/ Maintenance / Michigan DOT to Deploy Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication Technology in Detroit

Michigan DOT to Deploy Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication Technology in Detroit

Matt Ball on September 8, 2014 - in Maintenance, Projects, Transportation

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is partnering with General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and a University of Michigan (U-M) consortium to deploy vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology-enabled corridors on more than 120 miles of Metro Detroit roadway, including stretches of I-696 (Walter P. Reuther Freeway) and I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway).

Some key Michigan original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are in the early stages of planning a production rollout of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies, while MDOT is working to initially deploy connected vehicle technology on a 50-mile-long stretch of I-96/I-696 in Metro Detroit.

“At MDOT, our goal is zero deaths on the road system,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “That may sound lofty, but safety defines everything MDOT does. We also know that despite exponential advances in safety by automakers and highway design engineers, human error will still result in crashes. Establishing this corridor capitalizes on a tremendous public-private partnership, and will allow us to test ways for vehicles to communicate with the infrastructure and with other vehicles to prevent many crashes, ultimately saving thousands of lives.”

V2I and V2V technology will enable vehicles to communicate with each other and transportation infrastructure using a combination of communication technology in order to be aware of road conditions and other vehicles, and alert drivers to potential problems. This technology has the potential to prevent drivers from encountering hazards and can greatly improve safety. For example, if a V2V-enabled car makes a sudden stop in heavy fog or its stability control engages on a rain-slicked road, every V2V-enabled car around it will know almost instantaneously, giving drivers time to react. Motorists driving vehicles with V2V technology and the most advanced safety features may even take partial control of the brakes or steering to avoid a collision.

The stretch of I-96/I-696 from US-23 in Brighton east to I-94 in St. Clair Shores has been chosen to become the region’s first “connected corridor” due to this area featuring some of the heaviest traffic volumes in the state. Plus, it is located in the heart of the region’s technology and automotive development corridor. Other heavily traveled highways in the region, including I-94, US-23 and I-75, are expected to be part of future technology deployment. When completed, it will be the largest deployment of connected vehicle and highway technology in the country.

GM and Ford have been working with MDOT to accelerate implementation of connected vehicle technology in order to dramatically enhance driver safety.

“Through technology, cars will be able to talk to other cars and the surrounding infrastructure, and that will ultimately enhance safety,” said Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors. “GM is a leader in this space and we invite other OEMs to push for progress in this area. The goal, after all, is bigger than the success of any one company. The result we are looking for is a world in which everyone can drive safely.”

“Ford is committed to V2V research and the implementation of connected transportation systems, which are integral to our Blueprint for Mobility. No one organization can do this alone, and Ford is pleased to join with other industry leaders and accelerate the pace of innovation to keep the industry moving towards the future,” said Mike Shulman, Technical Leader for Ford Research and Innovation, Ford Motor Co. “By seamlessly connecting cars we hope to reduce crashes and congestion, which will save time, conserve resources and keep drivers safer.”

As OEMs work to bring V2V technology to market as quickly as possible, MDOT will work to equip state highways with a network of sensors and cameras that can collect data to be communicated to V2V and V2I-enabled vehicles. Cameras and sensors will be located on the sides of certain state highways, including up to a half-mile off of the highway.

The U-M Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) is a public/private research and development initiative working with five OEMs, including GM and Ford, as well as leading companies from the automotive supplier, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), communications, data, mobility services, and insurance industries. MTC’s research and development programs are based on large deployments of connected vehicles.

A 2012 safety pilot program in Ann Arbor featured about 3,000 vehicles equipped with V2V technology. Thanks to joint efforts from several automakers, MDOT and MTC, that number is estimated to possibly grow to 9,000 in time for the upcoming connected corridor.

“This V2I corridor will be the catalyst for advancing MTC’s research programs in connected vehicles and for converging rapidly with automated vehicle development carried out by MTC and its partners here in Michigan. MTC’s research programs will benefit greatly from this corridor,” said Peter F. Sweatman, Director, MTC and the U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

MDOT is responsible for a network of more than 9,000 miles of state trunkline. Although the state trunkline system (M, US and I routes) accounts for only 7.9 percent of centerline miles, it carries 52 percent of all traffic and approximately 64 percent of all commercial truck traffic. MDOT also provides financial and/or technical assistance for portions of the transportation system owned and operated by others, including local transit systems, airports, intercity bus, trails, etc.

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