pedestrian detection, traffic monitoring, travel alerts, and much more, she said. “The safety band is at the heart of our efforts to make these new AV technologies interoperable,” Nason said. “All of these systems ... must work seamlessly together.” Finch Fulton, the deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, noted that every DOT speaker at the symposium highlighted the importance of the spectrum and said Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is personally involved in the issue. “I can tell you, if that gives you a lot of comfort, you’re not understanding what we’re saying,” Fulton said. “... Every bit of the 70 MHz of the spectrum we’re talking about is being used throughout the country in deployments today, but as we look toward the future of this spectrum and as we think through the connected technologies and the efficiency and all the benefits it can bring, we do have to work with the FCC.” If rulemaking opens up at the FCC, he said, transportation stakeholders who believe in reserving it for safety uses need to speak up, as the voice of the DOT won’t be enough. “The call to action is for you to pay attention at what’s happening at the FCC and make your voices heard if you truly believe that the safety spectrum needs to be used for these purposes going forward,” Fulton said. However, in the AV 3.0 document, the DOT noted it is working on a pilot program with the FCC on a test plan to share the spectrum as long as it maintains priority use for vehicle safety communications.
The DOT’s Finch Fulton called on the industry to lend its voice in protecting spectrum for automated vehicles.
Seeking input Meanwhile, the DOT and its departments are seeking to reduce regulations on automated vehicles, such as by updating the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for the first time in a decade. “We will be asking for public input later this year,” Nason said. “The updated version will reflect advances in technology over the past decade and support the operation of AVs. So, I really want to stress — if you’re interested, you need to comment. We read every comment. It’s been a decade since we’ve updated it.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are also seeking comment on a proposal to remove some regulatory barriers to the development of automated systems. Martinez said this is part of the DOT’s overall approach to automated technology. “We’re not coming in here with a heavy hand. ... we are coming to listen and we’re coming with an invitation” to talk to the government, he said. “This is not going to be a top-down environment.” As part of its outreach, last year FHWA conducted a series of six workshops on AV integration with transportation stakeholders around the country. “... Safety was the main takeaway of all the workshops,” Nason said. “It will be critical to not only ensure safety when AVs are fully deployed, but also while they’re in the process of reaching full
Dataspeed also conducted outdoor automated vehicle demonstrations at AVS 2019.
deployment, especially during the testing and verification period.” FHWA has its own multi-modal research program, the Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Application (Carma) platform, an open-source platform that “is trying to accelerate cooperative driving automation” by blending communication technology with AV functionality. It has two components, Carma Platform and Carma Cloud. The platform lets automated vehicles communicate with smart infrastructure through Carma Cloud. It was made available as open-source software last year “and today we are launching an updated version of it. “Carma’s goal is to accelerate understanding of the benefits of cooperative automation by testing shared maneuvers such as vehicle platooning, speed harmonization, cooperative lane change and merge functions, [and] coordination of signalized intersections.” She noted that competitors are teaming to solve problems together, “and I think that’s the only way we will achieve success.”
SEPTEMBER 2019 | UNMANNED SYSTEMS