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Uber resumes autonomous car testing following suspension for pedestrian fatality

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PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has approved Uber’s request to resume testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the Pittsburgh area.The approval, effective Monday and lasting for one year, comes about nine months after one of Uber’s autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian. Testing was suspended after March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona.Uber can test throughout Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located. Its vehicles must have at least one human backup driver and two if the company plans to go over 25 miles per hour (40 kph), department spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.

Uber spokeswoman Sarah Abboud confirmed the approval but declined to say when the testing would resume.

The ride-hailing company had previously said it wanted to resume testing in a Pittsburgh entertainment, shopping, office and residential area called the Strip District, where its automated vehicle operations are located. Speed limits on most roads in the district are no higher than 25 mph, and it has narrow roads, railroad tracks, potholes and numerous pedestrians that present challenges for self-driving vehicles. Uber also has said it would test only during daytime hours and not in inclement weather.

The company filed an application to restart testing back in November, as it issued a lengthy safety report pledging to put two human backup drivers in each vehicle and take a raft of other precautions to make the vehicles safe.

Company officials have acknowledged they have a long way to go to regain public trust after crash that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she crossed a darkened Arizona road outside the lines of a crosswalk.

Police said Uber’s backup driver in the autonomous Volvo SUV in Arizona was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward before the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said the autonomous driving system on the Volvo spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled. A Volvo emergency braking system also had been turned off.

Among the other precautions, San Francisco-based Uber will keep the autonomous vehicle system engaged at all times and will activate Volvo’s automatic emergency braking system as a backup.

In addition, Uber is requiring more technical training and expertise of employees sitting behind the wheel of the vehicles, according to a 70-page safety report the company released last month.

Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow testing of autonomous vehicles without human backup drivers. Google’s Waymo has carried passengers without human drivers in the Phoenix area, but recently backed off of that and is only ferrying passengers with human backups. General Motors’ Cruise Automation expects to carry passengers without human backups next year.

Later Uber will pursue bringing its self-driving cars back to public roads in Arizona, California and Toronto, Ontario, its other test sites. Arizona suspended the company’s permission to test after the crash.

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Transflo offers Samsung Galaxy Tablets running the Transflo Mobile+ Platform

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Developed specifically for professional drivers, the Transflo Mobile+ app allows users to manage all their work from a single mobile app on one device. (Courtesy: TRANSFLO)

TAMPA, Fla. — As Transflo continues to grow its digital workflow platform for commercial truck fleets and drivers, the company now offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch 32GB LTE tablet compatible with the Transflo Mobile+ app and all Transflo products and services, including the industry’s leading electronic logging device (ELD) for mobile platforms.

Drivers can easily access information including electronic records of duty status on the Galaxy’s clear, bright 8-inch touch display, and its LTE connectivity ensures seamless cloud integration and compliance with U.S. FMCSA regulations for wireless transfers of hours-of-service data.

“The Samsung Galaxy Tab A running the Transflo Mobile+ app is the perfect solution for anyone currently using our ELD or who is about to transition to one,” said Vice President of Product and Innovation Doug Schrier. “It’s the only device that fleets and drivers need to manage a mobile workflow and get more done, anywhere and everywhere the job takes them.”

Schrier said the Samsung Galaxy Tab A uses the Android operating system, has 32GB internal storage, dual cameras (for document scanning), and a 1.4GHz quad-core processor for a combination of fast performance and power efficiency. Transflo also offers a range of mounting and charging options to keep the device powered up and secure inside the cab.

Developed specifically for professional drivers, Schrier said the Transflo Mobile+ app allows users to manage all their work from a single mobile app on one device. Additionally, Transflo’s ELD bundles offer complete fleet solutions that integrate with the mobile app and include: document scanning; integrated GPS-based navigation; weigh station bypass technology; two-way messaging; and services for finding fuel, truck scales, and other essential services.

Transflo offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with data plans through AT&T and T-Mobile.

For more information about tablets and Transflo’s ELD bundles, please visit transflo.com.

 

 

 

 

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McLeod Software creates AI Truck Racing League for understanding machine learning

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A McLeod Software official said his company believes its creation of the AI Truck Racing League as a learning tool is important and how it will be fun to see which company lifts the AITRL Champions Cup at the end of the inaugural season. (Courtesy: MCLEOD SOFTWARE)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — McLeod Software has created the AI Truck Racing League (AITRL), a new organization focused on advancing the understanding of Machine Learning technology in the transportation industry.

“Machine Learning is not yet widely understood by many, but to help companies gain a better understanding, we have set up a fun racing simulation as a way for companies to learn and participate. At McLeod Software, we realize Machine Learning is the future happening now. That is why we have created the AI Truck Racing League and the McLeod Software Racing Team,” said Vice President of Special Projects Ken Craig.

AITRL’s open platform enables member-racing teams to use industry standard cutting edge AI technologies. Developers can train, evaluate and tune their AI models using either Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning, Reinforcement Learning or any combination thereof.

