Clermont-to-Orlando highway could be high tech

The speaker was Allie Kelley, the executive director of a “living laboratory” in west Georgia, an 18-mile stretch of I-85 known as The Ray.

The road includes solar panel roads with more traction than a fresh asphalt road, electric vehicle charging stations and a WheelRight station that gives drivers a full report of their tire pressure and wear and tear.

Kelly told the audience tire pressure is something people take for granted, but which causes 2 billion gallons of gas to be wasted each year.

The tire station was said to be the most developed in the bunch, as the UK-based company of the same name had already debuted the technology in Colorado.

American Center for Mobility in Michigan Loses Federal Proving Ground Designation

The outlet points toward a document that outlines guidelines for autonomous vehicles that was released earlier this month by the Trump administration, more specifically the U.S. Department of Transportation, that stated it would be rescinding the Willow Run facility’s designation. Not only that, nine others would have their designation rescinded, as well.

Earlier this year, Congress put aside $20 million for each of the 10 proving-ground facilities that received the designation. As The Detroit News reports, the $20 million was part of a larger fund of $100 million that Congress had set aside for grants that could be put toward the testing of self-driving tech.

In the document, the U.S. Department of Transportation states that it “recognizes that given the rapid increase in automated vehicle testing activities in many locations, there is no need for U.S. DOT to favor particular locations or to pick winners and losers.”

The physics of why we don’t have solar-powered cars

Will it work? Don’t bet on it, says Jeremy Michalek, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and director of its Vehicle Electrification Group.

Quartz asked Michalek to estimate how far the best solar panels could propel a typical electric car on the market. He broke down the math for us.

Michalek says about 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar energy falls on a square meter of the Earth’s surface on a clear day. That’s all the solar energy available to collect. For a company like Sono, which says it can convert about a quarter of that energy into electricity (although that’s very optimistic), a full site of panels might generate roughly 8 kilowatt hours of energy per day (a best-case scenario with four square meters of solar panels).

Michalek says that’s enough to drive a car like the comparable Nissan Leaf about 25 miles.

Navigating through a smart city

As part of its Expo 2020 plans, Dubai has placed great focus on smart city initiatives to help drive innovation and its Road and Transport Authority (RTA) unveiled robot cleaners for its metro stations, a smart app for public transport and the region’s first autonomous taxi.

Designed in partnership with Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) and DG World, the autonomous taxi will run on dedicated routes in DSO before being rolled out across the emirate.

The initiative is part of the Dubai Smart Self-Driving Mobility Strategy which aims to transform 25 per cent of the emirate’s total journeys into self-driving ones by 2030. It is intended to cover the “last mile” journeys from the metro and tram stations to the customer’s destination.

One other solution for the “last mile” problem is electric scooters, which can be hired using a dedicated mobile app.

Self-driving cars could change the way you get around in retirement

At The Villages retirement community in central Florida, there are approximately 125,000 residents and about 750 miles of road.

And by the end of this year, those streets are slated to have a new service to help its residents — ages 55 and up — get around: a ride-sharing service using self-driving cars.

“Retirement villages are just the perfect first place we see for autonomous driving,” said Oliver Cameron, co-founder and CEO of Voyage, the company that is bringing the autonomous ride-sharing services to the community.

“We help people who need transportation improvement every single day,” Cameron said. “It’s also a big market. It has tons of people.”

Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

What if you never had to stop at a red light again? Ford believes future connected cars could coordinate their movements in order to pass through intersections without stopping. Ford believes this could save time and reduce crashes. It’s testing that idea in the United Kingdom.

Ford’s experimental “Intersection Priority Management” system is currently being demonstrated on the streets of Milton Keynes. The system uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), a Wi-Fi-like communications medium that allows cars to send and receive signals.

How to Turn a Car Town into a Cycling City

Rather than accept their fate, leaders opted to pivot away from industry and towards technology, attempting to attract new start-ups and revive their region as a “Silicon Valley of Europe.” “With this flow of new energy,” continues Veraart, “Eindhoven started to rebrand itself as a city of technology, design, and knowledge. As part of this rebranding process, it also wanted to rid itself of old views, like being a car town.”

Veraart believes that the city’s desire to put itself on the map was also driven by a form of local status anxiety. “Eindhoven is the fifth largest city in the Netherlands, but the four above it — Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht — are all in the northwest,” he explains. “Eindhoven is the biggest outsider, so it needs an image of its own in the Dutch context.” The city realized that reinventing itself would not be easy, but mobility could play a central role in that process.

New camera with shrimp eyesight features helps driverless cars see better

A new camera that mimics the vision of the mantis shrimp helps driverless cars see better. The new camera improves dynamic range and adds polarization information. It improves the ability of driverless cars to identify hazards in situations where visibility is bad. In other words, the new device could help self-driving vehicles operate more safely…

Dynamic range is a measure of the darkest and brightest areas a camera can capture simultaneously. In challenging conditions, the new camera can see much better than other cameras. It can see better, for example, when a car moves from a dark tunnel into bright sunlight. Foggy or hazy conditions are also examples of situations where visibility is poor.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis describe the new camera in the journal Optica (citation below).

San Francisco transit to modernize fare payment system

San Francisco’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has approved a $461 million contract to upgrade its transit fare payment system. MTC awarded the contract to Cubic Transportation Services, which already operates the region’s Clipper fare payment system as well as those in cities including Boston, Chicago and New York City.

The new system will include a mobile app to allow riders to pay fares and reload accounts with their mobile devices. Equipment will be upgraded in hundreds of transit stations and on 3,500 buses and light rail vehicles. MTC wants the new system to integrate better with alternative transportation, such as bike-share and paratransit.

The first improvements are scheduled for next year and the mobile app should go live in 2020.

Waze launches carpool feature nationwide

Mapping app Waze is making a feature that encourages people to share rides available to all users around the nation this week in a bid to limit single occupancy ridership and cut down on congestion.

Waze Carpool had been tested in several states and matches drivers with potential riders who are going in the same direction, charging riders 54 cents a mile. The app lets drivers choose riders and can filter them based on criteria like gender, a star rating or their place of employment. In the first weeks of the service, rides will be capped at $2, drivers will get incentives for recruiting riders, and companies that sign up to help employees carpool will get free rides for the rest of the month.