These U.S. Regions are Official Connected Vehicle Test Sites
May 13, 2020—Reading about topics like fully autonomous vehicles, connected telematics and predictive maintenance can sometimes feel far off into the future. The link between now and then isn’t always clear.
But in the realm of connected vehicles, there are three federal pilot programs that have been in the works for years and are now operating on the streets. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s research division started the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program in 2014 to test various connectivity systems in three different places.
This pilot area focuses on studying the benefits of connective technology in a rural freeway setting with commercial vehicles. According to a federal report on the program, the test area is Interstate 80, which spans the state and is susceptible to blizzards, icy roads and extreme wind.
This pilot includes a good test area for vehicle-to-infrastructure systems, which use roadside stations to send information to connected vehicles. This includes work zone warnings, spot weather warnings and distress notifications.
Working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the program uses 75 roadside units along I-80 that receive and broadcast messages with vehicles. Some 400 state vehicles that regularly travel I-80 were equipped with connectivity equipment, including weather sensors for some vehicles.
The second pilot area is in the heart ofTampa, Fla. Buses, streetcars and private vehicles were given connective equipment to test how the technology could reduce traffic congestion during peak hours, reduce pedestrian-vehicle conflicts and crashes and improve overall traffic flow.
This test employs more vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian systems. Some real-world scenarios that the system predicts includes giving buses priority at traffic signals to help them keep schedules and warning streetcar operators when a vehicle is turning into an approaching intersection. There are also pedestrian warning systems for crosswalks.
This study includes around 1,100 private vehicles, 10 buses and eight streetcars.
New York City, N.Y.
For the most urban setting in the study, driver and pedestrian safety are at the focus of the New York City site. The area includes four one-way corridors, a 1.6-mile segment of an avenue in Brooklyn and a four-mile section of Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive in Manhattan.
In addition to vehicle-to-vehicle interactions, some of the vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies include red light violation warnings that alert drivers.
There are also “speed compliance” that alert drivers of their speed, particularly in work zones and on curves. There is also an “oversized vehicle compliance” tool that alerts commercial drivers when they won’t be able to fit under a bridge.
This is one of the largest study areas and brings in 3,200 taxis, 700 transit authority buses, 3,200 city vehicles and 100 pedestrians. Four hundred roadside units are part of the infrastructure network.
Why Should Shops Care?
All auto repair owners should be aware of technologies that will affect their business. In this case, widespread use of V2V or V2I technology has the ultimate goal of reducing crashes and improving traffic. While that’s a general benefit, it could reduce the frequency of customers coming to repair shops.
At the same time, shops should be aware of new onboard technologies that vehicles will have. The installation, repair and maintenance of those systems could be a valuable specialty in the future.
Image: New York City Department of Transportation