World’s largest field test of connected vehicle technology gets underway in the U.S.

V2V technology could be deployed on a wide scale before the end of the decade.

Hot on the heels of Daimler announcing the largest ever field-test of its car-to-X vehicle communications system in Germany, a similar program being conducted by the U.S. Department of Transport (DoT) got underway this week in the Ann Arbor region of Michigan. Whereas the Daimler trial involves 120 network-linked vehicles, the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program will see some 3,000 vehicles hitting the road in the world’s biggest ever real world test of connected-vehicle communication technology.

Described as a “scaled-down version of a future in which all vehicles will be connected,” the model deployment, which is being conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) as part of a US$22 million partnership with the DoT, is designed to determine how well vehicle wireless communication technology works in real world conditions and the effectiveness of vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) systems in improving road safety.

Of the 3,000 vehicles taking part in the 12 month-long model deployment, which includes cars, commercial trucks and transit vehicles, 64 will have embedded devices, around 300 will have aftermarket safety devices, and the remainder will have simple transmission-only vehicle awareness devices. Most vehicles in the test fleet have been supplied by volunteer participants from the Vehicle Safety Communications 3 Consortium, such as GM, which is providing eight V2V-equipped Buick and Cadillac cars.

Ann Arbor was chosen for the program due to its mix of traffic, variety of roadway types and characteristics, seasonal weather and proximity to vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. The project has also seen 73 lane miles (117 km) of Ann Arbor roadway fitted with 29 roadside-equipment installations that will be used for the V2I portion of the model deployment.

To test the effectiveness of V2V and V2I systems, the model deployment vehicles will wirelessly send and receive electronic data from each other and infrastructure. In the event of specific hazardous traffic scenarios, such as an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle’s blind spot, or a potential rear end collision with a stopped vehicle, the data will be translated into a warning for the driver of the relevant vehicle or vehicles.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety – but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “NHTSA will use the valuable data from the ‘model deployment’ as it decides if and when these connected vehicle safety technologies should be incorporated into the fleet.”

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via Gizmag – Darren Quick
 

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GM working on Wi-Fi Direct-equipped cars to detect pedestrians and cyclists

Using Wi-Fi Direct to connect directly to each other without the need for a wireless hotspot.

General Motors is working to expand upon its vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems that are being developed to allow information to be shared between vehicles and infrastructure to provide advance warning of potential road hazards, such as stalled vehicles, slippery roads, road works, intersections, stop signs and the like. The automaker is now looking to add pedestrians and cyclists to the mix so a car can detect them in low visibility conditions before the driver does.

Instead of relying on Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) technology like the V2I and V2V systems, the pedestrian-detecting system under development uses Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer standard that allows Wi-Fi devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to connect directly to each other without the need for a wireless hotspot.

GM says that integrating Wi-Fi Direct with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available in many production vehicles will enable pedestrians and cyclists carrying Wi-Fi Direct-enabled smartphones to be detected. And whereas conventional systems will have a lag of around seven to eight seconds because a signal needs to be sent to and from a mobile phone tower, Wi-Fi Direct offers location data that is current up to one second as it eliminates this intermediate step.

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via Gizmag – Darren Quick
 

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GM developing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems

The effectiveness of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems improves as more and more people use it

Basic car safety systems designed to save lives in the event of an accident like seatbelts and airbags are being supplemented in modern vehicles by increasingly sophisticated preventative technologies such as ABS and lane departure warning systems. The next step in the evolution of collision prevention technology is vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems like that found on the LTE Connected Car and BMW’s Vision ConnectedDrivet concepts that would allow vehicles to share information on their relative location and road conditions. GM has recently announced it is testing small, portable devices that create a “wireless safety net” to gather information from other vehicles and infrastructure to warn drivers of potential hazards.

The effectiveness of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems improves as more and more people use it. According to GM the average age of U.S. vehicles is 10.2 years, so the company is striving to develop systems that are affordable and could be easily fitted to existing vehicles. To this end it has been testing the technology in two mobile platforms – one is a transponder about the size of a GPS unit, while the other is a smartphone application. While the portable transponder has its own display screen, a smartphone can be connected to the vehicle’s audio and video display for use with the smartphone application.

As well as using basic location data, the portable devices can also be connected to the vehicle’s computer system to relay information being collected by sensors throughout the vehicle. Sensors that activate electronic stability control could be used to warn other drivers of hazardous road conditions, or a string of drivers can be warned when the head vehicle applies the brakes, for example.

The system relies on Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) that, with a range of about one-quarter mile (400 m) in all directions, can send and receive messages with other vehicles in the area and with radios connected to traffic lights or construction zones.

“The technology we’re testing right now is a viable solution for providing crucial safety information to drivers,” said Don Grimm, senior researcher for GM’s Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group. “Instead of just seeing what’s right in front of them, drivers will be able to know about the truck a quarter-mile ahead that’s stalled in their lane. Later this decade, smartphones, transponders and embedded systems could be working together to make our roadways safer.”

GM says an added benefit of using smartphones for such a system is that it could potentially be used by pedestrians and cyclists who could download a special app that would let drivers know their location.

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