ATRA News

    This is a round up of the latest news related Personal Rapid Tramsport and Advanced Transport. If you would like to submit a news item please email news@atra.org

    History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (22)

    January 22nd, 2019

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    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1997 – The Twenty Second Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 22 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 22 (1997)

     

    Year 22

     

     

     

    History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (21)

    December 17th, 2018

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1996 – The Twenty First Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 21 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 21 (1996)

    History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (20)

    November 22nd, 2018

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    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1995 – The Twentieth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 20 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 20 (1995)

     

     

    Solar-Powered Automated Transit – Its Time is NOW !

    November 19th, 2018

     

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    ATRA Pulse article November, 2018

    Please click on link below:

    Solar-Powered Automated Transit – Its Time is NOW !

     

     

     

    CG/LA INFRASTRUCTURE – North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum

    October 26th, 2018

     

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    North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum 

    October 23, 2018 

    Peter Muller 

     

    Roughly 150 to 200 attendees representing infrastructure leaders from government, finance, engineering, contracting, equipment, technology and services attended this two-day conference. I only attended day one. Most attendees seemed to be from the finance sector. As the title indicates, the focus was definitely on North America, yet the most interesting session was the luncheon keynote by Ray Washburne, President, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). My notes from that speech follow: 

    OPIC provides: 

    • Political risk insurance

    – Sanctity of contracts 

    – <1% default rate 

    • Structured debt

    – Up to 75% 

    – <$500 M 

    • Investment funds

    – Up to 1/3rd debt 

    It was previously reactive but now it can do feasibility studies up front. It has doubled in size to $60B. Can put equity in. Has bipartisan support. Can operate in 130 countries. Must have US companies involved. Addressing human rights and environmental issues is key to getting loans which take 4-1/2 months for approval. They are a lender of last resort to lift emerging markets. 

    The Chinese are making a massive asset grab around the world. They gift projects, providing finance, design and build with Chinese resources. They do zero for the local economy. When the project defaults they take over ownership. 

    Notes from other sessions (may be conflicting since more than one speaker involved): 

    Financing of large projects is becoming more difficult. The public side is not carrying its weight. States see availability payments as debt which goes to the balance sheet. The international market is more about “user pays”. Long-term secure revenue is attractive to finance initial capital. 

    Need to go beyond P3s – “Recycling” – not clearly explained. 

    The money is there – the most important aspect is a knowledgeable team. 

    The governance model and management model and business investment case are key. 

    The private sector can bring good management know-how. 

    Managed lanes rather than toll roads. 

    Equity investors get 22% – 24% returns. 

    Most states have add-on regulations above the feds making for a complex situation. 

    My take-aways: 

    The US is not a very attractive marketplace for infrastructure investors. 

    OPIC could help US firms get projects going overseas. 

    About half the sessions/breakouts were of little to no interest to me/ATRA. 

    There seemed to be little interest in new technology solutions – rather in new ways to finance. 

    Since ATRA is worldwide, it may make more sense for us to focus on CG/LA’s Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum which is in Montreal March 26 – 28 2019. Whether we attend or not should be driven by the supplier members IMHO. 

    Visit https://www.gvip.io to enter your project or credentials and/or to view other projects and credentials. 

    History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (19)

    October 23rd, 2018

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1994 – The Nineteenth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 19 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 19 (1994)

    The Fourth Martin Lowson Paper Award at the Podcar City Conference, Gavle, Sweden

    October 19th, 2018

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    The fourth Martin Lowson Award, is given in honor of the inventor of the first modern PRT system, and encourages young researchers to perform  high quality research in the field of Automated Transit Systems (ATN). This year the award has been presented to Ing.Jessaï Arakelian-von Freeden for his Master thesis entitled ”The feasibility and benefits of introducing an autonomous minibus on-demand system in rural public transport: A simulation-based analysis”. The 500 $ award and diploma was handed over by ATRA vice president Ingmar Andreasson during the PodCar City conference this October in Gavle, Sweden. The thesis deals with the performance evaluation and the economic feasibility analysis of autonomous public transport in sparsely populated rural areas, where conventional public transport typically offers a scarce service.

    For the presented work, Jessaï Arakelian has received his Masters Title in 2018 from the Transportation Institute at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany (Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Land- und Seeverkehr, Verkehrswesen).

