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Some Light New Year’s Reading for US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

by Roger Lanctot | Dec 27, 2013

Earlier this year I published in a blog a list of my recommended Top Ten priorities for the incoming Secretary of Transportion, Anthony Foxx. Secretary Foxx replaced the irascible Ray LaHood, known for prioritizing driver distraction mitigation measures and delaying implementation of the back-up camera mandate.

The blog led to a meeting with five representatives of the DOT at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC – two DOT engineers participated remotely via video link. Readers of the blog had the opportunity to offer their own recommendations in advance of that meeting and their thoughts, encompassing everything from V2X to parking to mileage-based taxation of road use, are compiled here.

The meeting with the DOT has not yet led to any specific outcomes, but the line of communication remains open. Readers of the blog had some powerful feedback, all of which reflect the wide range of thinking about regulating cars, reducing highway fatalities and congestion and accommodating mobile devices.

I have compiled the verbatim inputs here while removing identifying information of the respondents themselves. While some respondents were communicating to me, some addressed their comments directly to the DOT. All of the thoughts expressed here are worth reviewing on the eve of the new year.

 The candor and insights expressed in these comments is refreshing.

 Original blog post:  http://tinyurl.com/meud4m7 - A To-Do List for the new U.S. Transportation Secretary - Anthony Foxx

 The responses – in no particular order (and with some editing):

 Respondent A:  V2V a top priority

“In regards to V2X/DSRC, I agree that 14 years of research without any model of adoption has not helped the cause of DSRC. The key problem, however, that we must recognize is that V2X suffers from two issues - (1) "Fax machine syndrome" - i.e. you need a certain critical mass of cars with the system before anyone sees the benefits and (2) lack of development of infrastructure, i.e., the "V2I" component - that does not require the critical mass.

“Some kind of mandate would catalyze or at least partially mitigate the first problem - but I agree that this needs to happen sooner than later. Also adoption by fleets, emergency vehicles could help the cause and accelerate how consumers will start seeing the benefits.  Mandate also could work better if there is opportunity to articulate clear discernible  benefit - similar to how OEMs can have their products certified Five Star - if they include certain safety features and pass some specific tests.
“DOT's & all the ITS community should in their turn step up execution of the roadside unit installation. I have been hearing for too long that US does not have the funding prowess to do anything like what Japan has done.”

Respondent B:  U.S. falling behind

·         The US is a telecom/telematics laggard, despite many of the innovations occurring within its borders. Can the DOT provide incentives to increase innovation and remove barriers? – (Such an effort could be) much like what DOE is doing with the Green Button initiative.

·         It would be nice to see the Federal government demonstrating that they understand market conditions and recognize trends and act accordingly. It still feels like they are about 7 years behind current market position. What actions or steps do they have mapped out currently? What is the future state?

·         I would like to see NHTSA work with the FCC to create persistent data connections on the nations’ highways. This would not only supplement current “rural Internet” efforts, but act as an economic engine.

·         Driver distraction is a complex and multifaceted issue. Needs to be broken down into attackable segments. Not one big blob.

·         Consumers are increasingly seeking to customize their applications and experiences and to some respect, their persona through their cellphones/tablets. Bringing devices into vehicles is part of a bigger distraction issue. But this will not stop, so why does not the Federal government take a proactive approach, recognize that these devices are here to stay and seek to work with industry to either self-regulate or work in concert to create guidelines and not just take reactive positions with banning devices or seeking to create a standard which will be outdated by the time they are done… (long process, & costly).

Respondent C:  The power of voice

“Thank you for offering to provide xxx’s feedback to the  U.S. DOT via your meeting.  (We) believe in the power of voice technology to make people’s everyday lives easier and more productive. We ultimately strive to provide experiences that are so natural and intuitive that people don’t realize they’re interacting with technology. 

“As it relates to driver distraction, we believe voice technology vastly mitigates the disruption that accessing services in the car causes.  With that in mind, greater input into regulation by (the industry) would greatly facilitate and expedite the industry getting to a place where the right set of regulations guide the development of the right set of experiences. 

