The AUTOPILOT project (Automated driving Progressed by Internet Of Things) was featured during the discussions at a Special Interest Session on the Benefits of IoT and Big Data for Automated Driving and User Trust Challenge attended by experts at the ITS World Congress in Montreal, Canada on October 31st.

With more than 10,000 attendees and spanning over five days, the ITS World Congress is the main forum of discussion on the future of intelligent transport today.

The session addressed the expected benefits from the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data in improving the safety and reliability of automated vehicles, and looked at future challenges.

How can the increase in performance of automated vehicles be evaluated? How do we measure user acceptance for these new technologies, and address concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity – in order to ensure users will trust automated vehicles and connected objects?

Participants set out to answer these questions, and in the process learned about the large-scale pilot activities expected to address these crucial issues.

Project coordinator François Fischer presented the AUTOPILOT approach starting with the question “what does society think?” . AUTOPILOT will provide a common methodology for pilot test activities, prepare all pilot sites for test activities, and complete pilot tests and collect data for evaluation.

Mr. Fischer presented several practical applications for AUTOPILOT.  One application looks at deployment Level 4 autonomous urban driving, featuring Renault Twizy 1-seater vehicles for international tourists in the gardens of the Versailles Castle, cohabiting with pedestrians and cyclists. Other applications include Level 3 highway driving with 4-seater passenger cars on the Livorno-Florence highway, using sensors on the road to detect road surface hazards (ice, oil) and a C-ITS-enabled Traffic Control Centre to send warnings to vehicles equipped with a C2X onboard unit.

In this context, acceptance of IoT is key, as the technology is new and intangible; while autonomous driving is a very recent development. The question is therefore how users, stakeholders and society in general will adapt. Cybersecurity, the risk of data theft, and the collection of personal data through the IoT environment are commonly cited as the most critical threats that could potentially deter users.

The AUTOPILOT approach to evaluating user acceptance focuses on trial runs, followed by experience assessments and design feedback, which will in turn inform design changes. The process will take into account geographical differences in the six pilot site regions, and assess both individual acceptance and social acceptance.

User acceptance includes perceived usefulness, as well as perceived safety benefits, ease of use, perceived control of the system, perceived trust in the system, user access to and control over data, and the mental workload required to operate the system.

In addition to this session, François Fischer was invited to present the work of AUTOPILOT at the AASHTO International Day at a specific session on field deployment of autonomous vehicles. Organised by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Operations Center for Excellence (NOCOE) in partnership with the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC), the event brings together transportation officials from around the world to take on topics of consequence addressing the transportation challenges and opportunities facing public agencies.