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Crash-Avoidance Technology Evaluation

Volpe uses engineering expertise to assess the capabilities and potential national safety benefits of improved motor vehicle crash-avoidance systems. It performs its assessments on both cooperative vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technologies, as well as autonomous on-board systems.

The Challenge

A Volvo that uses crash-avoidance technology slows as the car in front of it stops.Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that deployment of connected vehicle systems has the potential to significantly reduce unimpaired driver crashes. The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program is conducting a significant test and evaluation effort—the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot—to understand the effectiveness of connected vehicle technology. This model deployment will find out how well connected vehicle safety technologies and systems work in a real-life environment with real drivers and vehicles.

Volpe was asked to analyze the data to understand the safety benefit of a large-scale deployment of connected vehicle technologies.

The Solution

Volpe is using naturalistic driving data, along with a variety of other data sources, data analysis techniques, and specialized software tools, to estimate the potential safety benefits of crash-avoidance technologies.

Volpe’s efforts include the following:

  • Crash-avoidance experimental design and data-collection specifications
  • Evaluation of driver acceptance
  • Technology/capability assessment
  • Management and analysis of large naturalistic driving datasets
  • Development of complex data-mining algorithms and analytical tools
  • Integration of real-world field test data and experimental data to estimate system effectiveness in crash prevention using computer simulation
  • Benefits estimation of connected vehicle technologies in terms of projected crash, fatality, and injury reduction

The Impact

Volpe researchers estimate that connected vehicle technologies have the potential to prevent and mitigate the severity of an estimated 5,338,000 police-reported crashes annually, in which over 32,000 people are killed and over 2 million people are injured.

Volpe is evaluating the data produced in the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot, which involves some 2,800 connected cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles with various V2V/V2I crash-avoidance warning capabilities. Results will be used as a basis for NHTSA’s 2013 (passenger vehicles) and 2014 (heavy trucks) decisions about the deployment of connected vehicle safety products. Volpe estimates of safety benefits and capability assessment of the technology are used to support NHTSA agency decisions on crash-avoidance technologies.

Collaborative naturalistic driving projects evaluate the potential benefits, user acceptance, and capability of advanced motor vehicle safety technologies and accelerate their deployment in the vehicle fleet.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)