Kaarta Announces $6.5M in Series A Financing

Kaarta, Inc., the innovator of real-time mobile 3D reality capture, announced today that it has raised US$6.5 million to accelerate the growth of its mobile mapping and localization technology. Kaarta’s innovative technology enables built environment, geospatial, and autonomous robotics professionals to map and model indoor and outdoor spaces up to 10x faster and less expensive than traditional mapping methods.

“Our investor group brings deep strategic expertise in property development, asset management, and commercial real estate as well insights into the robotics and AI space,” stated Kevin Dowling, Kaarta CEO. “Pittsburgh, with its world-renowned robotics institutions, access to technical talent, and abundance of industry partners is the ideal place for the further advancement of our technologies.”

Kaarta products are in use today across a myriad of applications in architecture, engineering, construction, operations, industrial planning, civil & transportation infrastructure, security & threat assessment, mining, archeology and autonomous technologies.
More>>

Kaarta Announces $6.5M in Series A Financing

Kaarta, Inc., the innovator of real-time mobile 3D reality capture, announced today that it has raised US$6.5 million to accelerate the growth of its mobile mapping and localization technology. Kaarta’s innovative technology enables built environment, geospatial, and autonomous robotics professionals to map and model indoor and outdoor spaces up to 10x faster and less expensive than traditional mapping methods.

“Our investor group brings deep strategic expertise in property development, asset management, and commercial real estate as well insights into the robotics and AI space,” stated Kevin Dowling, Kaarta CEO. “Pittsburgh, with its world-renowned robotics institutions, access to technical talent, and abundance of industry partners is the ideal place for the further advancement of our technologies.”

Kaarta products are in use today across a myriad of applications in architecture, engineering, construction, operations, industrial planning, civil & transportation infrastructure, security & threat assessment, mining, archeology and autonomous technologies.
More>>

‘Autonomy’ Documentary Director: Don’t Fear Our Self-Driving Future

The film covers the latest self-driving developments in Silicon Valley, but also provides insights from those who are less sanguine about the automated future. Best of all, Horwitz traces the evolution of the current technologies to their origins in the 1970s and 80s. Autonomous cars have been around a lot longer than you think…

Dan Costa: That’s a really good point, too. Because I think people are thinking about Google, Uber and Carnegie Mellon and the DARPA challenge. But past that, I don’t think there’s a lot of understanding of the history.
More>>

The City of Portland reduces travel times at Maine’s busiest intersection by 20%

The Surtrac adaptive traffic signal control technology was originally developed in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and is now offered by spin-off company Rapid Flow Technologies. Using real-time data and artificial intelligence (AI), Surtrac works well in more predictable suburban arterial environments, but it is also ideal for more complex networks, including grids and closely spaced intersections, where competing traffic flows require service from different directions or where flows are unpredictable and change in ways that makes time-of-day patterns obsolete very quickly. These were the very conditions present at Morrill’s Corner, and why Surtrac has been so effective in reducing congestion there. As Portland’s population continues to grow, the traffic conditions at Morrill’s Corner will evolve and change over time. Surtrac naturally adapts to these changes using its second-by-second AI optimization.
More>>

FHWA makes BAA awards for Phase 1 Truck Platooning Early Deployment Assessment

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has made awards under the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for a Phase 1 Truck Platooning Early Deployment Assessment. This project is being conducted to understand how truck platoons will operate in a realistic, operational environment.

