They may not be ubiquitous yet, but automated technologies across the automotive industry are starting to come of age. The ‘robotaxi’ industry and autonomous trucks are on the cusp of real-world use, and next-generation sensor technologies are being deployed on vehicles that are for sale. Here is a look at some of the most exciting developments from the last year.

Robotaxis Services Coming Online

Commercial service robotaxis have come online in San Francisco. This is a major milestone, but it is not as exciting as it initially sounds.

Cruise was the first to reach the milestone. Their journey began in October 2020, when Cruise was awarded a driverless testing permit by California DMV. It could run the vehicles without anyone on board, not even a test driver. In June 2021, it was given permission to start offering rides without a safety driver on board. These were free rides — no paying customers — an important distinction. The big step came in September 2021 when both Waymo and Cruise were awarded a “driverless deployment permit”. The final part of the puzzle would be gaining permission to operate a commercial service from California Public Utilities Commission, which was awarded to Cruise in June 2022.

However, only 30 vehicles, out of Cruise’s fleet of approximately 150 vehicles, are allowed to be used and only in a small part of the city. Still, a step in the right direction.

Outside of the U. S., China has also been ramping up its autonomous robotaxi deployments. Baidu and conduct significant testing in Beijing and, like Cruise and Waymo, have limited commercial robotaxi services. Baidu and were given permission to start a robotaxi service with no driver behind the wheel in April of this year, with one slight catch. Their services must still have a supervisor present in the vehicle

Roboshuttles Struggling

This future mobility solution is fast becoming not so new, not so exciting and possibly soon confined to history. The concept of a roboshuttle-powered future is that these small, shared vehicles will be able to operate more flexibly than a bus, offering more diverse routes and some working on an on-demand basis.

The pioneers in this industry are EasyMile and Navya, two French companies with similar vehicles and funding of around €100 million each. Over the years, they have supplied around 200 vehicles each to different companies, transport agencies, and other mobility stakeholders that are interested in trialing the technology. But they appear no closer to deploying a commercial roboshuttle service. Even more concerning is that interest in these vehicles seems to be on the decline. Notable companies such as Local Motors have closed their doors, while others like Continental and Bosch have shown concepts in the past but then gone quiet on the topic.

Autonomous Trucks

Autonomous trucks have become one of the most exciting autonomous prospects this year. A key development in the field occurred when field leader TuSimple completed an 80-mile journey across Arizona with an empty cabin and zero human intervention. All the conditions are right for this industry to explode: a measurable and known driver shortage in the U. S., Europe and China, the massive growth in e-commerce and the need for more freight on the road. There is also significant overlap between the capability of today’s autonomous technology and the demands of the environment that the vehicles will operate in. The first deployments will likely be between distribution hubs separated by vast stretches of interstate. This eliminates the more challenging scenarios for autonomous vehicles, such as pedestrians, stop signs, un-protected left turns and turning right on red lights which rely on human judgment. Finally, autonomous trucks can bring a significant increase in productivity. Many of the journeys across the U. S. take several days for humans to complete due to driving time limits. Autonomous vehicles will not be subject to this. It looks like the stars are aligning for autonomous trucks.

Trends in Automotive LiDAR

The last year or so seems to have been a turning point for LiDAR, with more OEMs announcing models that will be equipped with them. Volvo will be using Luminar along with Chinese OEM SAIC. Continental and Denso are shipping on Toyotas and Lexus. The Audi A8 carries a Valeo, as do some Mercedes. BMW have chosen Innoviz, as have Volkswagen, and the list goes on. With the automotive industry’s current focus on safety and the benefits that LiDAR has been promising, this trickle-down effect might look more like a gush/pour/stream/cascade than a trickle.

Three Predictions for 2023

Here are three predictions for 2023:

1. Robotaxi service expansion: There are now a small handful of robotaxi services coming online in the U.S. Next year this will grow. It is unlikely that many new cities will go online; but the services in existing cities will grow — particularly Cruise in San Francisco.

2. Commercial ‘driver-out’ autonomous trucking will enter a trialing phase: IDTechEx thinks that in 2023 the first commercial autonomous truck routes without a driver behind the wheel will go online. This will likely start with a single route, perhaps Tucson to Phoenix, as demonstrated by TuSimple. However, IDTechEx thinks a handful of routes and companies will be online by the end of next year.

