May 8, 2024

Interoperability as Key in Autonomous Vehicle Implementation

If 2023 was the year autonomous cars became a tangible reality in several cities across the United States and China, 2024 is solidifying this trend with headlines like:

  • Mercedes taking a significant step by starting to sell autonomous cars equipped with level 3 autonomous driving systems in the United States.
  • The announcement of Tesla's new autonomous robotaxi, drawing from testing insights from companies like Cruise, Zoox, or Waymo.
  • Waymo's launch of autonomous vehicles through Uber Eats for home deliveries in Phoenix, Arizona (United States).
  • Baidu and receiving permits to offer autonomous vehicle services at Daxing International Airport in Beijing, making Beijing the world's first capital to operate robotaxis transporting passengers from urban areas to the airport.
  • The development of autonomous trucks in the United States is also progressing from testing phases toward daily implementation, with several players achieving significant milestones in the segment. However, they face legal and regulatory challenges, as well as tensions with industry groups, while seeking to demonstrate their safety and viability.

All these projects promise to revolutionize the transportation industry, from passenger transport and inclusive mobility to logistics and freight.

But, what are the necessary tasks to make AVs a reality on our roads and in our cities?

The Challenge: Ensuring Interoperability

Overcoming regulatory obstacles, addressing extensive safety concerns, or improving current road infrastructure are some of those tasks. But in this article, we'll focus on one: interoperability.

Ensuring that different manufacturers of autonomous vehicles can communicate and operate seamlessly with each other and with existing transportation systems is crucial for creating a well-integrated and efficient public transportation network.

We are facing one of the most significant revolutions in the sector in recent years, increasing accessibility to autonomous vehicles, as well as to other modes of transportation, is a priority, especially considering the growing gaps in public transportation in developed countries like the United States or rural Spain.

For this, autonomous vehicles, like other operators, must be willing to share their data with the provider that allows citizens access to all existing transportation options, as well as having their API available to develop trip planning and booking, pricing, and system interoperability.

Autonomous Vehicles under a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Model

The phenomenon of integrating and connecting different transportation services in one place, usually an application, is known as Mobility as a Service.

If autonomous vehicles can communicate and operate with other transportation systems under a MaaS model, such as public transportation and ridesharing services, it will create a more comprehensive and convenient travel experience for users.

This means that passengers can plan and make seamless trips, combining different modes of transportation efficiently to meet their mobility needs. Thus, not only does it solve the challenge of accessibility to transportation by promoting multimodal trips, but it also addresses the environmental impacts of vehicles on the road and reduces traffic congestion.

Data as a way to consolidate the process

As we have seen, both open data and someone integrating those transportation services, interpreting them, and unifying them correctly are important. A piece that acts as a "hub" or "mapper" and transforms and unifies different transportation providers, including autonomous vehicles, into a single channel, with the aim of amplifying and making visible all the transportation offerings of a large city.

For this reason, connectivity capability is key for autonomous vehicles and other operators to transmit real-time data. Data that serves in the user's route planning plans.

Without actionable data that allows for more optimal operational and planning decisions, it is difficult to demand significant changes or improvements in the adoption process of autonomous vehicles. And for this, it is necessary to have a platform that not only facilitates this connectivity but also transforms this data into business intelligence for better resource allocation, fleet optimization, demand prediction, and transportation infrastructure improvement.

At Meep, we believe that autonomous vehicles are one of the strongest trends in the mobility sector. And for that reason, we continue to work to ensure a unified and secure user experience across the city's transportation ecosystem, promoting interoperability and convenience for all.

Diego Ochoa
Marketing Manager