Content Insider #571 – Auto Autos
Require Industry Cooperation, Not Laws
"Sometimes your whole life boils down to one insane
move." – Jack Sully, "Avatar," 20th Century Fox, 2009
that obliterates borders and treats the world as one gigantic
community, autonomous cars, smart homes and Internet of Things (IoT)
are changing everything.
Or, as deep thinkers like to say, they are disrupters to everything.
It's not a real big deal (more like a business inconvenience) when
social media and search engines must block certain information,
sites/activity when they cross country invisible borders.
The U.S., European Union (EU); Russia; India; China, oh heck, every
country has set up laws, rules, guidelines as to how a company will act
and compete inside their borders and firms have previously just
considered abiding by these oversights as a cost of doing business in
the respective country.
Increasingly, competitors have had to form alliances, develop universal
standards and establish ecosystem guidelines so things work smoothly
with things in homes and businesses in Canada, Brazil, Hungary, Saudi
Arabia, Indonesia, Kenya and elsewhere.
International standards groups and associations like IEEE, SMPTE, ITU,
CTA, SIA, OICA, TIA and thousands of others (check the acronyms in
Wikipedia) work together to set the guidelines that make stuff somewhat
work the way it's advertised.
Increasingly, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, partners and
rivals are finding they must invest in/work openly with each other to
build a seamless, compatible, compliant infrastructure that works
across industrial sectors and borders.
It's often called coopetition (cooperative competition). It can be
messy, but it beats bureaucrats setting the rules.
Innovation at a Price – Advances
in autonomous transportation--and every technology breakthrough--is a
matter of trial and error. Accidents and deaths can and will continue
to occur; but once corrected, that issue will not happen again … unlike
with human drivers.
And, as we have seen in our rush to autonomous
transportation, there will be accidents and lives lost.
We're not certain what has happened in other countries, but we've had
three in the U.S. that have been widely covered:
- A Florida man's car
ran into a truck and he was killed.
- A self-driving Uber
car killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
- A California man was
killed when his Tesla hit a highway barrier.
local, state and national governments that wanted to have auto and tech
firms rush autonomous transportation in their cities, states and
countries are pedaling just as fast to say, let's hold off for awhile
until they're safe before we send them out onto the streets, highways
and byways to move goods and people under their own control.
In the U.S., Michigan's senator, Gary Peters, and other bill sponsors
said, "Congress must quickly pass legislation to ensure safe
testing and deployment."
Suggesting that the technology's safety benefits outweigh today's
drivers' actions, Madhur Behl, computer science assistant professor at
the University of Virginia, said, "We need to take our time to
work through the evolution of the self-driving technology."
Yes, the loss of lives was tragic but staying the course is worse.
Improvement – There is a reason transportation safety officials
around the globe are encouraged with advances that have been made in
autonomous cars and trucks … they will reduce accidents and save lives.
U.S. experiences an estimated 40,000 traffic deaths a year and nearly
1.3M die in road crashes globally--an average of 3,287 deaths per day,
according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
An additional 20-50M are injured or disabled; and nearly half are
between the ages of 15-44.
Most industry experts agree that autonomous vehicle technology is still
the key to saving many of these lives.
Country Hurdles – A major
hurdle for transportation manufacturers and their suppliers is that
approval and regulatory agencies vary from country to country, which is
time-consuming and expensive. A better approach would be to establish
worldwide standards and monitoring.
country governments have regulated automotive safety and are building
public trust, the new technology needs to be implemented globally
because it isn't as simple as putting the steering wheel on the right
or left but needs to address the safeguarding of lives everywhere.
Much of the testing and development work is conducted on various countries'
public roads but there is already a growing debate in every country on
how to deploy this innovation.
The technology behind the potential is still evolving. As a result,
most government officials and the driving, riding public are generally
not aware of the complexity.
Tech on Wheels –
Tomorrow's vehicles will be more complex than a smartphone on wheels,
requiring thousands of semiconductors, software monitoring/updating and
secure storage. Data will be continually captured/monitored in the
vehicle and streamed (back and forth) between the vehicle and
monitoring/management locations and adjusted in near realtime.
stakeholders – automakers, technology firms, autonomous vehicle
software developers and research institutions – need to come together
to develop the infrastructure, framework and early guidelines so
realistic legislation and regulations can be developed.
Toward that end, Jensen Huang, Nvidia CEO, announced the firm's Drive
Constellation Simulation System at this year's Graphic Technology
Conference (GTC) and that the firm was working with more than 370
partners to advance the autonomous technology.
Collaboration – Even with
the firm's breadth and depth of technology, Jensen Huang, CEO of
Nvidia, noted that his firm has to work closely and openly with auto
manufacturers, Tier 1 providers and even competitors to deliver
solutions that will move goods and people quickly and safely.
With a data center
solution, vehicle manufacturers and tier 1 producers can train and
verify systems in the cloud before they are put into vehicles.
Coopetive efforts like this enable the industry to use simulation tools
to collectively amass critical volumes of data to ensure that vehicle
systems work properly as a single vehicle and with its moving
environment. Simulation tools can give a clear understanding of the
environment preceding an incident as well as an understanding as to why
the decision was made so it can be modified to ensure the safety of
"At the end of the day, self-driving cars have the ability to
learn quickly from these mistakes and teach all future cars," Behl
said. "The same cannot be said for human drivers."
Alan Messer, CEO of InnovationShift, noted that developing an
autonomous vehicle is perhaps more challenging than landing a man on
"There's almost an infinite number of conditions and combinations
of conditions vehicles will encounter around the globe," he noted.
"Many are impossible to predict, which is why the industry is
moving cautiously to a Level 5 vehicle that doesn't need a human driver
or even a steering wheel.
Yeah, But – Despite the fact that people
prove every day that they are easily distracted or impaired while
driving, they feel they are more in control of situations than
importantly, the industry is working hard to manage consumer
Messer expects the transition to autonomous vehicles will begin around
2020 but we already have about 1.2B L1 vehicles (cruise control) on the
road around the globe.
L2 adds sensors, to slow down the vehicle if the car in front does and
stay within the lane markings. L3 drives the vehicle but a person has
to take over if necessary.
Wide distribution and adoption of autonomous vehicles will take longer
than many predict because every setback – okay, accident – will raise
people's concern, just as it does after an airplane mishap.
level of autonomy and need for driver attention will vary
A lot of testing will be required because a vehicle in San Francisco
will encounter different issues from one in Phoenix or Moscow, Naples,
Shanghai, Osaka, Toronto, Buenos Aires or long stretches of highway.
The difference between today's driving and tomorrow's is that with each
incident – fender bender or fatal accident – the information, analysis
and resolution will be shared with all connected vehicles.
But the technology is developing and evolving so quickly that lawmakers
around the globe can't possibly develop legislation that will regulate
That responsibility must be undertaken by vehicle and technology firms
and partnerships-- regardless of the country of origin.
Autonomous transportation and the movement of goods/services are global
in nature and an integral part of the Internet of Things.
that you will be able to make calls, text, eat, read, groom, meditate,
drink or exercise may just be a little too distracting. As Jake Sully
said in Avatar, "Sooner
or later, you always have to wake up."