“As is called out in the blog, laws should be clearer about the types of interaction drivers can have with their phones in the car.  There is also more work to be done testing touch screen interactions and what the driver can enable while driving at high speeds versus when stationary, and as related, the optimal trade-offs between touch and voice.

“As automakers and technology companies evolve in their knowledge about what works best, there should be an ongoing and extensive conversation where those lessons inform regulation. And of course, there needs to be greater input from drivers themselves and studies that seek to find optimal ways of reducing distraction. (We) will continue to be a willing participant in those efforts.”

Respondent D:  Minimum gas mileage

“I am not in favor of a V2X connectivity mandate but rather look at it similar to a rear-view camera.  It's an option which if deployed in every vehicle would make driving safer but so do advanced crumple systems and anti-lock brakes.  Car companies differentiate through technology and make available as features which they in turn monetize through premium packages.  

“I am in favor however of minimum gas mileage standards.

“Regarding NHTSA driving distraction efforts, I am not familiar enough with them in the USA to comment.  I do believe it makes sense to have national comprehensive guidelines for all OEM's selling vehicles in the US.”

Respondent E:  Don’t touch your phone

#1 – Mandate: Do Not Touch Your Phone While Driving

Comment:  YES, in spades.  Totally too confusing with inconsistent results and wasted engineering and duplicate solutions.  Data on driving impact is solid.  PRIORITY A.

#2 – Endorse California legislation AB 397 for the creation of a VIN-based Next of Kin Notification database.

Comment:  Interesting, probably important, but not high on my list.  PRIORITY:  B/C.

#3 - Implement the back-up camera mandate.

AGREE totally.  Data is in, analysis done, cost is NOT as high as industry OEM and suppliers imply; besides implementation of smart radios and infotainment is approaching commoditization……and the flat screen will be paid for.  DO IT.  PRIORITY:  A.

#4 – Provide a legislative framework and guidelines for states to register and license self-driving cars with the sole requirement that drivers must be in the driver seat and responsible for control of the vehicle.

Yes good points, but down the curve in priority for me.  Got to keep the DOT focused on the immediate payback items…otherwise we'll lose 'em.  This one is ten to fifteen years away.  PRIORITY:  C

#5 – Initiate a process for mandating the installation of DSRC modules on commercial vehicles in FMCSA Classes 6, 7, 8.

Comment:  Yes, Yes, Yes.  Would love to see the data if this was enacted and supported with Class 6-8 in early 2000's and vehicles in 2003-5….in terms of how many vehicles on the road, the coverage, and the lives saved.  This is incredibly embarrassing that it has taken this long…..particularly given that the government in this case had the correct foresight to reserve the spectrum.  AGREE TOTALLY.  PRIORITY:  A

#6 – Require the installation of DSRC modules on all emergency and service vehicles.

See above logic in #5 and morph it for this one.  AGREE TOTALLY, this is NOT rocket science.  PRIORITY:  A

#7 – Add LTE and LTE Advanced modules to all current DSRC tests.

Yes, I agree totally….but am biased with work with client in the LTE space.  This is important but not critical.  PRIORITY:  B

#8 – Highlight elements of Next Gen 911 research focused on the acquisition of crash scene information including text, video, data and voice via smartphones.

Seems important but need more study and data for me.  Would give this one a NO VOTE.  Sorry for wishy washy vote.

#9 – Highlight app development intended to improve the functioning of all transit including public transportation, traffic information, schedules, traffic, car and ride sharing.

Yes, I would not have thought of this one.  Good stuff.  PRIORITY:  B

#10 – Roadside Bluetooth installations should be required to add DSRC.

Good point…..but lower priority.  PRIORITY:  C

Good luck and God speed, Secretary Foxx.  Now get to work!

