Which countries and jurisdictions are most ready for autonomous vehicles? What does AV readiness look like?
KPMG’s Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index — now in its third year — asks this question, evaluating how 30 regions are adopting driverless technology and preparing for the “ubiquity” of AVs. The index measures countries and jurisdictions across 28 indicators to determine their readiness and progress. Framing these indicators are four pillars: policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure, and consumer acceptance.
Which countries and jurisdictions are best prepared for #AVs and what does it mean to be ready? These questions power the KPMG 2020 #AutonomousVehicles Readiness Index. https://t.co/oEkkRBXxbz pic.twitter.com/5gQU1Vq174
— KPMG (@KPMG) July 8, 2020
Making up the top 5 regions best positioned to advance AV are:
- Expanded AV testing, covering all roads in Western Singapore.
- Incentives to purchase EVs, plus an increase in charging points.
- Leads the index in consumer acceptance, and policy and legislation pillars.
- The Netherlands
- Most EV charging stations per capita.
- Extensive AV testing, with 81% of people living near a testing site.
- Increased its use of smart road furniture (eg. traffic lights).
- Increased use of AVs, as several bus routes in Oslo are now driverless.
- The majority of passenger vehicles bought in Norway in 2019 were battery or plug-in hybrids.
- Testing of AVs in extreme weather.
- United States
- Second only to Israel on technology and innovation. (420 AV company headquarters)
- American companies are leading the AV development pack. (eg. Apple, Google, GM, and Ford)
- Detroit and Pittsburgh are included in the index’s ‘Cities to Watch’ section, for their work in introducing and promoting AVs.
- Highest ratings for AV-specific regulations.
- The country’s entire road network is open for AV trials.
- Helsinki (a ‘City to Watch’) and Espoo both operate public AV bus services.
- Thanks to the legacy of Nokia, the country is home to top digital talent — specifically engineers.
— KPMG (@KPMG) August 5, 2020
Alongside Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Helsinki as ‘Cities to Watch’ are Beijing (investing $50M to develop a 100 square km AV testing zone ahead of the 2022 Olympics) and Seoul (working with Hyundai on widespread AV testing).
Additional insights include:
- Five countries were added to the index for 2020: Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Italy, and Taiwan.
- 17 of the 25 jurisdictions profiled in the 2019 AVRI increased their scores in 2020.
- Piloting and testing are expanding. Approximately two-thirds of the indexed regions have areas designated or approved for testing.
“We’ve just begun to see the transformational potential of AV technology,” explains Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure for KPMG International. “Immense progress has been made on AVs operating more safely and effectively.”
Threlfall goes on to explain how COVID-19 and the resulting new ways of moving people and products, could expand the importance of AV. Crowded public transit, he suggests, “could be partially relieved by on-demand, autonomous minibusses to promote social distancing, while AVs for shipping can meet the demand for contactless delivery.”
Who will control the data from autonomous vehicles?
Self-driving cars, like many inventions of the data-driven age, collect huge volumes of data, relating to the performance of the car and geospatial information. Who will, and who should, own this data? A new study assesses the importance.
Researchers from Dartmouth College have questioned the ownership of data in relation to autonomous vehicle technology. As self-driving cars advance, there will be a vast quantity of data amassed from navigational technologies. This leads to important questions that need to be asked about data privacy, ownership, cybersecurity and public safety. This is in the context of the mapping data being collected and analysed by the companies that manufacture the navigation technology.
One use that companies will make of the collected geospatial data is to develop and design new maps. These are produced through sophisticated and proprietary combinations of sensing and mapping technologies. These technologies feature continuous, multimodal and extensive data collection and processing.
Such maps will be able to identify the spaces within which people live and travel. While this can help to promote technological innovation, it raises privacy questions. The researchers are calling on the developers of the ‘black boxes’ that will be integral to autonomous cars to be more open as to what happens with the data and for the navigation devices themselves to have greater transparency.
“Self-driving cars have the potential to transform our transportation network and society at large. This carries enormous consequences given that the data and technology are likely to fundamentally reshape the way our cities and communities operate.”
The new research paper proposes that governments should enact legislation that allows future autonomous cars users to unlock the ‘black box’ and understand what data is being used for and why. As León states: “oversight of the self-driving car industry cannot be left to the manufacturers themselves.” The paper also calls for developers to use open-source software, which will enable an understanding of what is happening with the data.
There is also a call for greater understanding of security risks and the extent that data can be taken from car navigation systems.