3. More level three vehicles in Europe enabled by higher performing radar and LiDAR: There has only been one true level three car on the market, the Mercedes S-Class. However, its level three functionality could only be used in Germany. IDTechEx thinks that next year more OEMs like BMW, and Stellantis will be looking to deploy level three vehicles. Additionally, the UK and some European countries will likely allow level three to be used on their roads. In Germany, there may be the level three speed limit increase from 60kph to 130kph thanks to a UNECE regulation change coming into effect in January. Level three in the U. S. and China is harder to predict. They pushed the bounds of what is possible and are lobbying for more regulation around higher automated level deployments. IDTechEx does not think it will be long before deployments are seen here as well.

Driver Arrested for Attempted Murder After Crashing into LA County Sheriff Recruits

Nicholas Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer after he reportedly drove his SUV into the wrong lane and then crashed into a group of Los Angeles County law enforcement recruits as they exercised on a training run. Twenty-five recruits were injured, five of them critically.

The incident happened north of Los Angeles in suburban Whittier, Calif. The crash was described as “chaotic,” and authorities said it looked like an airplane wreck. Seventy-five recruits were running in a line accompanied by two black-and-white police cars and eight road guards wearing reflective vests as a safety precaution, sheriff’s authorities said.

Drill instructors, who are sworn deputy sheriffs, were also running with the group, but were not injured, said Sheriff’s Capt. Patrick Macdonald. “It is unprecedented that something like this would happen, when a vehicle would actually travel southbound and then cross oncoming traffic to the extreme east side to hit recruits,” Macdonald said.

Some of the recruits said they heard the vehicle accelerating. It was estimated to be going about 30-40 miles per hour, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Driver Crashes into Atlanta Area Charter School

A driver who crashed into an Atlanta area charter school, Ivy Preparatory Academy injuring three students was charged with aggravated assault, according to local police.

The driver, Obinna Aguocha, 39, drove or crashed into a classroom where 22 fifth graders were studying. Three student were taken to local hospitals but reports said none of the injuries were life-threatening and were released later that day.

Reports say Aguocha began honking his horn and then “purposefully” drove into the the building.

Stellantis Issues Warning on Cars with Takata Air Bags

The parent company of Chrysler, Stellantis, and the U. S. government warned drivers of 276,000 older vehicles to stop driving them. The Takata air bags that were installed in those models have exploded, apparently, causing death in at least three recent cases.

The effected models include the Dodge Magnum wagon, Dodge Challenger and Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans all from the 2005-2010 model years.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Backs Eagle Plan to Combat Violence-Provoking Effects of Disinformation

By Michaela Jarvis

In an age when disinformation can promote violence, a group of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University faculty will help secondary school teachers to recognize the online manipulation tactics used by extremist organizations, using an approach known as Inoculation Theory.

“Inoculation Theory is the idea that a little bit of exposure to something dangerous will make you more resilient when confronted with something more dangerous in the future,” said Dr. Diane Maye Zorri, assistant professor in the Department of Security Studies and International Affairs, adding that she first learned about the approach from assistant professor Dr. Daniel Gressang, who has spent most of his career at the National Security Agency. “We would like to expose people to the various ways that foreign actors and malicious entities are spreading disinformation, faulty statistics, conspiracy theories and false narratives.”

The program, which will bring the approach to Volusia County Schools’ “Volusia Learns!” 2022 summer professional learning conference, was recently awarded $232,700 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program.

“The project aims to prevent violent organizations from recruiting and mobilizing people,” said Zorri, who is the project’s principal investigator. “The Department of Homeland Security is looking for innovative solutions that can be done at the local level. … I thought this was something that paired well with the expertise of the Security Studies and International Affairs department, as well as faculty members from the Humanities and Communication and Math departments.”

Dr. Karen Gaines, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Arts & Sciences, stressed the importance of such work.

“This project will not only help prevent violent organizations from recruiting and mobilizing young people but will also nudge those vulnerable individuals to more productive life outcomes,” Gaines said. “The fact that we can do this here in Volusia County to help our community gives me great pride.”

As an example of an extremist ideology that is popular in social media groups, Zorri mentioned “sovereign citizens,” which asserts that the U.S. government and federal law enforcement are illegitimate.

“The jargon and pseudo-legal rationale and statistics perpetuated by this group are very persuasive and have successfully mobilized many people,” Zorri said, noting that the movement has led to deadly confrontations with law enforcement.

The program will give teachers tools and exercises for instructing young people about the dangers of such manipulation.

“The good news is that most extremist violence is not perpetuated by secondary school students,” said Zorri. “But this is where Inoculation Theory comes into play. By inoculating students early, the theory suggests they will be less susceptible to radicalization in the future.”

Burglary in Chile Ends in Money on Highway

The burglary of a shop in Chile culminated in a car chase and subsequently, money being spread across a highway.

