MIS chosen for federal testing of safety technologyWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Michigan International Speedway (MIS) was chosen as one of six venues in the country to host U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) testing of wireless vehicle-to-vehicle safety communication technologies.
The first in a series of six Light Vehicle Driver Acceptance Clinics will be at MIS Aug. 8-12. The clinics will help the federal government and automobile industry learn how drivers respond to communication-based safety warnings that are intended to reduce traffic accidents and save lives.
“Research and development is critical to the growth of this technology and its value in reducing the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities. The potential impact on the automotive sector and job creation is remarkable,” MIS President Roger Curtis said.
The Connected Vehicle Drive Clinics at MIS are part of the DOT’s research program with several government agencies, the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP) and Vehicle Safety Communications 3 Consortium (VSC3). The consortium is comprised of eight auto manufacturers including Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.
The program is aimed at developing technologies that will help vehicles avoid crashes by communicating with nearby vehicles and with roadway infrastructure such as traffic signals, grade crossings and dangerous road segments. It is achieved by alerting the driver when there is risk of a crash or other driving hazard.
“Connected vehicle technology has the potential to address 81 percent of all unimpaired driver-related crashes. We must take a look at how this technology will work in the real world to create a safer transportation system,” Peter Appel, administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of the DOT, stated in a press release.
Before real world testing is undertaken, agencies must test in a safe, controlled environment and this is where the MIS facility serves this critical role, Curtis said.
MIS was chosen because of its existing road infrastructure and status as a private, neutral environment, according to Kevin Kelly, director of business development at MIS.
Auto company researchers are willing to collaborate on such projects but don’t want competitors working at their research facilities, Curtis said.
Testing will occur on several road courses at MIS, both inside and outside the oval racetrack, outfitted with temporary traffic signals to simulate city streets and roads. Movable traffic signals will allow the agency to test anywhere on the track’s pavement throughout the 1,400-acre-site at MIS.
Approximately 100 experienced drivers will be recruited locally for the clinic at MIS. Each clinic will include about 16 vehicles equipped with technology applications which drivers will evaluate as they operate the vehicles in the controlled environment designed to simulate real roads and intersections.
“It is one of Michigan International Speedway’s goals to work with the public and private sectors to use our facility as a closed, safe and neutral environment with our location here in the heart of the automobile industry,” Curtis said.
He said MIS has been working on safety issues with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) since 2006. That work evolved into this project with the U.S. DOT.
“We want to make sure that technology testing and any jobs created by it happen in Michigan and this region by providing the assets and tools to companies developing it,” Curtis said.
Located in Brooklyn, Mich., MIS is among a list of other sites for the DOT testing in Dallas, Orlando, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Blacksburg, Va.
The results of the clinics and testing will help the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration decide in 2013 if the technology is sufficiently advanced to begin a series of rulings that could eventually require manufacturers to provide vehicle-to-vehicle communications capabilities in vehicles.