connected vehicles

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

General Motors is taking the lead in producing cars that can almost drive themselves.

The "driver-assist" and "vehicle-to-vehicle" technology enables cars to communicate with other cars and roadside sensors. That should help drivers avoid accidents and reduce traffic congestion.

GM CEO Mary Barra announced Sunday the automaker will begin offering V2V as an option in the Lansing-built Cadillac CTS starting with the 2017 model year.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A veritable "who's who" of the global automotive industry has signed on to support the University of Michigan’s new automated vehicle initiative.

The “Mobility Transformation Center” is a public-private center that will look at how to make automated vehicles commercially viable.  

A few years ago, most of us would not know what the phrase "connected vehicles" meant. Today, the technology is being used in more vehicles, in hopes of cutting down on accidents and traffic jams. 

A new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute finds that even as the public welcomes the prospect of safer driving, they are still worried about being hacked and preserving their privacy. 

We were joined by the researchers who conducted this study. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

U-M sets goal of driverless car network by 2021

Nov 10, 2013

The University of Michigan has announced a collaboration with government and business to make its hometown of Ann Arbor the first American city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles by 2021. 

The school says its Mobility Transformation Center is pursuing the goal of having a driverless vehicle system in operation within eight years.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The world's largest-ever test of connected vehicle technology got underway in Ann Arbor this week.

Experts predict that our cars will one day routinely "talk" to one another with wireless communication devices -- preventing huge numbers of traffic accidents.

Already, ordinary motorists have experienced driving with the devices on closed courses.  One study was held last year at the Michigan International Speedway. 

Now, in the next step, the technology is being tested under real-world conditions.  By October, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI for short) plans to install some version of wireless car-to-car communication devices in nearly 3,000 people's cars, as well as on some city and school busses.

Traffic signal-to-car communication devices will be installed at numerous intersections; others will be mounted near potentially dangerous sections of roadway.

See a video of how the technology works: 

 

For a year, the motorists will travel their usual ways, occasionally crossing paths.

UMTRI will collect the data, which will eventually help researchers determine how well the technology works in real life.   Researchers may be able to prove that a handful of accidents were averted. 

But the real potential for the technology is when it is adopted on a wide scale, in millions of vehicles.

UMTRI Director Peter Sweatman thinks the potential to save lives is huge.

"Motor vehicle injuries and fatalities are the number one public health problem in this country -- I don't think people realize that," Sweatman says, standing in a big garage bay where technicians are installing the devices in study participants' cars.  "Between the ages of 1 and 35 - that's the no. 1 cause of death!"

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in Michigan today touting a major advance in Smart Car technology.

By October, three thousand cars, trucks and buses outfitted with a special Wi-Fi system will travel around Ann Arbor as part of a one year test of the system.

A few hundred are already on the road.

LaHood says the Smart Car system allows vehicles to “talk” to each other and hopefully avoid accidents.

About 100 people will “start their engines,” at the Michigan International Speedway this week. But it won’t be for a race. The MIS is lending its track to the U.S. Department of Transportation to test vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.

Connected vehicle technology allows cars to communicate with other cars and the road.

Devices installed in a car warn a driver that a crash is imminent or that they’re about to run a red light.