Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

February 05 2014

21:56

Surprise: ‘Vehicle-to-Vehicle’ Communication Is Already Here

Our Feb. 5 hour on the future of self-driving cars had a rather timely news peg this week — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on February 3 that it plans to require car makers in the future to implement technology promoting ‘vehicle-to-vehicle communication,’ or ‘V2V.’

The N.H.T.S.A. hopes to use V2V technology in the future to help prevent collisions and automatically spur breaking as cars approach each other in an accident situation.

NBC News' Tom Costello (NBC News)

NBC News’ Tom Costello (NBC News)

NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has been covering the tech side of the automobile industry for a while now, and he joined us to explain his journey to Ann Arbor, MI, where he rode along in some test V2v cars himself.

Tom Ashbrook: First, to this week’s announcement. Tom Costello is correspondent for NBC News, joins me from Washington. He covers transporation, consuemr affairs and more. Was in Ann Arbor, MI when the N.H.T.S.A. kicked off testing for so-called vehicle to vehicle communication. He’s driven cars equipped with ‘V2V’  technology. Tom Costello, welcome to On Point very nice to have you.

Tom Costello: Nice to be here.

TA:  Why is the  N.H.T.S.A. pushing on this now this week?

TC: I’ll make it easy on you just call it  N.H.T.S.A. The reason is that the Department of Transportation really believes that the technology is there already. And I must tell you that most major car manufacturers believe it too, they’ve already been working on this for many years. So let’s separate out two different issues here: vehicle-to-vehicle communication, where Car A talks to Car B, and Car C and Car D, and because they’re all talking to each other on the road, they know where each other is going and what’s happening and  therefore  they can hopefully avoid an accident if you, the driver, fail to avoid an accident. That’s separate from fully autonomous cars, so let’s separate that out. That’s V2V. What N.H.T.S.A.  is saying, is that we believe the technology is so close to being ready for prime time here, and in fact they just did this 12-month program in Ann Arbor as you mentioned with 3000 vehicles in the city, and they tested and it seemed to work very well. And they had multiple vendors, in other words they had Audi and Volkswagen and Mercedes, as well as of course Ford and some of the others. I was in a Ford car trying it out. They think that now what needs to happen is the government needs to set the general parameters for these different car manufactures to begin working on the platforms by which they will communicate out on the open road out across the country. The government is not setting up the infrastructure importantly, but what they are gonna say is ‘Okay we’re gonna transmit on this particular frequency, we’re gonna have these bandwidth parameters’, somebody needs to set the guidelines and the rules, so that everybody else can play.

TA: What’s the range of data that they anticipate cars will be communicating to one another, like what?

TC: They are literally talking about being able to transit ten pieces  of data every second. And it will be everything from your car position, via GPS, to how well you brake, how well you are braking, are you hitting ice, are you turning left are you turning right, are you speeding — all of that information constantly transmitted in a radius of about 300 yards or so, maybe more, and other cars in the vicinity picking up all that information. It all amalgamates in each other’s computers and the cars are saying ‘Okay I know that this guy is coming in from the left and I know he’s gotta brake to hit the red light, if he doesn’t hit his brakes, he’s gonna go right through that light and he’s gonna t-bone me. And in fact that’s what happened to me, I was in Ann Arbor, and I was on a test track, and a car — we knew this was gonna happen — and a car blew his red light and before I got up to my green light, I got LED warnings, my seat rumbled and  I got a slight tap on the brake telling me, ‘Hey watch out something’s coming and you might not be ready for it.’

TA: So when the information comes in communicated car to car, is it primarily to alert the driver — the human — to do something, or is the idea that the cars themselves will respond, react?

TC: I think we’re talking about both. In the most primitive forms, it would be a driver alert, and that’s frankly most of what I experienced. I got flashing LED lights, my seat would rumble, and it’s interesting, on your left side or your left cheek, it rumbles if it’s coming in from the left, your right cheek rumbles if it’s coming in from the right, you also get an audible warning. It could be a beeping, it could be a computer voice saying ‘Caution’ or ‘Alert’ or something like that. But we’ve already seen the technology in place and it was advertised on Super Bowl Sunday, of course, in which a car slams on its brake on its own because  you, the driver — in this case it was a 17 year-old boy distracted by a cute girl — didn’t realize he was about to plow into somebody. All of this technology exists already, mostly it exists in the form of sensors and radars, which may of us have on our cars already to prevent us from hitting the guy in front of us if we’re in that kind of specific mode, cruise control mode. But now this is taking it to the next level and literally communicating with each other.

