Tesla CEO and Google Talks About Driverless Car Systems

Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc.’s CEO Elon Musk is considering adding an autopilot system technology to its vehicles and has been discussing such technology with Google Inc.

Google has already begun developing its very own self driving technology though Musk’s idea is more of an airplane’s auto pilot system. According to Musk, technologies that can take over for drivers are one of the many logical evolutions in cars. “I like the word auto pilot more than I like the word self-driving. Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Auto pilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars,” he said in an interview.

Regulators and giants in the car making industry are still looking into how such technology can increase driver safety and convenience. According to Nissan Motor Co. and government officials, vehicles making use of such technology might not be available in showrooms until a decade. Google, on the other hand predicts half a decade is enough for such technology to reach the masses.

Although Google has planned to release the technology in a matter of five years, it is deemed to be quite expensive. “The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive. It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things,” said Musk.

According to Musk, Tesla might be developing its own auto pilot system that is based on cameras instead. However, the possibility of doing a joint venture with Google is still in light. On the other hand, Tesla investor Toyota has Motor Corp has showcased a driverless test vehicle in Las Vegas. The car was equipped with a Lidar device, radar, cameras and sensors.

100 Japanese Yen against the U.S. Dollar Unbound Toyota

After a troubling four years of yen’s appreciation, it has finally gone back to 100 against the U.S. Dollar, unshackling Toyota Motor Corp. and the whole Japanese industry. Although the ability to sell cars and television overseas are looking more promising than usual, Japanese companies now have to face other potential threats aside from the currency. Over the years, Japan’s competitors have also greatly improved posing a threat in the industry. “Germany’s Volkswagen AG (VOW) is now gunning for industry leadership and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. no longer is a builder of cheap utilitarian cars”, according to Bloomberg. This means there’s most definitely a tougher competition for Japan with their comeback this year.

“Japanese automakers used to enjoy great advantages over Korean, U.S. and even German carmakers in many markets, but the rivals have been catching up quickly and the gap is at minimum now,” said Fukoku Capital Management Inc. President Yuuki Sakurai. “It’s really not going to be that simple this time,” he added.

The continuous slide of the Japanese Yen has pushed Toyota, Japan’s biggest company to increase by more than $100 billion in market value. The increase in market value started mid November when Yen started sliding courtesy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his campaign to put an end to 15 years of deflation. With this, Toyota has increased 98 percent while Mazda Motor Corp. has tripled in market value.

With this outrageous increase in market value of Japanese companies, U.S. automakers are suspecting currency manipulation of the Japanese government in order to gain a competitive advantage over the market. “The market setting the currency exchange rate is just really, really important to global free trading rules,” Allan Mulally, Ford Motor Co.’s Chief Executive Officer said. “Anytime you don’t, that’s distorting the market. It’s not good for anybody around the world,” he further added.

U.S. Auto Safety Regulators Make Efforts against Car Hacking

As cars nowadays are now powered and connected to computers, the U.S. Auto Safety Regulators are considering making a new department entirely devoted to car hacking threat.

At a Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that “these interconnected electronics systems are creating opportunities to improve vehicle safety and reliability, but are also creating new and different safety and cyber security risks.” “We don’t want to be behind the eight ball”, he added.

Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee also expressed similar concerns. Rockefeller said that while he is excited about safety improvements through technology, he is quite concerned about new risks including hacking. “As our cars become more connected – to the Internet, to the wireless networks, with each other, and with our infrastructure – are they at risk of catastrophic cyber attacks?”, he asked.

To address these cyber hacking threats, a new department within the NHTSA will be founded and will be in charge of further research into vehicle electronics safety – looking at risks brought about by car systems and in vehicles that allows communication with other vehicles. A pilot project of such “talking car technology” is being conducted by NHTSA in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

U.S. Auto Safety Regulators are also preparing for possible remote access to cars in the future although physical access is currently required to redirect electronic functions in cars as of today. Strickland said that this scenario needs to be addressed if there is a chance of it happening after leaving the hearing. Electronic, rather than mechanical control of cars has been increasing lately and controls acceleration, rolling down of windows and other functions. Information and entertainment systems also connect drivers to satellite and wireless networks. “Cyber security is hard. Even the best systems in the world can be compromised, as we have seen”, Strickland said.

Small SUVs Score Low on U.S. Frontal Crash Tests

An insurance industry group recently tested small sport utility vehicles (SUVs) using a simulation of a quite dangerous front end crash. The alarming thing is, almost all of the small SUVs did poorly on the test.

A notable exception to poorly performing small SUVs were Subaru’s Forester and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s Outlander sport garnering an overall performance rating of “good” and “acceptable” respectively. Out of all the thirteen vehicles tested, only these two small SUVs did fairly well in a test evaluation that was initially used by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety last year. The rest of the small SUVs scored either “poor” or “marginal” and those rated “poor” included Hyundai Motor Co.’s Tucson, Kia Motors Corp.’s Sportage, General Motors Co.’s Buick Encore, Chrysler LLC’s Jeep Patriot and Ford Motor Co.’s Escape. The vehicles rated “marginal” included Nissan Motor Co.’s Rogue, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s X1, Mazda Motor Corp.’s CX-5, Honda Motor Co.’s CR-V, Jeep’s Wrangler and Volkswagen AG’s Tiguan.

The simulation test was quite tough compared to the U.S. auto safety regulator crash tests and was introduced due to the rising cases of frontal crashes that caused death and serious injuries to people riding in the front seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is funded by the insurance industry and is based in Arlington, Virginia. It has also tested luxury and mid-size sedans.

