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Mcity proving ground mimics real-road conditions for connected cars

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 07:00
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‘Next big thing’

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As research moves forward, “connected” is defined as meaning that vehicles talk to each other and to elements of the infrastructure according to a national standard of quality and reliability.

Connected vehicles anonymously and securely exchange data – including location, speed and direction – with other vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure via wireless communication devices. This data can warn individual drivers of traffic tie-ups or emerging dangerous situations, such as a car slipping on ice around an upcoming curve, or a car that may be likely to run a red light ahead.

“Automated” vehicles are equipped with new systems of situation awareness and control that increasingly replace elements of human response and behavior. Such vehicles respond automatically to traffic situations by activating certain driving functions, such as acceleration, braking or steering. The highest level of automation allows for cars to be driverless.

Connected vehicles, commonly known as V2V, have been tested extensively by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor. The results have been used to support the recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Connected vehicle technology, including vehicles that can communicate with one another and with the surrounding infrastructure (V2I), has the potential to avoid the majority of serious crashes when extensively deployed, says Sweatman.

As work continues to bring V2V and related technologies to market as quickly as possible, MDOT director Kirk T. Steudle reports that his agency will work to equip state highways with a network of sensors and cameras that can collect data to be communicated to V2V and V2I-enabled vehicles. Cameras and sensors will be located on the sides of certain state highways, including up to a half-mile off of the highway.

“This is the next big thing for the state that put the world on wheels,” says Steudle, crediting GM and Ford with making key inroads.

“GM is a leader in this space and we invite other OEMs to push for progress in this area. The goal, after all, is bigger than the success of any one company,” says GM CEO Mary Barra.

“Ford is committed to V2V research and the implementation of connected transportation systems, which are integral to our Blueprint for Mobility,” according to Mike Shulman, Ford’s technical leader for research and innovation. “No one organization can do this alone, and Ford is pleased to join with other industry leaders and accelerate the pace of innovation to keep the industry moving towards the future. By seamlessly connecting cars we hope to reduce crashes and congestion, which will save time, conserve resources and keep drivers safer.”

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