An Interview with Leslie Richards on CMU’s New AMPLIFY Podcast

Courtney Ehrlichman, Deputy Executive Director of the Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, hosts Amplify. Courtney’s interviews highlight what is happening in the disruptive world of connected and automated vehicles while illuminating and amplifying women’s voices and stories from the field.

Amplify is sponsored by Mobility21, a National USDOT University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility, based at Carnegie Mellon University.

Self-Driving Truck Feud Shows Tech’s Vulnerability in Jobs Debate

Pushback on technologies that take human jobs is nothing new. Workers rallied against past inventions like weaving machines and the assembly line. But the convergence of rapidly developing AI technologies across multiple industries threatens to displace a higher percentage of workers at a more rapid pace than in the past, Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in disruptive technology and public policy, told Bloomberg BNA.

Self-driving vehicles are the most tangible case yet for AI’s potential for job loss, but it is catching the tech industry flat-footed, Wadhwa said. The introduction of self-driving vehicles could impact more than 15 million U.S. workers—or one in nine workers—to varying degrees, according to an August report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. More than 3.5 million Americans work as truck drivers, according to American Trucking Associations data.

Webinar: Transformational Transportation Technologies: Research at Carnegie Mellon University

October 4, 2017
2-3 p.m.
USDOT’s Center for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAT) at UMTRI, distinguished speaker series.

Transformational Transportation Technologies: Research at Carnegie Mellon University

Chris Hendrickson: Director, Traffic21 Institute, Hamerschlag University Professor of Engineering Emeritus, Carnegie Mellon University

Transportation is undergoing revolutionary changes due to automation, improved communications and data analytic applications. This talk will provide an overview of research on transformational transportation technologies at Carnegie Mellon University through the Traffic21 Institute and related University Transportation Centers. In particular, Carnegie Mellon is known for over three decades of research on autonomous vehicles. Some policy implications of partial and full driverless vehicle automation will be highlighted.

Uber Offers Sneak Peak at Next Generation Of Autonomous Car (Video)

Uber Technologies Inc. is ready to roll out a new autonomous vehicle, debuting a Volvo crossover designed to help the company shift its autonomous vehicle from its test phase to an eventual phase in which the new cars will be made in larger quantities for expanded commercial use.

“We’re designing for scale,” Brian Zajac, the director of hardware engineering for Uber, at a recent press event the company hosted at its Advanced Technology Center in the Strip. “The older generation was not designed for mass production.”

What Happens When Lyft Redesigns A Street

Ride-sharing companies are eager to present themselves as the solution to transportation problems, not the cause of them. With this concept, Lyft seems to be demonstrating that it’s thinking about the issues surrounding its growth, unlike its less scrupulous competitors, and supporting policies that theoretically result in fewer cars on the road while serving more people (assuming that carpooling, buses, biking, and walking are more enticing than a private car).

“We’re really focused on how we can reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips,” Debs Schrimmer, a transportation policy manager at Lyft, says. “We want cities to reward this behavior. It shouldn’t be just about building lanes for autonomous vehicles or buses, but also paying equal attention to amenities that support cycling and walking. Fundamentally we need to redesign streets around people, not cars.”

An Electric Bus Just Broke the World Record for Distance Traveled on a Single Charge

When California-based automaker Proterra took one of their all-electric Catalyst E2 Max busses to the Navistar Proving Grounds in Indiana, the vehicle managed to cover 1,772.2 kilometers (1,101.2 miles) before its battery pack ran out of power, breaking the record for the longest distance travelled by an electric vehicle on a single charge.

The 40-foot bus was outfitted with a 660 kWh battery pack for the trial — the equivalent of 11 Chevy Bolts — and according to the company, it could be back at full capacity in just an hour using Proterra’s high-speed charging system.

Ohio Turns to Private Sector Data Analytics for Smarter, Safer Transportation

The data will come from GPS systems in cars and trucks as well as from mobile phones, and it will be anonymous and aggregated, according to StreetLight CEO Laura Schewel. Since it will be available to multiple people with different goals, the idea is to provide lots of data and an engine able to help users query many different kinds of questions.

Schewel said that will be particularly helpful to government agencies looking to plan new infrastructure and evaluate the effectiveness of past projects. Users should be able to track, for example, commute times from one location to another, or average speed of vehicles along a certain stretch of road.The centralization of the contract is important, Schewel said, because it allows many government users to access the data and analytics they need without each going through the procurement process on their own.

Mercedes’ Parent Company Will Pour $1 Billion in a US factory That Will Create its Tesla Rival

Germany's Daimler said it will invest $1 billion to expand its U.S.-based Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama to start building electric sport-utility vehicles there from about 2020. More than 600 new jobs will be created as part of the investment, which includes plans to build a facility in 2018 near the factory in Tuscaloosa to produce batteries for zero-emission vehicles, Daimler said on Thursday, confirming a Reuters story.

Stuttgart-based Daimler is joining a rush to add car-making capacity in the world's most profitable vehicle market that most analysts and industry executives expect to contract moderately over the next several years.

Cyber Attacks Pose Roadblock For Driverless Cars

With malicious attacks becoming more numerous and sophisticated, and with many of the market’s most valuable companies hailing from the tech sector, a prime target for such attacks, there are a number of emerging areas that appear to be on the next frontier of risk. Often cited as the most vulnerable are large, ever-growing and data-rich cloud computing platforms; the new universe of IOT devices that automate everything from home thermostats to ordering items from Amazon; and the evolution of online ‘robo’ financial advisors that have attracted billions in assets but which are still in the relatively embryonic stages of development. None of these are likely to cause as many cybersecurity headaches as autonomous cars.

Uber Loses its License to Operate in London

The regulator added that Uber’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications” — including for the following issues:
  • Its approach to reporting serious criminal offences
  • Its approach to how medical certificates are obtained
  • Its approach to how Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are obtained — which relates to carrying out background checks to ensure workers do not have a criminal record
  • Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London — software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties
TfL notes that the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 includes provision to appeal a licensing decision within 21 days of it being issued, and confirmed that Uber can continue to operate until any appeal processes have been exhausted.