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Study: Hacking 10 percent of self-driving cars would cause gridlock in NYC

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In 2015, a pair of hackers demonstrated just how easy it was to break into the UConnect system of a Jeep Cherokee, remotely manipulating the speed, braking, steering, even shutting the car down entirely. Vehicles on the road will only have greater interconnectivity from this point forward, with self-driving cars on the horizon. That poses a unique potential risk: if someone can hack one car, what happens if they manage to hack many at once in a major metropolitan city?

That question inspired scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology to quantify the likely impact of such a large-scale hack on traffic flow in New York City. Skanda Vivek, a postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Tech, described the study’s findings at the American Physical Society’s 2019 March meeting, held last week in Boston. Worst-case scenario: a small-scale hack affecting just ten percent of cars on the road would be sufficient to cause city-wide gridlock, essentially cutting half of Manhattan off from the rest of the city. And unlike compromised data, compromised vehicles can lead to physical injury.

Vivek and his colleagues performed computer simulations of traffic flow in Manhattan, using a statistical method called percolation theory. If that reminds you of brewing coffee, that’s exactly the right image. Percolation theory is a mathematical model of a smooth, continuous phase transition (as opposed to a rapid one, like flicking a light switch), similar to water seeping through roasted ground coffee beans until it shifts into a new state: “coffee.” Hot water seeping through packed coffee grains will hunt for the most viable path. The more connected routes that are open, the more likely it is the water will filter through. Traffic works much the same way. Cut off too many routes, and there won’t be sufficient connectivity for cars to filter through.

The individual nodes in a random network form short-range connections gradually, until the system reaches a critical threshold. Then the largest cluster of nodes experiences a growth surge, giving rise to uber-connectivity. Traffic has phases, too. When it’s moving freely, it’s like a liquid; when it’s at a standstill, it’s like a solid—a state of complete blockage. In between is a unique, uber-connected state known as “synchronized flow,” where the cars become highly correlated. So when the density of vehicles is very high, like during rush hour in Manhattan, small perturbations can have a ripple effect, producing traffic jams.

“Immediately after a vehicle is hacked, the traffic slows down around the hacked vehicle,” said Vivek. And when multiple vehicles are hacked, there is a critical slowdown, which can turn into complete stoppage. “This is a concerning scenario, because when emergency vehicles want to get through, they can’t,” said Vivek. “You need to wait for a tow truck to come and move one of the hacked self-driving cars.”

The probability of this kind of blockage occurring depends on the minimal amount of space in between vehicles, the length of the road, the number of lanes, and overall density of the compromised vehicles in traffic. As the compromised vehicle density increases, the probability of a “zero flow” blockage also increases, although the probability is less the more lanes are available. The Georgia Tech simulation worked great for one lane, so they expanded their simulation to include multiple roads, akin to a city network.

“When you have zero compromised vehicles, all 8,000 Manhattan roads are accessible,” said Vivek; he then noted that small amounts of hackery can cause big slowdowns. “But when you reach about 15 compromised vehicles per kilometer per lane, then half of Manhattan is essentially disrupted. We call this the point of city fragmentation.” That’s ten percent of the vehicles on the road during a typical NYC rush hour.

If that seems unlikely, Vivek points out that four major auto manufacturers each have roughly a ten percent market share of vehicles on the road in New York: Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and GM. If just one of those four has a security vulnerability that affects its vehicles, there would be the potential for city-wide disruption. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, and self-driving cars have deliberately redundant sensor systems and multiple cameras, so even if one or two get hacked, the car should still be able to access enough information to operate safely.

Their findings also suggested a possible strategy for reducing the risk of this worst-case scenario. Vivek et al. suggest using multiple networks for connected vehicles, thereby decreasing how many cars can be compromised in a single hack. “If no more than, say, five percent of connected vehicles were compartmentalized to the same network, or used the same network protocols, the chance of city-wide fragmentation would be low,” said Vivek. That’s because it would post a much greater challenge to potential hackers keen on causing widespread disruption, since this multi-network architecture would require many attempted intrusions simultaneously.

“Connected cars are the future,” Vivek said. “Our work is not in opposition to the future of connected cars. Rather, the novelty of our work lies in identifying and quantifying the underlying cyber-physical risks when multiple connected vehicles are compromised. By shining a light on these technologies at an early stage, we hope we can help prevent worst-case scenarios.”

Source: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03/study-hacking-10-percent-of-self-driving-cars-would-cause-gridlock-in-nyc/

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Optimus Ride will roll out geofenced driverless taxis in New York City and California later this year

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Earlier this year, Optimus Ride, an autonomous technology startup based in Boston, partnered with Brookfield Properties to deploy three driverless cars in the Reston, Virginia mixed-use development of Halley Rise. Now, Optimus is setting its sights on Northern California and Brooklyn.

Optimus today announced that it’ll deploy a small fleet of self-driving cars on private roads in Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre modern industrial park housing over 400 manufacturing businesses, and ​within Paradise Valley Estates​, a private 80-acre assisted living community located in Fairfield, California.

At the Yard — starting in the second quarter of 2019, in what Optimus claims will be the first commercial driverless taxi deployment in the state of New York — cars will ferry riders from the New York City Ferry to Flushing Avenue, just beyond the park’s perimeter. And at Paradise Valley, they’ll provide visitors with self-driving tours of the grounds and allow residents to reserve rides between homes, to Paradise’s community and health center, and to on-property activities.

