USDOT introduces VOICES Proof of Concept for Autonomous Vehicle Industry-A Paradigm Shift?

Michael DeKort
2 min readJan 16, 2021

Program references



I have reviewed the Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety (VOICES) Proof-of-Concept (PoC) document and am very encouraged by what it says. It appears may be a paradigm shift at DoT/NHTSA in the works under the new Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

The folks behind this new effort clearly understand that use of the public domain for most driverless and ADAS system development and testing (SAE L1-L5) is untenable from a time, money and safety point of view. And the solution is “high-fidelity” simulation. I put “high-fidelity” in quotation marks because this is the rub or final epiphany for the industry. While the paper mentions needing higher fidelity than what this industry uses now, it also mentions developing what is needed. I would like to suggest that there is no “development” is needed. Meaning, there is nothing to innovate. The technology and modeling approaches needed exist in other industries like aerospace/DoD and the FAA for decades. They simply need to be adapted to this industry. (While gaming architectures and visual engines look fantastic, get some of the physics right and have benefit, they are simply not capable of the level of fidelity and real-time that is necessary. The solution is to look to other industries, especially aerospace/DoD/FAA. More in my articles below.) Beyond this we need to ensure the simulation and models have the right fidelity for the associated use cases and scenarios. Regarding testing, I am glad to see efforts to define a minimal set of safety testing is also critically important for not just safety and engineering due diligence, but public acceptance and trust.

More details on my POV here

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine — Simulation’s Next Generation (featuring Dactle)


The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now


My name is Michael DeKort — I am a former system engineer, engineering and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, the Aegis Weapon System, and on C4ISR for DHS.

Industry Participation — Air and Ground

- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing

- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)

- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association

- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

- Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts



Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation