The Unlikely Technology Helping Autonomous Cars See

While most autonomous vehicles are being designed to communicate through radio signals, bar codes are the type of robust system that would serve as a welcome backup, says Christoph Mertz, a principal project scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. “Redundancies are always good, especially with autonomous vehicles, because it can be deadly if there is a mistake,” he says. “Any information you want to pass around, you want to pass it around in a number of ways.”

PPG creates partnership for autonomous vehicle research

PPG announced it will partner with a University of Michigan program to test coatings for autonomous vehicles.  The company (NYSE: PPG) will work with Mcity, a public-private partnership that operates a test facility for autonomous vehicles, connected-vehicle systems and related technologies, according to a news release.  PPG is developing coatings to improve functionality and enable broad deployment of autonomous vehicles. In the works are ones for exterior use that enhance vehicle visibility to radar and light detection and ranging, or LIDAR, systems, and easy-to-clean coatings to help prevent obstruction of sensors.

Parsing the patents: CMU seeking clear answers on AI in workforce

To researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the documents could be the key to anticipating how and where advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning will alter jobs across the country. The CMU team is getting at an important question in an area of crowded research. The invasion of robots in the American workforce has been addressed in a tide of reports, with broad agreement among labor economists that virtually all jobs have become more computerized and perhaps half of all jobs are likely to be further automated...
“The advantage of our approach is you can see in a very granular way, where these inventions are emerging,” said Lee Branstetter, a CMU professor of economics and public policy leading the new study that is relying in part of patent filings. “And how this is all changing over time.” The research is one of two projects awarded a total of $550,000 from the Heinz Endowments, which is marking the launch of its Future of Work initiative.

CMU is home to a $27.5 million project to build cloud computing solutions

Carnegie Mellon University will head a $27.5 million program to build a smarter solution for edge devices — like a router or larger access point to a network — to operate on the cloud. The CONIX Research Center, headquartered on CMU’s Oakland campus, will host researchers from six different universities for the next five years to solve this connectivity problem. They’ll create new architecture for networked computing that will empower Internet of Things applications in a robust, secure manner on the cloud. The Center, short for “Computing on Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition and Action,” will be headed by Anthony Rowe, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. 

Is All This New Automotive Safety Tech Working? Not If Drivers Don’t Understand It

Which brings us to the concerning question about the newest, most sophisticated, and priciest new ADAS systems: Are they truly being embraced by drivers, thus moving the safety ball farther down the field? Or are they baffling nuisances that are eventually shut down, unused, or avoided out of frustration, annoyance, or uncertainty? Even more interestingly, are they truly paving the way for the semi-autonomous and autonomous cars now in the pipeline, as manufacturers seem to be counting on?
For the most part, the systems are indeed improving safety and boosting convenience even among those who aren’t particularly dialed into what their cars are up to—often for no other reason than the systems are persistently active and step in to save your bacon when necessary. But the issue of consumer awareness and confusion is very real.

To Measure the ‘Uber Effect,’ Cities Get Creative

They’d cut back on traffic, ease air pollution, and complement public transit. Or so they said.
But the effects of Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies (“TNCs,” in wonk-speak) are proving more complicated on city streets. In New York City, rapid growth in on-demand vehicles roving the roads—with and without passengers—is contributing to markedly slower traffic, as numerous analyses of Taxi and Limousine Commission data by Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant and former NYC DOT official, have shown.
As the old chestnut goes, cities can’t manage what they can’t measure. But because Uber and Lyft carefully guard raw trip data, the kind of analyses Schaller produces is hard to produce in many cities. At the 97th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board this week, Schaller moderated a panel of experts from San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Boston on the importance of capturing on-demand mobility data—and how researchers are getting creative to do it.

This new Florida city will produce its own power and run self-driving buses

The city of the future will not be the cold metal domes or Mars settlements of science fiction movies. It will be a community of 19,500 homes surrounded by thousands of acres of green space and capable of producing its own energy — in total harmony with the environment.
And that future is now.
Babcock Ranch has an integrated smart network that allows residents to monitor and control their electricity consumption. Self-driving electrical buses are already making test runs in the center of the city, about equal to the size of Manhattan.
Residents and visitors can use the shared transportation system to rent bicycles and explore the city and its pathways through green areas full of cattle, birds and alligators.

NIC launches driverless car infrastructure competition

The National Infrastructure Commission has launched a competition looking for “Britain’s leading lights from across industry” to help ensure the country has roads fit for the future and ready for driverless cars.  Its Deputy chairman Sir John Armitt said the Roads for the Future competition presented an opportunity to shape how people travel “for generations to come”.
Launched with Highways England and Innovate UK, the competition will seek ideas for making the UK road network ready for connected and autonomous vehicles – including using the latest technology.  It will look for ideas as to how existing infrastructure can be adapted, how roads shared by driverless and driven vehicles can work, and how these changes can be introduced alongside charging networks for new electric cars.  It will also be looking for ideas that can work on different types of roads, whether a residential avenue, a high street or a motorway.

BlackBerry launches cybersecurity product for driverless cars called Jarvis

BlackBerry has launched a cybersecurity software aimed at protecting driverless cars.
The product which was released on Monday and is called Jarvis identifies vulnerabilities in software used in cars. Jarvis scans and delivers insights in minutes, a process that would normally take a large number of experts and a lot of time, BlackBerry said.
"Connected and autonomous vehicles require some of the most complex software ever developed, creating a significant challenge for automakers who must ensure the code complies with industry and manufacturer-specific standards while simultaneously battle-hardening a very large and tempting attack surface for cyber-criminals," said John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, said in a press release.

ACMA creates a vehicle-to-everything license

Australian telecoms regulator ACMA has introduced new regulations that will allow road traffic authorities to roll out intelligent transport systems enabling vehicle-to-everything communications.
A new radiocomunications intelligent transport systems (ITS) class license will support the use of wireless technologies and devices to enable vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications services.
The regulations will allow the 5.9-GHz spectrum band to be used for ITS services, the same band being used in major vehicle markets such as the US and EU.