Tag Archives: driverless

TNC Drivers Fear Losing Work with Miami, Austin Autonomous Vehicle Trials

Phone based GPS in a car at night.Transportation network company (TNC) drivers in Miami say they fear losing their income when 1,000 autonomous cars are launched as ride-hails later this year.

Argo AI, Ford, and Lyft announced they’d trial the self-driving cars in Miami and Austin this winter. Drivers for Lyft and Uber say they’re concerned the autonomous cars will cut their rides, hours, and paychecks.

Florida has one of the highest-used TNC networks in the country, and drivers there say the autonomous vehicles are hitting their routes many years ahead of when they anticipated. And because a driverless “robotaxi” cuts a driver out of the ride-hail equation, they say they fear perhaps losing those jobs completely as more self-driving cars hit the roads.

Read the whole story here.

Why Big Tech is Building Autonomous Cars

Zoox self driving vehicleThe race to build driverless vehicles is expensive, slow, and fraught with metaphorical–and real–potholes. So why are so many big tech companies jumping in?

Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others have partnered with automakers, other tech companies, and different specialists in the race to produce a truly driverless car. Analysts say there’s only one good reason for it: They have to.

“For Apple and other behemoths that are diving into self-driving tech or have grand plans for their own cars, that push isn’t just about breaking into a new market — it’s about defending valuable turf,” write Bloomberg‘s Reed Stevenson and Mark Gurman. They explain that, beyond profit or bragging rights, the tech companies are trying to win “the last unclaimed corner of consumers’ attention during their waking hours.”

They offer a full analysis of what’s at stake and what can be won in Transport Topics. Read it here.

The Future Impact of Autonomous Vehicles

robot holding car key or car remote controlBy Jim Anderson

Autonomous vehicles (AVs): What are the effects on today’s transportation network and future smart-city design? There is much speculation and opinion as to the evolution of AVs and the continued emergence of transportation network company (TNC) use in the fabric of the urban transportation environment.

Notable architect and planner with architectural firm HOK, Brian Jencek was recently interviewed by Automotive World, and stated,  “The hope is that public and private partnerships will flourish to support municipal transport systems. If managed properly, AVs could improve social equity and lead us into a more just future.”

What we know today is that AVs will be driven by artificial intelligence (AI). supported exclusively by advanced connectivity and data-driven cloud infrastructure. The automotive industry is investing heavily in alternative energy and technology for the future of mobilization. The consumer adoption and acceptance will be predicated upon a safe, predictable, secure, and efficient experience.

Jencek observes, “In the future, these (AV) fleets will need somewhere to go” as they complete their delivery service. This is a topic for today’s city planners to consider–places for AV’s to re-charge and await the next transportation opportunity. The TNCs are currently a factor in emerging urban congestion as they drive about awaiting their next fare.

As we are at the cusp of this technological revolution, stay tuned for continued awareness of AI advancements in data-center infrastructure to support the necessary computer power for AV success. See excerpts from the Automotive World article here.

Jim Anderson is market development manager, building solutions team, with MasterBuilder Solutions and co-chair of IPMI’s Planning, Design, & Construction Committee.

Wired: Public Skepticism, Union Opposition Will Greatly Delay Autonomous Transit

It wasn’t so long ago that autonomous buses and shuttles felt like part of the near-term future. But delays in technology and COVID-19 have put the brakes on that prediction, and now Wired says autonomous transit will have to get past public nerves and strong opposition by unions to happen.

We’ve known for awhile that riders would be nervous about trips on driverless buses, but hiccups in testing have exacerbated that. And unions that represent transit workers have stepped up their efforts to slow or stop pilot programs, including showing up to protest in-person. All of this, the site says, may greatly delay a driverless future.

Read the story here.

AVs Get Their Own Lane in Michigan

Sign reading Detroit 94Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer yesterday announced the establishment of dedicated lanes for autonomous vehicles (AVs) on a 40-mile stretch of highway between Detroit and Ann Arbor. The lanes will be built thanks to a private-public partnership (P3) and construction is expected to begin after a two-year study to determine the best strategy.

Much of the project will be funded by companies owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, which hopes to expand it to other states. It will be headed up by Cavnue, which hopes to begin running AVs with human backup drivers along the highway to collect data. They plan for self-driving buses to get first crack at the lanes, followed by smaller shuttles, freight trucks, and some personally owned AVs.

Ford, which is part of the project’s advisory board, recently began renovating an old railroad station in Detroit for use as its AV headquarters.

Read the whole story here.

Member News: Cornell “Ghost drivers” Test Cultural Reactions to Autonomous Cars

In a series of studies conducted in three countries over more than five years, a Cornell Tech-led team has pioneered the use of “ghostdrivers” – cars with drivers disguised under a car seat-like hood, to make the car appear driverless – in order to assess and compare how pedestrians across cultures might actually behave when encountering these cars on the roads.

Read more here

No Driverless Cars Yet? Blame Human Nature

By some estimates, we should have been relaxing in our autonomous cars by now. But that dream keeps getting pushed back, and Fast Company says they know why: Basic human nature.

Developers tend to assume that people can “partially” pay attention while using a “semiautonomous” car. Levels 2-4 describe certain amounts of autonomy that the vehicles can achieve, but always with the caveat that the driver needs to be ready to take control.

But people don’t behave that way in the car. They either they pay attention, or they don’t. In fact, test drivers of various autonomous vehicles have told me that it’s actually harder for a human to remain ready to take control than it is for them to fully control the vehicle.

The article explains that human reaction time isn’t good enough to wrest control away from a computer quickly enough to avoid accidents, which has made almost-autonomous vehicles–an anticipated stepping stone to full autonomous driving–nearly impossible.

Read the whole story here.

Driverless Buses to Hit Real Roads in Florida

EasyMile self-driving bus on a roadTwelve-passenger, driverless buses will hit real roads in Gainesville, Fla., later this year, marking the first time autonomous shuttles travel among other traffic in the U.S.

Currently in testing on closed courses, the EasyMile electric buses will run four-mile routes between downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida. They’ll have standby operators on board in case anything goes wrong, and riding them will be free during a three-year trial period.

Read the whole story here.

The Future of Fleets

Cover of the January issue of Parking & Mobility magazineFleets of self-driving vehicles are about to become the norm. What does that mean for the parking and mobility industry? We’ll give you a hint: They’re driverless. Autonomous vehicles will change the fundamentals of the entire transportation landscape, and that includes fleets–and the way they interact with parking and mobility facilities and infrastructure.

Jesse Garcia, director, strategy and corporate development with ParkMobile, shares research and predictions for fleets and what upcoming changes will mean in the latest issue of Parking & Mobility, including who will own them, how they’ll operate, what they’ll mean for parking and mobility organizations (particularly in municipalities), and how to prepare for the disruption to come.

“There is much more to the autonomous fleets of the future than simply removing the need for a driver,” he writes. Read more here.

Driverless Shuttle Pilots Show Limitations of Technology

autonomous shuttleDriverless shuttles are on the road in Reston, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., and while things are going pretty well so far, the pilot has also highlighted why driverless cars may still be some time away.

The shuttles take people to and from remote parking in an area largely under construction. Some project participants say that while they’re working fine with a rescue driver and engineer on board just in case, it’s also become clear that what works in a lab may not be ideal for on-street operation. The vehicles can’t tell if someone opens a door while in motion, for example, and they don’t know what to do about parents loading strollers. They’re also restricted to speeds of less than 25 miles per hour and while that may prevent pedestrian fatalities, it’s awfully slow for getting around.

The Washington Post offers an analysis of the project; read it here.