Momentum Issue #125

July 19, 2023

ARTS Conference in Review

ITS America partnered with TRB at their annual Automated Road Transportation Symposium (ARTS) in San Francisco, CA July 9-13, 2023 to foster discussions on autonomous vehicles. The event convenes global leaders from industry, government, and research to collaborate to scale deployment of AV technologies. ITS America & TRB’s Automated Vehicle / Shared Mobility Forum together hosted a forum on Artificial Intelligence in Automated Mobility and a Policy Solutions to Scale AV’s Now: Harmonizing Federal, State and Local Policy to Develop a Consensus National AV Framework session on opening day. Throughout the week ITS America participated in multiple panels, sessions and technology demonstrations.  

Top 11 Takeaways from ARTS 2023:

  1. AI integration with AVs has the potential to transform the transportation industry by enhancing safety, improving efficiency, increasing accessibility, reducing human errors, and making real-time updates, but the challenges of its learning capacity are still being worked out. The next big thing is Quantum.  
  2. Scaled deployment isn’t a technology problem, it’s a collaboration problem. We must break down silos across institutions like TRB, AASHTO, ITS America, SAE and others and collaborate more effectively. 
  3. This tech is scaling but ‘we still have Waymo to learn’ (credit to Julia Friedlander). Cruise and Waymo are operating in San Francisco and those autonomous rides show that while tech is smoother and scaling, there are still problems to solve and the time to scale is now. 
  4.  NHTSA is stepping up – Under Ann Carlson’s leadership, NHTSA announced the AVSTEP program to accelerate rulemaking to increase exemption caps and other avenues to make it easier to deploy AVs. The time to scale has never been clearer.
  5.  We must collaborate at the national level to create digital infrastructure data exchanges. We must get the right information to the right people at the right time. How do we make decisions across distributed infrastructure? We don’t need a standard, common architecture; we need standard interfaces and shared data exchanges. Agencies are not going to want to pay for this data so we should make common data sets available.
  6. Engage communities earlier and more often. We don’t expect tech companies to have the knowledge and resources to meaningfully engage communities, but we must understand public engagement best practices to ensure we’re designing tech for real-world needs. 
  7. We need to facilitate more opportunities for women and people of color to connect. This industry lacks diversity. Full stop. There is a powerful desire to make space at these conferences to connect, create national cohorts of friends and colleagues to support each other, and shine light on each other’s talents! 
  8. Document use-cases to develop best practices and standards which then are codified into policy. 
  9. Yes, AI and quantum are the ‘next big thing’, so let’s roll up our sleeves to ask, ‘what are our AI values and ethics?’ Creating ethical tech is about ensuring our societal values are encoded into it. 
  10. We must be change agents and we must act now. As thought leaders we have an obligation to act and not just talk. We must de-silo the work of national stakeholders to move forward together.  We can and must do hard things. Quicken the pace of change. Find better, new ways to collaborate. 
  11. We must continue to have ITS America lead the development of sharing best practices that further create standards, and then advocate for the laws, rules, and policy necessary to ensure all local, state, and federal agencies collaborate to scale safe, sustainable, and equitable deployment for all. 

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