USDOT moving forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication technology


Yesterday USDOT and NHTSA announced plans to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology (V2).  The Connected Vehicles program will eventually push research into production, establishing protocols and standards for manufacturers. Right now the aim is for 2017, so it's not going to happen overnight. Connected vehicles should increase road safety despite some security concerns. Malware for you car? The ITS-JPO has already held a public workshop to address different network security angles

Much of the research on V2 or Connected vehicles can be found in TRID. The Technological Innovations section highlights advanced technology across the board, but for just vehicles use "vehicle to vehicle communications" or "vehicle to roadside communications". 

Friday Seminar: Road Vehicle Automation History, Opportunities, and Challenges

Automated Car

It's a new year, a new semester, and a new TRANSOC Friday Seminar! This week PATH researcher Steven Shladover presents, "Road Vehicle Automation History, Opportunities, and Challenges".

Road vehicle automation has recently attracted intense interest from the media, the general public and now the transportation community. This interest is largely based on serious misconceptions about the level of automation of road vehicles that is likely to be achievable within the foreseeable future. This presentation addresses those misconceptions, beginning with a historical overview going back to 1939, and continuing with definition of multiple levels of vehicle automation. The importance of communication and cooperation among automated vehicles and between these vehicles and the roadway infrastructure is illustrated with examples from experiments conducted at the PATH Program. The technical challenges that remain to be resolved before fully automated driving can become reality are explained.

The seminar will take place Friday, January 31, 2014 from 4 - 5 p.m. in 534 Davis Hall. And of course, Cookie Hour returns preceding the Seminar at 3:30 in the Library. See you then!

Electric Vehicles: Coast to coast, but will they impact emissions?

This week was a milestone in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure in the US - a father-daughter team completed the first crosscountry roadtrip in a Tesla and it cost them $0 to recharge. What a bargain! Tesla Motors plans to expand their recharching network, so that future continental treks may take a more direct route.  

So as electric vehicles are slowly becoming more mainstream, the question is what impact will they have on greenhouse gas emissions? A paper recently presented at the TRB Annual Meeting looks at regional impacts in California.  Another recent study from NC State questions the impact electric vehicles have on emissions at all. Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, and Joseph F. DeCarolis ask, "How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?". Their answer: probably not much given the emissions produced by electricity sources.

Mini-Bikes Safety Fact Sheet

Speeed Shriners

We have several obscure items in our collection. One we stumbled across today was the Consumer Product Safety Commision's 1978 Fact Sheet on Mini-Bikes. They cite that at the time of writing, 31,000 people a year require hospital treatment for mini-bike incidents. Their exmaple accident is described:


Safety tipes include:

  • Look for a mini-bike with large wheels. Typically, mini-bikes with small wheels are unstable.
  • The rider should be able to conveniently reach all controls without exerting himself.
  • After buying a bike, don't modify its design.

They also warn riders of impromper use and rider error:


The whole document, with several more tips on how to enjoy mini-bikes without a trip to the hospital, can be found here



Friday Seminar: Decomposing connected vehicle dynamics: delay effects and nonlinearities

Interior: 2013 SRT Viper & SRT Viper GTS

Today's TRANSOC Friday seminar is about connected vehicles. University of Michigan's Gabor Orosz will present, "Decomposing connected vehicle dynamics: delay effects and nonlinearities".

Arising technologies related to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications can significantly improve the efficiency of connected vehicle systems. These allow cars to obtain detailed information about the motion of distant vehicles. Such information can be presented to the driver or incorporated in advanced vehicle control systems. In this talk I present some novel decomposition tools that allow us to untangle the infinite-dimensional dynamics of heterogeneous vehicular networks with V2V communication. These methods help us to understand the spatio-temporal complexity of large-scale multi-vehicle systems and redesign their dynamics by exploiting connectivity. Some similarities with flow oscillations on road networks equipped with V2I devices are also pointed out.

The seminar will take place at the usual time today, October 25, 2013 from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will kick off in the library at 3:30 PM. 

Friday Seminar: Autonomous Vehicles


Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar features University of Texas Professor Kara Kockelman presenting, "Autonomous Vehicles: Anticipating Impacts in a World of Increasingly Shared Mobility." 

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) represent a potentially disruptive and beneficial change to the way in which we travel. This new technology will impact roadway safety and congestion, air quality and traveler choices. We estimate the private benefits of each AV (to individual owners) to be on the order of $2,000 per year in the near term, rising to $3,000 eventually, thanks to crash savings, travel time reductions, fuel savings, and parking benefits. When crash savings for others are included, net social benefits are estimated at over $6,000 per AV.

