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UMTRI to start installing 'Safety Pilot' equipment

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is about to start installing the equipment on vehicles that will be taking part in the largest ‘connected-vehicle’, street-level pilot project in the Western Hemisphere. The US$22 million Safety Pilot/Model Deployment, a partnership between UMTRI and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), is part of a joint research initiative led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see how well the technology works in the real world. UMTRI will install wireless communication devices on nearly 3,000 vehicles that will allow cars, trucks and buses to communicate with each other (V2V), as well as with roadside infrastructure (V2I), such as traffic lights and other road signals located at intersections, curves and highway sites, throughout the test-pilot area in northeast Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The V2V and V2I connected vehicle technology will transmit and receive vehicle data, such as position, speed and location, with drivers being alerted to potential crash situations, such as a nearby vehicle unexpectedly braking, a sudden lane change or merging traffic, by a flashing red light or a warning sound inside the vehicles. The NHTSA estimates that connected vehicle technology has the potential to address more than 80% of unimpaired driver crashes. Program manager Jim Sayer, an associate research scientist at UMTRI, explained, “There are all kinds of safety and convenience applications to this, as well as applications related to mobility and sustainability. This is a tremendous opportunity, and we are very excited to be able to support the USDOT’s demonstration of cutting-edge transportation technologies in our community.”

May 21, 2012

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