Virginia Tech Transportation Institute receives University Transportation Center Tier 1 Grant; focus on connected vehicle technology
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) recently awarded $3.5 million to establish a multidisciplinary program of transportation research, education, and technology transfer for a Tier 1 University Transportation Center to be headquartered at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Additional external funding is expected to bring the total program at the Institute to approximately $7 million through January 2014.
The University Transportation Center will be focused on basic and applied research, education and workforce development, and technology transferred centered upon what is perhaps the technical area with the greatest potential to make a significant impact on the future of transportation safety—the connected vehicle/infrastructure environment.
The connected vehicle/infrastructure environment provides an opportunity to solve a number of transportation problems by enabling the sharing of real-time information across vehicles and infrastructure elements. Robust communication between vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V), infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure, V2I), and devices (vehicle-to-device, V2D) will enable applications addressing the DOT’s strategic goals of safety, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, livable communities, and environmental sustainability.
Each of the surface modal administrations, along with many vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, are actively engaged in advancing this technology. A primary reason for this advancement is the ability of the connected vehicle technology to share high quality data derived from information that currently resides on vehicles and at the roadside via low-cost, dedicated radios. For example, vehicles can communicate via connected vehicle technology their relative positions and their reasonably accurate absolute positions relative to the roadway environment, thus enabling the implementation of numerous applications such as forward collision warning, lane-change warning, road departure warning, and curve speed warning without the use of expensive radar, sonar or machine-vision sensors.
RITA, which administers the University Transportation Center program, used a competitive selection process to select 10 University Transportation Centers, two Transit-Focused Centers, and 10 Regional Centers. The centers will advance transportation technology and expertise in research, education, and technology transfer. Each one of the selected centers will receive a $3.5 million grant that they must match with funds from non-federal sources. The 22 centers selected are all consortia, involving a total of 121 different universities.
The connected vehicle University Transportation Center will focus on the development, assessment, and improvement of connected-vehicle systems and applications. Basic and applied research will be used to investigate and address relevant knowledge gaps about the successful deployment of connected vehicle applications aimed at improving safety, the state of good repair, economic competitiveness, livable communities, and environmental issues. Such research will employ a variety of unique tools and test beds developed or enhanced as part of this grant.
The consortium consists of Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and Morgan State University and will guided by a group of stakeholders, many of which are experts in the connected vehicle domain.