The Driverless Commute: If AVs take more risks now in early-phase deployment, will they be safer in the long-term?; big electrification news on both coasts; an electrified future for LA while Trump is open to spending on EV charging networks.

1. Humans can’t stop rear-ending slow-moving autonomous vehicles. But who’s to blame: the human, whose behavior mirrors norms if not law, or the paralyzed robot?

Car collision

When autonomous vehicles have been involved in collisions, four years of data teach us that it’s almost always been the fault of a human driver. At least, that’s the black-and-white view generally held by law enforcement.

But autonomous vehicles are so strictly engineered to obey the rules of the road and to avoid statistically dangerous maneuvers that it begs the question whether this overly cautious approach to driving is inviting more chaos within the exiting mobility framework.

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The Driverless Commute: A light pollution solution in AVs; Tesla-taxis; and Waymo’s app is up for download

1. Seeing in the dark

Nighttime skyline

A new paper published this month in the journal of Science and Engineering Ethics posits that autonomous vehicles could help break the industrialized world’s addiction to artificial nighttime light.

  • Light pollution from cars, street and parking lot lamps all wreak havoc on our natural world. Seduced by the other-worldly glow of towers and lamps, insects are lured to their doom, baby turtles are beached and birds crash and clatter.
  • Street and parking lot light represent some 90 percent of all outdoor illumination from the industrialized world.
  • 1.6 percent of all energy consumed globally is poured into streetlights while headlights consume roughly 3 percent of vehicular fuel.
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The Driverless Commute in Compliance Review: The prospect of the commercialization of Level-3 autonomous driving in China

1. Baidu joins hands with GAC, formally launching the high-precision map and self-localization mass production project

On April 11, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (“GAC”) and Baidu, the Autonomous Driving Technology Day of 2019 — “Intelligent Driving along the Way,” was successfully concluded in Guangzhou. At the event, Baidu and GAC held the launching ceremony of the high-precision map and self-localization mass production project, while announcing that the two sides have cooperated in putting up the Level-3 autonomous driving vehicle model of GAC, which is expected to be “off to the market”(上市 in 2020. We look forward to the GAC vehicle model’s early realization of the leap from the scientific research results to the mass production.

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The Driverless Commute in Compliance Review: Intelligent and digital infrastructures are scheduled to accompany automatic vehicles in China

Boao Forum for Asia (“BFA”) was held on March 26 to 29, 2019. Its sub-forum — 5G: The achiever of Internet of Things — talks about the 5G development.  The participants of this forum believed 5G development should be open, cooperative, globally unified and integrated with existing industrial facilities.

Miao Wei, the Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (“MIIT”), said at BFA that the MIIT and Ministry of Transport (“MOT”) had reached a consensus that the government would devote itself to promoting the research on vehicle networking, and speeding up the intelligent and digital revolution on the highways in China.

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The Driverless Commute: Disengagement reports from China to California and lessons for AV sector in jet crashes

1. Beijing just issued AV report cards. Here’s why you should use California’s instead.

China autonomous vehicles  - Beijing AV report

Beijing transportation officials offered this week a first, if severely constrained, glimpse into the country’s autonomous vehicle industry, saying in a new report that eight licensed self-driving firms had logged more than 150,000 kilometers on public roads last year in the Chinese capital.

Ninety percent of that distance was managed by just one operator, search giant Baidu, which also leads the pack in number of test vehicles.

Reports on test driving stats for self-driving vehicles by various autonomous vehicle firms.

Notably absent from the government’s report are measures of disengagements, though a parallel report by a private think tank using voluntary data described 23 situations in which safety drivers were required to assume control of the cars.

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Data must stay in China to get tiered protection under Cyber Security Law

(Ed. note: This article originally appeared in Compliance Review)

Under China’s Cyber Security Law (“CSL”), there are compliance obligations or privileges. Obligation means the basic requirements to meet, any short of which will subject you to punishment. Privilege means the extra benefits nice to have, any short of which could make you less competitive.

Tiered protection (“TP”) is a mechanism that is both obligation and privilege. To be certified under TP, you would have prima facie evidence that your network system meets the basic safety requirements under the CSL. You can even use the TP certification to fend off some possible investigation or punishment.
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China to fast-track law-making in autonomous driving

(Ed. note: This article originally appeared in Compliance Review.)

On January 21st, 2019, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (“CPC”) Central Committee, President of the People’s Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered an important speech at the opening ceremony of the Central CPC Institute. In the speech he stressed the importance of improving capabilities of preventing and defusing major risks.

When talking about the important part of national security, like science and technology, Xi pointed out that China should pace up with launching of preemptive alerting and monitoring system for science and technology security.  Especially, he called on fast-tracking the law-making in artificial intelligence, gene editing, medical diagnosis, autonomous driving, unmanned aerial vehicles, service robots and other fields.

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