Autonomous Trucking,Driver Assistance Systems,Safety Systems
You might recall presentations where I’ve discussed the 4-Is of active safety and future autonomy – Information, Intelligence, Intervention and Insight. These elements are how systems advance from simple active safety technologies through driver assistance systems to truly driverless vehicles. (Again, from my last post, driverless vehicles, in my mind, are still a long ways off! But, technology will continue to advance, helping drivers in new and different ways to do their jobs safely and securely… and, most importantly, to help them get home for dinner each night. )
A quick refresher on the 4-Is – Information, Intelligence, Intervention and Insight:
- Information: Sensors (such as wheel speed sensors, radars and cameras) and outside inputs deliver information to the system to enable it to understand what is happening with the vehicle and the surrounding circumstances.
- Intelligence: The algorithms and logic built into the electronic control unit (ECU) that takes the information from the sensors and determines what is happening and if any action by the system is warranted.
- Intervention: This is the action of the system – in the case of driver assistance, expanding autonomous features and eventually driverless, this is speed and direction variation to help manage and mitigate the situation.
- Insight: As these are electronic elements that communicate with each other they provide data on what is happening in a particular situation. This data can deliver insight to the fleet and driver which can be used to help better train drivers on specific issues, or better understand the circumstances in particular incident.
Now for the fifth I – Integrity. As the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) becomes more and more of a reality, it’s important to keep in mind how this system will play into advancing driver assistance technologies. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) (as well as infrastructure-to-vehicle communications) will enable vehicles to receive additional information into the system – information that initially will let the system know of the positions of surrounding vehicles, and additional information for the system as the ITS evolves. This means expanding gateways into the vehicle, which opens up the vehicle to potential hacking of the system and potential misuse of the vehicle.
We’ve all heard the horrific and tragic story of the lorry driver in Nice, France who drove his truck through a crowd watching Bastille day festivities and killed 84 people. We also know that the deranged driver was fully responsible for his actions. However, what if the truck had been hacked, causing the vehicle to drive into the crowd without the driver being able to control the situation. What if it was more than one vehicle? And, what if they were tanker trucks carrying explosive or flammable cargo? Very scary thoughts, indeed.
This is why the fifth-“I”, Integrity, is needed.
Integrity is the overarching “I” that is integral to each of the other 4-I’s. Integrity, according to dictionary.com, means:
- Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
- The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.
- A sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.
Each of the 4-Is needs to be considered from the perspective of the fifth “I”. The information coming into the system needs to unimpaired. The intelligence of the system needs to developed, tested and built as a whole to deliver the expected performance; the intervention needs to true and effective and the insight delivered must be clear and ethically correct. In fact, the system itself needs to be built with integrity – it has to be work properly and its function needs to be communicated and understood with clarity of what the system can, and most importantly, what the system cannot do. Lastly, the system must be built and tested with the correct security to do all in its power to prevent being hacked and used for unintended purposes.
Integrity, then, in the context of the 4, now 5-“I”s is really ensuring that the system is able to deliver the expected performance consistently, with appropriate protections integrated to avoid unintended consequences. In a nutshell – the system works as intended and cannot be interfered with except by the driver, as the driver is always in control. (Until that far off day when driverless vehicles are more common.)
While it may not always be possible to ensure the integrity of a driver, as in the case in France, it is incumbent on system and vehicle developers to do all in their power to ensure the integrity of the system.
Information, Intelligence, Intervention, Insight and now Integrity – the fifth “I”. Perhaps, arguably, the most important.
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