Ryan helping to make the 1:20th scale model of a SmartNet EV service station



Ryan is seen here with a part completed model of the SmartNet™ flatpack design for automatic vending of battery or hydrogen fuel cell energy cartridges. The same service stations also cater for people operated vehicles, including rapid plug-in charging and high pressure or liquid hydrogen refuelling. Click on the picture above to see how this model was constructed.





If the majority of motor vehicles accidents are caused by human error, we should be developing the infrastructure to promote robotic vehicles. Society needs road vehicles to transport imported goods from ports to shops, and goods to be exported to ports for loading onto ships - that we hope will one day be both zero emission, and autonomous, like the Elizabeth Swann.


We can look further into the future and predict that goods that would normally be delivered by human drivers, might be delivered by robotic vans, such as Amazon and Royal Mail. Even ambulances and fire engines might have AI as the driver, with a good graphics processing card, like the Nvidia's, to keep an eye out for careless pedestrians.




Short range battery powered electric truck from Mercedes



MERCEDES - Battery powered electric trucks have short ranges that are not really suitable for delivering heavy goods over long distances, or even short distances over prolonged periods, such as along motorways to haul timber or steel, or doing multiple drops in a busy city like London, New York, or Paris. What is good is that vehicle Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are now making the first of, we hope many, lorries that are driven by electricity. Thank you Mercedes : )




Fortunately, RoboCars, are fast becoming a reality, with RoboTaxis now operating experimentally in cities and with RoboTrucks for heavy haulage being developed by Mercedes and Tesla, to name but a few. It is possible that the face of transport is set to change considerably in the years ahead, with Robovans for goods deliveries, RoboBuses and even RoboCoaches offering cheaper city mobility and country tours.


This is turning out to be an investor gold-rush, as a dozen or more high-tech start-ups code for all they are worth, in the race to become market leaders and $billionaires, at the same time, for their speculative investors, such as Amazon and Google. You can see for yourself how things are developing with just the snapshot of companies featured on this webpage.


Why is that a good thing? Basically, provided that autonomous vehicles have well developed algorithms and sensors (infra-red, cameras, radar & lidar) they should hundreds of times more alert than human drivers. Not only that, but as robotic vehicles drive more carefully, accelerate and brake more smoothly, there is less tire wear (good for the ocean) and journeys are generally shorter, because robots make fewer mistakes.


Also, the cost of running a logistics company should reduce, because there are no drivers to pay, feed and stop for comfort/rest breaks. The same goes for robotaxis. They should be safer, with no nasty taxi drivers to give female passengers a hard time. But what about drunk passengers who might give the taxi a beating? That, we'll have to wait and see about. Possibly, robot taxis will have sensors to measure alcohol on the breath of passengers - and charge a significant premium, just in case of sickness or vandalism.







AUTOX - This is one of the growing fleet of AutoX robotaxis currently operating in China. Along with Waymo in the US, the advent of robotic cars is creating quite a stir in media articles as you can see from the coverage featured on this website, and how delightful it will be when buses and our personal vehicles, automatically take us to our destinations, free of speeding tickets - and safer - also with less harm to the environment as tire wear will be reduced.







AURORA - Autonomous truck driving systems are making waves in the R&D and investment departments of most OEMs, as they scramble to keep up with the Jones'

According to Bloomberg: "Aurora was started by industry luminaries, and now we’re a team with a multitude of experience and perspective. With decades of engineering, science, and domain expertise, we’re incorporating our best practices to create a company for the long-term and building the Aurora Driver that will deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.

"Aurora Innovation’s biggest claim to fame may be its rock star cast of automated driving nerds. CEO Chris Urmson started Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving project. Co-founder Sterling Anderson led the team that developed Autopilot for Tesla Inc. And Chief Technology Officer Drew Bagnell is a robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon University who helped found Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving center in Pittsburgh."






DIDI CHUXING - is a Chinese vehicle for hire company headquartered in Beijing with over 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers. The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing and bike sharing; on-demand delivery services; and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging and co-development of vehicles with automakers. The AI software is ideal for hailing and routing robotaxis, when charge runs low.






IKE ROBOTICS - In September 2020 this company won contracts to develop autonomous trucks for DHL, Ryder and NFI. The startup has announced the three major logistics operators as its first customers. The three customers will collectively take delivery of 1,000 autonomous trucks, says Ike on its company blog







KODIAK ROBOTICS - May 2021, U.S. self-driving truck startup Kodiak Robotics Inc is looking into a joint venture with the holding firm of South Korean conglomerate SK Group to gain a foothold in the Asian market, its co-founder told Reuters.

The startup, launched three years ago by Don Burnette, a former Waymo engineer who co-founded self-driving trucking company Otto, aims to remove drivers from trucks in 2023, he said.

The California-based company competes with bigger rivals like Waymo and Aurora, which have shifted their focus to trucking services, as the autonomous robotaxi market has not taken off despite years of development.







