Emerging Standards for Connected Vehicles
Having just written about virtual healthcare and the future potential for biometric sensors sharing health data not only with the individual, but also with their provider and potentially a large health governance structures like the county, state, or federal government health departments, I couldn’t help but think about the data sharing parallels taking place today in the transformation under development in the transportation industry.
The following article called The V2X Standards, discusses the transportation industry standardization debate which focuses on how data generated from each connected vehicle, including speed, location, distance to objects in the vehicle’s environment, and so on will be communicated to all sorts of sensors, control systems, and other connected vehicles. On the other side is a 10 year old short-range communications technology based on Wi-Fi (802.11x) called Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC). On the other side is a new wide-area communication based on cellular technology called Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication.
Connected vehicles will transform how society transports individuals and groups as well as physical goods. Cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, and any other moving vehicle will be broadcasting information about location, direction, speed, and vehicle operational status, among other things. This is the broadcast side. Then on the receiving side will be transportation control systems and emergency management systems, city and state systems, and then for the individual, smart phone alerting apps about what’s going on around you. Improvements in safety for drivers, passengers, and all those in the travel as well as all those who are present within travel corridors will be the first significant return. Cost savings from smoother flowing traffic, reduced energy consumption, and reduced pollution will be the next significant return.
Several interesting dynamics are worth noting related to the digital transformation underway in the transportation industry. First, the emerging standards are being tackled globally, based on wide industry member participation, and in multiple industry segments. In the automotive industry, the 5G Automotive Association, and in telecommunications industry the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) are bringing together diverse players to create standards for global interoperability, security, and scalability. Second, the adoption of technology is being driven from the manufacturer direct to the consumer through the introduction of sensor-enabled Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) features. Every five to seven years, for most of us, we upgrade to a new vehicle that will include the newest generation of technology. The underlying sensor technology is proliferating, but now we need the networking standards to take hold. Finally, I believe that without a national / federal level strategy for standardization that also includes significant funding for implementation, the networked benefits resulting from a digitally transformed transportation grid may take decades to realize. If the US Federal Government would not only mandate smart traffic signal systems which work directly with VX2 broadcasting connected vehicles, for example, but also provided state grants for the infrastructure upgrade in all urban areas, then we could perhaps have a very intelligent transportation system in 5 to 10 years, not 25 to 50.
While I’m not sure we would want to have the same sort of real-time master control system in healthcare that we would want to have with connected vehicles for an intelligent transportation system, I think the device data sharing issues are similar. They will be similar at a technical level for sure. More importantly, I think they will be similar from a security perspective. For example, if I take the wheel of a car, I think it’s fair that my speed, location, vehicle operational status, and quality of my overall control of the vehicle be made publicly available via a connected vehicle broadcast alert, whether I like it or not. However, my intended destination or my personal demographics I believe should remain confidential. So perhaps the transportation industry may need to take a few lessons from the healthcare industry when it comes to creating a hierarchy of data sets and defining the privilege and access rights related to the coming digitally enabled intelligent transportation system.
I personally would love to see traffic lights or digital signs that know at 5:30 am when I’m the only one at the intersection, that I should be given the go-ahead to proceed! Come on President Trump. It would be huge!!