Future of driving technology, v2v, being studied at LSU
POSTED: Monday, August 18, 2014 - 8:49pm
UPDATED: Monday, August 18, 2014 - 9:16pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The future of driving technology is being developed inside a small lab at LSU, and it will change the way you see the road.
It is called v2v, or vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
"Since vehicles are already driving in the traffic, they can be the best way to collect traffic information," said Dr. Sherif Ishak, a professor of traffic engineering. "And if there is a way that they can exchange this information with each other, then everybody would be able to know what's happening at different parts of the network before they get there."
With the help of an advanced computer system and a wireless router like you might find at home, the car up ahead can tell you if there is traffic congestion or a bad road, and the information will be displayed on your windshield. It sounds great, but it could be dangerous.
"You have to worry about whether this is gonna be distracting to them or not and how much information overload this could cause," Dr. Ishak stated.
Under the direction of Dr. Ishak, LSU is testing v2v technology in the lab. A modified sedan sits in front of three large screens, with another screen behind it. A driver gets in the car, and the screens begin to show a city full of cars. In the current scenario, the research team is studying v2v's impact on rear-end collisions. When the driver closes in on the car in front, a warning pops up on the screens, first in yellow and then in red. Dr. Ishak said the results are promising.
"Those who are aggressive, we notice that this (warning) increased the headway," he claimed, "because they were able to see that they were getting too close to the vehicle."
While safety concerns are one reason to use v2v technology, the majority of drivers would use it as a real-time navigation system. "Whenever we start making a trip, we would like to know how long it's going to take us to get to our destination," Dr. Ishak mentioned. "So the most important part is usually, which route do I take?"
Outfitting a vehicle with v2v technology will likely be expensive initially, but the price would drop over time, like with any new technology. But by taking you away from heavy traffic and telling you to slow down, it will save you money.
"By sending vehicles away from congested locations, you're also improving safety, so it's not only traffic operation, but it's also traffic safety," Dr. Ishak said.
"And if it improves safety, the research, the insurance companies will offer drivers of equipped vehicles, probably, less premiums."
LSU is not the only university studying v2v technology, but all of them are in the beginning stages of their research. Insurance companies, automakers, the government, and drivers are all watching closely.
"It's not something that's in the market yet, but however, we expect this to be out in the next few years, if not sooner than that," Dr. Ishak estimated.
In order to make v2v efficient on a wide scale, Dr. Ishak said that roughly one in every six cars on the road would need to be outfitted with sensors and transmitters. That would allow data to quickly travel all over a city.
"This information can be transmitted to that vehicle, and from that vehicle it can go to another vehicle, such that the information will be hopping from one vehicle to another," he explained.
LSU uses the simulator more many things, including studies of driver behavior and the impact of weather. One recent study examined drivers' ability to maintain control of a vehicle during hurricanes. They tested different types of vehicles in storms of varying strengths to see when it is safe for citizens and first responders to be on the road.
Dr. Ishak said there is always a need for people willing to assist in the simulations. If you are interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.