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Aurora Innovation, headquartered in the Strip District, has created driverless semitrucks that are already running autonomously in Texas with a safety operator behind the wheel.

Before the end of 2024, Aurora believes that it will be ready to pull the drivers, leaving those trucks to drive themselves…

It’s also a dangerous profession. In 2022, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 5,936 people were killed in wrecks involving large trucks, up from 3,675 in 2010.

Nat Beuse, chief safety officer of Aurora Innovations, said the Pittsburgh-based company’s driverless semis are hoping to reduce those deaths.

“That’s a huge cost to society,” Beuse said. “You think of the families that are impacted by that, loved ones that are never coming home because of that. We don’t have to accept that.”

Aurora’s tech was designed and tested in Pittsburgh, at their Strip District headquarters and on the Almono test track in Hazelwood.

John Friday, 47, of Wilkinsburg, is an avid biker, cycling to work as a staff member at Carnegie Mellon University whenever the weather permits.

Pittsburgh has made great strides in bicycle infrastructure in recent decades, Mr. Friday said. He moved away from the region for 15 years, and when he returned in 2015, connectivity to bike trails and new bike lanes citywide made the city almost unrecognizable to him.

“So much had been done,” he said.

But even with the new infrastructure, Mr. Friday said it’s important for everybody — cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike — to share the road to ensure safety.

Mr. Friday and other bicyclists participated in a pop-up event at Schenley Plaza in Oakland on Thursday, hosted by PennDOT, AAA East Central, Port Authority Police, Bike Pittsburgh and other organizations. May is National Bicycle Safety Month, and partners were providing light refreshments and information about bike infrastructure, safety and overall rules.”

A family struggle over the future of the parent company of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its sister newspaper in Ohio landed in court Wednesday, with a senior executive of Post-Gazette publisher Block Communications Inc. suing to stop what he described as an “ill conceived, resentment fueled” effort by his twin brother to sell the newspapers and publishing company…

Karen Lightman, executive director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, said she would be saddened by the personal loss that a potential sale of the Post-Gazette would bring.

“I don’t get my news from TikTok; I don’t go to social media; I read the newspaper, I go online. I worry about the echo chamber where people get their news. I’m very disheartened.”

Federal infrastructure money is keeping the country’s infrastructure woes from getting worse, but that progress will be lost when that funding ends, the American Society of Civil Engineers said in a report released this morning entitled “Bridging the Gap.” ASCE releases the economic study every four years leading up to the release of its national Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Recent federal investments, including $550 billion in new funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, have prevented the infrastructure investment gap from growing, the report found, but that money is set to expire by 2026. Plus, changes in the infrastructure landscape — including supply chain problems, stricter emission standards in the energy sector and extreme weather — have raised baseline spending needs and are keeping the investment gap from being noticeably reduced.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday it has opened an investigation into Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O), opens new tab self-driving Zoox vehicles due to unexpected braking leading to two rear-end collisions that injured motorcyclists.

The NHTSA said it had opened its preliminary evaluation after two crashes involving the self-driving technology unit’s vehicles equipped with the Zoox Automated Driving System that resulted in minor injuries to motorcyclists and started a probe into 500 Zoox vehicles with automated driving systems.

Each incident involved a Toyota Highlander equipped with the Zoox automated driving system.

A Zoox spokesperson said the company was reviewing the request for information but did not offer in a statement additional details on the incidents. “Transparency and collaboration with regulators is of the utmost importance, and we remain committed to working closely with NHTSA to answer their questions,” the statement said.

General Motors’ troubled Cruise autonomous vehicle unit said Monday it will start testing robotaxis in Arizona this week with human safety drivers on board…

Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies autonomous vehicle safety, said Phoenix is a good choice for Cruise to restart its operations, in part because it has less stringent regulations than the company faced in San Francisco.

The Phoenix area also has broad streets instead of narrow ones like San Francisco, and it has less traffic and fewer emergency vehicles, which caused problems for Cruise in San Francisco, he said.

“Good for them for being conservative,” Koopman said. “I think that in their position, it’s a smart move.”

