Posts Tagged ‘National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’

7 February, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we’ve already seen with safety belts and air bags,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Even better, suggested Scott F. Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), who called the DOT announcement “a safety leap exceeding even seat belts and air bags.”

NHTSA estimated last fall that 15,470 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the first half of 2013. By that estimate fatalities were down 4.2 percent from 16,150 in the first half of 2012.

DOT research indicates that safety applications using V2V technology can address a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. With safety data such as speed and location flowing from nearby vehicles, vehicles can identify risks and provide drivers with warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash types such as rear-end, lane change, and intersection crashes. DOT says these safety applications have been demonstrated with everyday drivers under both real-world and controlled test conditions.

But don’t expect a lot to happen quickly. NHTSA took some time to make its decision and promises to proceed carefully. It’s currently finalizing its analysis of the pilot study data and will publish a research report on V2V technology for public comment in the coming weeks.

NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles. Meanwhile, automakers will continue developing and promoting their own safety systems.

DOT stressed in its announcement that V2V technology does not involve exchanging or recording personal information or tracking vehicle movements. The information sent between vehicles doesn’t identify the vehicles, it just contains basic safety data. The system as contemplated contains several layers of security and privacy protection.

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4 January, 2013

NXP Semiconductors and Cisco announced that each has invested in Cohda Wireless, which specializes in wireless communication for automotive safety applications. The respective amounts of the investments were not disclosed.

The three firms intend to develop a complete, market-ready car-to-car (C2C) and car-to-infrastructure (C2I) solution including automotive-qualified IEEE 802.11p products for onboard and roadside units that are ready for C2C and C2I deployments across the globe.

They note that car-to-car communication requires reliable and secure data exchange between fast-moving vehicles and infrastructure in a range of conditions – from rural highway to dense urban canyons. Thus, they say, an intelligent end-to-end network is needed.

Momentum is building to bring car-to-X technology to market. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to make a decision this year regarding vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems. The decision could include regulatory action.

Meanwhile, at least a dozen vehicle manufacturers in the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium ( are signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a common strategy for deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (C-ITS) in Europe. The manufacturers agree on the importance of interoperability and common communication standards among all equipped vehicles.

Cohda’s technology is performing in the Department of Transportation’s year-long Safety Pilot Model Deployment test, which began last August in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and involves 2,880 cars, trucks and buses. Codha is providing WAVE/DSRC (Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments/Dedicated Short Range Communications) radios, network software, and roadside broadcasting units co-developed with Cisco. Cohda has also been included in field trials in Germany (simTD), France (ScoreF), and Singapore (ERP2).

NXP will exclusively license Cohda’s 802.11p technology, and Cohda will be NXP’s preferred partner for automotive 802.11p reference designs. NXP and Cohda have built a wireless communication solution for onboard-units. Cisco’s vision is a ubiquitous and highly-secure “Internet of Everything.” Maciej Kranz, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Connected Industries Group, says the onboard solution is one element of an end-to-end architecture that integrates with Cisco’s offboard network infrastructure.

Let’s see how quickly something happens.

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24 October, 2012

Sophisticated automotive electronics systems are moving down-market at a pretty fast clip thanks to a lot of hard work by automakers, suppliers, and in some cases, the spur of government mandates.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), for example, are likely to get a boost from regulation in the not too far distant future. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a rear-facing camera requirement, and legislation for front-facing cameras may not be far behind. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) ratings in Europe are focusing on active pedestrian safety, for which front-facing cameras are suited.

Regulators in the U.S. have predicted that vehicle cameras and viewing screens could cost the auto industry as much as $2.7 billion per-year or $160 to $200 per-vehicle, so cost is a significant factor in camera system design. So is size and, as always, power consumption.

“Today’s collision avoidance systems are typically enabled by digital signal processors (DSPs) or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs),” says Ray Cornyn, vice president of Freescale Semiconductor’s Automotive MCU Division.

Freescale is taking a different approach. Last month it announced it has licensed image cognition processing (ICP) intellectual property (IP) from CogniVue Corporation ( and will be the exclusive provider of CogniVue ICP technology to the automotive market. This week Freescale announced a new family of processors incorporating CogniVue technology and CogniVue announced a new generation, APEX-2™. CogniVue CEO Simon Morris said the new generation makes significant advances in vision processing performance over the previous generation, which he contends holds a 10x advantage over competitive approaches.

CogniVue and Freescale’s technology is based on a parallel image processing architecture that is said to enable concurrent processing of image data, for higher performance at a lower clock frequency. Pattern recognition, detection and classification algorithms extract application-specific information from a scene and interpret the image data to make decisions or take actions. Smart camera systems based on the technology are designed to detect objects and people around the vehicle, measure distance, and alert the driver of an impending collision. The sooner technology like this is widely available, the better.

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23 August, 2012

This week the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) launched Safety Pilot Model Development, which they said is the largest real-life test to date of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communication.

The year-long study, in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, involves 2,880 cars, trucks and buses. The vehicles, mostly driven by volunteer participants, are equipped with V2V and V2I communication devices that will gather data about connected vehicle system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.