TA: What’s the time table for all new cars to have this Tom?

TC: This is important, I’m glad you raised it. There was a  little bit of confusion or misreporting on this topic. What the Department of Transportation is saying is it wants to have the rule in place by the time the Obama Administration leaves office. It’s not telling you ‘You have to have the technology in place,’ it wants the rules in place. And the rule will state that car companies have to have the technology in place by X date. They haven’t given that date yet because they want to be able to work through public input, they also want to hear from the car manufacturers and get everybody on board. I suspect that we’re probably looking at five to ten years past 2016.  So somewhere in the neighborhood of 2021, 2025, somewhere in there, if the D.O.T. and N.H.T.S.A . go forward with this and there aren’t massive lawsuits, if this goes forward, I suspect we’re talking in probably five to ten to 12 years before this now becomes standard required

TA: It obviously works best if all cars have it, but they’re talking new cars, but what about retrofitting cars already on the road, might that be required or not?

TC: No I don’t think you could ever require that, and they would never attempt that. Almost all of these new advancements to safety come from new technology being put into new cars. Look at what’s happened with air bags. The drop in fatalities and traffic fatalities is remarkable and attributable mostly to better built cars, but most importantly airbags. And second from that, much better construction of roads, and you know we now got roundabouts and better on ramps and off ramps and that kind of thing. But what this marks is a big shift — rather than trying to make sure you survive a crash, they want to make sure you never have a crash, and that hopefully the technology there is that they can do that.

TA: Tom, everybody thinks about driving a little differently. What about you, you’ve experienced it in Ann Arbor, would you, do you welcome this in your next car or car somewhere down he road?

TC: Yeah, I think so. Listen, you know, I can tell you that on my car,  I’ve got the backup camera, I’ve got the sensors so I don’t hit the trash can orGod  forbid a little kid behind that I don’t see. I really welcome that. It’s only , I think, enhanced safety in my case  and I have had, you know everybody when they have a car over the course of their car they may bump the bumper a couple of times. At least I  haven’t had it happen to me once in the last two cars I’ve had, and I think it’s because I’ve got these bumpers. So I can only imagine that the safety picture will dramatically improve for me and probably for everybody else.

05:31

On The Road To The Self-Driving Car

Now cars talk to each other. Next they’ll drive themselves. We’ll look at the road ahead.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, gets into a self-driven car in Cranberry, Pa., Butler County, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. The Cadillac SRX that was modified by Carnegie Mellon University went along local roads and highways operated by a computer that uses inputs from radars, laser rangefinders, and infrared cameras as it made a 33-mile trip to the Pittsburgh International Airport. A Carnegie Mellon engineer was in the driver's seat as a safety precaution. (AP)

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, gets into a self-driven car in Cranberry, Pa., Butler County, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. The Cadillac SRX that was modified by Carnegie Mellon University went along local roads and highways operated by a computer that uses inputs from radars, laser rangefinders, and infrared cameras as it made a 33-mile trip to the Pittsburgh International Airport. A Carnegie Mellon engineer was in the driver’s seat as a safety precaution. (AP)

Guests

Tom Costello, correspondent for NBC News. (@tomcostellonbc)

Burhard Bilger, science, nature and technology staff writer at The New Yorker.

Bryant Walker Smith, fellow at the Center for Internet and Society and the Center for Automatice Research at Stanford Law School and Stanford University. Lecturer in law. (@bwalkersmith)

John Absmeier, director of the Silicon Valley Innovation Center for Delphi Automotive.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: Auto Correct — “While other drivers are gawking at him, he is observing them: recording their maneuvers in his car’s sensor logs, analyzing traffic flow, and flagging any problems for future review. The only tiresome part is when there’s roadwork or an accident ahead and the Lexus insists that he take the wheel. A chime sounds, pleasant yet insistent, then a warning appears on his dashboard screen: ‘In one mile, prepare to resume manual control.’”

CNN Money: U.S. unveils plan for cars of the future – “Various automakers have been working on the technology for years. The safety benefits have been demonstrated under both real world and controlled test conditions, NHTSA said. The technology could also improve traffic flow and thereby save fuel, the agency said.”

NPR: Putting The Brake On Who Can See Your Car’s Data Trail — “A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that many companies collect those data and provide them to third parties for traffic instructions or research. It also found the companies’ privacy practices were unclear, making it difficult for consumers to understand privacy risks.”

