Technology
March 15, 2019

Augmented Reality makes Google Wayfinding a Walk in the Park

 

For anyone that likes to explore cities and spaces on their own, Google Maps has developed an augmented reality mode  that makes it easy to ascertain what direction a pedestrian should be headed in~there is a large animated type of arrow to guide your direction.

You know those moments where there are no references to help you figure out which direction north is, and no way to determine exactly where you are. Using global localization which brings together Visual Positioning Services (VPS) and Street View, the smartphone camera becomes a “sensor” making wayfinding so much easier.

With a limited release in February for people who will augment the app with new locations and take photos, it is in the feedback stage. And here is the best part~the new feature is solely for walking directions, not for vehicular drivers.

In those pesky locations where GPS does not work because it is bouncing off buildings and cell towers, the Augmented Reality (AR) application uses the camera to suss surrounding buildings and street grids to pinpoint a walker’s location.

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Kudos to the European Parliament who are not messing around about saving lives and reducing injury on European roads. Realizing that simply slowing speed on roads by one kilometer an hour would save 2,100 lives, the installation of  intelligent speed assistance (ISA) in new vehicles is being mandated to all new purchased cars in the next three years.

The ISA does not brake the vehicle, but limits the top speed by throttling engine fuel. Speed sign recognition cameras and a GPS-driven speed limit data system inform the vehicle about traveled speed.

Carlton Reid in Forbes.com observes that even though this technology has existed since the early 20th century speed regulators on vehicles have never been adopted by governments. The use of ISA if universally applied can reduce deaths by 20 percent.

Currently the vehicles with this technology can shut it off.

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It is the question to ask at the City Program’s Simon Fraser University seminar with Autonomous Vehicle expert Tim Papandreou and the question I did ask Ole Thorson of the International Federation of Pedestrians. 

When an autonomous vehicle is going to crash into a crowd of pedestrians, who does the car save? Does it save the vehicle occupants first? And who makes that decision?

Caroline Lester asks that question in The New Yorker. While a “level four” autonomous vehicle is independent on highways, it still needs a human to guide it. “Level five” vehicles will make their own judgements, including  the decision cited in what is called “The Trolley Problem”.

“If a car detects a sudden obstacle—say, a jackknifed truck—should it hit the truck and kill its own driver, or should it swerve onto a crowded sidewalk and kill pedestrians? A human driver might react randomly (if she has time to react at all), but the response of an autonomous vehicle would have to be programmed ahead of time. What should we tell the car to do?”

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The Future of Mobility Speaker Series: Tim Papandreou

The transportation sector is about to experience its biggest shake-up since the combustion engine replaced the horse and carriage. Electrification, automation and the sharing economy are converging to change the modes we use to move and the services we expect.

Explore this transformation with Tim Papandreou, the leading global expert in the future of mobility and automation who led strategic partnerships to commercialize Waymo and launch the world’s first fully self-driving ride-hailing service.

The City of Vancouver and City of Surrey will also take the stage to talk about their joint Smart Cities Challenge proposal.

Following his presentation, Tim will be joined on stage for a moderated Q&A with Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program.

 

Thursday, Jan 24

6 pm

SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Room 1400

This event is free but registration is required due to limited seating available. Save your spot.

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We’ve all heard the story of tourists from Europe buying air tickets to Sydney Australia, not reading the fine print, and finding themselves in Halifax Airport about  to be transferred to a smaller plane to the Sydney in the Maritimes’ Cape Breton.

Similar things happen in the 911 emergency network.  On Christmas Day a person in distress reached out to 911 in Surrey B.C. through Facebook~unfortunately she had contacted Surrey in southeast Great Britain. As Global News reports there just happened to be a police officer from Toronto in the British Surrey Police department office, visiting one of the police telephone operators. This officer linked the distress call through the Vancouver  Police Department who coordinated with the RCMP detachment in Surrey, B.C.  While the British Surrey dispatcher kept the person on the line, the RCMP  in Surrey B.C. located the lady and got her to support services. In British Columbia calling  911 connects Metro Vancouver and 25 regional districts with emergency services. This call centre receives over 1.45 million calls annually.

But perhaps the most extraordinary 911 emergency answer came to a call made by mistake from the International Space Station.

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Peter delivered this talk at the Get Inspired Talks, on October 20, 2018. .
For decades Peter Ladner has been trying out better ways to get around Vancouver than driving alone at a huge cost. In this video, Peter describes how we can move around Vancouver using ways that are easier, healthier, cheaper and more convenient.   Peter is chair of the David Suzuki Foundation board and the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition. He is a former Vancouver City Councillor, TransLink board member, business owner and journalist.
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Let me quote myself:

I’ve been predicting the rise of the “Transportation Service Provider” — a consolidator of every mode of movement imaginable, integrated with technology, and designed to provide consumers with a suite of services for which they pay (as with telecommunications) one provider with a lot of money.

This is based on the assumption a single provider or oligopoly can emerge. Look to see some of today’s giants try to get even bigger and more diverse as fast as possible in order to dominate the market.

Now it’s just a case of documenting how and how fast this is occurring.  Like this, from The Conversation:

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As Transportation Service Providers (TSPs) provide a suite of options in the form of a service contract, rather like telecommunication providers do now, there will be less and less need for individually owned cars.  And it’s also the way that automated, even autonomous, vehicles are likely to be introduced: a fleet of AVs that the consumer has access to, rather than an individually assigned car.  In other words, the way car-sharing works today.

How fast will that happen?  How soon will the self-owned vehicle be rare or even obsolete?

How about in 10 years?

That’s what one presenter at a transportation conference last week predicted.

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