Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, August 22, 2011

UMTRI will test vehicle safety communications system

The U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has been awarded a $14.9 million contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a safety pilot model deployment of a vehicle communications system used to improve the safety and efficiency of the nation's roadways.

The 30-month program will establish a real world, multimodal test site in Ann Arbor for enabling wireless communications among vehicles and roadside equipment for use in generating data to enable safety applications.

Passenger cars, commercial trucks and transit buses will be included that are equipped with a mix of integrated, retrofit and aftermarket vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure safety systems, a technology that could prevent thousands of crashes.

"This is a tremendous opportunity, and we are very excited to be able to support the USDOT's demonstration of cutting-edge transportation technologies in our community," says program manager Jim Sayer, an associate research scientist at UMTRI.

The data generated and archived as part of the model deployment will be used for estimating safety benefits in support of future policy decisions by the USDOT, as well as for use by the broader transportation industry in developing additional safety, mobility and environmental applications utilizing wireless technologies. The testing phase will last 12 months and include about 2,850 vehicles.

"We feel honored to host the national test environment for vehicles that don't crash," says UMTRI director Peter Sweatman. "We look forward to helping many private and public sector organizations advance connected vehicle technologies, which save lives and promote efficient movement of cars, trucks and transit buses."

Program partners supporting UMTRI include the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Ann Arbor, Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., Mixon Hill Inc., HNTB Corp., SAIC Inc., Texas Transportation Institute, AAA of Michigan and ESCRYPT Inc. Additional support is provided by the Office of the Vice President of Research and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.