"Geeking Out" at Senate Hearing on IoT and Transportation

In my spare time today I watched this CSPAN clip of a June hearing on Internet of Things and Transportation:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?411886-1/hearing-focuses-internet-things-selfdriving-vehicles

First point:  in contrast to heated political rhetoric, federal lawmakers and regulators go out of their way to try to figure out how to make U.S. businesses run better and more efficiently. 

The topic is equal parts unsexy and incredibly important.  Yet answers to the Senators’ questions will dictate how Americans live.  How safe are they?  How much time is spent in inefficient traffic?  How quickly will the goods they manufacture get to markets around the world and therefore support families here in the U.S.?

Listen to what the Senators are interested in. Does it seem like lawmakers are “getting in the way?”        

Second point:  Listen to what some of the largest companies in the U.S. have to say about the subject.  Intel, one of the richest companies in the world says that the Federal government should be spurring innovation by “creating sandboxes” in which companies like Intel can experiment.  “Sandboxes” is code for the fact that Intel would like the Government to pay for some development costs.

More generally, note that all of the panelists are urging the Senate to help create "public-private partnerships" to explore the role of IoT and data and transportation.  PPP refers to the fact that in some areas, government support is critical to private sector development.  That is one of the dirty rotten secrets of the American private sector:  we didn't always build it ourselves. 

Third point:  IoT and transportation seems arcane, but it isn’t. IoT refers to the ability to use some sort of communications mechanism (wireless spectrum in this case), to connect sensors on cars and trucks and trains to the Internet and data centers, where the information is analyzed. It’s really that simple. 

Or, as Carlos Monje, Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Policy said, “Data is as important to transportation as asphalt.”

Looking forward, Doug Davis, Intel’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT, let the cat out of the bag when he said:  “Innovations in the transportation sector are at the heart of the global race for IoT leadership.” It is refreshing to hear Intel saying that federal government support is important to its future success in the market. 


Today's civics lesson is over, but I hope you start thinking about transportation from an IoT perspective.  It will lead you to what will be, in short order, a very exciting future.