The 10th edition of the World Policy Conference (WPC) was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 November. Founded in 2008, the WPC is an independent organization which aims to contribute to improving all aspects of governance, with a view to promoting a world that is more open, more prosperous, fairer and more respectful of the diversity of states and nations. Its annual meeting brings together leading figures from all five continents-political and business leaders, representatives of civil society, academics and journalists-in a climate of trust and a spirit of tolerance to examine, discuss and suggest constructive solutions to the challenges facing the world today.
CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall spoke at the plenary session on ‘The Future of Transportation: Connectivity and Governance’, where he emphasized the role that space plays in our everyday lives and addressed the subject of autonomous vehicles, especially how Europe’s Galileo geolocation system is set to help enable them in the future.
In service since 15 December 2016, Galileo features four key discriminators that make it a great asset for autonomous vehicles:
• A service offering 10-metre accuracy around the globe; indeed, Galileo is even more accurate than GPS.
• An authentication service that allows users to ensure they are receiving the right signals and not being spoofed.
• Enhanced signals to assure better positioning resilience in urban environments.
• Close interoperability with GPS designed into the system from the outset.
Jean-Yves Le Gall then underlined some of the key issues facing autonomous vehicles. The first of these is institutional and regulatory, for while safety today remains mostly in the hands of drivers, tomorrow it will be assured by autonomous systems. Governments will therefore need to promote trials of driverless systems while maintaining and even improving road safety. The second issue is of a technological and industrial order, with plans to roll out solutions covering five levels of autonomy over more than 10 years and the need for certification to standards of accuracy, integrity and resilience as stringent as those applied in civil aviation.
In conclusion, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: ‘Driverless cars are on the way to becoming reality and to hasten their advent I firmly believe there is a strong need to conduct trials to allow industry to craft innovations for autonomous vehicles, and to give governments enough data to inform policy decisions and legislation. Cooperation between the public and private sectors will be a guarantee of success in this regard.’