smart car

Car to Car Research in Ann Arbor

Nov 13, 2012

There are thousands of cars and trucks driving around Ann Arbor right now, constantly talking to each other.  And in 2013, bicycles and motorcycles will be added to the mix.

They'll be part of an ongoing, $18 million study at the University of Michigan that's outfitting vehicles with wireless car-to-car communication devices.  Those devices alert drivers about safety threats and traffic issues. 

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.

Robert W. Howington / Flickr

The only Smart car dealership in Michigan will close next week.

Aaron Bragman is senior analyst with IHS automotive. He says Smart cars never caught on in the US.

“In this market if you’re going to offer a small car and have it be successful, it has to be small and something. It has to be small and cute or small and efficient or small and well built. The smart car unfortunately was really just,  small.”

Bragman says the fuel economy wasn’t what people thought it would be.