Did traffic fatalities go up or down from 2020 to 2021? If you caught my February 15 episode of The Peggy Smedley Show, then you know the answer. Roughly 31,720 people died in motor vehicle crashes from January through September of last year, which is an increase of roughly 12% from the 28,325 fatalities projected in the first nine months of 2020. What I would like to focus on for this blog is how we—as a technology community—are going to fix it.
As I have suggested, we need to leverage technology in order to curb these traffic deaths, and we need to leverage autonomous and connected vehicles. While much work is already being done, we are still very much in the early days. Here’s what is needed next: standards, standards, standards.
Let’s take a peek behind the curtain to see what is currently happening with our connected vehicles. As one example, Parkopedia has joined the Navigation Data Standard Assn., which provides a worldwide standard for map data in automotive ecosystems. This can be used for navigation.
Parkopedia’s data collection technology includes proprietary software, computer visions, and AI (artificial intelligence) to provide detailed parking information such as cost, opening hours, parking restrictions, and EV (electric vehicle) charger status for more than 70 million parking spaces in 89 countries. This can then predict realtime parking or charger availability at the driver’s estimated time of arrival.
Here’s the challenge, the navigation experience for drivers often ends at the entrance of any indoor underground parking facility due to lack of GPS. In 2020, Parkopedia demonstrated AVP with HD maps of indoor car parks using vision-based localization techniques based on artificial landmarks. Now, the company uses natural landmarks to guide drivers to the most likely available parking spot, as well as minimizes the overall journey time.
In this case, a map data standard is key if we want the navigation experience to continue inside parking facilities. Parkopedia’s HD maps will now comply with the Navigation Data Standard global specifications, such as data model, storage format, interfaces, and protocols, allowing for simple adoption by automakers for in-car navigation, ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), and e-horizon safety programs.
This is simply one example of how our vehicles—and our cities—are becoming more connected. My point here is this: Everything in our cities is becoming connected. We now have access to nearly every data point we need to make driving in our cities more convenient and safer. The next step will be taking all the advances with technology and using it to help make a real impact—like bringing those 31,720 deaths to zero, hopefully by the 2050 target date, if not sooner.
With technology, we can make real change happen. I am glad to see a company, like Parkopedia, which I have been writing about since as far back as 2013, and its efforts with Volvo, is working to continue to make our journey better. Here’s a company that has been true to its mission and has kept its eye on the prize. We need more companies focused on the road ahead in an effort to keep us safe in whatever role we all play.
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