Nevertheless, many barriers to AV implementation and mass-market penetration exist. Initial costs will be too high for most buyers, and U.S. licensing and testing standards are being developed at the state level, rather than under a national framework, which may lead to inconsistencies across states. Liability details remain undefined, security concerns linger, and, absent new privacy standards, a default lack of privacy for personal travel may become the norm. Finally, many impacts, interactions with other components of the transportation system, and implementation details remain uncertain for this new and exciting technology.

This seminar also examines the design and results of an agent-based model for Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAV) operations, including environmental impacts of a fleet of shared and self-driving vehicles. The model generates trips throughout a grid-based urban area, to mimic realistic travel patterns and departure times. An initial model run estimates the SAV fleet size required to reasonably service all trips, over a 24-hour period. Next, the model is run over 100 days, with driverless vehicles ferrying travelers from one destination to the next. During each 5-minute interval, some unused SAVs relocate to shorten wait times for next-period travelers.

Model applications vary trip generation rates, trip distribution patterns, network congestion levels, service area size, vehicle relocation strategies, and fleet size. Preliminary results indicate that each SAV can replace around eleven conventional vehicles, while adding up to 10% more travel distance than conventional trip-making, resulting in overall beneficial emissions impacts, once fleet-efficiency changes and embodied (versus in-use) emissions are assessed.

The seminar will be from 4-5 PM  in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will be at 3:30 in the library. 

Friday Seminar: Hybrid Electric Vehicle Energy Management: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

2013 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is all about plugin electric hybrid vehicles. UC Berkeley professor Scott Moura will present, "Hybrid Electric Vehicle Energy Management: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"

One of the greatest opportunities and challenges in developing a sustainable and efficient transportation infrastructure rests upon intelligent energy management in electrified vehicles. This talk specifically addresses the supervisory control problem in hybrid electric vehicles. That is, how does one optimally split driver power demand among multiple energy sources, e.g. engine and battery? By leveraging electrochemical modeling, optimal control theory, and predictive methods, we demonstrate how to achieve lower fuel costs (better), increased performance (faster), and longer battery lifetime (stronger). Unfortunately, there's no good analogy for "harder". Nevertheless, these results will make you dance.

The seminar takes place from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis Hall. TRANSOC's cookie hour will be in the library as ever at 3:30. 

Is the stereotype of of electric vehicle drivers changing?

Special parking for Ram Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

That's the question a new article from Transportation Researc Part F asks. In "Electric vehicle drivers’ reported interactions with the public: Driving stereotype change?", researchers from Oxford Brookes University interviewed drivers of electric vehicles about their perceptions of the general public. They found that the stereotype is in a state of flux as the market shifts. It is also shown that the drivers are important as ambassors for electric vehicles taking hold with the rest of the general public. 

As car sharing goes mainstream, Avis buys Zipcar


Yesterday it was annouced that rental giant Avis Budget Group bought car sharing upstart Zipcar. This is not the first car sharing acquisition by a rental company - Enterprise acquired Mint earlier in 2012. As car sharing gains popularity and a portion of the market share, it makes sense for rental agencies to get in on the action. Streetsblog speculates on what the implications of this deal may be, though some are already concerned about possible age discrimination. It's still early days, but the research community will probably weigh in soon enough. Stay tuned. 

Exploring carsharing usage motives

Zipcar reserved

There's a new article in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice that examines carshing in North America and Europe. In "Exploring carsharing usage motives: A hierarchical means-end chain analysis," Tobias Schaefers investigates people's motives for carsharing and some possible implications.

Recently, carsharing has entered a phase of commercial mainstreaming as carsharing providers and urban transportation planners aim at broadening the customer base. In this context, knowledge about the motives of carsharing usage is essential for further growth. Based on a qualitative means-end chain analysis this paper therefore explores usage motives, thus expanding the existing insights from analyses of usage behavior. In a series of laddering interviews with users of a US carsharing service, the underlying hierarchical motive structure is uncovered and four motivational patterns are identified: value-seeking, convenience, lifestyle, and environmental motives. Implications are drawn for applying these insights.

Schaefer cites Susan Shaheen's 2009 "North American Carsharing: 10-Year Retrospective". Shaheen and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center are actively involved in a number of research projects related to carsharing (and bikesharing). You might also be interested in Shaheen's recent publication "Personal Vehicle Sharing Services in North America" that looks at the emerging area of peer-to-peer carsharing, such as Zimride and Lyft.

And of course, if you're looking for more research on carsharing just head over to TRID

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