CRUISE LLC - In June 2021 the autonomous vehicle (AV) company majority-owned by General Motors Co (GM.N), has urged President Joe Biden to back efforts to speed thousands of self-driving cars to U.S. roads, saying the country risks lagging behind China, according to a previously unreported letter seen by Reuters.

The chief executive of Cruise, Dan Ammann, in a letter to Biden dated May 17, asked him to back legislation raising the cap on the number of vehicles that a company can seek to have exempted from safety standards that do not meet existing federal requirements that assume human drivers are in control.

Dan Ammann wrote, "acts as a U.S.-only impediment to building these vehicles at scale in the United States." Cruise provided a copy of the letter to Reuters. "China’s top down, centrally directed approach imposes no similar restraints on their home grown AV industry," Ammann wrote. "We do not seek, require or desire government funding; we seek your help in leveling the playing field," he said, citing research that AVs are "estimated to create and sustain 108,000 jobs over the next five years."







PONY.AI - February 25, 2020 is an autonomous driving company, announces today that it has raised $400 million from Toyota Motor Corporation to deepen and expand the two companies’ collaboration in mobility services. The investment comes as an extension of a business partnership that was formed between and Toyota in 2019. Building upon the foundation established last year, both companies will further advance their joint efforts in autonomous driving technology development and mobility service deployment. The new funding totals $462 million and puts’s valuation at just over $3B. is co-located in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Guangzhou. The company was founded in December 2016 by James Peng and Lou Tiancheng who were formerly developers for Baidu in Silicon Valley.







PRONTO.AI - is asking that drivers in trucks using its driver-assist technology be exempt from federal work rules to help encourage investment in autonomous trucks and speed up adoption of new safety systems.

Specifically, the autonomous trucking startup is seeking a renewable five-year exemption that would allow drivers to drive up to 13 hours within a 15-consecutive hour driving window after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, according to a request sent earlier this month to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Current regulations allow a 14-consecutive hour driving window in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The exemption would apply to drivers operating trucks equipped with Pronto AI’s Copilot advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and its “SmartDrive” Video Safety Program.









TU SIMPLE - May 2021, autonomous vehicle company TuSimple on Wednesday claimed that its trucks shaved 10 hours off what’s normally a 24-hour job.

The company tested its trucks by hauling fresh watermelons along a 951-mile route from Nogales, Arizona to Oklahoma City. The drive was part of a pilot project with TuSimple partners Giumarra, a produce grower and distributor, and the Associated Wholesale Grocers.

The run normally takes 24 hours and 6 minutes with human drivers and traditional trucks, but TuSimple’s automated driving systems enabled a 42% faster run of 14 hours and six minutes, the company said.

According to TuSimple, a human driver worked on the pick-up and delivery of the produce. But during the long middle segment of the drive - from Tucson, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas - TuSimple’s vehicle drove itself with a human safety driver on board.







WAYMO LLC - is an American autonomous driving technology development company. It is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. Waymo operates a commercial self-driving taxi service in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area called "Waymo One", with Chandler, Arizona fully mapped. In October 2020, the company expanded the service to the public, and it is the only self-driving commercial service that operates without safety backup drivers in the vehicle. Waymo also is developing its driving technology for use in other vehicles, including delivery vans and Class 8 tractor-trailers for delivery and logistics.

Waymo is run by co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov. The company has raised $3 billion in two outside funding rounds. Waymo has partnerships with multiple vehicle manufacturers to integrate Waymo's technology, including with Daimler AG, Nissan-Renault, Stellantis, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo.







ZOOX - December 2020, the autonomous vehicle company that was acquired this year by Amazon, revealed this week the product of six years of work: A purpose-built self-driving vehicle designed to carry people — and someday maybe even packages — in dense urban environments.

The company’s story has captured the attention of skeptics and supporters alike, perhaps because of its secretive nature and outsized mission. Unlike its rivals, Zoox is developing the self-driving software stack, the on-demand ride-sharing app and the vehicle itself. Zoox also plans to own, manage and operate its robotaxi fleet.










Many of these vehicles will need automated rapid battery recharging and  hydrogen  refuelling, where they do not have drivers. At the moment, the only system that would be capable of servicing vehicles that are unmanned, would be the proposed  SmartNet™ dual fuel service stations, where such vehicles can replenish their energy reserves without the need of human assistance, automatically, including PAYD, automated billing.





Smarter electric vehicle servicing



Smartnet™ EV servicing, no matter if you are driving the car, or being driven by a robot. No matter if your vehicle is battery or hydrogen powered, the next generation of smart energy service stations has got it covered. Smarter service stations can service robotic vehicles, keeping the wheels of commerce turning.





Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018   Fleets of unmanned trucks will need thousands of smart service stations



In the more advanced countries, laws have already been enacted to make provision for driverless vehicles and energy supplies for electric vehicles






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