C2SMART Hosts 6th NYC Symposium on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
As autonomous and connected vehicle technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, the question becomes not if a world of self-driving cars will become a reality, but when. But as widespread deployment approaches, increasingly urgent concerns about safety, security, privacy and legal issues surrounding connected and autonomous vehicles are emerging, as well as questions about how this mobility revolution will (or won’t) reshape cities and transportation systems.
In an effort to work toward some answers, C2SMART hosted the 6th NYC Symposium on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles on the NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s downtown Brooklyn campus. The event brought together engineers, researchers, government agency representatives, and a range of other speakers and attendees to weigh in on pressing issues involved in the real-world deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in cities.
Keynote speaker Steven Shladover from the University of California Berkeley PATH program brought more than four decades of experience in transportation engineering and pioneering research to his analysis of the practical challenges involved in deploying highly automated vehicles, starting with the problems with the very words used to talk about these vehicles. Shladover also reinforced the importance of developing automated vehicles that are connected, arguing that automation without connectivity will actually be bad for traffic flow, and potentially safety as well. His talk addressed the fact that connected vehicles can “talk” to each other, providing better, faster and richer information than sensors alone can.
The event also showed how these technologies are already becoming a reality in New York City through the city’s Connected Vehicle Project. The project, which C2SMART researchers are currently involved with, aims to improve the safety of travelers, including pedestrians, in the city through the deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connected vehicle technologies. Mohamad Talas, who is the Director of System Engineering at NYCDOT and supervises the NYC CV Project, gave an in-depth look at the project’s current status and the safety applications and devices they are developing. Jonathan Walker, Program Manager, Research and Demonstration at USDOT’s ITS Joint Program Office, offered some lessons learned from related Connected Vehicle Pilot projects in other locations around the country, including the complications involved in managing and securing the massive amounts of data that connected vehicles generate.
C2SMART Director Kaan Ozbay further delved into issues of cybersecurity, data and privacy, moderating a session that featured experts from NYCDOT and NYU Tandon, including Professors Shivendra Panwar and Siddharth Garg of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Professor Justin Cappos, Computer Science and Engineering. Other sessions focused on the impacts and issues related to CAVs beyond technology, such as presentations and land use and urban design impacts and a panel discussion on long-term policy implications. Evangelos Simoudis, founder and managing director of venture capital firm Synapse Partners, presented the business perspective, arguing that next-generation mobility will transform the value chains in transportation, logistics, and more, forcing existing players to adapt to new models.
Throughout the symposium, posters, videos and demos were on display outside the auditorium, highlighting related research by C2SMART students and the hardware involved in the New York City CV Project. A startup showcase moderated by Sarah Kaufman, Associate Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation rounded out the event, featuring pitches by ten mobility-focused startups to a panel of leading transportation industry innovators.
More information about the event, including a full agenda, presentations, and speaker bios, can be found on the symposium website. Full recordings of all of the sessions are available on the C2SMART Center’s Youtube channel.