Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. Google, widely regarded as the leader in the field, has been testing its fleet for several years, and Tesla Motors offers Autopilot [...] But none of these companies has yet brought a self-driving car-sharing service to market. — Bloomberg
Related stories recently in the Archinect news:Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo join forces to lobby for autonomous vehiclesA look at the history and future of the American commuteNew study finds ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber have no effect on drunk-driving fatalities
So a lot of us own or lease cars...But when the talk turns to autonomous cars – and it always does – I sigh. Our overcrowded highways really could use a break from human stupidity, and that human factor is behind nearly all of the fatalities and injuries and property damage we see strewn across our roads every day. Get rid of the human behaviour to save the human body! This is where autonomous cars make sense; but not all the world is a crowded, urban highway. — driving.ca
U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law [...]
"NHTSA will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants" [...]
Google told NHTSA that the real danger is having auto safety features that could tempt humans to try to take control. — reuters.com
The technological and legal impediments to making self-driving cars a reality on U.S. roads seem to be falling away – and as the regulatory market opens for business, so may more competition, with Google and California (which legalized self-driving cars in 2012) leading the way.More on the...
"Robots hate litter," reads a health and safety sign. "Please don't give them any more reasons to overthrow mankind." It's also fair to say that naming your robots makes the whole process of constructing cars vaguely ridiculous. "Wolverine and Iceman lift the cars to tramline two," our tour guide informs us with the zeal of a true believer, adding, as he did after virtually every sentence, that this is 'kind of amazing'. — wired.co.uk
Related stories in the Archinect news:Multitasking Musk: the busy life of Elon MuskA look inside Tesla's growing Gigafactory: "It will blow your mind."Dawn of the self-driving car: testing out Tesla's autopilot function
For the first two weeks of the year, private cars with even-numbered license plates are allowed on the roads only on even-numbered dates, and those with odd-numbered plates on odd dates. The restrictions have noticeably reduced traffic in a city with 9 million cars, more than double that of a decade ago.
In 2014, the World Health Organization found New Delhi’s air to be the dirtiest of 1,600 cities it studied. Scientists blame the high levels of pollutants [...] for thousands of deaths a year. — latimes.com
The plateauing and decline in U.S. vehicle miles traveled per capita that occurred between [2005-2014] was described by some hopeful commentators as a dramatic shift that was indicative of the preferences of a new workforce...Marginal changes in the way a new generation behaves...cannot overcome the realities of a country where more than three-fourths of jobs are located more than three miles from downtowns and where only one-fourth of homes are in places that their residents refer to as urban. — The Transport Public
More about car transit on Archinect:Welcome to Evanston, Illinois: the carless suburbiaDawn of the self-driving car: testing out Tesla's autopilot functionFrom California to Texas, car culture is losing its monopolyCan a loss of driver autonomy save lives?Designers imagine a world of self-driving...
What if a suburban downtown became a place where pedestrians ruled and cars were actively discouraged? As it turns out, what looks like normal urban gentrification actually marks the success of one of the most revolutionary suburbs in America. And its approach to development is fast becoming a model across the region—a model even embraced by [Evanston's] urban neighbor to the south, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. — politico.com
This year, “connectivity” has supplanted “horsepower” or “torque” as the prevailing buzzword in Frankfurt. The talk is of self-driving cars, battery-powered cars, and information technology designed to link cars with data networks to make driving safer and more efficient.
Even though neither Apple nor Google is close to mass-producing a vehicle, nervousness about their intentions — which remain cloaked in mystery — is understandable. — the New York Times
Gilles Vesco calls it the 'new mobility'. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones...'Multi-modal' and 'interconnectivity' are now the words on every urban planner’s lips...This model of denser, less car-dependent cities is becoming the accepted wisdom across the developed world. — The Guardian
Writer Stephen Moss talks to urban planners and transportation authorities around Europe to get a glimpse into how cities worldwide continue to wean themselves off car dependency and explore new forms of mobility, all while city density increases.
Today, Uber is announcing UberPool, a new feature that will let you pick up other riders on the way to your destination and split the bill.
While the feature should do a lot to cut costs for passengers, not everyone will want to ride with a stranger in addition to the driver picking them up; Uber notes that the new feature also serves as a kind of “social experiment.” [...]
Starting August 15 a public beta will launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. — techcrunch.com
You can’t build your way out of congestion. It’s the roads themselves that cause traffic. The concept is called induced demand, which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more. [...]
What [economists] Turner and Duranton (and many others who’d like to see more rational transportation policy) actually advocate is known as congestion pricing. This means raising the price of driving on a road when demand is high. — wired.com
The wisdom of surrounding transit stations with "seas" of park-and-ride lots may be turning. In theory, park-and-ride seems like a great transportation compromise, converting full-trip drivers into part-trip riders. In practice, the opposite often occurs, with former non-drivers now commuting part of the way by car.
That unexpected practical shift can increase vehicle miles traveled in a metro area, subverting the sustainability goal of transit. — citylab.com
Cars offer more than just convenience: they can give lower income Americans an economic leg up. [...]
While tracking households that had participated in two federal housing voucher programs, [a study] found that car owners were twice as likely as transit users to find jobs and four times likelier to retain them. Car-owning households were also able to locate near better neighborhoods and schools. This reaffirmed previous work ... arguing that car ownership plants the seeds for upward mobility. — thedailybeast.com
A new video by doctoral student and an associate professor at Arizona State University visualizes the expansion of LA's roads, starting in 1888 and running all the way up to 2010 [...]
Variations in color denote the age of the thoroughfares, with green being the oldest roads and red being newest. Watch as the map blooms with color in the fifties and the trend carries on through the eighties to the present. — la.curbed.com
"Growth of the Los Angeles Roadway Infrastructure, 1888 - 2010", by Andrew M. Fraser and Mikhail V. Chester, Ph.D., of Arizona State University:Compare with the following video of Los Angeles' overall growth as a city during the 20th century, from NYU's Stern Urbanization Project:
According to a recent report from PeopleForBikes and Alliance for Biking & Walking, protected city bike lanes can actually encourage local business success. As trends show workers moving into U.S. cities (rather than out into suburbs), and businesses catering to a younger workforce that...
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