December 28 2013

17:27

This Spanish developer helped rebuild Lima and now he’s betting big on remaking Detroit | Public Radio International

December 09 2013

15:00

Pension Plans Put Under The Knife

Public pensions, on the chopping block in Detroit and Illinois We’ll look at the future of public finance and public pensions across the country.

If you have a public pension, perhaps you felt a chill last week. Big  pension cuts were approved  in Detroit and Illinois.  A once sacred social contract  with workers  now teetering. Blown up. With millions of retirees, owed trillions of dollars now facing a dicey retirement and very uncertain financial future. The whole country is watching this play out. Pension holders and Baby Boomers wonder where the cuts will come next. What’s the solution if the money just isn’t there anymore? Can these promises really be broken?  This hour On Point: Unpacking America’s pension pandemic.

Guests

Tim Jones, reporter for Bloomberg News in Chicago.

Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and professor of management sciences at the Carroll School of Management. Author of “State and Local Pensions: What Now?

Andrew Biggs, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

John Day, retired police detective for the Detroit Police Department.

From The Reading List

Chicago Tribune: Illinois lawmakers approve major pension overhaul — “Supporters hailed the bill as a solution that would ‘ensure retirement security’ for current and retired state workers, public school teachers outside Chicago, university employees and state public officials. They also said it would end the squeeze on state tax dollars that increased pension costs have placed on education and social services.”

Bloomberg News: Pension Threats in Illinois, Detroit Rattle Government Workers — “For generations, public employees accepted modest wages for the promise of a secure retirement. The decisions, coming after efforts to curb public-employee power in states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, may embolden other municipalities, leave workers more vulnerable and prompt unions to new tactics of opposition. Retirees are already seeing reduced benefits in cities such as Central Falls, Rhode Island, where a judge last year approved cutting pensions to help it emerge from insolvency. In California, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is leading the push for an initiative that would let cities cut benefits already promised to employees.”

New York Times: Pension Cuts Must Be on the Table – ”It’s easy to point to low average benefits for public employees, but these averages include workers who spent only a few years in government employment. In reality, public employee pensions are typically much – I repeat, much – more generous than those paid in the private sector. or instance, a full-career Detroit city employee would receive a traditional ‘defined-benefit’ pension equal to two-thirds his final salary, for which he contributed nothing. Detroit workers could voluntarily contribute to a 401(k)-styled ‘defined-contribution’ plan, on which the city guaranteed 7.9 percent annual returns even in bad times. In good times, both the defined-benefit and defined-contribution pensions received bonus payments. Add in Social Security, and it’s possible to earn more while retired than while working. It’s hard to argue that the typical Detroit taxpayer is doing as well.”

December 06 2013

11:12

Week In The News: Biden In Beijing, Pension Reforms And Nelson Mandela

Biden in Beijing. Public pensions under the gun. Remembering Nelson Mandela – our Weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Guests

Gideon Roseeditor of Foreign Affairs.

David Shepardson, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for The Detroit News. (@davidshepardson)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit News: Detroit pension funds seek direct appeal of bankruptcy ruling — “The city’s pension funds and its largest union asked for permission Wednesday to appeal the city’s bankruptcy eligibility to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing the historic case needs to be heard by a higher court before retiree pensions are cut. The pension funds and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are trying to protect retiree pensions from cuts in a fight that could lead to the U.S. Supreme Court and avoid a ruling that could impact pensions in struggling cities nationwide.”

BBC News: US and China in ‘very direct’ air zone talks — “Talks in Mr Biden’s Asia trip have been dominated by a new air zone declared by China, which covers islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. China says its move is consistent with ‘international law and practice.’ China announced a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last month, and said aircraft flying through the zone must follow its rules, including filing flight plans. The ADIZ covers islands claimed and controlled by Japan, and a submerged rock claimed by South Korea.”

New York Daily News: MTA: Alert system for engineer was on wrong end of derailed Metro-North train — “The ‘alerter’ system sounds a warning after 25 seconds of inactivity from the engineer. It can activate the brakes automatically if the engineer doesn’t respond to the prompt in 15 seconds. That may have prevented disaster when engineer William Rockefeller apparently nodded off before the train approached a sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx on Sunday morning — a bend that requires trains to slow down from a 70 mph limit to just 30 mph.”

August 05 2010

00:55

U.S. Auto Industry Revving Up

One year after the multi-billion dollar bailout, Detroit is buzzing over profits, new jobs, and electric cars. We look under the hood and check the vitals of America’s auto industry.
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl