Connected and Automated Vehicles

Technology could mean zero fatalities

Connected and automated vehicle technology has the potential to eliminate all accidents caused by human error – or 90 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities per year.

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.

Defining the future
Connected and autonomous (driverless) vehicles fall under the umbrella of intelligent transportation systems, technologies that have been prominently featured in mainstream media over the past few years.
  • ITS is defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the application of advanced information and communications technology to surface transportation to achieve enhanced safety and mobility while reducing the environmental impact of transportation.
  • Connected vehicles essentially “talk” to infrastructure and other vehicles electronically.
  • Automated vehicles take connected technology a step further by eliminating the need for a human driver.

Creating a $35 billion industry
It is estimated that intelligent vehicle technology will eventually be a $35 billion industry in the U.S.

Many of today’s vehicles already feature advanced sensor systems that involve video, radar and Lidar, a laser-based technology that continually and accurately scans and maps the environment around the vehicle.

In fact, consumers now can buy vehicles that, within a few years’ time, will receive software updates, equipping them to be on the roads without drivers. And, it is widely believed there will be fully autonomous cars on America’s roads this year.

Adopting ITS at the state level
Several state departments of transportation are showing interest in, or are actively seeking, intelligent transportation systems solutions in anticipation of the coming technology. Implementing ITS can create:
  • Safety benefits
  • Increased highway capacity
  • More reliable travel times

States, such as 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.

HNTB has AV/CV experts in offices across the country. The firm is at the forefront of the movement and has helped advance vehicle test tracks, truck parking, smart cities and transportation technology.

Jim Barbaresso is HNTB’s ITS practice leader. He 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, is HNTB's program director for emerging technologies in transportation. Previously, he was manager of the U.S. 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.

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