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InTransition Magazine : Transportation Planning, Practice & Progress

Archive Edition

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Pen Station

Seeing Is Believing: Talking Car Technology

About Pen Station

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To the Editor:

Last year, more than 32,000 people died on U.S. roadways. Astounding? I'd say so. What if there was a way to drop that number to less than 10,000? Meaning more than 20-some-thousand lives (that's friends, family, loved ones) could be saved. Oh, and this is a technology that could help eliminate gridlock—saving you time and money—and reduce the amount of CO2 emissions your vehicle coughs out its tailpipe, greening the environment.

For the past decade, automakers, suppliers and the government have been working to develop vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, otherwise known as V2X, "connected vehicle" or "talking car" technology. V2X allows your vehicle to communicate with other vehicles and the infrastructure. For example, you're at a stoplight and it just turned green. You're about to punch the gas, but before you do, your car tells you the intersection is unsafe‹ stopping you from hitting the car that's running the red light. That's talking car technology.

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) held its first Connected Vehicle Driver Acceptance clinic in a suburb of Detroit. About 100 local drivers tested technologies that will help the USDOT learn more about how drivers respond to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) systems.

This is a big step forward in moving to deploy connected vehicle technology. Testing this technology is key in gaining driver acceptance‹seeing how people react to it, ensuring that it¹s safe and not distractive. The USDOT's pilot program also will test the effectiveness of the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) devices. DSRC is the technology that will allow your car to "talk." It's a WiFi-like technology developed specifically for the automotive industry.

DENSO has been working on DSRC technology since 2003 and its devices are among the equipment being tested in the USDOT's Connected Vehicle clinics. Over the last several years, we've performed countless experiments to test and validate this technology. Not to mention all the demos we¹ve done to show the benefits of these devices. Taking into account those experiences, one thing is certain. Seeing is believing. You can talk about how this works, but the wow factor comes when you experience the technology for yourself.

I'm curious to hear what ordinary drivers think about the technology. It's been a long time in the making. We've all been talking the talk and I know now it's time to see if our efforts pay off and we can begin to walk the walk.

Roger Berg
Vice President of Wireless Technologies,
DENSO International America, Vista, Calif.

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