June 20, 2023

Black-Led Startup’s Data Is Set To Inform Government Policy On Autonomous Vehicles

Co-founder and CEO at Heex Technologies, Bruno Mendes Da Silva, has announced that his startup has signed a public contract with US Authorities.

We previously wrote about Heex’s smart data management platform helping carmakers sift through the sea of data required to put autonomous vehicles on the road.

Now, this new partnership will see the team provide their software solution to process data from Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility operators as part of the Automated Driving System program in California. 

The data will foster safety standards and rulemaking of autonomous vehicles by the US government.

Da Silva said on LinkedIn, “This is a major milestone for the industry, and we are looking forward to working with many more transportation authorities to enable the advent and deployment of Autonomous Vehicles on public roads.”

Current Issues With Autonomous Vehicles

A survey commissioned by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found that more than four out of five adults are concerned about sharing the road with driverless cars, despite the technology’s promise of greater safety for vehicle occupants and other road users.

Cathy Chase, president of Advocates, said, “By many accounts, driverless vehicles are nowhere near ready for prime time. They have experienced numerous failures resulting in stranded vehicles, blocked traffic, crashes, injuries, and at least one fatality.”

There are also concerns with privacy due to the vehicles having so many sensors and cameras, and such vehicles may introduce a serious threat to privacy as data is streamed to remove cloud services.

A 2019 study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology also found that if you’re a person with dark skin, you may be more likely than your white friends to get hit by a self-driving car, as automated vehicles may better detect pedestrians with lighter skin tones.

Is There A Solution?

Da Silva shared on LinkedIn that the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) said staff and the project partner (UC Berkeley PATH) have identified Heex’s platform as the best fit to provide the services the project needs.

The platform will most effectively process and visualize the data collected from the program’s operational scenarios to demonstrate vehicle safety.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.