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Tabitha’s Top Picks: Resource Library Edition

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By: Tabitha Colter, PAVE Director of Operations

When I first began working at PAVE in the summer of 2019, the content creation and management of a “Website 2.0” was one of the first projects I was assigned. Our initial website had served us well in 2019 when PAVE first launched at CES, but we wanted to build our platform out into a more robust source of information on AVs to support our public education campaign.

After months of work with our great web developers (a huge thank you to Sarah and the rest of the team at Ironistic!) we rolled out a new site in April this year. The new design included features like a new event page style, a new interactive member list and page for our fantastic advisory councils, as well as a PAVE Portal for exclusive member use and a resource library. I invested countless hours into each of these features and I’m proud of all of them, but one stands out for the way it so uniquely serves our educational goals at PAVE: our resource library.

The resource library is a first-of-its-kind database of over 500 resources, all related to automated vehicles, which gathers together work from industry leaders, academic institutions, government agencies, and other top experts in the field. Visitors can browse the library using six different categories — Assisted Driving Features, Benefits, Law and Policy, Perceptions, Technology, and Terminology — or simply search by keyword or author. From dense academic papers to video of our PAVE Virtual Panels (our series of weekly conversations with AV experts, introducing and exploring a wide range of important concepts), newbies and experts alike are sure to find something new to learn.

If you somehow aren’t able to find something new to learn in our resource library, we could probably use your help! The library is also always expanding, and we welcome submissions of materials or resources from anyone in the community.

Alright, enough background, let’s get to the heart of this post. Here is a list of my Top Ten favorite resources from our resource library, in rough order from most accessible to most advanced. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

10. The Capri Mobility Virtual Museum

Format: Interactive online exhibit about a driverless shuttle project called POD, created by the CAPRI public-private consortium. Featuring photos, videos, PDFs, a build-your-own paper pod activity guide, user research summary data, and so much more

Audience: A great virtual museum experience for anybody seeking either an initial exposure to an AV application or to learn more about one application in the space. Kids in particular will love it if you’re looking for a unique virtual learning opportunity!

Tabitha Comments: I learned of this resource through our friends at the UK Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and promptly spent an entire morning putting off work to click through the entire museum exhibit. Bonus points for the fact that my 11 year old sister liked it too!

9. Ford Launches Bugs At Sensors Because Keeping Them Clean Is Crucial For Self-Driving Cars by Sam Abuelsamid

Format: Popular media article (Forbes)

Audience: Anybody who’s ever had a bug squish on their windshield and stay there, no matter how many times you try to run the windshield wiper. Also: future and established engineers, bug enthusiasts, clean freaks.

Tabitha Comments: I can’t tell you how much I love this short little article. I’ve always been fascinated by the way AV development brings together so many different people and problems, and attempts to solve them in a way that provides the greatest societal benefit — whether that’s to improve road safety and reduce vehicle related fatalities, improve mobility access for millions of Americans currently underserved by traditional vehicles, or even reduce traffic congestion or pollution. These are massive problems that engage some of the world’s sharpest minds, but they’re ultimately made up of all these little puzzle pieces that need to be solved along the way. This is a particularly fascinating example because it brought engineers and a zoologist together to learn more about the best way to remove dead bugs that land on important AV sensors. Here at PAVE we talk a lot about how everybody has a connection to automated vehicle development even if they aren’t aware of it yet, and I had to highlight this resource as one of my favorite ways to show people just how expansive and interdisciplinary the range of problems AV groups are trying to tackle. You never know who it might inspire to join the effort!

8. 75 Minutes of Autonomous Driving with Kyle Vogt and Sam Altman

Format: YouTube Video

Audience: Tech enthusiasts, future founders, anyone who wants a peek inside AV development testing.

Tabitha Comments: As new autonomous vehicle pilots continue to pop up, opportunities to ride in an AV and see firsthand how it perceives and interacts with the world will become increasingly common. Until that opportunity lands in your neighborhood, however, most of us have to rely on videos like this one by Cruise that give enthusiasts and casual observers alike a chance to visualize the interactions from the vehicle’s perspective and a traditional driver’s view. Even if you’ve already experienced your first autonomous ride, it probably wasn’t narrated by the founder of a major AV developer so you’ll still likely find this video worth watching.

7. Waymo First Responder Training

Format: YouTube Video

Audience: First responders (police departments, fire departments), state and local officials developing AV testing guidance, general public

Tabitha Comments: One of my favorite PAVE weekly panels this year was one that I moderated, entitled “How First Responders Are Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles.” Featuring two of our Public Sector Advisory Council members, Saul Jaeger of the Mountain View Police Department and Mark Kopko of PennDOT, it explored the pioneering collaboration between AV developers and public officials. Though most people see AVs as a purely technical problem, this topic shows what a broad range of disciplines and professions need to work together to ensure safe deployments of this technology to public roads. This 14 minute video by Waymo is a great place to start for first responders to think through best practices with AV interactions, or for the general public to learn more about how our entire society is adapting to the autonomous future.