The vehicles will send messages to and receive messages from other equipped vehicles, transparently, and drivers will receive warnings regarding specific hazardous traffic situations such as an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle’s blind spot, or a rear collision with a vehicle stopped ahead.

According to the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), V2V safety technology could help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five unimpaired vehicle crashes. NHTSA administrator David Strickland said “Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety – but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world.” NHTSA will use data from the Safety Pilot Model Deployment to assess future potential for connected vehicle safety technologies. NHTSA plans to determine by 2013 whether to proceed with additional activities involving connected vehicle technology, including possible rulemaking. For more visit

The model deployment is phase two of DOT’s connected vehicle Safety Pilot. Data from driver acceptance clinics conducted during phase one of the Safety Pilot revealed that nine out of ten drivers who experienced V2V technology have a highly favorable opinion of its safety benefits and would like to have V2V features on their personal vehicle.

Firms selected to provide technology for Safety Pilot Model Development include Savari Networks (, Arada Systems (, and Cohda Wireless ( Codha will provide MK2 WAVE/DSRC (Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments/Dedicated Short Range Communications) radios as well as network software and roadside broadcasting units co-developed with Cisco Systems.

The Cohda technology, based on IEEE 802.11p and DSRC, implements the IEEE 1609 network stack and SAE 2735 message library. Cohda chief executive officer Paul Gray said his firm’s devices have been included in V2V trials in the U.S., Australia, Germany, France, and Korea, covering more than 17,000 km and 15 different applications.

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21 February, 2012

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued guidelines on distracted driving earlier this month, essentially suggesting that automakers not do what, to my knowledge, they are already not doing, at least in the U.S., such as “displaying images or video not related to driving; displaying automatically scrolling text; requiring manual text entry of more than six button or key presses during a single task; or requiring reading more than 30 characters of text (not counting punctuation marks).”

Perhaps wanting to tread carefully, given the current political climate, NHTSA cited the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ “Statement of Principles, Criteria and Verification Procedures on Driver-Interactions with Advanced In-Vehicle Information and Communication Systems” as the most complete and up-to-date guidelines it could find.

NHTSA referenced crash data indicating that 899,000 (about 17 percent) of all police-reported crashes in 2010 involved some type of driver distraction in 2010, and 26,000 of those (3 percent) involved a device or control integral to the vehicle.

So NHTSA suggests that in-vehicle devices should be designed so that drivers can’t use them to perform “secondary, non-driving-related tasks that interfere with a driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle” while the driver is driving. Drivers should be prevented from watching video footage, visual-manual text messaging, visual-manual internet browsing, or visual-manual social media browsing while driving.

Further, devices should be designed so that tasks can be completed by the driver with glances away from the roadway of two seconds or less and cumulative eyes off the road time of 12 seconds or less, or that the driver can complete a task in a series of 1.5 second glances in a total of nine seconds or less.

Why bother with the obvious? Presumably to indicate (a) that NHTSA is serious about combating distracted driving and (b) it has the authority to ramp from voluntary guidelines to mandatory standards. It referred to these as the “first phase” of distracted driving guidelines. Bottom line, “pay attention – we’re serious.”

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13 December, 2011

Nearing the end of its first year in operation, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced four new research projects and three new partnerships related to vehicle safety. The new projects are focused on advanced crash modeling technologies and better protecting vulnerable populations, particularly seniors.

The projects and partners include:

–        a detailed computer model of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) THOR-NT crash test dummy (Virginia Tech and George Washington University);

–        confirming the biofidelity and injury prediction capability of Toyota’s Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) virtual human model in additional crash scenarios (University of Virginia);

–        researching pre-drive behavior, such as where feet are placed prior to beginning the drive to determine the influence on driver-vehicle interactions (University of Iowa), and

–        studying the relationship between the injuries and age, which could lead to improved safety restraints for older drivers (Virginia Tech).

CSRC director Chuck Gulash says the research “promises to advance our understanding significantly in the areas of active safety, driver distraction and protecting the most at-risk drivers.” He adds that the CSRC goal is “to act as a catalyst for the advancement of automotive safety for the entire industry.”

Though there is no current relationship between advanced CSRC research and Toyota safety application development it nevertheless occurred to me to see what Toyota is currently offering.

Starting with the 2011 model year, all Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles have the Star Safety system as standard equipment. That includes vehicle stability control, anti-lock brake system, brake assist, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and smart stop, which reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously. Toyota Sienna and Prius vehicles, as well as many Lexus models are also equipped with a Pre-Collision System (PCS); a feature that Toyota says will become more prevalent in the future. The PCS pulls seatbelts tight and applies the brakes if a front-impact accident is unavoidable.

The NHTSA site ( gives the 2012 Toyota Prius five out of five stars overall, including four stars in front crash and rollover tests and five stars in side crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2012 Prius yet, but the 2011 model was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, earning a top score of “good” in front, rear, side and roof strength tests.

Let’s hope all automakers continue to make safer vehicles.

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