Yesterday’s Opening Plenary saw Google’s Chris Urmson (pictured) give the keynote address and ITS America announcing the winners of its 2015 Best of ITS Awards. Urmson told the packed auditorium that Americans collectively waste the equivalent of 162 lifetimes every day while stuck in traffic, creating a need for Google’s self-driving car.
He also said that test drivers were told that the prototype vehicle they were in could fail at any point yet started to trust the tech after just 15 minutes. Soon they were relaxed enough to enjoy the opportunity to do other things while traveling.
He also told of the difficulties in developing reliable systems to detect the world around them, including cyclists’ hand signals and knowing the difference between the flashing lights on a police car and those on a school bus. However, he said there remains the need to recognise anomalous situations that might arise – including a duck running around the road pursued by a lady in a mobility scooter.
Afterwards, The Best of ITS Awards presentation recognised projects that demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes and exemplified innovation by establishing a ‘new dimension of performance.
Oregon DOT won the Best New Innovative Products, Services or Applications award for its ‘OR 217 Active Traffic Management’ for implementing ITS including as queue warning, variable advisory speed signs and grip sensors to counter some 200 accidents per year.
The Sustainability and Transportation award honoured Utah DOT’s ‘Winter Road Weather Index’ project while Cubic Transportation Systems and the Chicago Transit Authority took the Partnership Deployment award for its ‘Chicago Transit Authority Ventura Update: Open and Loving It’ project. Qualcomm Technologies and Honda R&D Americas won the Research, Design and Innovation award for their ‘DSRC-based-Vehicleto- Pedestrian and Other Vulnerable Road User Safety Project.’
ITS America’s President and CEO, Regina Hopper said: “These companies are moving the industry forward and proving that they will improve our quality of life.”