Sports wagon and small SUVs sales has risen up to 13.6 percent this year through April where total vehicle sales went up to 11.3 percent for that period according to Autodata Corp., an auto researcher based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. With only 2.3 percent of sales not accounted for by small SUVs and sports wagon, these types of vehicles have indeed become a popular choice for families.

Message from the State Coordinator

It has been a year since our first issue of the Brain Train News came out. Since that time we have been able to highlight some of our special events, acknowledge those that went above and beyond, recognize those that joined our PA-OL family, and provide information about new OL releases/messages. If you have an event or article that you would like to
have featured in a future issue, please let me know. And finally, I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to PA-OL, it is greatly
appreciated, Thank You!!
I hope you have enjoyed reading Brain Train News.
Sincerely,
Jack Hubbard

Norfolk Southern & PA Operation Lifesaver Education & Enforcement Train Ride

On April 14th Norfolk Southern and PA Operation Lifesaver conducted their annual “Education and Enforcement Train” ride. This year’s round trip was from Pittsburgh to Brownsville. Approximately 85 participants in this event were able to ride in Norfolk Southern’s restored passenger cars from the 40’s. Passengers on the train included
representatives from NS, various local, state, and government agencies, local police, mayors, and emergency management departments, railroad enthusiasts, the media, and more.
To read more about this educational event please check out these various local newspaper articles.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_676511.html

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10105/1050573-455.stm

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localnews/04-15-2010-Operation-Lifesaver-train

http://www.hsconnect.com/page/content.detail/id/535180.html

http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x1687715359/Program-focuses-on-railroad-safety

Once again we need to thank Norfolk Southern for providing this educational and enforcement train ride and most importantly for their continued dedication and support to Operation Lifesaver. Our mission is to provide education and awareness programs dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities, and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings
and on railroad rights of way.

Safety with Pool Fencing

Drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in 18 states and, nationally, ranks 2nd only to automobile accidents, claiming lives of approximately 4,000 children each year and leaving another 12,000 with some form of permanent brain damage.

At Boresi we take safety as a first priority when it comes to crafting and installing glass swimming pool fencing at your home. All of our clients and material providers are treated like family by Boresi; therefore we take safety precautions seriously, so that your glass swimming pool fencing is strong and provides you with the best safety barrier between your pool and your loved ones.

Having pets and small children with a pool at home can be a safety hazard; attention to small children at all times is necessary to prevent accidents at home. Boresi gives you peace of mind at home with our beautiful glass swimming pool fencing for pool areas that provides protection to your loved ones.

Glass swimming pool fencing provides pool areas with a division between the pool and the rest of the garden area, while still keeping a clear view of the pool, adding beauty to your landscape and elegant design with the glass fence.

All frameless glass pool fencing is custom made to fit your needs and the size of your pool area, therefore to provide you with an accurate price of the cost of your fencing our experts will need to measure the pool area, to craft beautiful glass fences for your needs. You can be sure that no one else in the world will have the same fencing as you, as every part of the fence is custom made to your taste. Our glass swimming pool fencing varies from frameless to semi frameless pool fencing, giving you different choices for your pool spaces.

Our service does not stop at that, Boresi provides you with qualitative fences and fence installations that are durable, sturdy and tough against climate. To complement our great work, we have excellent customer service and friendly team members that would be eager to assist you and answer all of your questions pertaining glass swimming pool fencing by Boresi fencing in Sydney.

Don’t hesitate to contact us, our friendly staff is waiting for your call. If you are better with words, give us a call on 02 9832 7800. You can also reach us on our central branch number on 02 4393 0122. Now you know how to contact us, don’t make any more excuses and find out what makes us the best fencing contractors in all of Sydney today!

Thomas the Tank Days at Strasburg Railroad

It’s that time of the year again for Thomas the Tank Engine at the Strasburg Railroad. Once again PA-OL was asked to be a part of this major event at the Strasburg Railroad during the 3rd week of June. Not only did we have Officer Choo Choo from the AMTRAK police back again this year with us, but Sly Fox and Birdie were also able to join us.
Between the three of them, they were able to put smiles on hundreds of faces, make people laugh, but most importantly educate children and adults of all ages about railroad safety. Oh, and lets not forget getting their pictures taken hundreds of times by all those that walked by. Hmm, I wonder who braved the heat and wore the Sly Fox and Birdie costumes? Do you think you know? We need to give a big Thank You to the folks at the Strasburg Railroad for their generous hospitality, and also to all those that helped out at the PA-OL booth for the 2 days we were there. What happens when you put Thomas the Tank and PA-OL together? You get the opportunity to educate thousands of people of
all ages about railroad safety. Through this event we were able to receive many requests for OL presentations for schools and companies located not only in PA, but in NJ, FL, and NY as well. If you would like to see Officer Choo Choo in action, check out this video

Mark your calendars because PA-OL will soon be gearing up to do this again come September 17th, 18th and 19th

Welcome to Pennsylvania Operation Lifesaver

Our Mission
Operation Lifesaver is an international, non-profit  To
accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes 3 E’s:

Education
Operation Lifesaver strives to increase public awareness
about the dangers around the rails. The program seeks to
educate both drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions
at crossings and around railroad tracks.

Enforcement
Operation Lifesaver promotes active enforcement of traffic
laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private
property laws related to trespassing.

Engineering
Operation Lifesaver encourages continued engineering
research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad
crossings.

Look, Listen & Live!