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New DOT research shows drivers support connected vehicle technology, appreciate potential safety benefits

Participants in the driver acceptance clinics strongly desired the V2V safety features. Source: DOT. Click to enlarge.

An overwhelming majority of drivers who have experienced technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other have a highly favorable opinion of its safety benefits, according to data released by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

Together, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) have been working with the auto industry, state and federal partners to research the effectiveness and feasibility of connected vehicle technology that enables vehicles to "talk" to one another (vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V) with Wi-Fi-like technology that could help prevent crashes altogether. (Earlier post.)

DOT announced the results of six driver acceptance clinics (DACs) that were held across the country at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s 2012 Annual Meeting held at the National Harbor. The pilot programs were held between August 2011 and January 2012 to gather feedback from 688 drivers who participated in tests of vehicle-to-vehicle communications. The information gathered from the program showed that an overwhelming majority of drivers would like to have the features included in their own vehicles, and most believe the technology would be useful in improving driver safety.

The DACs used 16 V2V equipped vehicles—two from each participating OEM. Eight were for use by participants (host vehicles), 8 for use by professional drivers during scenario execution (remote vehicles). The DAC vehicles are 16 of the 64 integrated vehicles that will be deployed in Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor. (Earlier post.)

DAC application were:

  • EEBL: Emergency Electronic Brake Lights
  • FCW: Forward Collision Warning
  • BSW/LCW: Blind Spot Warning/Lane Change Warning
  • LTA: Left Turn Assist
  • IMA: Intersection Movement Assist
  • DNPW: Do Not Pass Warning

Safety is our top priority, and we are always looking for ways that innovative technology can be harnessed to improve driver safety. Connected vehicle technology offers tremendous promise—for improving safety, reducing traffic jams and increasing fuel efficiency. It’s encouraging to see that most drivers agree and want this technology in their cars.

—Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

The driver clinics, the first phase of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program, were completed this past year to gather information on how drivers would interact with the technology. 82% strongly agreed that they would like to have vehicle-to-vehicle safety features on their personal vehicle. In addition, more than 90% of the participants believed that a number of specific features of the connected vehicle technology would improve driving in the real world, including features alerting drivers about cars approaching an intersection, warning of possible forward collisions, and notifying drivers of cars changing lanes or moving into the driver’s blind spot.

Vehicle-to-vehicle technologies have the potential to significantly reduce fatalities and injuries in crashes and could one day help motorists avoid crashes altogether. These technologies may prove to be the next game-changer as we look at the future of auto safety.

—David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator

NHTSA and RITA will launch the year-long second phase of the Connected Vehicle program this summer, during which approximately 3,000 equipped vehicles will test crash-avoidance technologies that include in-vehicle forward-collision warnings, “do not pass” alerts, and warnings that a vehicle ahead has stopped suddenly. The program will take place on roads in Ann Arbor, Mich., and will also involve a limited number of applications allowing vehicles to communicate with the roadway.

Eight major automotive manufacturers are working closely with the Department on this research through partnering agreements: Ford Motor Company, General Motors LLC., Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc., Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, Inc., Nissan Technical Center North America, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

The information collected from the Safety Pilot program will be used by NHTSA to determine by 2013 whether to proceed with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communication activities, including possible future rulemakings.



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