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DOT to award almost $9M to keep Ann Arbor connected vehicle R&D environment going for another 3 years

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a grants notice (DTFH6114RA00002) for the award of $8,991,669 (as a 50% cost-share) to maintain for an additional three years the unique connected vehicle research and testing environment the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) developed in Ann Arbor under the Safety Pilot. (Earlier post.) The grant notice has a “sole source requirement,” with application eligibility limited to UMTRI.

The Connected Vehicle Test Environment (CVTE) was developed as a real-world model deployment test site for enabling wireless communications among vehicles and with roadside equipment for use in generating data to enable driver safety warning systems. The CVTE encompasses vehicles of various types that include a mix of integrated, retrofit, and aftermarket safety devices.

The data generated and archived in the CVTE is used for estimating the safety benefits of connected vehicle technology as well as for use by the broader industry in researching and developing additional connected vehicle applications.

The period of performance for the original competitively awarded Safety Pilot Contract, DTFH61-11-C-00040, ends 31 August 2014.

With the new notice, DOT is seeking to put in place a framework under which UMTRI will continue to operate, maintain and upgrade the CVTE and seek further investment and activity from third parties in order to develop a sustainable operational environment.

Background. In 2010, DOT wanted to accelerate the introduction and commercialization of dedicated short range communications (DSRC)-based crash warning and avoidance systems. To support this goal, it initiated a Safety Pilot program starting in 2010 and extending into 2014 by contracting with UMTRI for services which included building out vehicles with connected vehicle technology, holding driver training for test participants, deploying 2,000 vehicles equipped with Vehicle Awareness Devices (VADs), 290 Aftermarket Safety Devices (ASDs) and Road Side Equipment (RSE) and establishing an operational test environment.

The resulting test environment provides invaluable research data to DOT and the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) community to understand the safety, and implementation implications of connected vehicle technologies. In addition the US. DOT has opened up this data-rich environment to industry for use in testing their own devices and applications.

Objective. The objective of the new proposed Cooperative Agreement is to provide a basis for the recipient, UMTRI, to work cooperatively with FHWA on various projects that are designed to maintain and upgrade the current Ann Arbor test environment while working with external partners to upgrade and leverage the test site so that it can be sustained without further federal investment after the completion of the agreement. This agreement is a new initiative to meet these various objectives.

Work areas covered under the agreement include:

  • Operate and maintain test environment. Equipment includes a minimum of 20 Roadside Equipment installations, a minimum of 2,000 Basic Safety Message (BSM) transmit-only devices, and a minimum of 250 BSM transmit and application hosting devices.

  • Upgrade infrastructure and security in test environment operations. This includes infrastructure and security to incorporate new technologies and standards as they become available. For example, FHWA is currently developing updated specifications for the roadside equipment as well as an overall Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA), and the infrastructure in the Ann Arbor test environment will need to be upgraded to be compliant with the next generation of connected vehicle technology.

  • Plan and develop a sustainable operational environment. This includes all activities associated with developing a plan to maintain the environment at the end of the agreement without future federal government funding.

  • Support other related research activities.

Deliverables will be determined after award collectively by USDOT and UMTRI.


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