“We are excited to announce not one, but two self-driving vehicle deployments,” said Optimus Ride CEO and cofounder Dr. Ryan Chin. “Working with leading developments and communities like Paradise Valley Estates and the Brooklyn Navy Yard enable us to further our mission to transform mobility.”

Chin, who formerly led the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, said Optimus’ cars will be capable of level 4 autonomous driving, meaning they’ll operate with limited human input and oversight in specific conditions and locations (as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers). As previously announced, they’ll tap Nvidia’s Drive AGX Xavier platform, which Nvidia — an Optimus investor — claims is capable of delivering 30 trillion operations per second.

Optimus is an MIT spinout founded by a team of DARPA Urban Challenge competitors and other autonomous driving engineers, and it has flown mostly under the radar since October 2017, when its partnership with real estate developer LStar Ventures brought self-driving car service to the 1,550-acre Union Point neighborhood. Optimus became one of the first companies to secure a driverless vehicle permit from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2016, with tests of its 25-plus car fleet starting in Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the Seaport District. And it first piloted its software — a suite capable of mapping, controlling vehicles, coordinating vehicle fleets, detecting and avoiding objects, and more — on the campus of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Optimus operates much like May Mobility, a startup that develops an autonomous vehicle stack and works with manufacturers to install it in low-speed, compact fleets, and French company Navya, which has sold 67 driverless shuttles in 16 countries. Like May and Navya, Optimus says it can integrate its white label autonomous system into “any vehicle type” — for now, lightweight cars that fit a handful of passengers — and it sees cities, public transit systems, and ride-sharing services as potential customers.

If all goes according to plan, it’ll join an exclusive club of companies that have deployed level 4 autonomous passenger cars and taxis. Baidu launched level 4 autonomous shuttle buses in more than 10 regions across China earlier this year, and Google spinoff Waymo has tested level 4 vehicles on passengers participating in its Early Rider Program in Chandler, Arizona. Startup Drive.ai, meanwhile, is operating fleets of level 4 cars in Arlington and Frisco, Texas.

In November 2017, Optimus announced an $18 million funding round led by Greycroft Partners, with participation from Emerson Collective, Fraser McCombs Capital, and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito. To date, it has raised $23.25 million.

Source: https://venturebeat.com/2019/03/19/googles-gradient-ventures-joins-58-million-investment-in-ar-startup-mojo-vision/

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Global Moto Taxi Service Market 2019-2023

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About this market
Moto taxis are a major part of the transportation network in many developing countries. Their demand is high in some of countries across Asia and Africa, where the population is on the rise and transportation options such as buses and light rail are insufficient and do not serve the last mile. Moto taxis are used for both short hauls and long hauls. In most countries, moto taxi drivers are work in densely populated areas, such as outside department stores, by the exit to train stations, and subway stations. Inadequate infrastructure such as poor condition of roads is a major concern in some developing countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, and some parts of Africa and Asia. Moto taxi can be used as an alternative in such conditions to offer easy access to a destination while also improving on last mile connectivity. These benefits of moto taxis over other forms of transport are likely to fuel the market during the forecast period. Analysts have predicted that the moto taxi service market will register a CAGR of over 16% by 2023.

Market Overview
Increase in investments for moto taxi startups
This rise in funding from various companies is likely to boost the operations of moto tab services startups and expand its geographic presence. This will eventually contribute to the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Ban on moto taxi in various countries
Even though the moto taxi services market is booming in some parts of the world, moto taxis are banned and regarded illegal in some other countries. Hence, the ban on moto taxis will negatively affect the profitability of service providers, thereby affecting the market during the forecast period.
For the detailed list of factors that will drive and challenge the growth of the moto taxi service market during the 2019-2023, view our report.

Competitive Landscape
The market appears to be moderately fragmented and with the presence of several vendors. This market research report will help clients identify new growth opportunities and design unique growth strategies by providing a comprehensive analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and offering information on the products offered by companies.

Source: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05756627/Global-Moto-Taxi-Service-Market.html?utm_source=PRN

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Spring 2019: Dairy Queen, Rita’s and more offer freebies and deals to celebrate the season

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The first day of spring is Wednesday, March 20, and there are lots of freebies and deals to celebrate spring!

Dairy Queen is holding its annual free cone day to celebrate at participating stores nationwide. Each customer gets a free small cone of vanilla ice cream.

The fast food restaurant is also accepting donations on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. For more than 30 years, the company has raised more than $130 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in local communities.

According to Dairy Queen, the free soft serve cones will be available while supplies last. The company said cones are limited to one per customer.

This is the fifth year DQ has offered this deal.

Rita’s is giving away a free Italian Ice. Just show up at your local store from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. to grab your free treat. Last year, Rita’s gave away nearly one million cups of Italian Ice over 9 hours.

If the warm weather has you thinking about getting outside and planting something, The Arbor Day Foundation has you covered. They partnered with Community Canopy and a number of power companies to give homeowners a free tree that you can plant to maximize your energy savings. All you have to do is enter your address, pick the variety you want and the online program will help you decide the right placement for the tree! You then decide if you want to pick up a 3-gallon potted tree or get a 1-gallon version mailed to you.

Source: https://abc7ny.com/society/free-ice-cream-and-other-deals-to-celebrate-spring/5205510/

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