Respondent F:  Prove the efficacy of DSRC

“The path of mandating V2X communications in vehicles should be pursued IF AND ONLY IF the INCREMENTAL SAFETY benefits of such technology justifies the INCREMENTAL COST of adding this technology WHEN COMPARED WITH A BASELINE OF WHERE WE WILL BE IN 3-5 YEARS WITH INDEPENDENT SENSORS AND SAFETY SYSTEMS. 

“The often quoted figure of addressing almost 80% of accidents involving unimpaired drivers is a useless and almost content-less statement.  First, about 1/2 of accidents involve impaired drivers, but some of those WOULD be prevented.  More important, the percentage that might be addressed is meaningless without an efficacy number.  Will we be actually preventing 90-100% of that 80%, or only 1-2%?  

“If there is sound evidence of a clear benefit, then the country needs to move ahead as rapidly as possible:

1) Rulemaking to set up a mandate for both light vehicles and trucks

2) Begin almost immediately to deploy the security and roadside infrastructure that is necessary to support deployment, AND that can provide immediate benefits, even if these are non-safety benefits, as V2V benefits will be a long time coming. Work with AASHTO, Need to demonstrate need to preserve at least a portion of the DSRC spectrum for dedicated safety use. People who buy such systems (even if mandated) will need to see benefits. 

3) Explore developing broad stakeholder support for additional targeted funding.  The Interstate system wasn't built by reallocating existing Federal aid funds.  If V2X can really save 10's of 1,000s of lives per year, it deserves at least 1/10th of what goes into Homeland Security.  

4) Do NOT get distracted by claims that DSRC is not needed.  There has been more than sufficient analysis to demonstrate the need for DSRC (or an equally capable alternative that is NOT 100% off the shelf).  DSRC is just a piece of the connected vehicle puzzle, with a large role for cellular data as well, but it is a required piece, especially for prevention of imminent crashes.

“If solid, sound, defensible quantitative data supporting a rulemaking decision is NOT there this summer, then do NOT move forward with a mandate.

“Automated Vehicles

Take a go slow approach with regard to National Regulation.  Monitor developments, provide expert support to states when asked, but do NOT rush to regulate until more is known or a significant safety problem develops.  National rules will be needed eventually, but setting national rules too early, or even providing overly restrictive authoritative guidance could significantly impede the development of this promising area, which has, in the long run, the potential to be much more revolutionary than connected vehicles.

“Eventually, we will have automated vehicles that communicate with one another and the roadside.  It is not an either / or proposition.  Connected vehicle technology is not made obsolete by automated vehicles, although its role and importance will evolve over time."

Respondent G:  Security, security, security

“The biggest issue as I see it - and I am literally 'seeing and touching' it this week at DefCon and Blackhat is the lack of security 'understanding' in V2X systems - hell we infected 2 major systems - got access to core CPU critical controls - and that was after we got complete control of the infotaiment so we can capture video from the rear camera - we can turn on/off systems lights, turn on safety indicators brake failure -and had we wanted we could have crashed a self-parking car.   You know who I am working with and those company names can't be disclosed - but if I had XX OS in my car  - or XXX OS or worse XXXX I would be worried.   As far as mission critical apps go - and NTSHA goes - candidly, lawmakers can't spell information technology security much less understand it - in part because there is not a 'true' testing laboratory that can independently validate technology that isn't influenced by a 'check' or as I call it pre-paid result studies....lol.

“Claiming security is a dangerous game - because for some it is a game - for others it’s an industry for which it is a day-to-day cat and mouse game which keeps the cash register ringing - I would strongly support a V2X hackathon to bring forward a group of legendary subject knowledge folks that could wake up the engineers and worse the sales folks selling mission critical safety on the beltway.

“XXX is of course CRUSHING things in the auto and mobile space - and I predict their solutions will be integrated with more major OEM's - we are in week 8 of testing - and so far nobody has been able to find an attack surface to go after.”

Respondent H:  Let the market decide

1 – Mandate: Do Not Touch Your Phone While Driving

Better to mandate bluetooth connectivity in a car.  unenforcable otherwise.  even I have been engrossed in a Bluetooth conversation in my car and driven past two exits on the beltway.

