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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

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

8 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.