Nielsen: A Sneak Peek at Automated Driving

via LinkedIn, September 21, 2018

At DTNA, along with our recent advancements in e-mobility and connected services, we’re also focusing on automated driving, an important third pillar of our technology strategy. Soon, we’ll be expanding our team and facilities by opening a new Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland, Oregon, near our headquarters. Here’s a quick look at our ongoing, expanding efforts into the leading edges of automated vehicle technology. If you have an engineering background and a desire to change to world with innovative new technology, send a resume and letter of interest to [email protected], but here’s more.

With heavy investments in both our new Automated Truck R&D Center in Portland, Oregon and our High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Oregon, we’re creating global hotspots of emerging technologies and innovation, zeroing-in on freight efficiency, safety, and driver experience. Our engineers in North America collaborate closely with colleagues around the world at Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India to form a global network of hundreds of engineers devoted to advancing automated driving technology. We leverage this depth and breadth of experience across Daimler’s vehicle divisions to include both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

As we make progress with automated trucks, we’ve been testing them on our state-of-the-art test tracks and on Oregon highways. In June, we demonstrated automated driving through vehicle pairing, incorporating advanced, vehicle-to-vehicle communications between two trucks and showcasing our high-tech safety systems. Paired vehicles essentially ‘talk’ to each other, collecting information such as position, speed, and braking status 50 times every second. As a result, trucks in an automated pair can respond to each other in coordinated fashion, much faster than a human. This allows the vehicles to travel safely at a close following distance, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

To help us prepare for new levels of automation, our Data Collection Truck (pictured above) aggregates immense troves of real-world data from a range of sensors. Dozens of test runs have provided a wealth of data that help us adapt as we move forward with our typical, micron-level attention to detail.

We’re not just developing technology for technology’s sake, though. Our new Automated Truck R&D Center is a hub for co-creation where customers, suppliers, and business partners alike can provide input that deepens our understanding of how this technology can help our customers increase their profitability. Our eyes are on the bottom-line impact—not just for our customers, but for society at large. That means safety and reliability come first, as always, and automated driving systems are no exception.

Drivers remain at the center of any new development – even of a truck featuring highly automated driving technology. The opinion that the technology will not replace drivers was further validated by findings from a recent study, Preparing the Workforce for Automated Vehicles, conducted by the American Center for Mobility—a non-profit testing and product-development facility for future mobility.

We’re not going it alone, either. We’re collaborating with other industry experts to help ensure that we’re at the forefront of the discussion of how the advancement of automated vehicles will impact safety, quality of life, and economic opportunity. Daimler has teamed up with the American Trucking Associations, FedEx, Toyota, Ford, Uber, Waymo, and Lyft to found the Partnership for Transportation Innovation & Opportunity (PTIO).

Committed to collaborating with American workers, policy makers, and customers to find solutions through the common-sense adoption of automated driving technology, PTIO creates a powerful alliance for collaboration on the future of automated vehicles. Only through examining, listening and understanding potentially disruptive new technology from every angle can we remain responsible global stewards, as we develop and commercialize groundbreaking new tech.

Our industry is changing fast, and we’re adapting to meet it head-on. We’ll have a number of new automation engineering positions opening in the weeks ahead as we ramp up our team. Again, if you want to shape the future of transportation, we’d love to hear from you. Send a letter of interest and your resume to [email protected].



PTIO, Congressional Black Caucus Discuss “Future of Work”

A message from PTIO Board Member Marie Hocker, Ford:

I was honored to participate recently in the Congressional Black Caucus’s “Future of Work” panel, led by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). My focus was primarily on how the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs) will affect the future of work – specifically how we at Ford, and others in the transportation industry, are preparing for society’s transition to AVs and the impact that the technology will inevitably have on our nation’s workforce.

At Ford, we foresee tremendous opportunity to come from the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles. While the potential benefits for our communities are many – such as more affordable and accessible transportation services, reductions in congestion and reductions in the 40,000 traffic fatalities every year – it is vital that we also identify the potential challenges and address them head on.

