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Costa Samaras has returned to Carnegie Mellon University as the director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation(opens in new window). Since 2021, Samaras has been on public service leave at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), serving as principal assistant director for energy and OSTP chief adviser for the clean energy transition…

During his time at the White House OSTP, Samaras worked with the OSTP director, the deputy director for industrial innovation, and senior leaders throughout the government in coordinating federal technology policy to meet U.S. climate commitments. Samaras helped launch an effort(opens in new window) to accelerate clean energy innovation to achieve a net-zero emissions economy no later than 2050, as well as President Biden’s Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy(opens in new window)

In addition, he led the conceptualization of a new forward-looking clean energy transition assessment capability, the White House ARPA-I Summit(opens in new window)…

The closure of many former Greyhound bus stations added to the travel hardships faced by disabled and low-income travelers, according to the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development’s 2024 Intercity Bus Review, published today. “In most cases, municipal governments did little, and in some instances were openly hostile, to efforts to find a new location” for an intercity bus station, it states.

However, the report notes that more state-supported bus networks, along with federal funding through the Rural Transit Assistance Program, are changing government attitudes toward intercity bus travel.

“Public policies will gradually swing in the industry’s favor as the growing hardships facing disabled and lower-income travelers on long-distance trips and the success of state-supported bus systems reduce the indifference toward bus travel among many public agencies,” it states.

Proponents of self-driving cars argue these vehicles will prevent auto accidents by eliminating human error as a collision cause.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that self-driving vehicles are more than twice as likely as traditional vehicles to become involved in auto accidents. According to NHTSA data:

There are 9.1 crashes in driverless vehicles per million vehicle miles driven
There are 4.2 crashes in conventional vehicles per million miles driven
High accident rates have rightly contributed to consumer concerns—and recent recalls of Tesla vehicles have only served to heighten fears.

Tesla—often considered a leader in autonomous driving with nearly two million cars across the U.S.—recently recalled nearly all of its autonomous vehicles.

Tesla’s recall comes after an NHTSA probe revealed nearly 1,000 accidents occurred when autopilot was engaged. It has prompted significant consumer concerns, with 62% of survey respondents indicating they are not confident in Tesla’s technology following the recalls.

When Fort Lauderdale, Fla., invested in connected vehicle technology, the city equipped police cars and firetrucks with sensors for location tracking and other benefits. But the city also went beyond first responders, deploying sensors in nearly every municipal vehicle — even humble street sweepers and garbage trucks.

The technology provides real-time data on the city’s 1,750 vehicles, from speed and fuel usage to engine diagnostics and driver behavior. In one instance, insight from sensor data even allowed the city to improve its street sweeping operation….

Sensors on street sweepers track when brooms are cleaning, and through the software, public works officials proved that they regularly swept the beachside road. But in analyzing the data, they discovered that the sweepers needed to slow down to properly vacuum the sand…

Connected vehicles allow cities to enhance city services; address complaints more quickly; and operate smarter, faster and more efficiently, resulting in cost savings.

New technologies and services often arrive at lightning speed long before the law catches up, but a pair of US Representatives are bucking that trend by introducing a new bill designed to protect people with disabilities in autonomous ride-hail vehicles.

The bill’s text is surprisingly brief, but it intends to legally protect passengers who do not hold a driver’s license due to their disability if something happens with the vehicle, like being pulled over by police or being involved in an accident. The Autonomous Vehicle Accessibility would prohibit states from issuing licenses that would prevent someone with a disability from using a Level 4 or 5 autonomous ride-hail service like Waymo.

A State shall not issue a motor vehicle operator’s license for the operation or use of an ADS-equipped vehicle operating at Level 4 or Level 5 in a manner that discriminates on the basis of disability against a qualified individual with a disability,” the bill reads.

The Department of Transportation is allocating $15 million in federal funding for small businesses to take advantage of artificial intelligence systems and create new applications specifically for the U.S. transportation sector.

