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Cohda, BMW and Honda in V2V motorcycle study as part of DOT Safety Pilot Model Deployment

As part of the US Safety Pilot Model Deployment of connected vehicle technologies (earlier post), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will launch a motorcycle study to determine how cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles interact using V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) communications technology.

Two tasks will be conducted in the Safety Pilot Model Deployment Geographic Area as a proof of concept for incorporating motorcycles into the connected vehicle environment: motorcycle communications feasibility testing and motorcycle-to-vehicle performance testing. UMTRI has partnered with two motorcycle manufacturers: Honda and BMW. Australia-based Cohda Wireless is providing the V2V connected vehicle equipment.

With almost 3,000 vehicles, the Safety Pilot Model Deployment trial in Ann Arbor, managed by UMTRI for the US Department of Transportation (DOT), is the largest connected vehicle trial in the world. Cohda supplies the equipment for 1,500 of these vehicles.

The V2V connected vehicle equipment provided by Cohda for the motorcycles is based upon the RoadLINK chipset resulting from collaboration between Cohda Wireless and NXP Semiconductors. (Earlier post.)

In April 2013, the to companies signed the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). (Earlier post.) The memorandum aims at implementing and deploying harmonized technology for the wireless communication between cars, or between cars and traffic infrastructure, in Europe. At that time, they also announced the introduction of RoadLINK as their new technology brand for marketing a total Car-to-X (C2X) communication and security solution for on-board units and road-side units in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

This automotive-grade, market-ready chipset consists of a software-defined radio chip from NXP running connected vehicle firmware from Cohda. NXP is providing the chipset including firmware in a one-stop shop to customers based on exclusive license with Cohda.

Cohda’s key technology is on the receive side of the 802.11p radio. Cohda’s proprietary, standards-compliant, receive-side enhancements to the WiFi technology enable significantly greater timeliness in detecting potential vehicle crash scenarios than systems built with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) WiFi radio parts, the company claims:

  • Cohda devices can allow 10-15 times more data to be exchanged between vehicles and/or infrastructure;

  • can significantly increase connectivity range (200 meters v 20 meters);

  • can provide a robust connection 20 seconds before a potential collision, versus just 3 seconds; and

  • can extend connectivity in non-line-of-sight conditions to improve potential collision avoidance, e.g. robust connections at >6 seconds versus <2 seconds for COTS radios.

Paul Gray, CEO of Cohda Wireless, noted it was extremely important that connected vehicle technology be extended to vulnerable road users such as motorcycle riders and pedestrians.

Analysis by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows connected vehicle technology could potentially address approximately 80% of the crash scenarios involving non-impaired drivers.

Furthermore, according to NHTSA data, 5% of accidents involve motorcycles but 80% of the accidents result in injury or death as compared to 20% for cars. This makes it vital that connected vehicle technology also addresses these vulnerable road users. Motorcycles have an important role in USDOT’s overall safety strategy.

Cohda and Cisco have jointly developed roadside equipment that enables robust V2I communications for such safety applications as Curve Speed Warnings and Traffic Signal Violation Warnings. Both of these applications hold particular importance for motorcycle riders. This roadside equipment has been tested extensively by the USDOT and selected to be on the research Qualified Products List (rQPL) for Roadside Equipment (RSE). Other approved vendors are Arada Systems; Kapsch TrafficCom, Inc.; Savari Networks; and Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Product testing for the RSEs was conducted from 20 February through 2 March 2012. In addition to other factors such as cost and timing, devices were evaluated based on the following standards.

Cohda has also developed a vehicle awareness device that enables robust V2V communications for such safety applications as Intersection Collision Warnings, Forward Collision Warnings, and Emergency Electronic Brake Lights. Of the seven equipment vendors that were originally selected by USDOT to develop such equipment, Cohda is one of three vendors to make the final rQPL for Vehicle Awareness Devices (VAD). The other two are Arada Systems Inc. and Savari Inc.

Product testing for the VADs was conducted from December 2011 through September 2012. In addition to other factors such as cost and timing, devices were evaluated based on the following standards.

The selection of firms is still ongoing, said the DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), and other firms will likely be added to the list. ITS JPO selects firms to supply equipment for the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment and other Test Bed Installations.



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