6/10/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Connected Cars Put to the Test in Michigan

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Two years of testing with nearly 3,000 vehicles in Ann Arbor, Mich., showed that enabling vehicles to communicate directly with each other can reduce traffic accidents.

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Two years of testing with nearly 3,000 vehicles in Ann Arbor, Mich., showed that enabling vehicles to communicate directly with each other can reduce traffic accidents.

Vehicles were equipped with cameras, sensors and dedicated short-range communication systems that allow them to share information with each other and with a network of transponders mounted on traffic lights or streetlights in the test area.

Now the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute is helping deploy more such vehicles to move the technology beyond the feasibility stage. UMTRI aims to expand the Ann Arbor fleet to 9,000 vehicles over the next few years.

Under the expanded program, which will start in July, automotive and telecommunications experts as well as U-M engineering students will test vehicles and analyze how they perform in near real-world conditions on a 4.2-mile course. Dubbed M City, the simulated environment includes multiple lanes and markers, road signs, intersections and roundabouts, sidewalks, streetlights, building facades and bus stop shelters as well as parked cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.

UMTRI also is working with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation and major carmakers to put 20,000 connected cars on the road across southeast Michigan. Data is being shared with federal safety regulators as they consider connectivity technologies for future vehicles.