“Alain has amazing energy. If we can hook a generator to him, energy crisis solved.”
Dr. Stephen E. Still Professor of Practice, University of Buffalo, Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics.
It is a two-way street, as his students (Still is one of those former students) seem to energize and inspire Princeton Professor Alain Kornhauser. Kornhauser touched upon some of the accomplishments of his students in his February 17th, 2023, presentation, Envisioning Profitable Autonomous Transit Networks.
From the early 1970s, Kornhauser has often collaborated with his students to improve transportation. The session organizer, MIT’s Jinhua Zhao, pointed out that Kornhauser brings a unique perspective with his involvement in both Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and autonomous mobility (not to mention his pioneering work with GPS navigation and turn-by-turn nativation).
Kornhauser argues that vehicle automation, correctly implemented, offers the opportunity to provide “safe, equitable, affordable, sustainable, high-quality mobility.” Judging from the robust chat in the webinar, many questions need to be addressed before reaching that transportation nirvana. Still, as seen below in the Korner, at least five credible suppliers at CES2023 were showing the type of solutions that could make Kornhauser’s vision a reality.
While on the topic of students who make their teachers proud, the complete interview with Paul Bunyan Communications’ Gary Johnson is now online. Johnson was the recipient of a 2022 Minnesota State University at Moorhead Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also a driving force behind PBC’s GigaTechXpo, which will hope to inspire the next generation to take advantage of the technology options in their own backyard. The keynote speaker (can you spell Woz?) for the GigaTechXpo inspired Johnson and continues to inspire the next generation.
One would not expect a former marine biologist to win the 2022 ACA Connects Lyn Simpson Grassroots Spirit Award. In this interview, All West Communications’ Marty Carollo provides an overview of how he left home for the ocean and later found his way back to help connect communities in the Cowboy State.
This is the unlikely story of a serial entrepreneur who shifts from electronic payments to vehicle electrification. If this sounds like a familiar story read on, as Will Wang Graylin and team are bringing an entirely new spin to how to electrify fleets for both passengers and packages. With an entry price goal of $30,000, the four-wheel drive vehicles based on these compact propulsion devices promise to be competitive with traditional alternatives.
- The February 24th, 2023 MIT Mobility Forum event, Telemobility, Hybrid Work and the Next Normal, looks like a useful topic for anyone involved in telecom or mobility.
- Chillicothe, Ohio, home of Horizon, piloted an on-demand transit system in 2022 and delivered over 38,000 trips to about 1,400 unique passengers. This is the first step to the type of system that Kornhauser described in his presentation.
- “So, if you think scaling self-driving will feel as laborious as unlocking driverless in the first place, I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how fast this product rolls out across the country and world. It’s happening really fast.” @OliverCameron (Cruise)
With recent layoffs, questionable return on investment, and public pushback in some places, it seems like the dream of robot-driven vehicles will remain a dream. That may not be the case, however, as some credible and long-established entities displayed electric, autonomous, shared shuttles at CES2023.
The autonomous technology that drives these vehicles was secondary and somewhat under the hood. This lack of hype for the technology and focus on operations probably bodes well for where these are in the product release cycle. Expect these shuttles to begin appearing on the road in commercial operation around 2025.