According to local media, the alleged burglars tried to steal approximately $10,300 – 10m Chilean pesos.

Six people were arrested. Fortunately, most of the money was recovered by police.

CLD Fencing Systems Puts Security-Rated Offer Under the Spotlight at ISE

CLD Fencing Systems will be showcasing its latest generation of security-rated physical security systems at the International Security Expo 2022.

The company has a suite of physical security systems, independently third party tested by the Loss Prevention Certification Board, (LPCB), offering the ultimate in protection against attack.

It will be introducing Securus S4, the latest addition to the Securus fencing range, and putting several of its systems to the test on the LPCB Live Lab, a highlight of the Perimeter Protection Zone at the event.

Tested and certified to LPS 1175 Issue 8, Securus S4 has achieved a D10 (SR4) Rating, ensuring that assets have a guaranteed delay against an attack of 10 minutes minimum, using tools such as bolt cutters, hacksaws, jigsaws, drills and sledgehammers.

Of significance is the minimal amount of assembly required on site, which means it is faster to install with less risk of downtime on site due to lost components.

Securus fencing also includes the ability to swap out panels to achieve a different rating, ensuring the perimeter security fencing adapts to changing operational needs, while specific zones can be selected to deliver targeted protection too.

And with both permanent and temporary options, Securus can be introduced from the construction stage through to permanent operations, with matching access control options in place to ensure a seamless security process.

All this is achieved whilst maintaining excellent visibility to support security operations on site, with no visible fixings in place, no sharp edges that could cause injury and small apertures to keep objects out. Securus is also virtually impossible to climb over.

Russell Wells, Sales Director of CLD Fencing Systems, said: “Securus S4 is a great addition to our portfolio, right at the cutting edge of physical security.

“It joins the existing Securus range as a highly responsive solution, that keeps intruders out in even the most demanding circumstances, bringing maximum security and protection in a fast installation format.”

CLD Fencing Systems – the UK’s largest manufacturer and supplier of rigid mesh fencing systems and security gates – will be at stand number B122 at the Olympia event.

From there, a team of security experts will be on hand to discuss and advise on individual projects, and the company’s wide range of time proven and trusted products.

Russell added: “We understand that modern security personnel operate in a complex, rapidly changing environment, which can present a variety of challenges to the protection of personnel and facilities.
“Ensuring sites are impassable to intruders is a cornerstone of any security strategy, whether focused on the short, medium or long term.
“Around the world, we consistently deliver physical security systems which are widely regarded in the security community as the ‘best in class’ within environments including data centres, schools, transport, manufacturing, high security, sports grounds, protected open spaces and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
“Our expert team offers insight and guidance to the best possible security fencing and gate systems, bringing international experience, backed up by local level intelligence and service delivery on the ground that is second to none.
“Clients value our discreet, confidential and considered advice. As trusted advisors, they know we recognise a project has to be right first time and that our business has the scope and scale to meet their requirements.
“The end result is that specifiers can be certain that their projects are in safe hands.”

Pledges to UN Road Safety Fund at UN High-Level Meeting Raise $15 million

Pledges to UN Road Safety Fund at UN High-Level Meeting Raise $15 million

The UN Road Safety Fund is supporting the UN High-level Meeting on Global Road Safety and hosted its first pledging event on this summer at the UN Headquarters in New York. In total, 16 partners pledged more than $15 million to fund road safety projects in low- and middle-income countries during 2022-2025.

Countries including Armenia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal and Qatar have added their voices to the call for increased financing to the fund. The pledges highlight the important value that the Fund’s growing multi-stakeholder partnership places on investing in safe, resilient and sustainable road safety systems for those countries and regions most in need.

Donors announcing new pledges to the fund during the UN High-level Meeting plenary session were Croatia, the European Commission, Hungary, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Russia and Slovakia. At the Fund’s event, pledges were made by private sector donors Autoliv, Bridgestone, FIA Foundation, Keep Fighting Foundation, La Nuez, Michelin Corporate Foundation, Pirelli, Revel and TotalEnergies Foundation.

To date, the fund is financing 25 high-impact projects in 30 countries and five regions worldwide and more funding is needed to continue to scale up these evidence-based interventions and close critical road safety gaps. Thanks to the pledges made by donors, as well as online donations from small business owners and individuals, the Fund is expanding its reach to actively support better urban planning for school zones, low emission non-motorized transport, speed management and cleaner safer used vehicle standards in developing countries.