Take a road trip in an electric car, and you’ll quickly realize that gas stations are incredible…

But if you drive a Tesla, the experience is better. The company’s Superchargers are speedy—adding up to 200 miles of charge in just 15 minutes—and simple to use…

The promise of these adapters is undeniable: One of the biggest things holding EVs back is charging anxiety, Jeremy Michalek, an EV expert at Carnegie Mellon University, told me. Many new EVs can now go 300 miles or more on a single charge—more than sufficient for daily or even weekly driving—but the public chargers are still nowhere near good enough. An adapter “takes away one of the big logistical problems with trying to figure out where to charge,” he said, simply because it opens up the chargers that already exist. Adaptors could also help boost EV sales at a time when they have stagnated, reassuring Americans that they can make that five-hour road trip to see relatives without running out of battery power along the way.

The SMART discretionary grants enable public sector agencies to undertake demonstration projects in the areas of connected vehicles, delivery and logistics, sensors and traffic signals, smart grids, automation, innovative aviation and systems integration.

“From Alaska to Maine to Puerto Rico, the SMART program has supported locally driven solutions across the country to make communities safer for all users and more connected and accessible,” said Robert Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief scientist at USDOT, in a statement.

Previous grants include..
The city of Las Vegas is using $1.4 million for an artificial intelligence-driven pedestrian detection system that will adjust traffic signal timing based on pedestrian volumes and speed at an intersection on Fremont Street.

As construction projects ramp up across America, representatives in Maine are looking to their construction season…

Every year, Maine averages more than 500 crashes and two fatalities in work zones, according to Maine DOT. These are incidents that occurred close to areas where crews may be working near traffic. Historically, the leading causes of work zone crashes are drivers following too closely, being distracted, and failing to yield.

“Since construction season is here, we want to remind drivers that Maine’s ‘Move Over Law’ requires drivers to move over for any vehicle with green or amber lights,”” said John Cannell, director of maintenance for the Maine Turnpike Authority, in a statement…

This year, Maine DOT is using new technology to improve safety and awareness on road construction projects. The department has developed a specification for a Smart Work Zone System. This system involves deploying portable sensors miles ahead of interstate work zones.

Google has been at the forefront of one of the most anticipated advancements: self-driving cars. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently shared his insights on the progress and future of autonomous vehicles, particularly through the company’s self-driving car company Waymo…

Much progress has been made since five years ago when self-driving cars struggled to navigate around obstacles, Pichai said.

“When I look at the next six months, 12 months, 18 months, it looks like there’s going to be a lot more progress there. I feel very bullish about it. It is very clear to me that having computers assist humans in driving is going to be one of the most obvious things,” Pichaii said during the 2024 Business, Government & Society Forum at Stanford Graduate School of Business on April 3.

After the skies were hazy last summer in Pittsburgh and other cities across the country, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute began developing drones to combat wildfires.

Andrew Jong, a recent graduate with a master’s degree in robotics, is now pursuing his Ph.D and said that autonomous drones could help firefighters with situational awareness of wildfires, especially being able to see through dense smoke – one of the many challenges they are faced with when these rapid fires happen.

“The situation on the ground can evolve in a matter of minutes,” Jong said. “Better real-time information on wildfires could improve firefighting tactics, contribute to a deeper understanding of fire science, and save the lives of firefighters and others caught in the fire’s path.”

Increased amounts of actionable data, onboard safety technology and new equipment are helping carriers focus their safety efforts, customize coaching and reduce the risk of a crash, industry experts said at a recent event.

“Data analysis and predictive analytics are two of the most important things safety professionals do now…” said Mike Lasko, vice president of environment, health and safety at Skelton Truck Lines and Boyle Transportation…

Lasko shared his insights during American Trucking Associations’ 2024 Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition and said today’s safety directors have an immense amount of data from various sources…

Onboard cameras are one of the most valuable data collection tools he identified because they enable safety leaders to identify risky behaviors and provide targeted training. Camera systems can be integrated with learning management systems to assign training based on driver performance, such as a specific number of speeding events.

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