Former USDOT ITS and CAV expert joins McCain to lead its V2X program

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Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) expert and former US Department of Transportation (USDOT) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) leader Mike Schagrin has joined McCain Inc., a California-based developer and manufacturer of traffic control equipment.

Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Austrian Swarco Group, McCain is a leader in the supply of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and is best known for its range of advanced traffic controllers and cabinets.

In his new role, Schagrin will provide overall leadership and direction to the company’s expanding CAV efforts including McCain’s vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and intelligent infrastructure offerings for business, academic and deployment activities.

While Schagrin will play a crucial role in managing and expanding McCain’s business and engineering relationships, he will also be the company’s public CAV face, participating in industry thought leadership, collaborating with academia and industry committees, as well as overseeing pilot and real-world deployments.

Earlier this year, McCain demonstrated its CAV and V2X capabilities in showcases with Qualcomm at CES in Las Vegas and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The cellular-V2X demos featured high-resolution traffic and Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) data provided by McCain’s compact Backpack Cabinet, running its Omni eX Intersection Control Software on the company’s FLeX Controller, enabling vehicles to display a countdown timer.

Schagrin joins McCain with decades of ITS experience, most recently at his CAV consultancy, Schagrin Consulting International LLC, where he worked with vehicle manufacturers, device suppliers and infrastructure providers.

Prior to operating his own firm, Schagrin spent nearly a decade as the program manager for connected and automated vehicle safety at the USDOT’s ITS JPO, leading major national connected vehicle research initiatives and managing a budget that topped out at US$40m per year. He was also a columnist for Traffic Technology International magazine.

Among his many accomplishments at the JPO, he led the development and execution of the highly successful Safety Pilot Model Deployment, the world’s largest real-world testbed for connected vehicle safety, and in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), he developed and managed the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) research program that led to the decision to pursue mandating V2V technology in light vehicles. He also created the ITS standards development program, to assure interoperability and uniform standards across the national intelligent transportation spectrum.

“Mike Schagrin’s appointment is a sign of this company’s commitment to the future of transportation. He has been there at virtually every major point in the evolution of connected vehicle technology,” noted McCain’s chief operating officer, Greg McKhann.

“Bringing someone of his caliber on board reflects our commitment to helping lead the next generation of transportation. Mike Schagrin represents our fifth gear. We are committed to a connected transportation future. Mike has the relationships, the insight and the standing to help us move the entire industry forward and take connected and autonomous technologies off the testbed and onto main street.”

Schagrin commented, “I am thrilled to be joining McCain/Swarco. This is a team that understands innovation and the safety implications of these technologies. There is absolutely no better organization to lead transportation into the future. As the father of three driving-age children, I’m particularly excited to be working with a group that shares my vision of creating efficiencies and most importantly, saving lives.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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