How Locals Need To Prepare for the Future of V2V/V2I Connected Vehicles

Principal Investigator:

John Hourdos, Director, MN Traffic Observatory, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

Vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communication have the potential to change the future of transportation in a revolutionary way. Much like the seatbelt and airbags did in the past, V2V/V2I-equipped vehicles are quickly becoming an industry standard with the aim of further improving driver safety. Unlike seatbelts and airbags, the aim of V2V/V2I communication is not to help drivers survive crashes but to help drivers avoid them. V2V/V2I capable vehicles - often referred to as Connected Vehicles (CVs) - capitalize on technologies like GPS, in-vehicle sensors, roadway sensors, and wireless communication to broaden the information available to the driver/vehicle unit. Currently, the entire concept rests on a specific reserved frequency and communication protocol called Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC). Following several years of federally supported research and development, auto manufacturers have started to implement DSRC radios into their new vehicles and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is set to require that all new light vehicles be equipped with a DSRC awareness device. While the system rests upon defined standards for information format, accuracy, and security, automakers are left to develop safety applications. For traffic operators to be able to capitalize on the plethora of information generated by the CVs, the infrastructure needs to be capable of securely interfacing with the CV environment. An example of this is in the eco-approach and departure application at signalized intersections which requires that the current signal phase and timing (SPaT) information be broadcasted over DSRC to run effectively. This monumental change in transportation technology has local traffic engineers uncertain and, in many cases, unable to follow the rapid developments. This project will focus on helping local engineers determine the best course towards ensuring that their infrastructure is compatible with CVs and able to supply the information necessary for the different safety, mobility, and environmental applications to run.

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