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Protecting Endangered Bats, Streamlining Highway Projects

A paved road winds through a beautiful wooded area in the mountains.

September 27, 2016

As pollinators and insect consumers, bats generate $3 billion each year in economic value. However, the population of a key species has declined by nearly half since 2005—due, in large part, to human disturbance. A new federal strategy will help facilitate conservation of these bats while delivering road projects faster.

Maritime Professionals from Africa and Asia Improve Maritime Domain Awareness Skills

Image of maritime and military personnel in a meeting room

August 30, 2016

Volpe recently hosted its third annual training workshop aimed at enhancing and sustaining maritime domain awareness around the world. International participants acquired the skills and knowledge to aid countries in combating illicit maritime activity.

Investigating Wearable Sensors in Transportation Research

Image of many people walking around other people with wearable sensors including smart watches and smart phones

August 26, 2016

Small, efficient, and accurate wearable sensors have opened up new levels of data granularity for transportation researchers. The authors of a recent paper investigated the state of the practice for wearable sensors, and challenges in using them for transportation research.

DOTWASH Tackles Invasive Species Catching a Ride on Construction Vehicles

July 31, 2016

Invasive species and noxious weeds can destroy entire ecosystems, stemming from something as seemingly innocuous as a seed latching to the bottom of a dump truck. Through the SBIR Program, S-K Environmental developed a novel solution for construction sites that has a 97 percent success rate.

New Simulation Software Helps Pilots Combat Spatial Disorientation

April 25, 2016

Spatial disorientation is a factor in roughly 10 percent of loss-of-control events, which are the leading cause of fatal accidents in commercial aircraft. FAA provided funding through the SBIR program to develop technology that could be used with existing simulation equipment to train pilots to recognize and react to spatial disorientation in flight.

SBIR-Funded Sensors Detect Pipeline Stresses Early, Mitigating Future Problems

February 18, 2016

Historically, managing the health of pipelines was mostly reactive; only physical appearances, like major deformations and stresses, provided hints to potential fractures or warping. However, sensors developed with SBIR funding can now reveal pipeline stressors before they are visible, and before they cause damage.

New Pavement System...Supported by Solar Panels?

January 19, 2016

One of the ways the U.S. Department of Transportation serves the American public is by working with small businesses to find new ways to improve our nation’s roadways. In 2009, the Small Business Innovation Research program solicited research on a topic sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration: to develop a new pavement that could generate power and transfer it to the power grid.

Realizing Self-Driving Vehicles

An image of a Google self-driving vehicle prototype.

January 7, 2016

Eventually, self-driving vehicles will reshape the way we live in, and move through, our communities and cities. In his talk at Volpe, Director of Google's Self-Driving Car Program Chris Urmson shared stories and lessons, along with Google’s vision for how these vehicles will become a reality.

Re-Programming Mobility 2030: Scenarios of Digital Transformation in Metropolitan America

A pin stuck in a technological device showing a map.

January 6, 2016

Anthony Townsend, senior research scientist at New York University’s Rudin Center, discussed the signals of our increasingly programmable world and examined mobility in an age of programmability, indentifying four broad scenarios for America’s transportation future.

Innovation: It’s More Than a Buzzword

A graphic of business people holding various devices with GPS over a background of intersecting roads.

January 6, 2016

Earth-shattering innovations rarely happen in a vacuum. From Sputnik to Apollo 11, the Model T to self-driving cars, every transportation technology that challenged us to rethink mobility rose out of entire teams of engineers and designers who bucked convention. Ken Gabriel, president and CEO of Draper, discusses what it takes to be innovative.