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    Remote Driving over 5G Networks can Support Automated Transit Systems

    October 18th, 2018

     

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    by Robert Johnson

    Automated Vehicles (AVs) have successfully operated on roadways along with conventional traffic in certain limited situations. However, widespread deployment of AVs will require them to operate over routes that include difficult sections, such as left turns across oncoming traffic. They will also have to deal with unplanned events, such as following the directions of a police officer in maneuvering around an accident scene. Fortunately, 5G mobile networks are becoming available that make it practical for a remote human driver to control an AV in situations that its on-board control system cannot handle.

     

    HOW IT WOULD WORK

    5G mobile networks offer the high data rate and low latency needed to transmit detailed video from the vehicle to the remote operator, and send back steering, acceleration, and braking commands with no noticeable delay. The cost of adding remote driving capability to an AV should be minimal, since the vehicle will already have cameras and mechanical actuators as part of its automated control system.

    The remote driver of an AV is not expected to continously monitor the road ahead and respond to emergencies. That’s the job of the on-board automated control system. When the on-board system encounters a situation it can’t safely handle, it would typically respond by coming to a stop — either in its lane or off to the side — and requesting that a remote operator take over. This transition could take as long as 20-30 seconds. In most cases, however, the handoff from on-board computer to remote operator could be planned in advance, and should take place so smoothly that passengers on the AV will be unaware that it’s happening. An obstacle such as a fallen tree blocking an AV route will be unexpected only for the first vehicle to encounter it. All subsequent AVs on the route will be aware of the tree, and the system can have a remote operator ready to take over at that location.

     

    Phantom Auto Remote Driver

    Phantom Auto Remote Driver

     

    Because a remote driver would be needed for only a small fraction of a AV’s total operating time, one person could handle five or ten or more vehicles. Since the remote driver would typically be operating from a control room with other personnel, it would be possible to easily monitor his or her readiness and job performance.

     

    REAL-WORLD REMOTE DRIVING TESTS

    The world’s first commercial 5G service was introduced on October 1, 2018 by Verizon in Sacramento, CA and three other US cities. Initially it is being used to provide wireless home Internet service, but it is also being used in Sacramento to test remote driving. Even before the official 5G release, Phantom Auto of Mountain View, CA was using the network to operate empty automobiles on Sacramento streets from its home office about one hundred miles away. These tests will continue into 2019, and it is expected that when they are complete, remote driving will be used on certain sections of a planned automated passenger shuttle at the Sacramento campus of California State University.

    In addition to passenger vehicles, remote driving has been tested with various types of trucks. The Nuro R1 vehicle is only half as long and half as wide as a mid-sized car and has no driver’s compartment. The R1 has been operated on public streets, and Nuro and Kroger have announced they will start using it in late 2018 to deliver groceries to customers from one store in Scottsdale, Arizona. The much larger Einride electric truck also has no driver’s compartment. Einride uses Phantom Auto’s remote driving system, and after numerous tests has announced plans to operate on a short section of public roadway in Sweden this year.

     

    AN ALTERNATIVE: REMOTE PATH ADVICE

    Instead of remote driving, a more limited intervention in the control of an AV involves supplying remote path advice. This approach assumes the on-board control system can handle the entire normal route but recognizes that unexpected events can require human input.

    With remote path advice, if an AV’s usual route were blocked by an obstacle the vehicle would stop and a remote operator would observe the situation by video, as with remote driving. Instead of then manually driving the vehicle, the operator would lay out a new path on a computer screen (or approve a path that the vehicle has proposed) and then command the AV to proceed along that path using its on-board control system to prevent collisions. This eliminates the need for a low latency wireless connection with the vehicle.

    Remote path advice appears to be the approach used by Waymo in its Arizona AV operations with Pacifica minivans. However, even Alphabet, Waymo’s parent company, has taken some interest in remote driving. In March 2018 its Gradient Ventures subsidiary led a funding round of $6 million for a remote driving startup called Scotty Labs.

    Podcar City Conference 2018 – Planning Automated Shared Mobility

    September 20th, 2018

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    For all details of the conference please see link below:

    PODCAR CITY 2018

    History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (18)

    September 13th, 2018

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1993 – The Eighteenth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 18 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 18 (1993)