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Vision of ‘Talking' Cars that Avoid Crashes will Soon be a Reality

ScottF. Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society ofAmerica (ITS America), the nation’s largest association representing thetransportation and technology communities including major automakers andsuppliers, responded to today’s vehicle-to-vehicle communications announcementby U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and officials from theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Office of theAssistant Secretary for Research and Technology.

“Motorvehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults inthe U.S., with approximately 33,000 people killed and 2.3 million injured eachyear on America’s roads,” said Belcher. â€œWhile the auto industry has madegreat strides to reduce fatalities and injuries after a crash, the next giantleap is to enable real-time communication between vehicles and with the worldaround them so crashes can be avoided in the first place.”

“Thisannouncement represents a significant step forward in advancing the nextgeneration of vehicle safety and automotive innovation, and is the result ofyears of collaboration between the transportation and high-tech industries andour federal, state and local partners,” continued Belcher, who called it “asafety leap exceeding even seat belts and air bags.”

“Thanksto the strong commitment by U.S. DOT and automotive leaders, and years ofinvestment by countless innovators and industry pioneers, the vision of‘talking’ cars that avoid crashes is well on the way to becoming a reality. Andwe’re not just talking about cars talking to cars, but about cars talking tobikes, trucks talking to motorcycles, and even buses talking to pedestrians.This promises to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries on ournation’s roads while unleashing a new wave of innovation from advanced trafficmanagement systems and smart mobility apps to real-time traffic, transit andparking information. We look forward to working with U.S. DOT, the automakers,and high-tech industry to ensure that issues such as security and privacy areaddressed as we work toward full scale adoption of this life-savingtechnology.”

Belcheralso thanked Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler forhis commitment to ensurethat the 5.9 GHz band which supports V2V communications remains free frominterference which could result from expanded use of Wi-Fi in the band. The FCCallocated the 5.9 GHz band for the development of connected vehicle technologyfollowing ITS America’s petition for spectrum to support this vital safetysystem. NHTSA estimates that connected vehicle technology could potentiallyaddress 80 percent of all unimpaired crash scenarios.

“Whilewe are working closely with our partners in the Wi-Fi industry to explore thepotential for spectrum sharing in the 5.9 GHz band, we are thrilled thatChairman Wheeler is outspoken in his commitment to putting safety first while weexamine potential solutions. With more than 30,000 deaths on our nation’s roadsevery year, it is critical that efforts to open up additional spectrum do notcome at the expense of revolutionary life-saving technologies. And as automatedvehicles begin to be rolled out over the next decade, vehicle-to-vehiclecommunications will be critical for preventing crashes and enabling drivers,operators and traffic managers to navigate this brand new world more safely andefficiently.”

TheU.S. DOT is currently sponsoring the largest naturalistic test of connectedvehicle technology in the world in Ann Arbor, Michigan – the Safety Pilot ModelDeployment – with nearly 3,000 cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles outfittedwith 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radio devices to testthe effectiveness of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructurecommunications. The National Transportation Safety Board made a formalrecommendation last year that the technology be installed on all newly manufacturedvehicles.

ITSAmerica LeadershipCircleChair Peter F. Sweatman, Director of the University of Michigan TransportationResearch Institute (UMTRI) which is conducting the Safety Pilot in Ann Arbor, testifiedon behalf of ITS America before the House T&I Subcommittee on Highways andTransit last week about the latest developments in connected and automatedvehicles, including collaborative efforts to deploy connected vehicletechnology more broadly in southeast Michigan which could serve as a model fornationwide deployment. His testimony is online here.


·         Testimonyabout connected vehicles by ITS America Leadership Circle Chair Peter Sweatmanbefore the House T&I Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; January2014 

·        ITSAmerica-led Coalition Letter to the Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) regarding the 5.9 GHz Band; February 2013

·        ITSAmerica Editorial: ConnectedVehicles: An important step forward for the transit community. METROMagazine; August 2013

·         ITS AmericaEditorial: Need toanalyze risks of 5.9GHz spectrum sharing.

ITSInternational; February 2013

·        ITSAmerica’s Safety and Connected Vehicles Web page

·         TheUniversity of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and UnitedStates Department of Transportation (USDOT) Safety Pilot Model Deployment

The Intelligent Transportation Society ofAmerica (ITS America) is the nation’s largest organization dedicatedto advancing the research, development and deployment of IntelligentTransportation Systems (ITS) to improve the nation’s surface transportationnetwork. To learn more about ITS America visit andfollow us on Twitter @ITS_America.


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