#2 – Endorse California legislation AB 397 for the creation of a VIN-based Next of Kin Notification database.

Sure do this then run a post office address correction/update system so that we can get license revokes off the road due to no insurance on car

#3 - Implement the back-up camera mandate.

Let the free market dictate this effort.  People who have kids and bikes in the driveway will buy it.  (Older demographics) won't care.

#4 – Provide a legislative framework and guidelines for states to register and license self-driving cars with the sole requirement that drivers must be in the driver seat and responsible for control of the vehicle .

Another pie-in-the-sky program.  There, as in telematics in general, will be revenue streams-but less than profitable.

#5 – Initiate a process for mandating the installation of DSRC modules on commercial vehicles in FMCSA Classes 6, 7, 8.

They tried this with radar detectors many years ago to warn on the radar detector display of highway repairs, and school bus stops.  There were not enough radar detectors deployed to make a difference. We are overthinking safety to justify jobs of regulators.

#6 – Require the installation of DSRC modules on all emergency and service vehicles.

Not enough deployment to receive the signals.  They can talk to each other only.

7 – Add LTE and LTE Advanced modules to all current DSRC tests.

It does not matter to me.

#8 – Highlight elements of Next Gen 911 research focused on the acquisition of crash scene information including text, video, data and voice via smartphones.

More ivory tower stuff.

#9 – Highlight app development intended to improve the functioning of all transit including public transportation, traffic information, schedules, traffic, car and ride sharing.

Let the free market run

#10 – Roadside Bluetooth installations should be required to add DSRC.

Are you trying to turn us into Europeans who have micromanaged lives.

Respondent I:  Private sector outreach

 

“Any chance they would construct a message about USDOT partnering with local government and private sector to create pilot scale programs around advanced transportation?  Funding to create a reasonable size area for proving connected car applications or other transportation innovations would help advance new solutions, provide exposure to municipal markets, open the door to research-industry collaboration, and provide valuable performance data on physical systems.”

Respondent J:  Do something

#1 – Mandate: Do Not Touch Your Phone While Driving

This is a good one, but may be unrealistic unless there are some complementary guidelines on what a person CAN do with their phone. i.e. people use their GPS and tablets – if the phone is not allowed to be touched what about all the other distracting things? How about something more simple – the phone either stays in your pocket/purse or it goes in a cradle…

#2 – Endorse California legislation AB 397 for the creation of a VIN-based Next of Kin Notification database.

Seems pretty straight forward.

#3 - Implement the back-up camera mandate.

Do back up accidents really warrant a huge change in the industry? Mandating this just adds cost to the product and thus to the consumer. Mandating this is a waste of time as people may just drive this option out due to their choices. Govt could spend their time elsewhere.

 

#4 – Provide a legislative framework and guidelines for states to register and license self-driving cars with the sole requirement that drivers must be in the driver seat and responsible for control of the vehicle.

Definitely need this.

 

#5 – Initiate a process for mandating the installation of DSRC modules on commercial vehicles in FMCSA Classes 6, 7, 8.

 

#6 – Require the installation of DSRC modules on all emergency and service vehicles.

 

#7 – Add LTE and LTE Advanced modules to all current DSRC tests.

 

#8 – Highlight elements of Next Gen 911 research focused on the acquisition of crash scene information including text, video, data and voice via smartphones.

This doesn’t seem all that feasible. It would require a fairly aggressive set of standards for smartphone apps that collect this information. I think a better route would be to have this as a data standard for any device that is plugged into the vehicle for the sole purpose of collecting driving data (i.e. OBDII devices)

 

#9 – Highlight app development intended to improve the functioning of all transit including public transportation, traffic information, schedules, traffic, car and ride sharing.
Don’t think the govt needs to get into this one.

 

#10 – Roadside Bluetooth installations should be required to add DSRC.

No comment on this one

 

Respondent K:  Use existing technology

“Not sure – as a Brit – that my contribution would be welcome. Last time this happened you guys chucked some tea into a harbour!

