Daydreaming Can Be Startling, DOT’s LaHood Found Out in Connected Car Study

by Jon LeSage, edi­tor, Used Car Mar­ket Reports

What can con­nect­ed cars due to decrease fatal­i­ties and increase road safe­ty?

The US Dept. of Trans­porta­tion (DOT) and Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan Trans­porta­tion Research Insti­tute just fin­ished a $25M year-long study to find out.

2,800 vehi­cles com­mu­ni­cat­ed with each oth­er in Ann Arbor, Mich., to increase safe­ty.

In DOT’s safe­ty pilot pro­gram, “Mod­el Deploy­ment,” cars, trucks, and tran­sit bus­es were set up with ded­i­cat­ed short-range com­mu­ni­ca­tions (DSRC) – two-way, short-range wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion devices – some spe­cial­ly built and most of them placed in after­mar­ket kits.

The vehi­cles send basic safe­ty mes­sages (BSM) that inform oth­er vehi­cles about safe­ty-relat­ed infor­ma­tion such as speed and loca­tion; BSM data pack­ets are broad­cast 10 times per sec­ond to sur­round­ing vehi­cles.

About 300 of the vehi­cles received mes­sages that tell them speed and loca­tion of every vehi­cle with­in 1,000 feet – if they’re close to rear-end­ing anoth­er vehi­cle, they get a warn­ing mes­sage.

For­mer DOT Sec­re­tary Ray LaHood test drove a study car – vibrat­ing seats, alarms, and flash­ing lights kept him in line through blind spots and lane changes.

“It’s star­tling if you’re day­dream­ing,” LaHood said.

Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion allo­cat­ed 75 MHz of spec­trum in 5.9 GHz for use in DOT’s Intel­li­gent Trans­porta­tions Sys­tems (ITS) vehi­cle safe­ty and mobil­i­ty appli­ca­tions.

Idea behind all of it was enabling tech­nolo­gies that sup­port safe­ty appli­ca­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between vehi­cle-based devices and infra­struc­ture to reduce col­li­sions.

Dri­vers receiv­ing four safe­ty warn­ing mes­sages:  For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing if dri­ver fails to brake when a vehi­cle in the driver’s path is stopped or trav­el­ing slow­er and there is a poten­tial risk of col­li­sion; Lane Change Warning/Blind Spot Warn­ing – if dri­ver tries to change lanes if there is a car in the blind spot or an over­tak­ing vehi­cle; Emer­gency Elec­tric Brake Light Warn­ing noti­fies the dri­ver that there is a vehi­cle ahead that the dri­ver can’t see, but which is brak­ing hard for some rea­son; Inter­sec­tion Move­ment Assist warns the dri­ver when it is not safe to enter an inter­sec­tion.

Sources:
Wired
US Dept. of Trans­porta­tion

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