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Autonomous cars are Green and could be much much More

I have been reading about the progress of several manufacturers working on autonomous cars. BMW, Audi, General Motors, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Toyota and Google are just a few of the companies looking to change the way we drive…..er move.  The claims for autonomous vehicles are simple; people behind vehicles acting in reaction to other people in vehicles can only achieve a certain amount of safety and efficiency.  Whereas vehicles acting together can increase both safety and efficiency while decreasing travel times. 

Many companies already have test vehicles roaming our streets laying the ground work for these vehicles to enter the market place in the coming decades. Although some authors and companies believe the first automated cars will be on the streets before 2020..  We shall see, in the mean time consumers are benefiting from all kinds of new automated safety and convenience features being added to vehicles every year; Anti-lock brakes, self parking cars, collision avoidance systems and smart cruise are just a few of the features that are paving the way for increased automation.  

Besides maturing the technology there are two big hurdles that hands free driving needs to overcome, first, the liability.  In the aviation industry, airplane manufacturers design to a government set of minimum standards in just about every regard.  The aircraft is then tested to show that what was designed and produced meets those minimums. The aircraft then enters service and only FAA certified professional can operate and service the aircraft.  Along the aircrafts life cycle inspections are performed to all features of the aircraft per a set of government and manufacturer guidelines.  If at any point an issue is identified the all of the aircraft can be grounded till a suitable understanding of the issue can be acquired and an approved solution found.  During the investigation of any issue liability for the repair can in most cases be easily directed back to the operator, the maintainer, the manufacturer or some combination of those parties. The recent 787 battery issue is a great example of how this system of checks and balances keeps aviation safe. In addition in the case of an issue investigators from the NTSB are able to go through maintenance log books, operator log books, aircraft black boxes and manufacturer records to identify the potential problems. They can also reconstruct an incident to determine if the source of the crash was a mechanical failure.  Lastly the NTSB tracks all reported incidents with a specific model of aircraft to identify trends. 

Getting back to the driverless car we have some issues with the liability model that cars currently operate under today.  In most cases today it is the drivers fault. The manufacturer and the mechanic are rarely targeted for issues unless clear evidence is obtainable.  But when we take the driver out of the equation whose fault does it become, the owner, the mechanic, the manufacturer?  None of these parties were at the accident so how will police assign blame, how will insurance companies assign liability?  There are no log books, there are no maintenance records, there are no certified professionals servicing your car and there is no accident investigation team out on the high way during rush hour recreating the accident. So how do we assign fault?  Without all of these checks in the system it will be hard to say whose fault it is that the car killed my family.  That first question will take a lot of thought and cherry pick the parts of aviation liability lifecycle that make sense for this more prevalent form of travel.

The second largest hurdle is transition.  If all cars are driven by people then the system operates at this level of efficiency.  If all cars are driven by machines then the system operates at an increased level of efficiency.  But what is a percentage of cars are operated by people and a percentage are operated by machines?  This is the second largest question and is what is driving a lot of my imagination.  A system made up entirely of driverless vehicles is much easier to set up and prove that it is an improvement to the current 100% people driven system.  The system that is a mix of the two takes a lot longer to set up, requires more regulation and may not have any significant impact on the efficiency of the system till a tipping point is reached.  Two states have started to look at how they would regulate such a system in hopes of luring companies and jobs to their state as this trend towards automation continues.  Nevada was the first state followed by California to get driverless car laws on the books.  Nevada, one could argue was at the heart of the driverless car revolution since it hosted the DARPA grand challenge that showed that autonomous cars could be built using today’s technology. However both states are leaping ahead in this research as automotive companies continue to set up shop in these two tech savvy states.

The laws that they have put on the books can be found here.

Nevada’s Law

California’s Law

 

So now the big question…. Which east coast state will be the first to put it’s toe into the driverless car revolution?

Skills

SKILLS & EXPERTISE

Project Management

–   Lead three multi-million multi-year projects

–   Lead teams with 1-8 direct reports and 6-40 indirect reports

–   Managed and been held accountable for budget, schedule and quality

–   Participated in hiring and firing activities

–   Taken over 30 hours of classes in leadership and management 

–   Working on adding a PMP certificate to my Six Sigma BlackBelt

Designer

–   18,000+ hours of Design experience.  500 hr Repair and Stress Analysis.

–   Software skills: Catia V5, Catia V4, Solid Works, PATRAN, NASTRAN, ABAQUS, Provision, ARIS, WordPress, Photoshop, Captivate, MS Office software.

–   Hands-on expertise with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools: ENOVIA 6,000 hrs, Teamcenter Engineering 10,000 Hrs.

–   Requirements analysis, functional decomposition and allocation, systems synthesis & integration, verification and validation, systems analysis, and modeling and simulation.

–   Experience preparing & executing test plans/procedures from system requirements.

–   Ability to compile high quality commercial and government design packages.

–   Machinist: Mill, Lathe, CNC, and able to write G code for CAM tools.

Systems Engineering

–   Directly supported Program Managers, Chief Engineers and Chief Systems Engineers on the implementation strategy of the advance methods for systems engineering in a model based environment and the deployment of relational, parametric design.

–   Consumed customer delivery requirements to develop front-end standards and practices in design suit and stress analysis tools resulting in enterprise wide distribution of over 70 documents and videos.

–   Dissected FARs to create structures repair manual procedures for 787 cargo floor

–   Completed a masters in Systems Engineering and Quality

Fabrication

–   Created dozens of CAD/CAM solutions for medium and large CNC machines

–   Hand lay up of carbon, glass and Kevlar for test article and flight worthy repair

–   Machined high tolerance components with

–   Modeled, printed and assembled parts using various 3D Printers

–   Built several semi autonomous vehicles for various competitions

Integrated Scheduling / Planning

–   Created complex schedules with logic linkages tied to funding packages

–   Created work breakdown structures for several projects ranging from 3 discipline teams to 60 discipline projects

–   Completed critical chain analysis via CASPR and Microsoft Project

Manufacturing Engineering

–   Created dimensional analysis studies on assemblies ranging from 120 parts to over 300 parts

–   Documented assembly build plans, installation build plans and transportation plans

–   Created tool orders and job plans

–   Completed several dimensional analysis courses

Supplier Management

–   Initiated ROI, RFP and supplier selections on several large projects including the creation of supplier evaluation rubrics

–   Managed supplier technical interfaces and issue resolutions

–   Created supplier data management processes to secure export control and manage data revisions

–   Completed several courses on ethical supplier management