Vehicles Talk in Ann Arbor


We know cars can help us communicate via connected solutions, but what about cars that can “talk” to each other? That’s the idea behind a study taking place in Michigan that hopes to develop new ways for vehicles to use connectivity to improve safety on the road.

We first heard about the project back in May, when the UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute),, announced research designed to help prevent crashes by using connected technology. Researchers said they would equip vehicles with technology used to send and receive messages. The plan was to affix wireless communications devices to nearly 3,000 vehicles, which would be able to send data to each other, as well as to traffic lights and road signals in the pilot area in northeast Ann Arbor.

Now, the UMTRI says the 3,000 cars, trucks, and buses have been equipped with the connected Wi-Fi technology and have begun traveling the streets of Ann Arbor. The project, managed by the U.S. DOT, will be a year-long endeavor to road test connected vehicle technology.

The UMTRI will use both V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communication devices to gather data about system operability and its effectiveness for reducing crashes. The DOT says V2V communication could help to reduce crashes. Vehicles could send and receive electronic messages from other equipped vehicles, and then translate the data into warnings if the system detects a dangerous situation.

“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,” says David Strickland, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Admin.) administrator.

The DOT says it will use the data collected by the project in 2013 to determine next steps regarding connected vehicle technology.

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June/July 2014
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