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University of Michigan Wins Federal Contract to Study Connected Vehicle Technology

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DOT logoThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute a $14.9 million contract to explore potential uses for “connected vehicles” on the streets and highways of Ann Arbor.

The year-long research study will involve installing wireless devices in as many as 3,000 vehicles to evaluate how effective the technology is in preventing car accidents in everyday driving situations. Connected Vehicle technology makes it possible for the vehicles themselves to communicate wirelessly with each other to warn drivers when a car several vehicles ahead in the same lane brakes suddenly. It also lets drivers know when there are potential dangers on the road, especially ones that radar does not detect or that are not visible due to bad weather, distance, or objects blocking the view.

David Shepardson of The Detroit News’ Washington Bureau, writes:

David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, said the technology could eventually reduce crashes by up to 90 percent.

‘This is a potential game changer,’ he said. ‘All of the technologies are here. It’s the integration that needs work.’

In related news, the six winners in a national competition seeking ideas for connected vehicles technology will be honored speakers at a special session at the 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems, to be held from Oct. 16 to 20 in Orlando, Florida.

Five of the winners were selected by DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), and the sixth winner received the most votes from registrants on the competition’s website.

The winning teams or individuals are:

1. Matthew Henchey and Tejswaroop Geetla, University of Buffalo, Emergency Response Application of DSRC (dedicated short-range communications) Technology. Their idea is a real-time accident awareness system that accelerates emergency response and assists with traffic management.

2. Norio Komoda, Jennifer Smoker, and Ariko Komoda, Sakura Associates, Connected Vehicle Proactive Driving. They propose a driver guidance system that collects and uses accident locations and types to help drivers choose safer routes.

3. Venkatesan Ekambaram, Kannan Ramchandran and Raja Sengupta, University of California Berkeley, Robust GPS: Enhancing Accuracy and Security Using DSRC. They will use DSRC signals on vehicles to improve weakened positioning information and to correct illegally “jammed” Global Positioning System (GPS) signals to enable DSRC-equipped vehicles to automatically correct the GPS positioning of other similarly equipped vehicles.

4. Doug Lundquist, University of Illinois Chicago, Pollution Credit Trading in Vehicle Ad Hoc Networks. His idea is for an automated system for trading pollution credits among vehicles in which the pollution level permitted per vehicle is capped, and credits are given to less-polluting vehicles. A low-emissions vehicle could accumulate credits that it automatically sells to a higher-emissions vehicle.

5. Michael Todd, Jay Farrell and Matthew Barth, University of California Riverside, Using DSRC Signals for Improving Vehicle Position Estimates. Their project is a position-estimating system that improves location measurements by blending inputs from GPS and DSRC links to roadways. A GPS-equipped vehicle would be able to determine its location within one meter by communicating with devices embedded in roads.

6. Lee Tupper, Rahul Amin, Fan Yang and Parth Bhavsar, Clemson University, Integrated Intelligent Transportation Platform. This group was chosen as a winner by website voters. Their idea will help vehicles with trip and day scheduling, from choosing routes to reserving parking spaces.

Image by U.S. Department of Transportation, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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