“I’ve seen this argument roll out here in 2005 – 2008 as the UK government were lobbied by road side infrastructure (RSI) providers like Kapsch.

“My problem with DSRC and Bluetooth is that any RSI is hugely expensive and a sole use technology.

“Why not use M2M, Cloud and mAnalytics technology and simply add these as an additional set of applications using the wider set of technologies.”

Respondent L:  Prioritize automated driving

1. No direct interaction with the phone’s display or buttons. We think that this is really important

2. Automated driving is big for senior citizens and others. I want to be able to drive until I'm 125. Google is doing a great job at this. 

3. Safety, safety, safety

4. Automatic notification!!! 

I'm most impressed that you are pushing this. Please let me know if as a technologist that is not running a part-taking big company I can help you in any way. 

Respondent M:  Back off

  1. What if the phone is mounted in the vehicle. more specifically, how is a phone mounted to a dashboard any different than touching an OEM or aftermarket touchscreen that is bolted into a car.
  2. What if the vehicle is stopped/parked/off but keys in ignition
  3. What if you are using your phone as a phone?
  4. Carve out emergency situations?
  5. Common sense check… if most cars only have Bluetooth or AUX in… are you telling consumers to not listen to music in the car? What do you think they are going to do? A few states used to have laws (Utah for example) that it’s only a crime/offense if you do something else bad while you are on the phone… e.g. if you are texting and driving, fine… but if you get in an accident, or swerve, or something like that, you get in BIG trouble…

Respondent N:  Accommodate phones safely

“Thanks for reaching out on this!  The below are my personal viewpoints.  I copy a few of my colleagues and partners in case they have diverging opinions or want to add or elaborate on anything.

“As the benefits of V2X are potentially massive, but widely dispersed throughout society (reduced congestion and improved traffic efficiency, better ability to manage the wear-and-tear of the physical infrastructure, fewer accidents resulting in saved lives, reduced insurance costs, etc.,) I do believe some kind of government mandate or at least government push (e.g., crash rating bias) is justified.  This is coming from someone who philosophically is opposed to most forms of government interference in private enterprise.   But here we have a situation in which the biggest beneficiaries are not necessarily the parties who will bear the brunt of the costs of implementation.  The situation is further complicated in the U.S. by the omnipresent fear of litigation.  Therefore, I put my vote squarely in favor of government mandate (or push) for V2X.

“Having said that, it is my sincere hope that US industry does not sit on its hands and wait for such a mandate, but that it borrow a few pages from the European model of cooperation between industry and government to just get things moving. 

“On Driver Distraction legislation.  No one can be in favor of driver distraction!  Texting while driving is simply criminal.  However, the attempts that I have seen so far tend to be very clumsy broad brush attempts (it is illegal in California to touch your smart phone while driving, regardless of the intent or purpose, since to a police officer this cannot be distinguished from texting or non-hands-free calling.  However, it is perfectly legal to touch your Tom-Tom or Hertz-Never-Lost.   Smart-Phones can be a significant enhancement to existing safety systems in the car (I don’t believe they can be replacements for safety critical systems, but they can enhance them, and in the absence of a telematics system, why not let someone use their smart phone for this?), and there is a risk that the US Government may throw this baby out with the driver-distraction-bath-water.

“Furthermore, some studies have suggested that a certain amount of “distraction” actually enhances the driver’s ability to concentrate and react to his or her environment (I believe it was Delphi that did that study, but maybe they were quoting someone else).  So there needs to be an element of common sense put into these regulations.”

Respondent O:  Mileage-based taxation

“My only addition to your excellent list would be for the US DOT to take the lead in considering new ways to collect highway taxes other than from the gasoline pump.  As the fuel efficiency in gasoline vehicles improves, along with the growth of hybrid and electric vehicles, the US DOT and state departments of transportation must begin taking concrete steps to accommodate decreased revenues from gasoline collections.  When we read about gas tax alternatives, we usually hear about the challenges of hardware and connectivity costs for collecting taxes based on vehicle miles driven.  As you may be aware, XXX has solutions to measure accurate and validated vehicle mileage without the need for expensive hardware.  Accurately measuring actual road useage, and collecting taxes accordingly, is the most fair and equitable means of paying for our highway infrastructure.”

