February 4, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation's green light to proceed with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology is an important move forward, according to a University of Michigan auto safety expert.
The agency's initiative announced Monday is closely related to the work of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center, which works with government and industry to lay the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles. A key element is to develop vehicle deployments that will allow researchers to test emerging approaches in both off-road and on-road settings.
The U-M Transportation Research Institute conducted the Safety Pilot Model Deployment, the pilot study involving nearly 3,000 equipped vehicles operating in northeast Ann Arbor that helped inform DOT's decision. During the past 15 months, more than 12 billion basic safety messages have been collected, and 60,000 interactions between participating vehicles have occurred.
"UMTRI has been a leader in connected-vehicle technology research for more than a decade," said Peter Sweatman, director of both UMTRI and MTC. "Safety Pilot Model Deployment is emblematic of the large-scale, visionary research that UMTRI is able to deliver."
Last October, the Board of Regents approved plans to proceed with the design of a unique environment for testing connected and automated vehicles. Current plans call for the facility to be completed by fall 2014 at a cost of about $6.5 million.
The facility is a critical element of the Mobility Transformation Center's goal to develop and implement an entire system of connected and automated vehicles on the streets of southeast Michigan by 2021.
"Connected and automated vehicles provide a new platform for safety improvements, better traffic movement, emissions reduction, energy conservation and maximized transportation accessibility," Sweatman said.