Safety and interoperability are key components of the next generation of transportation, which will feature autonomous capabilities that rely on sensors and other smart devices to connect vehicles to each other and to the surrounding infrastructure. Testing and validation will be incredibly important components of the journeys that connected cars take from assembly lines to roadways.

The industry is rising to the challenge. In the realm of certification testing to ensure interoperability and reliability for connected cars, UL, a global safety-science organization, recently announced its UL-Novi facility in Detroit, Mich., is now an OmniAir Authorized Test Laboratory to conduct certification testing for DSRC (dedicated short-range communications) and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) devices. The OmniAir Consortium is an industry association promoting interoperability and certification in ITS (intelligent transportation systems), tolling, IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, and connected vehicles.

By helping manufacturers assess their V2X devices in a controlled environment, testing ensures these devices will perform as expected in the real world, e.g., by seamlessly interoperating with other devices using DSRC wireless technology. In the future, autonomous vehicles will increase the need for this type of testing; the stakes for miscommunication will be higher when vehicles are making decisions based on the data they receive from other connected vehicles.

Testing not only contributes to the interoperability of V2X devices and connected cars but also to their safety and reliability, which helps build trust in these machines. Trust is a much-needed component to the future adoption of autonomous vehicles, and pilot studies that demonstrate both safety and convenience will go a long way toward achieving this trust for consumers and beyond.

In one example, Bosch and Daimler are expanding their partnership to pilot a test fleet of driverless vehicles in California. While the companies haven’t announced the exact location for the pilot yet, they’re saying in the second half of 2019, a “major city in the Silicon Valley” will become the testing ground for a shuttle service with automated vehicles. Within a defined city area, users will be able to order an autonomous car-sharing vehicle, and the test will help cities start to figure out how autonomous vehicles can be integrated into their multi-modal transportation networks.

NVIDIA will supply the AI (artificial intelligence) platform that helps enable the partners’ control unit network. Daimler says the network of control units collates data from all sensors with radar, video, Lidar, and ultrasound technology, evaluates this data, and then plans the movements of autonomous vehicles—all within milliseconds.

Thoroughness must come before speed to market when it comes to autonomous vehicles, though, and thoroughness is the goal of certification testing and pilot projects that put technologies to work in the real world. For AV (autonomous vehicle) systems in particular, these systems must be safe, dependable, and mature before they’re brought to market; that’s simply the only way forward. After all, the goal is to eliminate road injuries and fatalities, and only well-tested machines will be able to accomplish this when the time is right for AVs.

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