Speaking at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington DC yesterday (January 15) US transportation secretary Elaine Chao announced new USDOT initiatives to improve safety on US roads – including significant investment for V2X.
Tellingly, despite the recent FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that aims to carve up the 5.9GHz wi-fi band currently reserved for transportation systems, V2X technology featured heavily in Chao’s announcement, with a promise of US$38 million investment in the First Responder Safety Technology Pilot Program.
The First Responder Program will help equip emergency response vehicles and key infrastructure with V2X communication technology designed to help avoid traffic accidents and save the lives of first responders rushing to aid in emergencies.
“These safety initiatives will make a difference in saving lives and help prevent injuries among first responders and all road users,” said Chao. “We believe, as I know you do, that it is very important to retain bandwidth for this purpose, and the department is actively advocating the FCC to do the same.”
Chao also promised senior transportation officials gathered at the event, taking place at the Walter E Washington Convention Center (pictured below), that there will be more research into the effectiveness of all types of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping – with a view to encouraging greater use of systems proven to improve safety.
The research represents part of the next phase of the Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) program. PARTS II expands participation in the PARTS program to include almost 70% of the US automobile market.
PARTS is a voluntary, data-driven safety partnership between USDOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the automobile industry. Earlier in this administration, six manufacturers participated in this program to gather data on automatic emergency braking systems. Vehicles with this technology reported 53% fewer rear-end collisions than vehicles without automatic emergency braking systems based upon preliminary data from the initial program.
Finally, the Department is endorsing a standardized listing of recommended ADAS terminology through an initiative entitled Clearing the Confusion spearheaded by the National Safety Council, AAA, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. The recommended ADAS terminology is based on ADAS system functionality. Currently, there is variance among manufacturers and standard language will ensure drivers are aware that these systems are designed to assist, not replace an engaged driver.