Automotive > Infotainment & Telematics Blog

USDOT Considering Potential for Connected Vehicle Goal of 2013

by Roger Lanctot | 3月 17, 2011

In a somewhat surprising announcement guaranteed to stir up the V2V community, Anastasios Zografos, speaking in his capacity as program manager at SAIC for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's V2V/V2I Test Bed program said that the first production vehicles with connected vehicle technology could arrive in 2014 - essentially proposing a goal of 2013 for connected vehicle technology.  Separately, an ITS representative speaking privately after giving his presentation suggested that mobile phones could serve as an alternative platform for V2X technology.

Zografos was speaking at the Connected Vehicle Proving Center event held March 16th at the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  He was speaking as a representative of the Research and Innovative Technology Adminstration (RITA) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office which runs the Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Technology Test Bed.  His main mission in attending the event was announcing the availability of Test Bed 2.0 for device and application development, but the 2013 mandate announcement came at the beginning of his presentation.  Contacted after his presentation he acknowledged the likelihood of delays emerging for one reason or another, but he insisted that 2013 was the official stake in the ground for the automotive industry.

Further fleshing out his vision he described the wide range of initiatives currently being pursued simultaneously by the USDOT including additional research and deployment plans as well as safety pilots.  But the announcement made clear that auto makers will be asked to deploy V2V/V2I modules based on Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) standards and also called Wireless Access in Vehicular Environment (WAVE) ahead of any supported infrastructure deployments, which will come later in a piecemeal manner over an extended period of time.

Applications highlighted by Zografos include:

Probe Data Services - for gathering vehicle positioning and sensor data to be communicated to back office servers via roadside equipment (RSEs);

Signal PHase and Timing (SPaT) Services - for integration with traffic signal controllers to better synchronize traffic with traffic light phases;

V2I and V2V Communication Services - for Internet access and safety message broadcasting.

But maybe the focus on DSRC and the rush to implement is ill-considered. An ITS representative said that standards-setting bodies in the V2X community are increasingly recognizing the power of mobile phone technology generally and Bluetooth in particular as ad hoc alternatives to what is perceived in the automotive industry as expensive embedded solutions.  The USDOT may be starting to throw its weight around on the V2X DSRC front, but the ITS world is finally opening its eyes to an answer to the connected vehicle proposition that resides in most driver's pockets and purses.

Implications:

Much work remains to bring V2X technology to the marketplace in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.  But the statements from SAIC as a representative of the USDOT, clearly suggest that V2X technology may be closer to coming to market than previously perceived.  An important note is the growing recognition in the V2X community of the critical role of mobile phones as a connectivity technology available as an ad hoc solution for vehicle connectivity.  James Barbaresso, vice president, national ITS practice leader for HNTB, speaking on behalf of ITS World Congress 2014, noted that mobile phone data connectivity is being tested to provide many of the same benefits of V2X technology.  In fact, the industry may see fit to provide for the integration of mobile phone and DSRC signaling solutions to achieve the greatest possible benefit to drivers and the local and federal authorities seeking to make driving safer and more efficient.

In a side conversation after his presentation one ITS representative suggested mobile phones might even serve as an alternative to the DSRC technology long-preferred by the industry. The bottom line for car makers is that V2X developments are moving swiftly toward an on-board mandate.  The pressure of that mandate will help focus the attention of all constituents.  Let the lobbying begin.

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