Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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33 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. A CENTRAL NETWORK While many people are focused on developing cars that can safely navigate through the network of roads, THE LINK TO THE BROADER CITY IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED, said Kurtis McBride, co-founder and CEO of Miovision. Driverless cars will need to safely and eff ciently make left hand turns into stores, for example, without waiting in a long que to do it. He believes there will need to be some sort of central coordinating authority that provides high level rules of how the road works. "You can't just get that from sensors loaded on a vehicle," McBride said. "It has to come from some sort of central operating system of the transportation operating network. The data used to model everything happening on a road, every speed limit and one-way street rule, has to be pulled into some sort of central repository. There's no digital network of what happens on the roads of a city that's current and maintained right now. It's a big piece of work to get that system built up." 94 % The percentage of crashes caused by human error. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation fast fact Getting the level of detail required for preci- sion mapping can be difficult, Sullivan said, and the amount of space needed to store the data grows by orders of magnitude. The cars will collect new data as they drive, and then push that data up to the cloud. The informa- tion will be used to regularly improve existing maps, and those updated maps will then be sent back to the cars. That's an infrastructure that will take time to build out, and it will take time to generate the mapping data. Other challenges While many people are excited about driv- erless cars and the possibilities they bring, not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea. Public opinion will either accelerate or slow down the transition, said David Coher, plan- ning commissioner in Pasadena, Calif., while regulations could also slow down the process. Not only will it take a while to implement new laws and policies that move the country toward driverless cars, but current regulations also may cause a hold up. The physical infrastructure is a public asset, minus a few toll roads, Coher said, and these roads have very set standards. The width of the lines and signs are regimented; he even experi- enced problems when neighbors wanted to add speed bumps to a street that, according to state regulations, can't have them. "When you have regulations that are so pre- cise as to what can and cannot occur on a block the city owns, but the city can't choose how to use, it makes it very difficult to make these changes," Coher said. "You have to go through the political process, which is designed to slow things down. So what I anticipate is more of the technological work arounds, which are going to be easier to develop than to work through the political process. I suspect it's going to be more about coming up with technological solutions to the lines in the street as they are. There is demand for the product and if you need to over- come that to get to market it's going to be easier to invest in R&D than to take the time with the lobbying required to make the changes." Not only that, as technologies develop, some communities might opt not to use them, maybe because of cost or simply because they don't want driverless cars on their streets. So while some cities will make the changes, others won't. "If it becomes contentious, making infra- structure changes will be difficult," Coher said. "If things go relatively smoothly infrastructure change will come quickly thereafter. Every- body will want to be part of that. Everybody will want to be an innovator and onboard. Then it will just be a funding challenge." The technology continues to evolve, and while it's something car manufacturers and software developers aren't used to, they're go- ing to have to come together to share informa- tion to make this a reality, Mueller said. In the driverless world, GM cars will have to talk to Ford, Chrysler and Nissan cars. Interoperabil-