Connected Vehicles Activity Rolls On

In DOT's second clinic at a Minnesota site on Sept. 27, recruited motorists had a chance to experience the technology. More clinics are planned for Orlando; Blacksburg, Va.; Dallas; and San Francisco.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's vision of connected vehicles is moving along at a brisk pace at the moment, with a workshop, webinar, and clinics in four cities coming up soon. The unit behind it, DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, is also seeing change at the top: Shelley Row, director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, thanked departing RITA Administrator Peter Appel for his service in a post on the department's Fast Lane blog and wished him good luck; she wrote that Appel, who joined RITA in April 2009, had helped RITA become "an esteemed driving force for connected vehicle research and development" and had called for the creation of the Safety Pilot program, "an innovative initiative that is the centerpiece of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle research program."

Safety Pilot is the second part of a two-part Connected Vehicle research initiative; the clinics held by RITA and NHTSA are the first part. The first clinic took place Aug. 8 near Detroit and went well, according to DOT, and the second was held Sept. 27 in Brainerd, Minn. The remaining four are planned for Orlando; Blacksburg, Va.; Dallas; and San Francisco. About 100 motorists are recruited to operate test cars and experience the technology themselves. Appel has said CV technology "has the potential to address 81 percent of all unimpaired driver-related crashes."

Safety Pilot will be a one-year trial with the technology installed in as many as 3,000 vehicles in Ann Arbor, Mich., starting in August 2012.

Working with DOT on the technology is the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership, a research consortium of Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Technical Center North America, Toyota Motor Corp., and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. The technology will help vehicles communicate with nearby vehicles and roadway infrastructure, such as traffic signals, dangerous road segments, and grade crossings. Drivers will receive safety warnings when they are at risk of a crash or encounter another driving hazard.

The webinar on Oct. 12 and a workshop on Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C., will bring stakeholders together to discuss EnableATIS (with the goal of creating an operational concept for transformational advanced traveler information services) within the DOT Dynamic Mobility Application Program and related efforts in the Real-Time Data Capture and Management Program. Dynamic Mobility is developing applications to leverage the full potential of connected vehicles. To register for the public meeting or the webinar, send an e-mail to Adam Hopps at ahopps@itsa.org.

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