Get to know AIthena consortium partners – IRU

This week we introduce next AIthena consortium partner: IRU

Interviewee: Raluca Marian, IRU Director of EU Advocacy

IRU is the world road transport organisation, helping connect societies with safe, efficient, and green mobility and logistics since 1948.

As the voice of over 3.5 million companies, including 1 million in the EU, operating mobility, and logistics services in more than 100 countries, our work supports trade, economic growth, jobs, safety, the environment, and communities.

What is the role of IRU and the team in the project?

Autonomous vehicles have wide-ranging effects on road transport. They are impacting operational aspects of transport services, how vehicles generate and share data as well as the legal liability and cybersecurity of transport operators and their vehicles. We joined AIthena to understand the benefits and challenges of AI-based CCAM, specifically with an emphasis on solving the latter – either within projects like AIthena or by making policy recommendations as part of the legislative process.

Overall, the road transport industry embraces innovation and supports a technological transition that allows for the safe, secure, and sustainable operation of autonomous vehicles. Combining our extensive member network with the policy expertise of IRU’s staff, we are a convener, a knowledge hub, and serve as an essential link between different stakeholders in the AIthena project and beyond.

What are you currently working on in the project?

IRU is engaged in several key areas of AIthena that are aligned with our members and industry’s priorities for autonomous vehicle technology. We conduct research and contribute to the methodology for a human-centric approach to AI. We are also involved in the data management, testing, and validation of AI-based CCAM deployment. Finally, we want to make sure that our members learn and benefit from the results of the project and understand the potential impacts of a rapidly evolving technology on their businesses and the road transport industry.

From your perspective, how do you see the contribution of the AIthena project to building trustworthy, explainable, and accountable AI-based CCAM?

Connected and automated vehicles can help to increase traffic safety, reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, and alleviate traffic congestion. Data generated by transport operators can help us make our operations more efficient, optimise fleet management and help train our drivers. However, these societal benefits will only be realised if the underlying technology is designed in such a way that transport operators understand and trust it.

The four AIthena use cases on perception, situational awareness, decision-making, and traffic management all work towards this goal. The insights they generate will help inform our efforts to advocate for policy solutions and regulatory frameworks that make the technology accountable to people rather than the other way around.

You can read more about the IRU at IRU | World Road Transport Organisation.