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.