The discussion has been developed in a paper published in the journal Cartographic Perspectives. The research paper is titled “Counter-Mapping the Spaces of Autonomous Driving.”
Blockchain can reduce supply chain risks
In the world of modern businesses, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and such complexity increases as supply chains cross multiple countries and involve multiple interfaces with third parties. To address this, many are turning to blockchain.
According to Supply Chain Management Review, upstream are the suppliers who create goods and services used in a company’s own operations, such as raw components or materials. The downstream supply chain efficiently distributes a company’s products or services to its customers. Each stage, both upstream and downstream, needs to be proactively managed to minimize quality, financial, confidentiality, operational, reputational and legal risks.
Mounting supply chain challenges for businesses
The challenge faced in the modern, interconnected world is the growing complexity of supply chains. This complexity presents risks, and these include goods falling outside of required storage parameters and the risk of contamination or counterfeiting. It is incumbent upon the manufacturer to perform a risk assessment, which can involve:
- Understanding which products are transported and to where.
- Breaking the transportation chain into steps.
- Assessing each step from sender to recipient. Consider what will happen should delays arise at any stage of the transport route.
- Assessing for how long the cargo remains at each step.
- Assessing effectiveness of anti-counterfeiting measures and how these can be assessed? Such as by using anti-tamper proof locks or seals.
- Considering environmental conditions at each step (this may need to extend to seasonality).
- Understanding the impact of temperature and humidity.
- Understanding the suitability of the container.
- Understanding the impact of shock and vibration on the goods and the packaging. For example, how robust is the packaging? Have drop and rotation tests been performed?
Blockchain offers innovative solution
Many companies are now seeking to address these risks with blockchain technology. In terms of addressing supply chain risks, blockchain enables the transmission of data and information to all users of the supply chain network on a real-time basis. This means that when goods move from point A to point B, all of those in the supply chain are made aware at the same time. Should a change occur, such as a switch to a different distributor every actor is made aware and the system can be configured so that each party would need to agree such a change.
A second benefit is with the secure transmission of correct information between the users of the supply chain network. The cryptographic nature of this builds in security into the information exchange. A third example is with a bridge to the Internet of Things and devices like radio-frequency identification( RFID) transmitters. This is a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels are securely and digitally captured by a reader via radio waves. Blockchain can be especially handy in linking physical goods to serial numbers, bar codes, digital tags like RFID.
Based on these benefits, some distributors are searching for ways to leverage blockchain innovations to increase profits and strengthen relationships across the supply chain.
BMW pushes the limits of the IoT
BMW is taking an “adapt or die” approach to the forces threatening to reshape the automotive industry.
These days, if you’re an established automaker, there are a lot of forces threatening to reshape your industry in ways that could undermine your ability to compete. From the rush to electrify, to the importance of in-cabin tech, to the slow but steady arrival of autonomous vehicles, it’s a highly dynamic time in the auto industry. BMW, the European luxury powerhouse that can trace its roots back to 1916, sits directly in the crosshairs of these disruptive forces.
Taking an “adapt or die” approach, the carmaker has had to investigate new technologies across its entire business. Many of these efforts have involved the IoT, starting with its rethinking of the manufacturing process. According to Stephen Ezell, VP with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, “BMW has set a goal of knowing the real-time status of all major production equipment at each company that produces key components for each of its vehicles.” To accomplish this, the company’s parts vendors have installed IoT sensors at their facilities, and allowed BMW to access this real-time data, which it uses to augment its own production data. Now, a delay at a provider can be addressed as soon as it becomes known, not days or weeks later.
The IoT road isn’t always a smooth one however. As carmakers increasingly connect their vehicles to the internet, cars face the same risk of malicious, unauthorized access as PCs, routers, or other connected devices.
Earlier this year, a team at Keen Security Lab, discovered 14 different vulnerabilities in BMW’s connected cars, stemming from its use of QNX, an embedded OS with an otherwise excellent track record for security. In a similar security vein, car manufacturers like BMW must now wrestle with how ownership of, and access to, a car’s data should safely change hands when a car is re-sold.
These speed bumps notwithstanding, there’s still gold in the IoT hills for BMW. Its recent acquisition of Parkmobile could produce a massively valuable data source, as it tracks the parking and commuting habits of thousands of drivers. As BMW evaluates the future of car ownership — especially the subscription models that are gaining favour — such an IoT investment could prove critical to a successful evolution.
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