizing and regulating app-based ride-sharing services in Georgia. In a unanimous ruling, the justices sided with a lower-court decision in a lawsuit filed in July 2015 by several Atlanta taxicab drivers.
While state law currently allows vehicles with semi-autonomous features to operate on its roadways, there is no Illinois law regulating or restricting fully autonomous vehicles. The Illinois General Assembly, however, is now considering a bill (HB 2747) that would legalize autonomous driving and create regulatory backstops before the vehicles hit the marketplace.
Cars, Mr. Peters noted, are legally required to have steering wheels and certain other features driverless vehicles won’t need.
New York will allow companies to test driverless vehicles in the state. According to the governor’s office, new legislation allows for testing of autonomous technology through a year-long pilot program.
Based on recent actions by the government, the center could put a priority on autonomous vehicle development.
A human driver must be sitting behind the wheel at all times ready to take back control.
Looking toward the future of “driverless technology,” many envision robot cars acting as chauffeurs during the daily commute, allowing passengers to do other things instead of driving.
Many auto manufacturers, tech companies, and legislators predict that by 2021, self-driving cars will take to the roads, further accelerating the future of transportation. Before that happens, one topic that needs further attention is the evolution and roll-out of self-driving technology.
Cars will die out by 2030 as electric self-driving car shares take over our roads, according to a new report. Ninety-five per cent of miles traveled in the US will happen in autonomous vehicles owned by fleets rather than individuals in just over a decade, researchers found.
A quarter of UK respondents believe driverless cars will be the main form of transport in 10 years’ time, according to a new study from Gemalto. The report, conducted by YouGov and featuring more than 2,000 respondents, aimed to assess the expectations of consumers from connected cars. When asked about their top three priorities while taking a connected car on lease, 34% of the consumers that they said would look for cost efficiency, 31% would seek ease in maneuvering the vehicle and 28% would want a secure Wi-Fi access.
In just a few years, well-mannered self-driving robotaxis will share the roads with reckless, law-breaking human drivers. The prospect is causing migraines for the people developing the robotaxis.
Alphabet’s mobility division is testing new hardware that can generate a 360-degree view around the vehicle and see pedestrians and cars at far longer ranges.
Technology enthusiasts have been preaching about the benefits of self-driving cars for some time now. A new study goes to show autonomous vehicles can address one of the biggest issues our society faces: traffic congestion. Even just a few autonomous vehicles on the road can alleviate these problems by quite a margin.
Cities have a narrow opportunity to rein in an unbridled rise in vehicle miles traveled.
More than a third of consumers now feel that ride hailing or car-sharing are viable alternatives to vehicle ownership according to the results of a survey of 8,000 people carried out by Capgemini.
Connected Cars and Connected Cities
In these early days of smart cities and connected cars, Savari has emerged as a V2X (that’s vehicle-to-everything) innovator. Now it’s joined the 5G Automotive Association to bring cellular communications to connected cars.
In the past, a lot of the interactions that an insurer had with the customer would be at renewal time or when there was a claim. With connected cars, insurers can now have a pipeline and ongoing communication channel to their customer, creating opportunities for service, engagement, and driver improvement. This signals broader thinking about what connected car data – or telematics – can do, expanding opportunities beyond only marketing and policy discounts.
Last week Verizon invested a small, undisclosed fortune in autonomous vehicle systems designer Renovo. Key automotive players believed that Verizon, being a telecommunications company, bought into Renovo as part of a bigger move in their industry. Today, as Verizon finally outbid AT&T on a company that holds valuable FCC spectrum space that is ideal for Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) short range communication, the move appears to be part of a broader play in the self-driving sector.
Electric Vehicles etc.
The best way to change perceptions about electric cars is to put novices in the driver’s seat—quite literally in this sense. The advocacy group Plug In America went to Capitol Hill recently, with a barrage of plug-in electric and pure battery electric vehicles, in an effort to educate lawmakers on their importance. Hundreds of senate staffers showed up for the event, which was hosted by Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and the Senate Auto Caucus.
California began regulating vehicle emissions within its boundaries before the Environmental Protection Agency was even a gleam in President Richard Nixon’s eye. Since that agency was founded in 1971 with an executive order by Nixon, the state has retained the right to set its own—more stringent—emission rules. Now, under President Donald Trump and climate-science denier Scott Pruitt, who runs the EPA, there’s widespread fear that the agency will attack the “waiver” it granted to California that permits its zero-emission vehicle sales requirements. That could happen, though it would be a major court battle that might last the entire remainder of Trump’s first four-year presidential term.
California may start funding point-of-sale rebates on electric vehicles and other zero-emissions vehicles in order to spur greener car purchases, especially among those in the lower income brackets who may be turned off by their higher prices. The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) currently offers as much as $7,000 in rebates, depending on the customer’s income level, but that check is mailed out after the vehicle is purchased. The new program would bake the rebate into the vehicle purchase, meaning that the savings becomes instantaneous, Cars Direct reports, citing CARB documents.
BMW’s car-sharing service, ReachNow, today unveiled the first of more than 100 “Light and Charge” electric vehicle chargers coming to Seattle.
Infrastructure and Urban Planning for the Car of the Future
Planners are anxious about automated vehicles and their potential to reshape development patterns and the urban landscape.
Next, as the time-worn lane stripes fade, as the concrete gets very light in color, the car will fire off warning lights and sounds as it drifts into another car’s lane. It can’t read the road. It can’t yet truly drive itself. Automakers have promised self-driving cars will arrive as soon as next year. They’re only telling half the story: their half. The infrastructure needed to support completely self-driving cars won’t be ready any time soon. If and when it does happen, that infrastructure is at least decades away–and it will come with a multi-billion-dollar price tag.
If you haven’t yet, you will sometime soon likely get a text from your teenager asking, “Mom, is it OK if my friends and I Uber to the football game tonight?” And while you may have used a ridesharing service plenty of times to get to your meeting from the airport, you haven’t really considered whether your kids should be using the service alone.
A new bill in Texas could pass the regulatory matters of Lyft and similar companies over to the state.
Ride-hailing service Juno promised a more worker-friendly alternative to the zero-sum labor practices of Uber and Lyft — it offered drivers a piece of the company itself. But that dream died last month when Juno suddenly jettisoned drivers’ part-ownership agreements following a $200-million sale to rival Gett. Drivers were left justifiably irate, and now Uber’s fledging quasi-union is taking up their cause.
Mayor Lee’s suggestion that companies like Lyft and Uber share location data with the city demonstrates how large of a role the companies play in the city’s transportation mix. Last year, there were more than 45,000 active Lyft and Uber drivers in San Francisco, according to data from the Treasurer’s Office.
On Monday in front of the New York stock exchange, Julia Steyn, head of General Motors’ urban mobility project, announced the company’s app-enabled car-sharing product, Maven, will now be more broadly available in New York City.
BlackBerry Ltd is working with at least two automakers to develop a security service that would remotely scan vehicles for computer viruses and tell drivers to pull over if they were in critical danger, according to a financial analyst.
General Motors said it will commit to buying sustainable natural rubber for the 49 million tires it buys annually, an initiative aimed at helping small rubber farmers while protecting company profits by ensuring the material’s long-term availability.
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