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Transportation and logistics

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Rise in EV adoption will drive new opportunities for utilities

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that the electrification of transportation will present opportunities for utilities faced with stagnant load growth as well as increasing pressure to innovate with new business models that incorporate distributed and clean energy as a resource. It is estimated that electric vehicle adoption will have greater impact on utilities by 2030 as they will make up 3% of global energy demand. However, electric cars are not expected to be competitive to internal combustion engine vehicles until the mid-2020s. Utilities can provide specific rate plans designed for EV charging to cater to this new market, as well as new vehicle leases that take account negotiated electricity rates. They can also participate in the build-out of public and semi-public charging infrastructure. Autonomous cars and car sharing models can speed the integration of electric vehicles as demand response assets. Much opportunity is also in used batteries which is expected to hit the market in large quantities by mid-2020s. They will be used for grid storage, enabling more clean energy to be integrated to the grid, as well as introduce lower peak demand prices for public charging.

Key Takeaway: 

Rise in electric vehicle adoption driven by declining battery prices as well as autonomous and ride sharing models, will present opportunities for utilities to increase their bottomline as loads are expected to grow and enable them to venture into new business models such as new rate plans and vehicle lease structures.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Singapore will pilot autonomous buses and real-time monitoring of rail system

The Singaporean Land Transport Authority in partnership with the Nanyang Technology University will test the use of two driverless buses within the Jurong Innovation District to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion and pollution, and address manpower challenges. The autonomous buses will be driving along a pre-determined route and will be recharged at bus stops. Heavy focus is being placed by LTA on road safety as the project announcement came a day after a crash incident involving nuTonomy, which was testing its autonomous cars in the One North Business District. The two parties will also develop a real-time monitoring system for its national rail network to identify potential defects without disrupting operations.

Key Takeaway: 

The transport regulator of Singapore in partnership with the NTU will pilot the use of autonomous buses in the Jurong Innovation District to address transportation-related issues.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Tesla Model S, X and Model 3 will have self-driving hardware

Tesla Motors announced it will start adding $8,000 worth of full autonomous driving hardware to the Model S, X and Model 3 sedans in production. The new vehicles will have eight surround cameras with 360 degree visibility up to 250 meters of range and 12 updated ultrasonic sensors that can detect objects at almost twice the distance of the existing system. Its computing system will be 40 times more powerful than the initial one it introduced. However, the hardware still has to wait for advances in the company's AutoPilot software before the cars can fully drive themselves without human intervention. The system will also have to gather data from millions of miles of real-world driving before it can be commercialized.

Key Takeaway: 

Tesla will begin installing the hardware that can enable full self-driving capability in its Model S, X and Model 3 sedans but software required to run them is still being developed.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

New sensor for driverless cars is smaller and cheaper

Quanergy, a startup based in California, has created a lidar for self-driving cars that is not only half the size of existing lidars but also cheaper. Its small size and cost can make better driverless cars. Called the S3, the new lidar is smaller than a camera with a weight of less than 11 ounces. It is also more advanced - it can scan objects and areas in higher resolution and greater range than other lidars. At a commercial price point of $250, the S3 is 32 times less expensive than a traditional lidar, and can produce half a million point-cloud data points a second. The sensors will be used in prototype cars next year and in commercial vehicles by 2018.

Key Takeaway: 

A new lidar system invented by Quanergy, which is more advanced, half the size and 32 times cheaper than existing lidars, can enable new designs for autonomous cars and develop smarter, more cost efficient vehicles.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 16, 2016

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