The first known death of a pedestrian struck by an autonomous vehicle on public roads has occurred late Sunday or early Monday, in Tempe, Arizona.
The woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, was struck by the Uber vehicle while it was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel.
An Uber spokeswoman said the company was “fully cooperating” with the local authorities. The company said it had suspended testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
Read the article at The New York Times.
By Mark Boada, Senior Editor
The National State Conference of State Fleet Administrators (NCSFA) has selected Mercury Associates to conduct its annual benchmarking study, the first time the organization has chosen to outsource the study in its more than 20-year history.
“The conference has been doing this study for years, but we didn’t do it in a formal process like this and we didn’t do it with the assistance of an outside entity,” said Bob Williams, NCSFA president and associate director for vehicle asset management for the state of Tennessee. “Our previous studies were managed internally and involved a lot of volunteer work, but we’ve never done it at this scale or enlisted outside help like this.”
Williams said the NCSFA will reach out to more respondents for this year’s study than it ever has and will focus on more details of fleet operations as well as a “bigger picture” than previous studies. The organization’s membership consists largely of some 150 state government and state university fleets, and the survey will be sent to all of them, Williams said.
Phantom Auto is working on remote control systems, often referred to as teleoperation, that many see as a necessary safety feature for the autonomous cars of the future.
Even the most sophisticated vehicles will not be infallible - a fallen tree, a sinkhole, a string of strange pylons, a flash flood, a fire or some other obstruction on a lonely road could make an autonomous car stop safely, but then what?
A car in need of help would automatically contact a Phantom Auto center, where a remote operator could use the car’s cameras and sensors to see what was happening, then maneuver the vehicle out of trouble - but someone will still have to come out and fix your flat tire.
Read the article at The New York Times.
Starting this fall, Ford will begin making a full suite of safety and driver assistance technology, including a front collision system with automatic emergency braking, standard on all of its new vehicles.
The bundle includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, as well as a blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, a backup camera, a driver attention alert, and a lane-keep assist that provides a warning and a steering nudge when the vehicle begins to drift out of the lane.
According to a recent report produced by independent research organization A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute, automobile manufacturers will face challenges surfacing from supply shortages of natural resources for battery production as they move to electrify their fleet in line with government mandate to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“Electric car batteries rely on a host of rare materials —from lithium and nickel to cobalt. Battery makers around the world are struggling to secure supplies of these key ingredients as demand outstrips supply. This undoubtedly places pressure on carmakers, so the hunt for alternative technologies is on,” explained Romain Debarre, managing director, A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute.
Cobalt, the report held, is in particularly short supply globally and reserves could be depleted completely by the time 300 million EVs are produced —a modest proportion compared to the 1.2 billion cars on roads today.
Read the article at Economic Times.
By Suzanne Benzion, Director, Strategic Consulting, Element Fleet Management
Throughout 2017, Element’s Strategic Consulting team uncovered some note-worthy trends for our customers, and provided actionable insights against these trends.
The data told some pretty compelling stories around innovative ways to maximize productivity, improve driver safety and satisfaction and reduce overall fleet cost. Here’s an overview of the themes that surfaced in 2017, along with trends we’re monitoring in 2018.
What happened in 2017?
Safety, an evergreen concern for fleet managers, was a central focus for Strategic Insights in 2017. Predictive analytics are assisting with identifying subsets of drivers at highest risk for future accident behavior, allowing us to target interventions more effectively. We also looked into ways to mitigate high-occurrence vehicle damage claims through driver safety training and vehicle technology.
Right vehicle, right job -- READ MORE
Ford is refreshing or revamping its entire aging lineup of SUVs while adding gas-electric hybrid powertrains, two new off-road SUVs and two new trucks.
The current model lineup is among the industry's oldest, and the new products should help dealers who have struggled against competitors with fresher vehicles.
"I have a reinvigorated view of the future," said Richard Bazzy, who runs a Ford dealership in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs and is among dealers who have been critical of company management. "We've been waiting for a long time. We weren't sure what we were waiting for. Now we know."
Read the article at Chicago Tribune.
AFLA is excited to offer a new educational opportunity for its members this year.
The 2018 Spring Forum -- April 12, 2018 -- will allow registrants to participate in live audiences in Minnesota and New Jersey, or by live-streaming the event through their web browser.
This one day event will feature three sessions focused on the topics of Diversity & Inclusion, Safety Implications of Autonomous Features, and the Fleet Impact of Geo-Political Changes in the EU and US. Each session will be presented to a live audience and live-streamed to all other event participants. Register now to reserve your spot!
Attendees at either of the live host sites will have time for networking and will be provided with lunch.