Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Access to as much data as possible — anonymized, and collected from all connected vehicles on the road today — would help AV companies develop self-driving technology more quickly and safely.

Why it matters: If AV fleets from different operators are unable to exchange critical safety information — from construction zones, unclear lane markings and potholes to harsh weather and accidents — in real-time, the roads of the future will have just as much traffic and frustration as today's.

Where it stands: The race to develop AVs has produced heaps of valuable data essential to the safe deployment of AVs.

  • Data on how drivers — as well as pedestrians and cyclists — respond to various situations will inform better AV design. For example, if human drivers often slow down when heading into the setting sun, AVs should be programmed to anticipate this behavior and adjust their speed accordingly.
  • In the future, shared real-time data access will allow different AVs to operate from a shared understanding of their surroundings. If an AV comes across an obstruction like a fallen tree branch, it should be able to pass that information to every other vehicle in the area, priming traffic to flow smoothly around it.

Yes, but: Few AV companies are willing to risk giving their competitors information that could allow them to get ahead, even though industry experts have called for data sharing programs.

  • It’s estimated that more than $80 billion has been invested in disparate efforts to automate cars, and there’s intense pressure on companies to be the first to market, leaving little time for negotiating collaborations.

What to watch: The industry will have to determine the types of data that can be shared and how it will be anonymized. This will likely necessitate government supervision to ensure compliance and fairness, though the broader role of government will likely remain unclear until the Senate reaches a decision on AV legislation.

Justin Ho is the CEO and co-founder of rideOS.

Go deeper

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.