Intel & Arizona Partner on Institute for Automated Mobility

Arizona, one of the nation’s most ambitious states for autonomous vehicle development and testing, is tapping tech giant Intel to help with liability and regulatory research, as well as construction of a 2.1-mile test track.

The public-private partnership, called the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), will also focus on the safety implications of AVs and will work with state agencies to develop standards and best practices for the industry to follow.

Intel is the first private organization to officially join the IAM, which also includes the state’s Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Commerce Authority, which will oversee the IAM.

Intel will work with its IAM partners and offer its Mobileye Responsibility Sensitive Safety (RSS) model as a starting point for building IAM platforms.

The RSS also serves as a set of verifiable mathematical formulas for what constitutes safe driving.

The idea is that an artificial intelligence that relies on these formulas can’t make driving decisions that violate the formulas.

The RSS model has already been deployed by Chinese tech giant Baidu in its Project Apollo and Apollo pilot programs for automated driving. Specifically, RSS is intended to keep vehicles in a “safe state” in which they are incapable of causing accidents.

“The safety of automated vehicles is essential to establish trust with consumers and governments so that we can all enjoy the multifold benefits they will deliver,” Jack Weast, senior principal engineer at Intel and vice president of automated vehicle standards at Mobileye, wrote in a statement.

Consumers’ enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles has declined in the past two years, even though they want semi-autonomous safety features, according to an August Cox Automotive Mobility Study.

Meanwhile, IAM’s academic partners — Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University — will conduct research and publish papers on safety-related topics, liability questions surrounding AVs involved in accidents, compensation models and safety standards.

When fully built out, the IAM will consist of facilities designed for research and testing scenarios, with a simulation lab as well as technology-neutral physical infrastructure offering multiple route configurations, intersections, signage and traffic signals.

“The Institute for Automated Mobility will bring together global industry leaders, a public sector team and the brightest minds in academia, focused on advancing all aspects of automated vehicle science, safety and policy,” Arizona governor Doug Ducey noted in a statement. “Arizona is committed to providing the leadership and knowledge necessary to integrate these technologies into the world’s transportation systems. ”

Arizona has long been a hotbed for AV testing, and has courted controversy thanks to its reputation as the “wild west” of self-driving car development. Uber moved development of such technology away from Arizona following the well-publicized fatal collision with a pedestrian that occurred there in March.

In August, supermarket giant Kroger announced Scottsdale, Ariz., would be the site of its autonomous vehicle grocery-delivery pilot program, while Waymo, the AV arm of Google parent company Alphabet, recently doubled the size of its operations center in Chandler.

The company says there are hundreds of participants in its early rider program and that more have joined it this summer.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *