Good morning from Silicon Valley! Thanks for reading. Please share this newsletter and tell your friends they can subscribe here. If you have tips or feedback just reply to this email.
San Francisco-area readers: You're invited to The Hometown Tour's 2019 kickoff tomorrow at 8:30am. Join Axios' Ina Fried for a series of conversations digging into San Francisco's housing crisis and its most innovative solutions. RSVP.
Axios managing editor Alison Snyder has today's 1 big thing and Expert Voices contributors Marjory S. Blumenthal writes about the shared priorities of safety and cybersecurity while Jim Barbaresso examines traffic management for AVs.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Drivers are encountering more automation in their cars, but experts say they need more training to better understand and safely use the technologies.
The big picture: Assisted driving features are turning cars into next-generation automated machines — the first ones that many people will be exposed to. How humans and machines learn to interact when driving could indicate how people might work with robots in the future, Axios' Alison Snyder writes.
In the air: Automation has made aviation safer, in part because pilots are educated about how the technology affects their attention and ability to fly.
In cars, some partially automated technologies — automatic emergency braking and collision detection — provide safety benefits. But it's not yet known if convenience features — for example, lane-keeping assist — are making driving safer.
What's needed: In a new paper, Casner argues drivers, like pilots, need education and continuous experience with automation.
Yes, but: Unlike professional pilots who are required by law to have regular, rigorous training, drivers' willingness to be trained will vary, according to Consumer Reports' David Friedman.
The bottom line: Understanding how and when to use automation has to become part of our driving culture, Casner says. "We don't have good automation common sense yet."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Safety and cybersecurity are generally pursued by separate teams within AV companies — leaving them in silos that exacerbate their significant challenges and ignore the common benefits, RAND's Marjory S. Blumenthal writes for Axios Expert Voices.
Why it matters: As cars become more complex, a design change to one aspect of the technology could create an unexpected vulnerability in another feature, making it crucial to develop safety and cybersecurity as integrated systems.
Safety: AV standards have yet to be created, so AVs can't demonstrate compliance the way traditional vehicles do. A standardized framework, which could involve simulations or real life driving tests, is needed to measure AV safety.
Cybersecurity: Despite the growing popularity of connected cars, there's no international standard governing vehicle cybersecurity, though the International Organization for Standardization is currently working on it.
A joint approach to standards could optimize safety and cybersecurity and reduce overall risks to AV operation.
The bottom line: The teams developing these systems should be collaborating on this challenge. Improving public trust in AVs, which remains low, will require delivering on promises in both of these critical areas.
Blumenthal is a senior policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
Times Square, New York City. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Cities are adopting tolling and closed-loop shuttle buses to mitigate traffic and prepare for AV ride-hailing fleets, which some say could exacerbate urban congestion, writes Jim Barbaresso of infrastructure advisory firm HNTB.
What we're watching: Congestion pricing and route optimization software are two tools for managing traffic that could be especially helpful when AVs are eventually deployed, and could complement existing efforts.
The bottom line: Cities will need to take multiple approaches to addressing congestion and encouraging new transportation patterns in advance of AVs. The cities starting to experiment now will likely be best positioned to adapt.
Barbaresso is SVP of intelligent transportation systems at HNTB, an infrastructure advisory firm.
Trump's view: President Trump hates "crazy" driverless cars (Jonathan Swan and me — Axios)
It's complicated: Trump unsettles the auto sector (Jonathan Swan and me — Axios)
Virtual testing: Nvidia Drive Constellation is an online training ground for autonomous vehicles (Antuan Goodwin — CNET)
Nobody wants to ride in a dirty, smelly car — especially a shared robotaxi where there is no human driver to clean it up. Luckily, AVs might be outfitted with olfaction sensors to help sniff out problems quickly.
What's happening: Denso, one of the world's largest auto suppliers, is teaming up with France's Aryballe Technologies, which develops bio-inspired “digital nose” sensors for multiple industries, as founding members of a new Digital Olfaction Automotive Consortium (DOAC).
Why it matters: When drivers give up their personal cars and instead become passengers in unmanned AVs, their ride experience could be determined, in part, by whether fleet operators are properly maintaining those cars.
Humans can sense an average of 1 trillion odors, according to Science magazine, so cataloguing them in a database could take some time.
My thought bubble: But I'm guessing nobody wants to smell any of them in an autonomous vehicle.