Respondent P:  Do something

#1 – Mandate: Do Not Touch Your Phone While Driving

Support -- dock n lock but let it integrate

#2 – Endorse California legislation AB 397 for the creation of a VIN-based Next of Kin Notification database.

Don't support but get contact call on all mobile devices

#3 - Implement the back-up camera mandate.

Obvious, easy and safe. Just do it

#4 – Provide a legislative framework and guidelines for states to register and license self-driving cars with the sole requirement that drivers must be in the driver seat and responsible for control of the vehicle.

Support with a window of time for re-evaluation so technology matures we are not having to fight the Hill

#5 – Initiate a process for mandating the installation of DSRC modules on commercial vehicles in FMCSA Classes 6, 7, 8.

Absolutely support

Respondent Q:  In-vehicle gateway

“What is missing is a mechanism to stimulate aftermarket innovation in vehicle telematics.  

“What I would propose is to mandate a native wireless CAN bus interface with access control by OEM.  This way aftermarket devices could access all relevant vehicle information as long as access UN/PW is obtained through the OEM.  

“I would also expand the required supported data set on the OBD port to include VIN and Odometer

“Further I would recommend that vehicles will be rated on mileage and emissions based on actual data to complement lab testing for new models.  This could create a commercial motivation for vehicle maintenance and proper tire inflation.“

Respondent R:  Release Safety Pilot results

“I think the #1 thing that I would communicate to the USDOT is to release results from the Safety Pilot program sooner rather than later.  I think the lack of hard data on how the trial is going is creating uncertainty.  I appreciate that they do not want to release results until they have checked and double-checked them, but they are creating an information vacuum which acts counter to their goals.”

Respondent S:  Expand the Internet

“This is a great initiative! Though I have yet to visit the referenced URL, I am supposing that it also provides the opportunity for proposing complement or alternative ideas to fill the gaps.

“My personal opinion (as you may know since my presentation at XXX though technically, there are other more cost-effective solutions, I consider the DOT-driven NHTSA mandate on a DSRC-based V2V deployment is a great opportunity for increasing the reach and the performance of the Internet.

“The vision is, each DSRC-equipped car is a mobile Internet node. In addition to the thus-created multiple business opportunities for non-safety applications, there are many direct benefits such as (1) easing the pressure of spectrum scarcity, and (2) each car owner will own a piece of the broadband wireless Infrastructure...

“I have started to promote the vision through cooperation with entities that understand the Internet. I would be glad to associate you with this initiative.”

Respondent T:  Need more standards

“While I certainly agree with mandate #1, I think it needs to go beyond that.  I bought a new vehicle a few months ago (a Prius) and even without looking at my phone the options that now are available on the dash are amazing.  Even for someone who should know better, the temptations to use the technology while driving are hard to resist.  I don't see a way to put the genie back in the bottle so it's important DOT support research to make these services safer to use in the vehicle.  Part of it is improving the voice recognition technology.  While that is far better than it once was, I find it still has a difficult time understanding me and encourages me to bypass the voice commands and use the touch screen.

“While individual automakers will want to differentiate their offerings, it would be helpful if some standards were created so there's not a whole new learning curve each time you get into a new vehicle. 

Respondent U:  Prioritize parking

“My opinion re V2X is non-specific. I prefer extreme autonomy (more "V" and less "X"), but I suspect some X is necessary, especially during the 25-30 years during which non-equipped vehicles will be permitted on the road. I do not like fixed, physical infrastructure.  It slows progress and it often forms road hazards.  In addition, "X" is paid by the taxpayer (increasingly from the general fund, "V" is paid by the vehicle purchaser (unless subsidized, which is a separate conversation).  I like "driver-pays".  That keeps roads sustainable (I am pro-car).

