In 2022 Singapore will start using driverless buses. The government says they will be operating in three new neighbourhoods which will have less-crowded roads designed to accommodate the buses. The buses will initially operate during off-peak hours to help residents travel in their communities, and to nearby train and bus stations.

Singapore opened a test centre for self-driving vehicles. The new centre will allow driverless developers to test how their cars and buses would handle pedestrians, heavy rain, aggressive drivers, cyclists, scooters and other road scenarios.At least 10 companies are currently testing driverless car technology in Singapore.

The UK government announced it will soon be setting rules so that self-driving cars can be tested without a safety operator.

Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors and Ford Motor have partnered for the UK’s largest autonomous vehicle project in the city of Coventry. The trials are to start early next year to test the benefits of letting cars communicate with each other and their surroundings with connected traffic lights, emergency vehicle warnings, and emergency braking alert technologies on-board. Highly trained test operators are expected to supervise the cars at all the times. One technology being tested is Intersection Collision Warning technology which warns drivers when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, where there is high probability of collision with other vehicles. Another is Emergency Vehicle Warning  which can send signals directly from emergency vehicles such as ambulance, fire engine, police vehicles to nearby connected cars.

Volvo Cars has agreed to supply ride sharing company Uber with 24,000 autonomous-driving-compatible vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Volvo has already supplied Uber with 200 SUVs fitted with self-driving systems that are being tested in three US cities.  In a press release Volvo said:

The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption. Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for autonomous ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.

The UK government is introducing a new £400-million (US$530-million) Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund and providing an additional £100 million (US$133 million) towards helping people to buy battery-electric cars. The government also said 25% of the cars in its departmental fleets will be electric by 2022. The government added that all new homes will have the cables for electric car charge points. To finance the fund, the government is introducing new taxes on diesel vehicles that do not meet current emission standards.

Swedish engineering firm ABB is supplying two 450 kilowatt fast chargers for articulated high-capacity electric buses in the city of Gothenburg. The chargers have an open interface for the automated charging of both single and double decker electric buses, which can be used by any bus manufacturer.

corridor of electric vehicle fast charging stations has opened in the northern part of the US state of California. The corridor connects Monterey on the Pacific coast and Lake Tahoe in the interior. 55 new EV fast chargers have been installed at 25 locations.  A smartphone app will enable users to select a recommended station based on the cruising range and charger availability data. A map with the charger locations can be found here.

Parcel delivery company UPS announced it has entered into a 7 year agreement to purchase 10 million gallon equivalents of renewable natural gas per year.  Also known as biomethane, the fuel can be derived from many renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. UPS has a goal of obtaining 40% of all ground transportation fleet fuel from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel by 2025. The company will use the fuel at 8 locations in the eastern US to fuel its delivery vehicles and tractors. UPS currently has more than 5,200 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles in its fleet of alternative fuels.

A Swedish power plant is now burning clothing instead of coal. The combined heat and power station in Vasteras, northwest of Stockholm, is converting from coal-fired generation to become a fossil fuel-free facility by 2020. That means burning recycled wood and trash, including clothes H&M can’t sell. Electric utility Malarenergi AB has an agreement with the city of Eskilstuna to burn their trash, some of which comes from H&M’s central warehouse. The facility, which supplies power to about 150,000 households, burned about 15 tons of discarded clothes from H&M so far this year, compared with about 400,000 tons of trash.

Business Insider writes about The geopolitical implications of renewable energy.

A new paper by the Center of the American Experiment, “Energy Policy in Minnesota the High Cost of Failure,” chronicles the US state of Minnesota’s $15 billion experiment with wind energy over traditional fossil fuels, which didn’t lower CO2 emissions and caused Minnesota’s price of electricity to rise above the national average for the first time on record.

If something similar were to happen across the world, this could doom over a billion people to higher costs they can’t afford, unreliable energy and more than likely needing high emitting, coal-fired power plants as an energy backup.

 

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