Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

Startup bringing driverless taxi service to Singapore

Posted On Thursday, 28 April 2016

Singapore may be the first nation to release driverless vehicles.

Driverless cars are all the rage now, as seven major companies claim to market them by 2020. The American National League of Cities estimates these cars will be routine by 2030.

NuTonomy, a driverless car startup, passed its first obstacle test last week. It intends to debut a pilot study for driverless taxi cabs in Singapore, beating competitors with a public testing date before this year ends. In a few years, they aim to have thousands of driverless taxis throughout Singapore.

The company began three years ago at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and raised $3.6 million in funding since January.

NuTonomy provides a fully autonomous taxi service that lets users order cars via smartphone just as they would with Uber. The cars are also electric which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission.

In the race to be the first to release driverless technology, Singapore has special leverage due to government compliance. The government invested millions towards automated vehicles, and though Singapore is known for having strict regulations, it is also a small Island where approved legislation can be quickly implemented.

While nuTonomy’s taxis could be tested by the public before the year ends, Singapore’s government will institute driverless minibuses within the next one to two years according to Singapore Smart Nation Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. The minibuses will take commuters from the doorstep of their home to the train station or bus interchange, making them both a cost-efficient alternative as well as a space-saving, energy-conserving, time-saving, and traffic reductive model.

@SMMT: +50% of UK’s new cars sold with autonomous safety tech

Posted On Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Self driving cars may seem years away, but more than 1.5 million UK motorists a year now leave showrooms in cars featuring self-activating safety systems, according to analysis revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data from SMMT and JATO Dynamics1 shows that more than half of new cars registered in 2015 in the UK were fitted with safety-enhancing collision warning systems, with other technologies such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring also surging in popularity.

Semi-autonomous vehicle technology not only eases the task of driving, but importantly, has the potential to reduce significantly the risk of serious accidents. And it is appearing on increasing numbers of cars being sold today.

Technologies that are rapidly becoming more commonplace include collision warning systems, which monitor the space ahead of the car using radar and cameras to provide obstacle warnings. These were fitted to 58.1% of Britain’s record new car market in 2015 – whether as standard or a cost option. In contrast, just five years ago collision warning featured on only 6.8% of new cars registered.

Autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact should the driver fail to react, was fitted to more than 1 million (39%) of all new cars registered, with 18% of buyers getting the safety tech as standard.

Blind spot monitoring was a feature of more than a third of new cars, while adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, was fitted to almost a third of new cars registered, either as standard or an option. Just five years ago, less than 10% of new cars were available with this technology, says SMMT.

A report commissioned by SMMT last year found that serious accidents could fall by more than 25,000, saving 2,500 lives every year by 2030, as a result of driverless vehicle technology.2 Besides improving safety, these cars also offer the scope to reduce congestion-induced stress, providing drivers with more free time and allowing them to be more productive. It is estimated that the annual saving to consumers by the end of the next decade could be as high as £40 billion, with motorists able to multi-task while behind the wheel, get to their destinations more quickly and save money on fuel, insurance and parking.

The motor industry is investing heavily in the new technologies that will make fully autonomous and connected vehicles possible. In the UK in particular, it is forecast that by 2030 the development, production and use of these systems could provide up to 320,000 new jobs and give an annual boost to the economy of £51 billion.

See also:

1 Autonomous technology vehicle content analysis by JATO Dynamics based on SMMT new car registration data.

new government research (UK) outlines economic case for cycling

Posted On Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Department for Transport (DfT; England) has published a research looking at how to increase levels of cycling across the country, and putting forward the economic case for cycling.

The two research papers were published as the cycling minister Robert Goodwill unveiled a new government strategy which aims to encourage more walking and cycling.

The new strategy, launched on 27 March, ‘has a clear ambition’ that by 2040 getting around by bike or on foot will be the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

The first research paper looks at work undertaken for the DfT on the National Propensity to Cycle Tool (NPCT), a prototype tool available online which allows users to see commuting cycling potential at area and route level. This includes analysis on how propensity to cycle varies by age and gender, and how this interacts with distance.

The report also assesses the impact of a number of cycling funds and grants including the ‘Cycling city ambition grant’, ‘Local Sustainable Transport Fund’, ‘Sustainable travel projects’ and CycleNetXChange.

A second report comprises an evidence review of the economic benefits of cycling which concludes that ‘economic growth can result from high density, cycle friendly urban design’.

It also found that cycle friendly neighbourhoods can have ‘greater retail spend’ and says cycle parking allows ‘five times more retail spend than the same space for car parking’.

Siemens to provide V2I technology for Florida pilot connected vehicle pilot project

Posted On Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Siemens has been chosen by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to provide vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology for a new connected vehicle pilot project.

Siemens V2I technology will enable vehicles and pedestrians to communicate with traffic infrastructure like intersections and traffic lights in real-time to reduce congestion specifically during peak rush hour in downtown Tampa. The technology will also help improve safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is one of three projects funded by the USDOT to pilot next-generation technology in infrastructure and vehicles that can impact unimpaired vehicle crashes, which make up 80% of the crashes on the road.

The THEA pilot project, currently in its first phase, will be implemented across the next 18 months, followed by a three-year study period to gather data and determine outcomes. Siemens is working in partnership with THEA to identify how to implement connected vehicles technologies including:
  • - Intelligent traffic signal systems to coordinate signals and pedestrian crossings that respond immediately to traffic conditions in real-time and  provide signal priority; 
  • - Curve speed warnings to alert drivers if they are approaching a curve at a speed that may be too high for safe travel; 
  • - Transit bus operator alerts when pedestrians may be in a pedestrian crossing or when vehicles attempt to go around a bus in order to avoid potential conflicts; 
  • - Automated calls or audio cues for impaired pedestrians to safely navigate pedestrian crossing
  • - Intersection Movement Assistance that warns drivers when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, for example when something may be blocking the driver’s view of opposing of crossing traffic, and forward collision warnings for hard braking in the traffic stream; 
  • - Probe-enabled traffic monitoring to transmit real-time traffic data between vehicles.

The connected vehicle systems are able to communicate with both new and older vehicles through new in-vehicle technology, an on-board unit such as a satellite radio, or a smart phone application. This project will help the USDOT develop the technology, data and baselines to be fully compatible with crash avoidance systems of new cars beginning in the 2017 model year.

hydrogen car

Posted On Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell car has just completed a record-breaking 9,810-km (6,096-mile) unbroken trip around the M25 (the motorway that encircles London) over the course of six days, stopping only to top-up on fuel. Not only did the car achieve the longest continuous journey ever, it also travelled 643 km (400 miles) on one tank of hydrogen - further than any other fuel cell electric vehicle ever made.

On the other hand, another hydrogen vehicle, the GreenGT H2, has recently reached a top speed of 299 km/h.

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