6. Safe Drive Initiative: Creating safe autonomous vehicle policy

Format: White paper — PDF

Audience: Policymakers and public officials, academics, industry people, enthusiasts

Tabitha Comments: Regulation is one of the most complex and dynamic problems in the AV space today, as regulators work to encourage innovation while ensuring the safety of their citizens. The World Economic Forum has done fantastic work in this field and this October 2020 paper is an excellent review of how different jurisdictions around the world are approaching AV regulation.

5. Automated Vehicles University Course Module Series

Format: PowerPoint slides

Audience: University course instructors and students, transportation professionals, city officials, and more

Tabitha Comments: This stellar resource by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center provides 105 slides broken into seven different modules that can be adapted for different lesson plans. The seven modules (Key Definitions, AV Development: Past, Present and Future, AV Technology: How it Works (or Doesn’t), AV Testing Basics, Pedestrian and Bicyclist Interaction, Rulemaking Basics for AVs, Considerations for Ped/Bike Planners, Engineers, and Stakeholders) provide an excellent framework for educators to talk through these important topics, and can be used for courses in engineering, transportation, public health, public policy, law and beyond. Also be sure to check out their reading list that accompanies the slides!

4. Fully Accessible Autonomous Vehicles Checklist

Format: One Pager — PDF

Audience: Tech developers, engineers, professors, compliance organizations, advocates

Tabitha Comments: One of the coolest projects that our team at PAVE got to do this year was host a webinar with the US Department of Transportation, highlighting their Inclusive Design Challenge, the practice of inclusive design, and the importance of creating accessible transportation. We were able to bring in some fantastic speakers in this field, including Carol Tyson who works as the Government Affairs Liaison for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). They do great advocacy work in transportation and equity, like this checklist that I just had to highlight in this list. The checklist itself is short and succinct, while simultaneously providing robust and insightful guidance for developers working in this field. I think it’s a valuable resource, even if you’re not a designer or are new to AVs, as it illustrates an important point: realizing the social benefits of AVs requires keeping those benefits in mind at every stage of development.

3. Autonowashing: The Greenwashing of Vehicle Automation

Format: Journal publication (Open Access) PDF

Audience: Marketing professionals, journalists, linguists, academics, policymakers, people who like to point out that words matter.

Tabitha Comments: One of the hot terms in AVs this year has been “autonowashing,” thanks to the great work of Liza Dixon. In this influential paper, Liza explains the importance of clear communication about automated driving systems, in particular the need to avoid overstating the capabilities of partial automation. At a time when automated driving developers often have massive financial incentives to do just that, this paper is a must read for anybody whose work intersects with automated technology… or even a friend who insists their new car can drive itself!

2. Driverless? Autonomous Trucks and the Future of the American Trucker

Format: Report — PDF

Audience: Computer scientists and engineers, trucking firms and manufacturers, labor advocates, academics, transportation planning experts

Tabitha Comments: This dense but enlightening report is a trusty resource I used numerous times throughout grad school, so I couldn’t leave off my list. Autonomous trucking is a vast and important topic, and it can be hard to know where to even begin to learn about all the different possibilities. Viscelli does a great job of explaining the complexities of the trucking industry through conversations with a variety of stakeholders (engineers, trucking firms, researchers, and drivers), while laying out what he sees as the six most likely adoption scenarios for autonomous trucks and their potential impacts on individual truckers and the broader economy. If you’re looking for a place to start building a comprehensive understanding of trucking and AVs, this is the piece for you!

1. Impact of Information on Consumer Understanding of Partially Automated Driving System

Format: Report — PDF

Audience: Automobile manufacturers and dealers, consumer advocates, driver training professionals, consumers of new vehicles with advanced technologies, anyone with a friend who insists that their new car drives itself.

Tabitha Comments: This is the most technologically complex resource I’m including in this list, but don’t be afraid of the challenge! This report published by AAA is a fascinating look at advanced driving features and mental models–a driver’s understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the system. If you’ve already read Liza Dixon’s “autonowashing” paper (see: #3 on this list) you may already have a sense of how important this is… and if you haven’t, it pairs extremely well with this paper.

Information from marketing, media stories, or educational materials can profoundly influence the way people understand partially-automated driver assistance features, creating “mental models” that are out of step with how the system actually works. This study explores how different informational approaches affect the formation of these mental models, which can in turn contribute to dangerous misuse of what should be a safety-enhancing technology.

Take some time to give this one a read, and watch our virtual panel featuring James Jenness, one of the main researchers behind this study, discuss the importance of mental models and consumer education with other experts. If you stick with it, you’ll come away understanding why your friend’s belief that their car is self-driving isn’t just wrong, but dangerous.

December 20, 2020