Phase 1 awards are:

Team Lead: Battelle
Key Team Members/Partners: Center for Automotive Research, Pennsylvania State University, SAE International, Saia LTL Freight, Volvo Group, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Proposed Platooning Location: Indiana; Ohio; Pennsylvania
Contract Amount: $499,878

Team Lead: California PATH
Key Team Members/Partners: Caltrans, California Highway Patrol, Cambridge Systematics, I-10 Corridor Coalition, Volvo Group, Westat
Proposed Platooning Location: California; Arizona
Contract Amount: $499,290

Team Lead: CDM Smith
Key Team Members/Partners: Anheuser-Busch, BGM Consulting, Columbus Region Logistics Council, Ohio Department of Transportation/Drive Ohio, Ohio State University, Ohio Turnpike Commission, Robert Bosch, Sutra Research and Analytics
Proposed Platooning Location: Indiana; Ohio
Contract Amount: $497,379
More>>

120-mph Twike 5 adds exercise to even the fastest commute

Based on a device originally built to take on the Automotive X-Prize challenge back in 2010, the Twike 5 is an ingenious road vehicle that allows commuters to steal a bit of fitness work as they sit in traffic. You sit in the twin-seat, waterproof, lockable cabin and pedal away like you’re on an exercise bike – and you are, really. The pedals connect to a generator that tops up the battery on this nifty little jigger as you drive along.

Steering is accomplished through a pair of push/pull levers instead of a steering wheel you might bang your knees on. Oh, and there’s pedals for the passenger too, so you can both work up a sweat…

Twike says its vehicles can be driven on a range of different car and motorcycle licenses in the EU, depending on its power output.
More>>

This Pittsburgh startup wants to put autonomous trains of semi trucks on the road

What if two semi trucks could be controlled by one driver? A new Pittsburgh-based startup is ready to start testing its autonomous technology to make that a reality.

Locomation was founded by five autonomy experts from Carnegie Mellon University, all of whom worked at the National Robotics Engineering Center of CMU’s Robotics Institute.

The company is adding its technology to four trucks, and CEO Çetin Meriçli said the company will soon start testing its platooning technology on closed test tracks in the Pittsburgh area. And in the second half of 2019, he hopes to expand testing to public streets…

In October, Pa. lawmakers passed a bill to allow for platooning of up to three automated buses, military vehicles or tractor-trailers on some highways and interstates starting this spring.
More>>

Boeing’s B737 Max and Automotive ‘Autopilot’

Should the catastrophic plane crashes of Indonesia’s Lion Air last October and another by Ethiopian Airlines last week set off alarms in the automotive industry?

Absolutely.

Automation technologies used in airplanes and autonomous vehicles are neither similar nor easily comparable. If anything, “Aviation autopilot is probably easier than an automotive autopilot,” according to Phil Koopman, professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s department of electrical and computer engineering.

For me, the most chilling aspect of the two Boeing 737 Max airliners that crashed within a span of five months is that these tragedies occurred despite presumed scrutiny by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — long considered the world’s gold standard for aircraft safety.
More>>

Smart Stop Sign Could Help Prevent Crashes on Rural Roads

Engineers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are developing a smart stop sign to reduce accidents on rural roads.

More than half of all road fatalities occur on rural roads, says the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those roads make up about 70 percent of the country’s byways—but many of them don’t have access to a power supply and are far more likely to not have lighted traffic signals and active traffic signage. This can make them hard to see, increasing the possibility of a crash…

The stop sign uses multi-pixel passive infrared sensors that detect a vehicle as it approaches an intersection. Once the vehicle is within the sensing range, a signal beacon triggers flashing lights on the stop sign—giving the driver enough time to slow down and stop safely based on how fast they are driving.
More>>

Boston pilots dedicated ride-sharing zone

The Boston Transportation Department and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is launching dedicated zones for ride-sharing to ease congestion and improve safety in the city.

A pilot will run in the Fenway starting with the intersection of Boylston Street and Kilmarnock Street. Anyone can use the designated zone for pick-ups and drop-offs from 5pm, overnight and into the early morning hours.

This pilot has been created to minimise traffic disruptions that often accompany ride-sharing services. The new kerbside zone in the Fenway will allow these vehicles to continue to offer their transportation services, but in a way that supports the City of Boston’s Vision Zero safety goals and helps to improve traffic flow on Boston streets.The pilot is designed to ease congestion caused by double parking and to increase safety for passengers entering and exiting vehicles.
More>>