“I would like to see a program to force non-compliant vehicles off the road on a sooner rather than later schedule. At least off some roads. Start with highways over a certain speed, then increase the speed on the roads that have compliant vehicles only.

“There is still not enough attention paid to parking.  (V2X is about speed, efficiency and safety, but we still don't know what to do with our vehicles when we arrive). The Value Pricing programs supported by FHWA re LA Express Park and Washington DC's project for metered curbside parking are notable exceptions. USDOT should expressly encourage a speed up to fully digital credentials for parking (smart phone, autonomous meters, in-car meters and other methods that eschew curb-side meters).  

“Called "asset-lite parking, DOT should encourage cities to evolve block-face by block-face to in-car metering (includes smart phone, of course), and the gradual end of time-limited free parking.  This can be done by promoting standards, subsidizing data gathering and analytics for variable pricing, progressive pricing and the move from "free-parking" (to maximize congestion) to "demand-based pricing" (to minimize congestion) then to "market pricing" (what the market will bear, to maximize municipal revenue).

“USDOT should set a proposed date of 2025 or 2030 for the removal of all curbside machines dispensing parking credentials (except at tourist kiosks, but even then such credentials could be purchased on-line by visitors), in US cities with a population over 50,000. The reliance on these machines prevents cities from developing truly flexible demand-management programs.  Point out that the digital wallet adds pressure on cities to move strongly toward digital credentials.

“Point out that in 2025 the curbside parking meter is no more necessary than the public phone booth.”

Respondent V:  Leverage LTE

 

• In my perspective the 4G / cellular is underrated in the V2X space. Today’s cellular network’s can’t do everything that DSRC can, e.g. in terms of latency. But they can do some things and they are ready for use today. Using them for some, non-critical use-cases would open an opportunity to get the whole idea of V2X started, especially business cases that would give the players in the field an incentive to be a first mover.

• US DoT’s activities have been focusing on V2V recently. In my perspective this is the wrong strategy. There are V2I use cases (e.g. based on cellular) which could give the early adopters among our customers a benefit from day one. All the discussion has circled too much around a government mandate and too less about incentives for early adopters to overcome the “chicken and egg problem”.

• I’ve worked the last three years in the space of V2I over cellular. Unfortunately I can’t share details at this time, but we’ve made astonishing advances by tapping into city’s traffic management systems. It’s a pity the government completely ignores this path. Your recent article was spot-on! (http://blogs.strategyanalytics.com/AMCS/post/2013/02/03/The-key-to-safer-more-efficient-intersections-resides-in-the-smartphone.aspx)

• I see no strategy whatsoever to integrate the classic telematics world with the DSRC world. It seems like these are two separated worlds that don’t even talk with each other. What we need is a holistic approach, which integrates all available technologies into a common ecosystem. DSRC and 4G-based telematics are too close to ignore each other.

• One common misconception of DSRC is that the OEMs would build autonomous safety systems that completely rely on it. The truth is we won’t. We will always require a DSRC signal to be confirmed by a vehicle sensor before our system would take action autonomously. This limits the usefulness of DSRC.

• Cellular networks will support device-to-device (D2D) communication in the foreseeable future. This will allow devices (e.g. smartphones) to communicate directly, without a cell tower present. No extra radio is need for that - it will be integrated in the cell phone chips. This technology will bring cellular even closer to DSRC. Together with the trend towards autonomous vehicles, which do not need DSRC, this might kill DSRC.

The bottom line is that in my perspective the window of opportunity for DSRC is already closing. It's too little and too late what we've seen so far. Better or similar useful technologies will be available soon. We should move the focus to them.

One more statement regarding the DSRC world: it seems to me that over a decade of government funding has created an 'ecosystem' of companies, consultants and researchers who make a living from keeping the stream of tax payers money going. They shouldn't have too much of a voice regarding the decision about the next steps. To say it with a German idiom: "Don't ask the frogs if you want to drain the swamp.”

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