The federal government has invested a considerable amount of funds in the implementation of the Connected Vehicle program and safety applications based on Vehicle-2-Vehicle (V2V) communication. Although vehicle manufacturers have tentatively adopted the technology and an after-market industry is likely to appear, its success depends on almost universal adoption of the technology on all vehicles on the road. A Safety Pilot test is underway in Ann Arbor, MI and will be completed this fall. The results of that test will be the basis of a decision by NHTSA to initiate rule-making regarding the use of these technologies on future vehicles.
On the other hand, Vehicle-2-Infrastructure (V2I) based safety applications can be developed for specific problematic locations and offer a quick return of investment while allowing early adoption of V2V applications. The I-94 commons is one location where the investment for the additional infrastructure can yield a reasonably quick return, and (a) allow the development and testing of the vehicle-based V2V crash avoidance technologies such as Emergency Electronic Brake Light Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot, and Lane Change Warning, and (b) V2I safety applications that we can develop such as Speed Harmonization and Queue Warning. Using sensors strategically located near the road section of interest, one can determine vehicle locations and broadcast safety messages as if they were coming from instrumented vehicles. In this approach, infrastructure-based sensors, such as radar detectors, determine vehicle location, heading, and speed for every vehicle within the appropriate instrumented zone. Roadside equipment (RSE) then broadcasts an individual Basic Safety Message (BSM) on behalf of each unequipped vehicle in the zone. The applications within the vehicle receiving these emulated messages process them as though they had originated from an equipped vehicle. This way, V2V applications can function effectively for equipped vehicles, even though a high percentage of the surrounding vehicles are unequipped. For V2I, we can take advantage of commercially available after-market positioning and dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) devices that can be installed in vehicles. These can in turn communicate to smartphones that can provide warnings to the driver. Infrastructure-based V2I is an approach that can have many benefits in the short term.
Capitalizing on research projects that will end this calendar year, most (but not all) of the necessary sensors for implementing such a system are available and require only relocation to the I-94 site. The ATM systems available at that location also minimize the need for new supporting infrastructure.