Virtual world simulation will be done on AITRL’s website or locally at the racing team’s office. Teams will be able to select virtual trucks to race in the 3D simulator on tracks inspired by famous raceways. Each track will bring new challenges that the AI models need to conquer as they prepare for the AITRL Championship Cup.

Craig said the company invites transportation companies and allied suppliers to experience the excitement of racing mixed with the thrill of teaching an inanimate object how to think.

Each member of AITRL will have their own intra-company team which will train virtual trucks as they hone their AI models. Each member team will produce a champion by racing their virtually trained trucks on a virtual track with a 1/18 scale semi-truck. These champions will represent their member team in inter-company competitions and compete for the AITRL League Cup.

“We look forward to working with this great group of companies to advance the goal of understanding how Machine Learning will become both practical and efficient for transportation companies,” Craig said. “We work continuously to ensure that McLeod customers sustain a competitive advantage, and have full access to important technologies, developed by McLeod Software or our Partners. We believe our creation of AITRL as a learning tool is important for this reason, and it will be fun to see which company lifts the AITRL Champions Cup at the end of the inaugural season.”

Initial entrants fielding a racing team for the AITRL include Kingsgate Logistics, SONAR, Decker Truck Lines, and Echo Global Logistics.

To learn more about the AI Truck Racing League and how you can participate, please visit www.AITRL.org.

McLeod Software is a provider of transportation and logistics ERP solutions. The company’s LoadMaster and PowerBroker products include CRM, dispatch operations, EDI, accounting, billing and settlements, carrier, driver and trip management, business process automation, visual workflow management, and document management systems, all specifically developed for trucking.

For more information about McLeod visit at www.McLeodSoftware.com

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Azuga introduces SafetyCam designed to improve driver behavior, reduce risk

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A company official said along with assessing accidents after they happen, Azuga SafetyCam can be used to identify and reduce unsafe driving behaviors before accidents ever occur. (Courtesy: AZUGA)

FREMONT, Calif. — Azuga, a provider of connected vehicle and fleet technologies, Wednesday launched Azuga SafetyCam, a proprietary WiFi-enabled, dash-mounted monitoring solution rounds out the company’s portfolio designed to monitor and improve driver behavior, reduce risk and ultimately lower costs related to driving incidents.

his coupled with the launch of its virtual coaching system, Azuga Coach, reflects the company’s commitment to keeping fleet drivers safe and insurance premiums down for their companies, according to Ananth Rani, CEO and co-founder of Azuga.

Azuga SafetyCam is designed with high-definition, 1080p road-facing and driver-facing cameras that record evidence in the event of an accident, offering immediate proof of an accident’s cause and who is at fault during the insurance claims process.

With Azuga SafetyCam, fleet-based businesses can rest assured knowing that they have the technology needed for liability protection that can make the difference between an insurance pay-out or a denied claim, Rani said.

“According to the American Trucking Association, 70% of all accidents are not the fault of the commercial driver, yet in most cases, the company is deemed at fault. With Azuga SafetyCam, businesses and their insurance providers benefit from having a first-hand perspective into incident specifics, which helps in identifying who is at fault, during an accident or traffic violation,” he said. “With an already proven track record of reducing accident frequency and severity by 50%, we can now deliver a solution which can exonerate drivers, further reduce insurance premiums and ensure that business operations can get back to normal.”

Rani said along with assessing accidents after they happen, Azuga SafetyCam can be used to identify and reduce unsafe driving behaviors before accidents ever occur. While Azuga SafetyCam is continuously recording vehicle trips, it can automatically detect at-risk driving behaviors and will upload video before and after they occur, such as hard braking, sudden acceleration or hard cornering, by leveraging intelligence gathered from Azuga Fleet’s GPS telematics solution. Fleet managers can then review these video clips to proactively identify poor driving habits and use them as real-life examples when coaching drivers to curb bad driving behaviors.

In addition to the launch of SafetyCam, Azuga is expanding its safety platform by partnering with Driving Dynamics to launch Azuga Coach, an online video-based training tool for its customers. Azuga Coach integrates Driving Dynamics’ award-winning DrivActiv eLearning™ training suite into Azuga’s telematics platform, where drivers will be assigned targeted online training videos based on their individual driving scores.

“With the launch of Azuga SafetyCam and the debut of Azuga Coach, fleets can tap into the power of video to improve driver safety behind the wheel, which ultimately helps fleet-based businesses protect their bottom line and ensure safe operations throughout the communities in which they serve,” added Tom Erdman, executive vice president of business development and insurance telematics at Azuga.

The Azuga SafetyCam dual-facing video camera can be bundled into existing contracts free of charge or purchased without a contract for $99, plus monthly service fees.

Visit http://www.azuga.com to set up a demo for Azuga SafetyCam or to learn more about Azuga’s video-enabled safety solutions.

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