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Photo: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Some forward-looking cities are starting to digitize their traffic rules to help self-driving cars navigate local roadways.

Why it matters: Automated test vehicles are getting better at operating in complex traffic environments, but street signs and lane stripes are an inefficient way to communicate rules to a 21st century vehicle, says Avery Ash, head of autonomous mobility at INRIX, a transportation data company.

  • AVs depend on sensors and human-assisted machine learning to understand traffic rules, but something as simple as an obscured stop sign can be confusing to an AV.

What's happening: INRIX created a software tool that lets cities or road authorities build a digital representation of their local traffic rules and then share that catalog with AV developers and operators so they can train their self-driving vehicles.

  • 11 cities and road authorities — including Austin, Boston, Detroit and Miami — have signed on to use INRIX Road Rules since its introduction in 2018.
  • 4 AV companies — Jaguar Land Rover, May Mobility, nuTonomy and Renovo — are using those digital rules to program their self-driving systems.
  • The latest version also helps cities create a digital catalog of things like loading zones and parking restrictions for ride-hailing companies, dockless bike/scooter zones, and city infrastructure like fire hydrants and EV charging stations.

The bottom line: Mobility solutions are unique to every city. It's important for the public and private sectors to share critical information about the local rules of the road.

Go deeper

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.

Facebook is too big to change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Facebook faces a sustained wave of critical coverage pushing the company to reform itself, it also confronts a law of corporate physics: Transforming a gargantuan company is nearly impossible.

The big picture: Facebook's critics — and some of its own employees, as internal documents have shown — say it has long prioritized growth and profits over safety. Shifting that kind of mindset in a large organization takes time and will — and the company has to really want it, which Facebook has yet to make clear.

"Build Back Better" goes global

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP//Getty Images

President Biden's "Build Back Better" mantra is about to take the global stage at the G20 summit in Rome.

The big picture: The global debate awaiting Biden in Rome has a lot in common with the debate he's leaving behind in Washington: whether and how to undertake a major economic restructuring with climate change and social equity at the forefront.