Announced on Friday, the Transportation’s Small Business Innovation Research Program will spearhead the Complete Streets AI Initiative to bring AI and machine learning solutions to transportation infrastructure. The program is intended to foster decision-support tools for state and local governments that can help design and deploy a network of Complete Streets, a longstanding agency initiative to support the construction of livable, connective public streets.

Innovation in the AI and transportation sector is happening at unprecedented speed and has the potential to address some of our most pressing transportation challenges,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “This funding supports our country’s small businesses and startups to harness cutting-edge technologies, deploy them in local communities, and make our streets safer.”

Excessive speed is a factor in over 12,000 annual deaths in the US, or roughly a third of all crash fatalities. Already a longstanding problem, speeding surged on emptier streets during the Covid-19 pandemic and has lingered in its wake. The traditional array of policy deterrents — police enforcement, PSA campaigns, and automatic speed cameras — seem unable to rein in the fastest drivers, who endanger themselves along with everyone else on the road.

On Jan. 24, California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill outlining a different approach. If California Senate Bill 961 passes, the state would be the first in the US to require technology known as Intelligent Speed Assist, which uses GPS location data to adjust a vehicle’s top speed to reflect a roadway’s posted speed limit. Wiener’s bill mandates that speed limiters be installed on all new cars sold statewide by 2027, with the devices set to 10 miles per hour above the speed limit.

It is clear we’re still in the early days of artificial intelligence playing a role in everyday automotive technology, even though we are already seeing the results of its earliest applications in features like speech recognition.

There is plenty of work to do in that particular technology alone, before you’ll be able to have something resembling a normal, human conversation with your car’s voice assistant.

Trying to get ahead of the curve, Volkswagen has launched a company dubbed AI Lab to act as an incubator and as a globally networked competence center, able to collaborate with tech centers on three continents…

When it comes to AI capabilities, VW is focused on speech recognition and extended vehicle functions, including AI-optimized charging cycles for EVs. VW also hopes AI can play a role in vehicle networking, including communication with drivers’ smart homes and other infrastructure.

Completely driverless vehicles traveled nearly 3.3 million miles in California in California last year, over five times the previous year’s total, even as concerns rose in the wake of a Cruise robotaxi accident, state data on vehicle testing released on Friday showed.

General Motors’ Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo accounted for the bulk of the miles – 63% and 36% respectively – recorded without a safety driver, according to the state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV).

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently unveiled a $13 million investment focused on enhancing road safety and reducing congestion across the state. This strategic investment is aimed at supporting an impressive 39 safety projects in 35 municipalities, part of PennDOT’s commitment to fostering safer, more connected communities.

This PennDOT initiative resonates with the Shapiro Administration’s focus on revitalizing Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. The recent investment bolsters the total amount awarded through the Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding program, lifting the overall contribution to $141.15 million since 2010. Thanks to this program, as many as 576 transportation enhancement projects have seen the light of day.

ZeekChinese automaker Geely Holding announced the company launched 11 low-earth orbit satellites last week to support navigation for driverless cars.

The launch, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on February 3, was Geely’s second. It was undertaken through Geespace, the satellite technology company in which Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has invested.

The 11 satellites are part of the second orbital plane in the company’s ambitious “”Geely Future Mobility Constellation”” network, a commercial initiative to integrate communication, navigation, and remote sensing within a single satellite network. The first orbital plane, comprising nine satellites, was deployed in June 2022. Geely aims to have 72 satellites in orbit by 2025 before eventually reaching the full constellation strength of 240 satellites.

“Konya Metropolitan Municipality launched a new project to increase the transportation comfort of citizens living in the city and accelerate traffic flow. According to information provided by Konya news agencies, “Smart Transportation System” The project, called, involves the renewal of traffic lights and signaling systems throughout the city. Within the scope of the project, sensors and cameras that can instantly monitor traffic density will also be installed.

This innovative project aims to prevent traffic congestion in various points of Konya and enable citizens to reach their destinations faster. In the statement made by Konya Metropolitan Municipality Mayor, it was stated that “Thanks to the Smart Transportation System, we will make the traffic flow in our city more efficient and improve the quality of daily life of our citizens.””

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