Jun 7, 2019

Automakers are finally starting to share road safety data

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This week, Ford, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Volvo announced a major data sharing partnership focused on road safety that includes European service providers and the transportation ministries of several EU member states.

Why it matters: Shared data from connected vehicles on weather and road conditions will ideally improve safety in real-time, and it could represent a major step forward for vehicle to vehicle communication.

What's happening: This latest partnership, overseen by the European Data Task Force, is one of several recent efforts by automakers to collaborate in order to share data.

  • The idea here is to collect data when a vehicle, say, turns on its hazard warning lights, then share that data with vehicles nearby via cloud technology.
  • BMW, GM, Ford and Renault have also formed a research group that aims to use blockchain to share customer data to develop shared mobility options.

Between the lines: These data sharing partnerships will allow car companies to test cloud-based and blockchain technology in use cases that could pave the way for communication between autonomous cars.

  • They also offer opportunities to experiment with transparently sharing anonymized vehicle data, by holding automakers accountable to not misuse it.
  • European data privacy law ensures that customers will be informed as to how their data is being used, but the U.S. lacks similar protections.

What we're watching: If customers experience increased safety and convenience, it could ultimately build greater public trust in AVs that eventually have V2V capabilities.

Sudha Jamthe is director of DriverlessWorldSchool and teaches AV Business at Stanford Continuing Studies.

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Clean hands can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known characteristic in COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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