Connected and Automated Vehicles

Technology helps sense and avoid crashes

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines intelligent transportation systems as the application of advanced information and communications technology to surface transportation in order to achieve enhanced safety and mobility while reducing the environmental impact of transportation.

It has been estimated intelligent vehicle technology will be a $35 billion industry in the U.S., and several state departments of transportation are showing interest in, or are actively seeking, intelligent transportation systems solutions.

These agencies are interested in ITS for many reasons. In addition to safety benefits, there is potential for increased highway capacity and more reliable travel times. 

Connected and autonomous (driverless) vehicles fall under the umbrella of ITS, and these technologies have been prominently featured in mainstream media over the last year. A connected vehicle essentially “talks” to infrastructure other vehicles electronically, while an automated vehicle takes that technology a step further by eliminating the need for a human driver. 

Automakers now are introducing advanced sensor systems that involve video, radar and LiDAR, a laser-based technology that continually and accurately scans and maps the environment around a vehicle. Cars with vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and highly automated features, such as lane-keeping and cooperative adaptive cruise control, will be in showrooms by the end of the decade. Many of these features already are present in today’s cars.

The mission of combining vehicle connection and automation? Total elimination of all vehicle crashes. While seatbelts and airbags protect vehicle occupants in the event of crashes, connected and automated vehicle technologies can prevent crashes from happening in the first place.

The full benefit of safer, more reliable, predictable and faster technologies won’t be realized overnight. But states like Florida have passed legislation for connection and automation that can offer life-saving, community-enhancing transportation advancements that the federal government and U.S. auto industry already embrace.

Jim Barbaresso is HNTB’s ITS practice leader, and has been involved in a number of projects related to the national autonomous vehicle and connected vehicle initiative, including designing and building one of the first live test beds with the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

Greg Krueger, PE, serves as HNTB's program director for emerging technologies in transportation, with an initial emphasis on automated and connected vehicles. Previously, Krueger was manager of the United States Department of Transportation Southeast Michigan Connected Vehicle Test Bed where he oversaw the day-to-day operations and technology enhancements for the original Proof of Concept facility.

Frank Perry is a senior connected and autonomous vehicle program manager for HNTB. In this role, Perry is responsible for all aspects of connected and autonomous vehicle systems planning, design, deployment and operations. Perry has 25 years of experience designing, deploying, testing, optimizing and operating wireless and wired communication networks, including 5.9GHz dedicated short-range communications connected vehicle networks. 

In the past 30 years, he has worked with transportation clients, automobile manufacturers and technology companies, successfully planning, implementing and managing some of the largest, most visible ITS and autonomous and connected vehicle programs in this country.

Selected HNTB Thought Leadership

•    HNTB's automated and connected vehicles brochure
•    FAST Act's Section 6020: A new opportunity for state DOTs to shape the future of surface transportation
•    Connected and automated vehicles can put traffic accidents in the rearview mirror for good
•    Why agencies are considering adoption and where to begin
•    How America’s growing connectivity will affect the toll industry

Selected media

•    Bloomberg Technology: It's Aye, Robot, as Driverless Cars Finally Steer Near Showrooms 
•    Washington Post: Blind man sets out alone in Google's driverless car
•    Washington Post: Obama administration proposes that all new cars must be able to talk to each other
•    Chicago Tribune: Driverless cars could improve safety, but impact on jobs, transit questioned
•    Jacksonville Business Journal: Five questions with one of the nation's leading autonomous vehicle experts
•    Comcast Newsmakers (Florida): Ananth Prasad on Self-Driving Vehicles
•    The Drive with Alan Taylor (radio): Transportation and HNTB
•    Bloomberg Business: Self-Driving Cars Are Rolling Closer to a U.S. Road Near You 
•    Fortune: How Will Talking Cars Change Our Roads? 
•    Jim Barbaresso speaks at TEDxJacksonville 2015: Driverless Cars and Connected Infrastructure: The future?
•    Connected Cars Dialog at the National Press Club (Jim Barbaresso speaks at 3:24, 33:08, 42:43, 46:32 and 50:24)

Selected awards

Truck Parking Information and Management System for Michigan Department of Transportation
•    American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan 2015 Engineering Merit Award
•    ITS World Congress 2014 Best Paper Award