Nov 7, 2018

Vehicle data can make AVs safer, but only if companies share it

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

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.