Connected Vehicle – Next Stage Certification Environment
A better transportation system for any country is one of the nation’s greatest achievements and the lifeblood for its economy. Several critical improvements are needed to make surface transportation safer, smarter, and greener and ultimately enhance the quality of life for citizens. It is believed that a part, if not more, of this transformation to our transportation system can be achieved through connectivity.
When we talk about ‘connectivity’, we are actually talking about ‘Connected Vehicles’, that use basic wireless technology to talk to each other, to mobile devices, and to roadside infrastructure such as traffic signals. Like the Internet, which provides information connectivity, connected vehicle technology provides a starting point for transportation connectivity that will potentially enable countless applications and and open umpteen opportunities for automotive and mobile industries.
The officials at US Department of Transportation (US DOT) have been burning their midnight oil since 2002 to mitigate the transportation challanges through technology intervention. Earlier, it has focused on helping people survive crashes. Connected vehicle technology will change that paradigm by giving people the tools to avoid crashes. With the success of DOT’s Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decision to pursue V2X technology, what once considered as a science fiction will soon be very real. But this activity doesn’t stop here.
The US DOT is making another movement in this regard-and this time its worth 2 million USD. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of DOT has granted a notice under the rubric ‘Connected Vehicle-Next Stage Certification Environment’ wherein it seeks guidelines and ideas from industry and researchers as a Cooperative Agreement to establish a future certification environment for connected vehicle devices and applications. It aims at developing technologies that will facilitate machine-to-machine (M2M) communication between cars and trucks to prevent crashes, improve traffic flow, and share information on weather and road conditions. This will utilize a portion of the spectrum in the 5 GHz band for transmitting and receiving information from connected vehicle sensors. The objectives of this agreement, as stated by DOT are to:-
- Develop and document policies, plans, procedures, and tools that will be needed to conduct qualification and certification testing for various devices and applications used in large-scale deployment trials to be conducted over the next few years,
- Conduct tests on various devices and the applications (testing will include radio and message level interface testing, as well as some system performance testing (e.g., radio range and positioning accuracy), and
- Identify an approach for a Connected Vehicle Certification Testing program to become self-sustaining and, by providing support for development and early testing, contribute to establishing such a program.
This program would require extensive new policies and procedures for qualifying and approving applications and devices and ensuring their interoperability. Under the funding plan, three teams will be awarded a floor fund of 600,000 USD to develop protocols for testing connected vehicle technologies, in compliance to the regulatory policy while ensuring interoperability. Grantees will retain intellectual property rights (IPR) to their work, but DOT reserves the right to use testing software for government purposes.
The way ahead…
As envisaged, the project findings and learnings would be of immense significance to other countries who are at a very preliminary stage of adopting ‘Connected Vehicle’ technology. This include China, India, Middle East, APAC and LATAM regions. An open-to-all and comprehensive process like this will allow the industry to know the system requirements necessary to provide trustworthy components and re-orient their solutions according to the regulatory requirements. In a long race, this has the potential to reduce the inherent risks in terms of consumer’s safety, security and privacy in the event of a crash or fatality.
To learn more about this initiative, click here.
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