“More funding can and must be channeled towards road safety solutions to stop the senseless loss of lives still occurring on our roads each and every day,” commented Jean Todt, the UN secretary general’s Special Envoy for Road Safety. “These pledges are a welcome part of building our coalition for change, and we urgently need to bring more players on board to join the Fund’s partnership, scale our investments and drive change in still more countries. We know the price of inaction for our children, our cities, and our planet. We must act today.”

“We are grateful to all our partners who voiced their commitment to support the UN Road Safety Fund and pledge funding that will save the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable road users in many more developing countries,” said Nneka Henry, head of the UN Road Safety Fund. “With the additional US$ 15 million pledged, we will continue to accelerate our efforts to ensure safer, accessible and inclusive roads for all. We need to build on this momentum and ramp up our financing efforts to scale up our impact to where it is still needed.”

“Road Safety is a key development issue, costing developing countries between 2-5% of GDP every year. So, without roads that are safe, there can be no sustainable development,” stated Olga Algayerova, executive secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe. “I call on every country in the world to apply as a minimum set of rules the ‘7 Key UN Legal Instruments on Road Safety.’ To deliver our commitment to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 and make safe and sustainable mobility a reality for all, countries must integrate road safety into all relevant national policies, in areas ranging from urban planning to education, and ensure proportionate national budget allocations.”

Dutch Farmers Blocked Roads, Ports in July Protest

Dutch Farmers Blocked Roads, Ports in July Protest

Dutch farmers, angry about new government regulations, used their tractors and trucks to block roads and distribution centers Monday, July 4. The protests were spurred by anger towards the government for plans that would require them to use less fertilizer and reduce livestock, as well as plans to slash emissions.

They also targeted Schipol Airport, the country’s largest hub, also advised people planning to travel during the protests to use public transportation to reach the airport as they believe the airport would be a target of the protesters.

Several traffic jams were reported on highways in the east of the country and on ferry routes in the north, but none near Schiphol during the morning commute.

Fishermen also joined the farmers in protesting the emission targets. They blocked the port in Harlingen with trawlers. Ferries to the islands of Terschelling and Vlieland could not leave for hours, news reports verified.

Shrimp fishermen, in particular, said they will have problems as a result of the government’s new regulations because next year they require applying for new fishing permits. Without making the required changes to their vessels, the permits might be withheld.

SITA Unveils eVisa and ETA to Transform Borders and Boost Growth

SITA Unveils eVisa and ETA to Transform Borders and Boost Growth

SITA has launched SITA eVisa and SITA Electronic Travel Authorization to meet the rapidly growing demand from governments for digital visa systems to stimulate national economies after COVID-19, strengthen security and improve the travel experience.

Governments globally are shifting to modern travel authorization solutions, like electronic visas and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), traditional visas – applications made via a consulate or embassy – decreased from 77% in 2008 to 53% in 2018. There is a growing demand for digital travel solutions.

The advantages of digital authorization solutions include improved security, reduced administrative burden, easier travel, and increased visitor flows, promoting spending that benefits local economies and creates employment. For example, one government’s introduction of an eVisa scheme covering 40 plus countries in 2014-2015 led to a 21% increase in international visitor arrivals and the creation of 800,000 jobs accounted for around 20% of the growth seen in the country’s travel and tourism over the period.

SITA has deployed border management solutions for more than 25 years to support cross-border mobility while safeguarding borders. In 1996, SITA pioneered the first ETA system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The aim was to give authorities advance visibility into the huge influx of tourists crossing the border, helping to reduce immigration bottlenecks.

For one major government customer in Asia Pacific today, SITA says its ETA system enables more than three million ETAs to be issued each year, 96% of applications result in the automatic issuance of an authorization, and 99% of all applications are successfully processed in less than 12 hours.

The mobile capability of SITA’s new eVisa and ETA capability allows travelers to make applications and provide their biometric information using their personal devices before they travel. For travelers, this is simpler, more convenient, and less time-consuming than applying for more complex traditional or on-arrival visas. For governments, they can biometrically verify the applicant’s identity. The mobile app also creates ICAO-compliant Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs) – a development in digital identity for travel that may replace physical passports in the future.

SITA’s eVisa and ETA solutions provide visas containing ICAO’s Visible Digital Seal (VDS), an encrypted bar code that enables visas and ETAs, paper or electronic, to be digitally verified for authenticity, offering enhanced security and fraud prevention.

“Adopting eVisa and ETA supports national prosperity,” said Jeremy Springall, head of SITA AT BORDERS. “We’ve productized our proven and robust travel authorization systems to benefit more nations around the world as they shift to digitalize and future-proof their borders. The solutions help countries to cope with growing passenger volumes, improve security and efficiency, and deliver a more seamless travel experience that travelers demand, removing the complexities of applying for traditional visas.”