January 21, 2020
TRB AND CES TAKE CENTER STAGE
If it’s January, it must be the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (TRB)! And so it goes, with tens of thousands of transportation and technology types converging in Las Vegas and Washington, DC for these annual extravaganzas.
At TRB’s 99th annual meeting, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao included three announcements in her keynote speech, the most impactful of which was a new pilot program that will provide up to $38 million to “equip emergency response vehicles, transit vehicles and related infrastructure, including traffic signals and highway-rail-grade crossings” with V2X technology. ITS America President & CEO Shailen Bhatt applauded the move and issued this statement after her announcement.
She also announced the expansion of a data-sharing partnership between government and the private sector that will gather data on adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance, which are key to AV technology. In addition, DOT endorsed a standardized listing of recommended ADAS terminology, which Secretary Chao indicated would ensure “drivers are aware that these systems are designed to assist, not replace an engaged driver.”
The day before Secretary Chao made those announcements, ITS America hosted a standing room only meeting with more than a dozen stakeholder groups committed to preserving the 5.9GHz spectrum for transportation safety critical communications. An impressive group of speakers, including top officials from DOT, underscored the urgency of the issue and asked all in attendance to activate their networks by submitting comments once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking hits the Federal Register, talking to their members of Congress, and amplifying ITS America’s social media efforts. Read the news release here.
ITS America President & CEO Shailen Bhatt presented “The State of ITS” early in the week, in which he outlined what he sees as the industry’s moonshot: no deaths, no congestion, and no emissions by the end of this decade. “With all the money, all the brainpower, all the passion we have in this industry, our vision of creating a future that is safer, greener and smarter should lead to no deaths, no congestion, and no emissions.”
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At CES, the future of mobility was a big focus. Several key threads seemed to run through many panel and session discussions – people remain skeptical about new and evolving driving technologies; flying taxis are coming; infrastructure investment is vital; and mobility solutions must be inclusive and not just aimed at those who can afford them.
Also in Las Vegas, The Department of Transportation released AV 4.0, which serves as the agency’s policy update of autonomous vehicle technology guidelines. Secretary Chao announced the guidelines, titled “Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies,” during her January 8th keynote speech.
From Audi’s “Intelligence Experience” where the car windows were video screens, to Panasonic’s fully connected ‘eCockpit’ concept, to Ford’s investment in the two-legged delivery robot Digit to solve what it’s calling the ‘last 50 feet’ problem, ITS America members and their intelligent mobility solutions were on full display. This also included member exhibits from Toyota, showcasing their sustainable prototype community, “Woven City;” Blackberry’s QNX platform and announced partnership with AWS, HERE’s two new APIs designed to provide commuters with an easier way to plan routes; Qualcomm’s SnapDragon Ride; and technology solutions from companies like Savari and their V2X software stack. The U.S. Department of Transportation hosted a large booth in Westgate’s Smart City Pavilion, which highlighted cutting-edge transportation technologies from eight different universities.