The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Connectivity Trials Come to New York; Uber Report Seeks to Mend Fences With Regulators; and More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | November 08, 2018

Connectivity trials come to New York

City transportation officials say the V2X technology, which is to be fitted to 8,000 vehicles, will help reduce common causes of accidents.

As part of a $25 million pilot program to reduce injuries and deaths on New York City’s roadways, some of the city’s buses and taxis will be fitted with connected vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology that will allow them to communicate not only with each other, but also with roadside infrastructure. City transportation officials say the V2X technology, which is to be fitted to 8,000 vehicles, will help reduce common causes of accidents, such as running red lights or vehicles braking sharply ahead. The pilot forms part of city mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, and is “probably the largest pilot test so far in the world,” according to Kaan Ozbay, an engineering professor at New York University.

Uber report seeks to repair relations with regulators

Almost eight months after the fatal crash during testing in Tempe, Arizona, Uber published a report outlining its commitment to safety and submitted to NHTSA. The report includes an overview of the technology Uber is using and their partners, with significant attention given to the company’s self-driving safety principles. Some praised the report for its detail while others expressed disappointment that the report was not more detailed. The objective of these voluntary reports, requested by NHTSA, is to foster greater transparency and accelerate industry and regulatory learning about AV safety. This is consistent with the best-practice recommendations from SAFE’s Commission on AV Testing and Safety, which called for collaborative industry research and communication to expedite the responsible deployment of AVs nationwide.

Ford teams up with Baidu for Chinese AVs

Ford and Chinese internet company Baidu announced last week that they plan to begin testing AVs together on the streets of Beijing by the end of the year. This development builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, announcing earlier this year that they would work together broadly on artificial intelligence and smart cars. The move from Ford is part of a larger trend of international companies moving into the Chinese self-driving market—Waymo moved into Shanghai earlier this year, and Daimler announced this summer that it was the first foreign company to be granted a license to test automated cars in Beijing. Additionally, Ford is also in talks with VW to jointly develop self-driving and electric vehicles—a move that is intended to save both companies billions of dollars.

GM “on track” for a 2019 AV roll-out

Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, said the company is on track to roll out an AV ride-sharing service in 2019. Speaking at a recent conference, Ms. Barra said GM is “on track, with our rate of learning, to be able to do that next year,” adding that the company has a strategy to demonstrate how its vehicles are safer than human drivers. Currently, GM’s AVs can safely run at speeds of up to 30 miles per her, and the service will be limited to a small geographic area. Ms. Barra declined to say where this area will be, but noted that the company has done much of its testing in San Francisco. The announcement comes after a year of significant investments in GM’s AV unit, Cruise, from both Honda and SoftBank.