By Shailen Bhatt, President & CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Let’s face it — we all use too many acronyms in general… BTW, I’ll BRB, gotta send the ICYMI. And it’s certainly alphabet soup time for intelligent transportation — starting with ITS.

Connectivity in transportation brought about a whole new set of acronyms — V2V, V2I, V2P, V2X. These are all part of our language — and while it’s likely not many people outside our industry know the acronyms, their importance can’t be overstated.

Both the inaugural and current issues of #talkITS had a very compelling story about Teddy Vagias, whose mission is to advocate for zero fatalities on U.S. roadways. Tragically, Teddy’s son Leo was killed in a car crash, along with Leo’s best friend. It happened on Father’s Day. It’s a terrible story — but what’s worse is there were more than 37,000 other tragic stories in 2016 because that’s how many people lost their lives on America’s roads that year.

Teddy wrote about the role autonomous vehicles could play in dramatically reducing that unacceptable loss of life. He’s absolutely spot on. In the past, automotive safety technologies focused on protecting drivers and passengers after a crash. Technology has now evolved to the point that crashes can be prevented. Automated vehicle technology is the best tool in our toolbox to drastically reduce and potentially eliminate the 94 percent of crashes caused by human error.

However, we also need connected vehicles, vehicles that can communicate with each other (V2V), with the infrastructure (V2I), and with all road users (V2X). The sooner we have more connected vehicles on the roads, the sooner we can save more lives — and improve mobility.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) recently launched a V2X Task Force to look at new technologies and their impact on transportation safety, security, and interoperability. Many of ITS America’s members have introduced or are developing V2X technology based upon standards that ITS America helped establish within the Federal Communications Commission.

Toyota announced in April that it will deploy V2X Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems in Toyota and Lexus vehicles starting in 2021. This, along with GM’s commitment to V2X DSRC in the 2017 interim model year, was a major step forward.

ITS America has long advocated for a common nationwide standard in V2V and V2I communications, understanding that interoperability will drive innovation. New technologies continue to change the transportation landscape, and we hope the task force will build the momentum needed to expand deployment of this lifesaving technology.

We also need a relentless focus on cybersecurity and privacy, something else we’ve been working on at ITS America. By the time you read this piece, plans will be well underway for a summit we are hosting in July that will bring together key stakeholders for a discussion on ways to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks faced by those developing, operating, or managing intelligent mobility technologies on our nation’s roads.

V2V, V2I, V2X — these aren’t just acronyms. They are technologies that will greatly improve mobility and more importantly, they will save lives. ITS America will continue to advance the research and deployment of intelligent transportation technologies. We hope people like Teddy Vagias will continue to speak out as well — and we’re grateful for his efforts.

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