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January 2017
Dear Wheego Enthusiast,

In This Issue:
  • Driverless bus makes a stop in Atlanta while on cross-country tour
  • These nine states will serve as testing grounds for self-driving cars
  • Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) is Formed

Driverless bus makes a stop in Atlanta while on cross-country tour
Wheego got a chance to participate in the launch meeting for the ATI21 road show. We highly recommend attending if the road show comes to a city near you (New Orleans, LA; Arlington, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and San Jose, CA, with more cities to be added).  Read more about ATI21 here. The following is excerpted from an article by Urvaksh Karkaria  for the Atlanta Business Chronicle about the event.  

While self-driving vehicles aren’t expected to hit road en masse until — if you took the optimistic view — at least 2020, Atlanta residents got a chance to ride in one Thursday.
The Alliance for Transportation Innovation (ATI21) brought a 12-seater autonomous shuttle bus - no steering wheel or pedals — to Austell, Ga.
It was the first stop of the Washington, D.C.-based transportation technology trade association's cross-country 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Road Trip, which will include visits to Arlington, Tex., Los Angeles and San Jose.
At a meeting with Atlanta regional transportation officials Thursday, ATI21 chief Paul Brubaker said federal rules and laws in some states are hindering the deployment of self-driving technologies.
“Self-driving vehicles will change the way we live, work and play,” Brubaker said. “They will improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. And they will reduce costs associated with loss of life and property, traffic congestion and delays.”
Indeed. Autonomous driving has the potential to be as significant as the development of the internal combustion engine — affecting a plethora of industries, including insurance, logistics, housing, even city planning.
While many modern cars have self-driving technologies such as emergency braking and lane assist, automakers are racing toward full — or Level 4 autonomy — where the cars can navigate from Point A to Point B without human intervention.
Atlanta is well-positioned to be a test-bed for autonomous driving technologies. As part of a demonstration project, the city will study technologies that allow roadside infrastructure — traffic lights, cameras, road sensors and parking meters — to communicate with autonomous vehicles.
At Georgia Tech, research is focused on the field of perception — which includes the technologies that allow a vehicle to identify, classify and track objects around it.
Kennesaw State University, meanwhile, is working with Atlanta-based electric car maker Wheego to develop drive-by wire technologies that would, in an emergency, enable customer support to take over control of the car, or access the vehicle’s diagnostic data. KSU researchers are also developing an electric bus system that includes multiple autonomous modules.
Getting skeptical Americans to hand-over control to a computer while traveling 70 mph won't be easy. However, hurdling that challenge is imperative for the mass adoption of self-driving vehicles.
“The aim of this tour is to give (the public) the chance to ride in a vehicle with no steering wheel, pedals or driver, so they can begin to get comfortable with the concept.” Brubaker said. “When it comes to self-driving vehicles, seeing is believing."
On Thursday, Brubaker also discussed plans to offer the Trump Administration and Congress recommendations to ensure federal rules help foster self-driving technology.
“It won’t be long before self-driving vehicles will look and perform the same as those vehicles we operate today – but without drivers and the havoc they wreak on society,” Brubaker said. “We need a plan in place to facilitate this revolution as soon as possible.”

These Nine States Will Serve as Testing Grounds for Self-driving Cars
Excerpted from an article by Andrew J. Hawkins for the Verge
The US Department of Transportation designated 10 sites in nine states to serve as proving grounds for self-driving cars. The selection came after a nationwide contest among testing centers that began in November.
The states that will host automated vehicle testing sites are Pennsylvania, Texas, Maryland, Michigan, California (which will host two sites), Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina. The winners are:
  1. City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
  2. Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
  3. US Army Aberdeen Test Center (Maryland)
  4. American Center for Mobility at Willow Run (Michigan)
  5. Contra Costa Transportation Authority and GoMentum Station (California)
  6. San Diego Association of Governments
  7. Iowa City Area Development Group
  8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  9. Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners
  10. North Carolina Turnpike Authority
Automakers and tech companies will share data with each other and the government as they test their autonomous vehicles at these sites, the agency says. The proving grounds are intended to test autonomous vehicle safety and handling in a variety of road conditions.
Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) is Formed
The US Department of Transportation has formed an Advisory Committee to help with the smooth deployment of autonomous vehicles. The following is a partial explanation of the group’s charter:
“The ACAT shall undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary to further inform this policy, including—but not limited to— automated and connected road and transit vehicle technologies, enhanced freight movement technologies, railroad automated technologies, aviation automated navigation systems technologies, unmanned aircraft systems, and advanced technology deployment in surface transportation environments. In particular, the ACAT will perform these activities as they may relate to emerging or “not-yet-conceived” innovations to ensure DOT is prepared when disruptive technologies emerge and can more effectively manage evolution of training and education, regulation, and safety oversight. The ACAT shall consider the extent to which these topics and areas of application alleviate or exacerbate challenges to disabled and disadvantaged populations.”
The ACAT web page shows a livestream of their first meeting.

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The Wheego Team
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