Along for the Ride #138
à bientôt Paris
Bonjour mes amis, joyeux vendredi!
I write to you in french to let you know two things: (1) I’ll be in Paris March 11th - 21st, in town for the Autonomy conference, (2) I would love to meet ya if you’re in town. Perhaps we can go on a bike ride and consume multiple varieties of carbs together? Let me know.
Secondly, I hope you enjoyed last week’s guest contribution by Megha Kaveri. If you didn’t catch it, be sure to give it a read! I have a double-dose of news ready for you this week, so some articles are listed out as links because there is only so much space/time to wax lyrical.
And finally, I wanted to share this wonderful video about San Francisco’s car-free slow streets (namely JFK Promenade and the Great Walkway). If you know and love these spaces, please watch and share the videos that detail how communities have taken to car-free streets around the city.
OK, preamble done! Now time to news-it-up!
Government and Policy
The city’s plans to ban cars in the centre of town, are well, swoon worthy. And before we get to riled up, this isn’t a #notallcars moment. “Delivery drivers, taxis, buses, ridesharing vehicles, people with disabilities, and people going to work in the area will also be able to drive. But more than half of the traffic through the neighborhoods currently comes from people who are cutting across the city; by banning those trips, more than 100,000 cars could be taken off local roads each day.” Enchanté Paris.
GM seeks approval from feds to deploy Cruise Origin
Cruise is seeking permission to deploy the Cruise Origin (a vehicle that yes, looks like a toaster, but also does not have a steering wheel, human operated brakes, etc). “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has authority to grant petitions to allow a limited number of vehicles to temporarily operate on U.S. roads that do not have required human controls. Under current law, companies can seek an exemption from motor vehicle safety standards for up to 2,500 vehicles for up to two years that do not meet existing federal rules.”
The more you know!
Salt Lake City needs to build better bus lanes (KUER)
The impact of Birmingham’s clean air zone on local economics (Centre for Cities)
Safety and insurance issues for AVs in Canada (Electric Autonomy)
The Anthony Levandowski case is finally settled
Here’s a refresher for those of you unfamiliar with the ~drama~.
“Under the agreement, Uber will pay Google a “substantial portion” of the $179 million it was awarded in arbitration in 2019, and which prompted Levandowski to file for bankruptcy. Uber will also pay Levandowski $2 million. A court filing notes that Levandowski’s financial advisor believes the settlement agreement will give him enough cash to pay all the claims against him.”
Sing’s ABBA’s Money, Money, Money (must be funny, in a rich man’s world).
Waymo and Cruise can now charge passengers for trips in SF
Welp, it happened folks. AVs are officially on our roads, and we’re all paying for it—literally. In addition, these are no longer late operations. “Cruise will be able to operate at speeds of up to 30 mph on select public roads in San Francisco from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Waymo vehicles can provide service at any time in designated San Francisco and San Mateo counties with speeds of up 65 mph.” You can also read the CPUC press release here.
The more you know!
London launches a new AV trial (Traffic Technology News)
Starship raises another $42m (TechCrunch)
Motional and Via launch free AV service in Las Vegas (TechCrunch)
VW is considering purchasing Huawei’s AV car platform (Clean Technica)
10 biggest AV companies right now (BusinessWire)
China’s AVs rely on US chips (Financial Times, behind paywall)
AVs require more than just simulation (Venture Beat)
Waymo’s AV depot (GovTech)
Research and Academia
Why driving bigger cars can lead to riskier driving
“While literature highlights several behavioural effects of car size, the direction of causality of these effects is not always clear, and empirical evidence is lacking. Two behavioural and consequential studies support that car size affects risk taking in driving and that this increase in risk taking generalizes to other domains as well. Based on these results and in line with literature showing that social stability and security can affect financial risk taking, we propose the “car cushion hypothesis.” This hypothesis suggests that bigger cars make people feel more secure, which affects their behaviour in terms of generalized risk taking.”
The more you know!
Redesigning transit for the new mobility future (TRB)
The influence of public spaces on emotional states (Journal of Urban Design)
Why isn’t Mayor Pete pushing back on states that ignore equity guidelines?
This week Pete Buttigieg made comments that are being seen as an effort to play nice for GOP lawmakers, “who have consistently attacked the Biden infrastructure agenda, as demonstrated in federal guidelines issued late last year. In a memo that represented a clear break from the past, new Federal Highway Administration guidelines encourage state highway authorities to invest in climate- and equity-friendly projects that improve safety and accessibility for multi-modal road users, while simultaneously prioritizing repair over new construction.”
That’s all from me. Have a beautiful weekend friends.