Car and Driver caught up with Foxx in Pittsburgh. The DOT chief, previously mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, reflected on the promise of autonomous and connected cars, the recent Smart City Challenge, the massive increase in traffic deaths, the potential of the shared vehicles unfolding right outside the window, and more. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for grammar and brevity. — blog.caranddriver.com
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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
If Mr. Ratti’s projections are correct, and self-driving cars can radically reduce traffic without cannibalizing existing mass transit—the hypotheticals pile up—it is possible that self-driving cars will make many cities livable in a way they aren’t now. Imagine if every U.S. city had a hybrid public-private mass-transit system on par with those in New York City or Washington, D.C., comprised entirely of self-driving vehicles. — wsj.com
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
"The idea that you can replace the 10 trips with one autonomous car and travel less distance, that’s the biggest misconception," says Fagnant. "You can get rid of vehicles, but not vehicle miles traveled. Without ridesharing, there's an 8 to 10 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled based on simulations we've run in Austin. You’re not replacing trips [..] the vehicle has to bounce between locations, and relocate to where it’s needed. Those in-between miles will create a lot of extra travel." — curbed.com
[nuTonomy's] Level 4 autonomous vehicle "is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip;" all you have to do is provide a destination and (possibly) open and shut the doors.
Google's autonomous cars, in contrast, are currently at Level 3, with limited self-driving automation [...]
[nuTonomy] is building into [its] decision-making engine the ability for cars to actually violate the rules of the road when it's necessary to do so — spectrum.ieee.org
Since summer 2015, [Alex] Rodrigues and his team [at Varden Labs] have been tinkering with autonomous golf carts on university campuses...On the one hand, campus transit agencies, and particularly university ones, are uniquely posed to experiment with pricier autonomous vehicles...But these shuttles will also need maintenance...Plus, driverless shuttles will be the diving bell for a tricky, tricky question: how important are bus drivers? — CityLab
The seven American cities that made the shortlist in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Smart City Challenge are now deciding their strategies for winning the $40m prize fund...Transportation is the focus, so judges will be interested in self-driving and 'connected' cars, as well as 'smart streets' fitted with sensors. The aim will be to cut accidents, reduce pollution and increase commuter convenience. — Global Construction Review
The DOT shortlisted seven finalists instead of the originally planned five. They are:Austin, TexasColumbus, OhioDenver, ColoradoKansas City, MissouriPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPortland, OregonSan Francisco, CaliforniaThe winning city is expected to be announced in June.More related to transportation...
Google said on Monday it bears "some responsibility" after one of its self-driving cars struck a municipal bus in a minor crash earlier this month.
The crash may be the first case of one of its autonomous cars hitting another vehicle and the fault of the self-driving car. [...]
Google said in the filing the autonomous vehicle was traveling at less than 2 miles per hour, while the bus was moving at about 15 miles per hour. — reuters.com
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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
Using cruise control, you can set the [Tesla] to a particular speed and it will accelerate and turn within a lane in a straight line. It will dodge cars attempting to swerve into your lane, objects that it can see, pedestrians or fellow drivers simply trying to swerve into you because you’re an obnoxious prick with a Tesla blasting Party Rock Anthem.
It can’t, however, direct you along every street... — The Guardian
Researchers estimate that driverless cars could, by midcentury, reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent. Which means that, using the number of fatalities in 2013 as a baseline, self-driving cars could save 29,447 lives a year. In the United States alone, that's nearly 300,000 fatalities prevented over the course of a decade, and 1.5 million lives saved in a half-century. — CityLab
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
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