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 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 in 2018.

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.

Frank Perry is a senior connected and autonomous vehicle program manager for HNTB. He is an expert in wireless and wired communication networks and has planned and implemented some of the largest, most visible ITS and autonomous and connected vehicle programs in the U.S.

Selected HNTB Thought Leadership

•    Paradigm shifts and improved safety - What Americans should expect from automated vehicles    
    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

•    Roads & Bridges: Piloting toward the future
•    ITSdigest: 3 Steps for Transportation Agencies to Create an ITS Program
•    ITSdigest: Automated Vehicles and the Future of U.S. Airports
•    ITSdigest: 6 Ways Transportation Agencies Can Benefit from ITS
•    CNN: Your car's data may soon be more valuable than the car itself
•    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
•    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?