Signs of the times: car makers are joining the ITU to shape autonomous car regs

Credit: chombosan /

Recent predictions by Juniper Research included one that said 2017 will be the year that autonomous car legislation commences. It seems that here at the end of 2016, this is already underway. Apple recently wrote a letter to the NHTSA in the US, urging “better testing and development environments” for non-autonomous car makers.

In another important, parallel development, Hyundai has just signed up as a member of the ITU’s standardization arm (ITU-T). This clearly sends a signal that all concerned are serious about bring autonomous vehicles into the mainstream as quickly and safely as possible. As Eon Youl Shin, Director, Hyundai says, “Hyundai Motors is looking forward to participating in the ITU and will bring important momentum from the automotive industry to advance the future of connected car technology.”

Much of the focus around autonomous cars (and other forms of transport) is passenger safety, and quite right too. What is equally important is the security of data – an enormous amount of it – that will be generated by the vehicles.

The two are, of course, related.

According to Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, “standardization will be essential in building a trusted ecosystem of intelligent vehicles. Our work is supporting the increasing integration of ICTs in vehicles with road safety and data security as our top priorities.”

Let us hope that the standardization and legislative work can progress as fast as possible, otherwise the knock-on effects of delays will bring a heavy toll for those waiting to launch products.

The signs are encouraging. It is not just Hyundai that has signed up to the telecommunications standards body (other car makers are actively considering membership too), but some of the digital giants have already committed.

Lee again: “Telcos and OTT players are increasing their collaboration. We see evidence of this in ITU’s evolving membership – in recent years we have welcomed digital service providers such as Alibaba, Netflix, Facebook and Google as new ITU members”.

It seems that the communications world is not the only one undergoing disruption and innovation. The standards-making world is busy innovating too.

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