Safety, of course, is the number one concern for those of us working on AVs, but also of huge importance to us are the economic and social effects the introduction of this technology will have on our workforce, particularly those in the transportation sector. I have a personal connection and commitment to addressing this question.

My dad was a taxi cab driver, an occupation that is sure to be affected, and like me, those of you who have a family member, friend, or constituent in your community who may be asking if they’re going to lose their job as a result of this technology, also understand our collective concerns.

That is why Ford joined with the American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Lyft, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo in forming a new coalition called the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity, also known as PTIO.

Together with our representatives on Capitol Hill and other key stakeholders, PTIO is committed to exploring the potential impacts that AVs may have on the nation’s workforce.

The introduction of the autonomous vehicle and its begetter, artificial intelligence, are predicted to bring the greatest changes to the workplace since the Industrial Revolution, but the impact on workers will be felt differently since the changes will likely happen in a period measured in years rather than many decades.  We don’t have all the answers yet, and although we do know autonomous vehicles are not going to take over the world tomorrow, the time to plan and prepare is here, today.

In the meantime, the primary objectives of PTIO are to:

  1. Convene key stakeholders—all levels of government, labor, colleges and think-tanks—to have an open and honest dialogue about the transition from traditional to autonomous vehicles;
  2. Develop a data-driven understanding of the impacts of AVs on working people and work with you to shape public policies that will benefit the entire workforce; and
  3. Share information about existing and near-term career opportunities for workers during the transition.


We at PTIO, and I personally, look forward to a very fruitful association with you and other stakeholders as we strive together to address the evolving challenges and opportunities of modern technology.


Marie Hocker
Ford Motor Company
PTIO Founding Member

Pilot programs for low-speed AVs making quick progress

via Axios, September 14, 2018

Although widespread deployment of autonomous cars and trucks, especially at highway speeds, is still a ways off, low-speed AV fleets could provide the majority of rides within the next decade and reduce vehicle ownership by up to 75% in densely populated areas.

Why it matters: LSAVs can help meet the complex mobility needs of neighborhoods, campuses and business districts, especially by being traveling in mixed traffic — alongside pedestrians, cyclists, scooter riders and more — and facilitating connections to other modes of transit. Cities across the U.S. are looking to these pilot programs to learn whether AVs can earn the consumer confidence to move further onto the road.

The details: Low-speed AVs, which typically travel 10-35 miles per hour, include small robotaxi pods, large shuttles and retrofitted vehicles like golf carts and vans. Early pilot projects have tested just a few of their many potential applications:

  • Commuting: May Mobility’s 6-seat AV shuttle offers rides to Quicken Loans employees in downtown Detroit. The commercial service is approaching 10,000 trips just 8 weeks after its launch.
  • Connecting to sports and entertainment: Following a year of EasyMile off-road rides to AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), the city of Arlington, Texas, selected to expand its presence in North Texaswith an autonomous van service along a geofenced route in its entertainment district.
  • Expanding public transit: In October 2018, the AAA-sponsored Navya circulator in Las Vegas will mark a full year as the first automated public transit service in the U.S. The shuttle crosses 8-intersections on its circular route, has transported thousands of passengers and has had only one crash — when a truck backed into the AV.
  • Getting around a community: Voyage provides an on-demand AV-taxi service for residents of retirement communities in Florida and California. Transdev has launched an AV shuttle that doubles as a school bus at Babcock Ranch.

What to watch: Growth in the low-speed category is likely to accelerate, with expanded production, new vehicles and more trials in the U.S. and globally. Cities will increasingly look to these systems to attract employers, incentivizing transit agencies to improve bus and rail connections. Private campus owners and real estate developers will also explore ways for residents and workers to get around more easily.

Kelley Coyner is a senior fellow at George Mason University and founder and CEO of Mobility e3.