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Data for Automated Vehicle Integration

Background

In March 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) hosted a Public Listening Summit on Automated Vehicle (AV) Policy to inform its upcoming guidance on automated vehicles, known as AV 3.0. This event built on earlier federal guidance for Automated Driving Systems (ADS)—Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety, released in September 2017. The guidance calls for industry, state and local governments, safety and mobility advocates, and the public to lay the path for the deployment of automated vehicles and technologies.

The Department has engaged stakeholders across the AV ecosystem. Through this engagement, the Department understands that access to data is a valuable enabler for the safe, efficient, and accessible integration of AVs into the transportation system, while lack of access could impede actions to accommodate AVs and, thereby, delay their introduction. The Department continues to use its convening power to facilitate and encourage mutually beneficial voluntary exchanges, when appropriate, to address specific needs that will help further and inform innovation and transportation decision-making. This includes mutually beneficial exchange of any data relevant for AVs, not just the data that comes off the vehicles, between private sector entities, with infrastructure operators, and with policy-makers at different levels of government.

A common framework to plan and execute data exchanges and related digital transformation activities will provide a common language across modes and streamline activities – thus resulting in better policies, reduced costs, and better outcomes, faster. U.S. DOT is working with stakeholders to understand critical use cases for data exchange, such as data on work zones that AVs need to navigate. The Department is also working to understand the appropriate federal facilitation role to enable such exchanges while protecting privacy and proprietary interests.

Draft Guiding Principles

These draft Guiding Principles on Data for Automated Vehicle Integration define an approach for U.S. DOT and our stakeholders to prioritize and facilitate the iterative development of voluntary data exchanges to address critical issues slowing the safe and efficient integration of AVs. The principles will shape actions by U.S. DOT and its partners to increase access to data for AV integration, and will help lead to actionable priorities and clear roles in implementation. U.S. DOT continues to refine these principles and use them to engage with potential data generators and users.

Principle #1: Promote proactive, data-driven safety, cybersecurity, and privacy-protection practices.

U.S. DOT aims to accelerate the safe U.S. integration of AV by encouraging private sector innovation while ensuring appropriate safeguards for cybersecurity, confidential business information, and privacy. Proactive safety practices identify and mitigate risks before they cause harm. Such practices require timely data and analysis that cut across traditional silos. To develop appropriate system safeguards, the U.S. DOT, local jurisdictions, and industry partners would benefit from multi-modal data from testing and development efforts to inform investments and policies.

Principle #2: Act as a facilitator to inspire and enable voluntary data exchanges.

Industry and government share the objective of bringing safer AVs to market more quickly, and recognize the enabling role of data exchanges. U.S. DOT is uniquely positioned to convene stakeholders around mutually beneficial use cases and common standards. Sometimes, U.S. DOT will directly manage raw or anonymized data but often our role will be to enable others to exchange data via a range of mechanisms.

Principle #3: Start small to demonstrate value, and scale what works toward a bigger vision.

The U.S. DOT and our stakeholders cannot define all data exchange opportunities upfront and will need to build policies and capabilities iteratively via agile and collaborative methods. We should start small, and focus initially on areas of clearest public-private benefit and the smallest amount of data exchange necessary to answer critical questions – while keeping in mind long term goals and needs.

Principle #4: Coordinate across modes to reduce costs, reduce industry burden, and accelerate action.

Similar types of data exchanges will be valuable for similar purposes across all modes of transportation. U.S. DOT’s operating administrations and external stakeholders can learn from each other and share tools and resources to reduce costs and time to deploy capabilities, while improving interoperability. Also, some agencies make duplicative requests for industry information, increasing the cost of partnering with the government. Consolidating and streamlining those requests can reduce costs and increase interest in collaboration.

Draft Framework

The draft Framework for Data for AV Integration provides a common language for identifying and prioritizing data exchange needs across traditional silos. It is designed to help teams working on diverse data exchange use cases learn from each other by highlighting relevant similarities among use cases. It defines key categories of data exchange and their purposes and participants, and also highlights specific exchanges that may be part of the near-term critical path to safely integrating AVs. The Framework provides a common language across modes, resulting in better policies, reduced costs, and better outcomes, faster than would be possible otherwise.

Business-to-business (B2B)

The B2B category includes voluntary data exchanges between companies. Typical goals include improving industry-wide safety, and improving sector-to-sector cooperation where it is critical to accelerating safe deployment (as with automakers and the insurance industry). Typical issues include protecting confidential business information while preserving value in the data being exchanged.

Business-to-government and government-to-business (B2G/G2B)

The B2G/G2B category includes voluntary data exchanges between companies and governments (federal, state, or local), especially those parts of government that make policy decisions. Typical goals include enabling the public sector to make policies that appropriately encourage innovation while protecting citizens’ safety. Typical issues include protecting confidential business information while preserving value in the data being exchanged.

Infrastructure-to-business and business-to-infrastructure (I2B/B2I)

The I2B/B2I category includes voluntary data exchanges between companies and transportation infrastructure owners and operators, such as highway departments and their contractors. Although infrastructure owners are part of state or local governments, they are called out separately in the framework here because the goals of data exchange are different than in B2G/G2B above. Typical goals include improving vehicle safety and traffic operations through better information about on-the-ground circumstances, such as road weather. Typical issues include data quality and consistency in different jurisdictions.

Open training data

The open training data category includes data that is pooled for shared use and analysis. Typical goals include supporting non-competitive research. Typical issues include data quality.

Draft Framework for Data for AV Integration

Roundtable on Data for AV Safety

U.S. DOT hosted the Roundtable on Data for Automated Vehicle Safety in December 2017 to discuss potential priorities for voluntary data exchanges to accelerate the safe deployment of automated vehicles. See the Summary Report for key takeaways from the roundtable.

Work Zone Data Exchange

The Work Zone Data Exchange project originated in response to priorities identified in the Summary Report on the Roundtable for Automated Vehicle Safety. The goal of the project is to enable a critical mass of infrastructure owners and operators to collaboratively and voluntarily make harmonized work zone data available for third party use.

Accurate and up-to-date information about dynamic conditions occurring on the roads – such as work zones– can help AVs navigate safely and efficiently. Many infrastructure owners and operators maintain data on work zone activity, but a common specification for this type of data doesn’t currently exist. This makes it difficult and costly for third parties – including vehicle manufacturers and makers of navigation applications – to access and use work zone data across various jurisdictions.

The Work Zone Data Exchange project kicked off in March of 2018. Five State DOT agencies and six companies from private industry are voluntarily participating with USDOT acting as a technical facilitator. The USDOT has been working with these partners to help define the core data elements that should be included in the work zone specification and to determine what types of technical assistance the data producers will need to implement the specification that is created by the group. The goal is to develop a harmonized specification for work zone data that infrastructure owners and operators can make available as open feeds that AVs and others can use, based on the successful General Transit Feed Specification model. The common core specification is scheduled to be made public in the fall of 2018 but the draft can be shared upon request.

A USDOT presentation on this project from June 6, 2018 is available here. Recordings are available from the first four working group meetings.

For information on the Work Zone Data Exchange or anything else related to Data for AV Integration, please contact avdx@dot.gov.

Updated: Monday, August 13, 2018
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