The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the University of Wyoming (UW) and their partners have demonstrated the technology that will be used in phase two of the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
Wyoming is one of only three locations to participate in the program, and this winter, WYDOT will install onboard communication devices on 100 of the department’s vehicles, including snow plows and patrol vehicles, and about 75 roadside units (RSUs) on and around I-80 as part of phase two of the connected vehicle project. During phase one in 2016, WYDOT and its partners planned the project. During phase three in the spring and summer 2018, WYDOT will equip about 300 commercial trucks with the technology, and once completed, the parties will evaluate the research to determine if the technology is beneficial.
The demonstration in Cheyenne used several vehicles, including a WYDOT snow plow and patrol vehicle, to show how they can communicate with each other during a forward collision warning, a distress notification, a construction zone notification, and weather warnings.
Depending on the situation, the technology would either interact vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-RSU (V2I) or roadside-to-vehicle (I2V). In the event of a forward-collision warning, the slower moving vehicle would send out a signal indicating its speed, direction and heading. Other vehicles in the stream equipped with the technology would pick up that notification and drivers will be alerted if there is danger of crash.
WYDOT is also partnering with digital broadcaster Sirius XM to help get the notifications to vehicles. Sirius’s satellite system has 100% coverage within the I-80 corridor, which means equipped vehicles can receive the messages no matter where they are. The Sirius partnership can help fill in any gaps with the 75 RSUs. However, WYDOT still needs the RSUs because Sirius can send the information, but not receive it.
“This new technology is designed to provide travelers with additional information so they can make informed and safe decisions while they are on the road,” said Ali Ragan, WYDOT’s GIS/ITS project manager. “For V2I communications, a vehicle that has information on an incident sends it to the RSU, which then sends it to our Transportation Management System (TMC). The TMC can also send out alerts based on information collected from connected vehicles and other systems, including weather stations and reports from maintenance employees to the RSU, which is the I2V communications piece. Forward collision warning would be beneficial in a low-visibility situations.”