Study of Connected Vehicle Technology begins in Michigan with DOT, U Michigan, Denso

By Dan Collins on 24 August 2012
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One car here may someday be talking to the other

The U.S. Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the University of Michigan Traffic Research Institute and automotive electronics maker Denso, have launched a year-long study testing two prototypes of their Talking Car technology. Connected vehicle technologies have been in development by Denso and other brands around the world for almost a decade and promise to help make the roadways of the future a better place.

Indeed, Talking Car, known as Car-to-X communications in many parts of the world, is already being tested in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in a similar program that Denso is also an associate member of. Other participants in this study include the German state of Hessen, BMW Group, Daimler Volkswagen Group and several other automakers from around Europe and Japan.

Denso is testing two Digital Short-Range Communication (DSRC) devices. One of these devices would eventually be integrated into new cars at the factory and the second DSRC device would be retrofitted into vehicles already on the road, including trucks and buses. Ann Arbor, Michigan has been prepared for this trial with roadside Wi-Fi hotspots at so-called “connected intersections” and Denso hopes to equip roadways across the U.S. with this technology in the next several years.

Connected vehicle communication systems will allow the cars and trucks of the future to “talk” to both the infrastructure they are driving on and each other. This communication capability will not only help avoid crashes in connected intersections based on data gathered from the vehicles approaching it, but make roadways more pleasant to use as well.

In addition to preventing accidents at intersections, Connected Vehicle technologies will give drivers an edge by warning them of bad weather, obstacles, emergency vehicles on the road and even help them find the best route based on traffic-light cycles. With the more accurate and vehicle-specific data, the technology’s forecasting abilities will also provide a significant update to modern traffic information systems that rely on manual reports of existing backups and sensors in the road that detect speed and traffic density.