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Current partners signed up include Jaguar Land Rover, Transport Scotland and a number of US cities.

Connected car services and transportation analytics specialist, Inrix, has introduced a platform that aims to provide a foundation for cities and road authorities to communicate with operators for safe and effective deployment of highly automated vehicles (HAVs) on public roads.

The company claims its AV Road Rules is the first platform that enables cities and road authorities to assign, validate and manage traffic rules and restrictions for autonomous vehicles operating on public roads.

At launch, seven cities and road authorities and four HAV operators have signed on to support AV Road Rules. The initial set of pilot users includes cities and road authorities with a variety of sizes, climates and geographies: Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada which includes Las Vegas; Transport for West Midlands and Transport Scotland in the UK.

The platform also leverages information from AVs to report infrastructure improvement needs, making the roads safer for all users.

According to Inrix, HAVs are currently testing on public roads in fewer than 50 cities around the world, but more markets are interested in bringing this new technology to their streets.

“If deployed correctly, highly automated vehicles will radically improve our transportation systems, making them safer, more efficient and higher quality,” said Avery Ash, head of autonomous mobility at Inrix.

“After talking to hundreds of cities, states and federal officials, and dozens of HAV operators, we identified a critical data gap that Inrix is uniquely positioned to address. AV Road Rules marks an essential new tool for transportation agencies to lay a foundation for the safe operation of HAVs on public roads.”

While HAVs have greatly improved the ability to operate in complex traffic environments, street signs and lane stripes are an inexact way to communicate rules to a 21st century vehicle.

Currently, onboard sensors, computer vision, machine learning and/or third-party datasets are used to triage roadway guidelines, but this approach is imprecise, costly (resources and dollars) and increases the risk of rule violations.

Inrix claims its platform enables cities and road authorities to quickly and easily digitise local restrictions such as speed limits, crosswalks, school zones and stop signs, allowing automakers and HAV operators to ensure vehicles comply with local guidelines.

The platform also creates a channel to communicate road infrastructure needs from HAVs back to transportation agencies, which improves safety and performance for all road users.

Automakers and operators slated to use the platform at launch include: Jaguar Land Rover, May Mobility, nuTonomy (an Aptiv company) and operators running Renovo’s Aware platform.

The initial set of partners will help refine and expand the platform to improve a crucial tool for road authorities to fulfill their traditional role of setting and maintaining traffic rules and restrictions.

“Self-driving vehicles are stimulating conversations globally, but they are in fact a very local challenge,” added Chris Holmes, connected and autonomous vehicle research senior manager at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Road conditions and layouts can vary drastically over a matter of miles and so it is vital that self-driving is facilitated collaboratively. Local traffic authorities play a significant role in this.”

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