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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Advanced Vehicle Technology

U.S. DOT Volpe Center engineers focus on advanced vehicle technologies such as safe autonomous driving. (Adobe Stock Image/metamorworks)
U.S. DOT Volpe Center engineers focus on advanced vehicle technologies such as connected and automated vehicles. (U.S. DOT Volpe Center image)

About Us

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Advanced Vehicle Technology Division focuses on the safety and cybersecurity of motor vehicle systems and supporting infrastructure:

  • Crash Avoidance: We conduct research in crash avoidance to identify effective intervention opportunities for autonomous and cooperative systems and estimate their potential safety benefits. Key related projects include:
    • Safety assessment and benefits of crash avoidance systems based on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communications for:
      • Light-duty vehicles (passenger cars)
      • Medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses
    • Target crash problem and safety benefits of crash avoidance and mitigation systems for vulnerable road users based on:
      • Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) communications
      • Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) communications
    • Independent evaluation of V2V and I2V safety applications deployed in the Connected Vehicle Pilot program
    • Driver adaptation to forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
  • Safety of Automotive Electronic Control Systems: We conduct research in the functional safety and the safety of the intended functionality of automotive electronic control systems to expand the knowledge base and develop safety requirements for emerging safety hazards, countermeasures, and automated vehicle controls. Key related projects include:
    • Vehicle-level hazard analysis of a concept Level 4 automated driving system
    • System safety analysis of teleoperation concepts for Level 4 automated driving systems
    • Automated lane keeping systems with integrated lateral and longitudinal control (i.e., braking and steering)
    • Automotive rechargeable energy storage (battery) control systems
    • Alternative approaches to functional safety assurance
    • Identification of system interactive complexity metrics for automotive-embedded software
    • SafetyHAT tool – hazard and causal factor analysis
  • Automated Vehicles: We conduct research in the test and evaluation, safety assurance, performance requirements, and safety benefits estimation of automated vehicles and connected-automated vehicle mobility applications. Key related projects include:
    • Automated lane and headway keeping systems
    • Target crash populations of automated vehicle applications
    • Test and evaluation of cooperative automated driving systems:
      • Car and truck platooning
      • Eco-approach and departure at signalized intersections
      • Lane change and merge
      • Speed harmonization
    • Naturalistic study of truck following behavior for automated truck platooning
    • Transit bus applications of light and commercial vehicle automation technology
  • Cybersecurity of Vehicle Systems and Supporting Infrastructure: We evaluate cybersecurity risks to automotive control systems and architectures, and we conduct research, development, evaluation, and testing of automotive cybersecurity products and tools including open source and proprietary tools for automotive cybersecurity research. Key related projects include:
    • Cybersecurity best practices for electric vehicle supply equipment
    • Cybersecurity analysis of teleoperation concepts for highly-automated vehicles
    • Cyber physical systems security for automobiles
      • Research and development planning for automotive cybersecurity
      • Tools and testing for automotive cybersecurity
    • Cybersecurity of heavy trucks
      • Heavy truck industry profile and stakeholders
      • Cybersecurity assessment and best practices for truck-stop technologies
      • Telematics risk assessments
    • Open-source cybersecurity tool web portal

Our experienced engineering team is made up of general engineers, electronics engineers, and mechanical engineers. Our sponsors include FHWA, FMCSA, NHTSA, ITS JPO, DHS, DOD, among others across government and industry. Potential societal benefits of our work include:

  • Traffic safety
  • Traffic mobility
  • Energy conservation
  • Environmental impacts
  • Economic productivity
  • Accessibility

Our Capabilities

Safety and Cybersecurity Assessments

  • Perform automotive hazard analysis, causal factor analysis, and risk assessments
  • Research vehicle defect causes and unsafe control actions
  • Develop cybersecurity requirements for government vehicle procurement
  • Perform vulnerability testing and vehicle telematics systems assessments
  • Evaluate intrusion detection and prevention systems
  • Test and evaluate cooperative automated driving systems

Data Analysis

  • Work with national crash data queries and pre-crash scenario typology
  • Analyze and mine naturalistic driving data
  • Develop use cases for simulation, testing, performance requirements, and safety impact assessments of highly automated vehicle functions

Impartial Investigations and Program Evaluations

  • Perform motor vehicle crash analysis and state-of-the-art technology assessments
  • Evaluate field operational tests
  • Leverage open-source tools and hardware interfaces for vehicle research
  • Perform objective testing of vehicle safety and crash test systems using test procedures and instrumentation, performance requirements, standards, and measures, and benefit estimation and simulation tools

Meet Our Team

View selected staff biographies.

Mikio Yanagisawa

Chief

Yanagisawa headshot

Mikio Yanagisawa holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). Since joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2005, he has led projects to assess the safety impact of emerging vehicle-safety systems. These projects developed frameworks to collect and analyze real-world data and determine the safety benefits of passive and active safety systems for all vehicle body types and road users. Yanagisawa’s recent technical contributions have provided U.S. DOT modal agencies with detailed crash data queries and analyses, development and evaluation of test procedures for production and near-term systems, and simulation of vehicle conflicts. 

He has made significant contributions to vehicle safety research, including the:

  • Definition and identification of pre-crash scenario typology using national crash databases
  • Target crash population definitions for emerging vehicle safety technologies using pre-crash scenarios 
  • Progression of defining crash statistics and safety impact assessment for specific vehicle body types (passenger vehicles, medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles, motorcycles) and road users (pedestrians)
  • Development and evaluation of test procedures for vehicle-based safety systems (pedestrian crash avoidance and mitigation (PCAM), intersection applications, automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure)
  • Development of frameworks and assessment of potential safety benefits of PCAM, AEB, lane departure warnings, and intersection safety applications to support U.S. DOT priority goals
  • Advancement of vehicle safety research in emerging technologies such as connected vehicles and automated vehicles for multiple agencies including NHTSA, FMCSA, and FHWA. 

Phil Azeredo

General Engineer

Phil Azeredo holds a BS in mechanical engineering with more than six years of experience at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He was first involved in the testing, evaluation, and characterization of several V2X-based safety systems and tied this research to naturalistic driving data to write test procedures for V2X safety applications. Azeredo began testing Cooperative ADS’s for FHWA in the Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA) Program and has led a team that:

  • Independently tests and evaluates CDA applications
  • Ensures that data acquisition systems include and collect key variables for characterizing performance measures
  • Works with the CDA developers to understand and refine system design; and
  • Ensures responsible testing in the CDA Program by devising safety plans for program-specific testing and by working to improve organizational safety.

Phil has also been involved in hardware and software development, leading a small team to improvise, test, and document the process to make a self-driving car using commercial-off-the-shelf components and a stock vehicle. He also currently leads the CDA Program’s CARMA 1tenth program, which seeks to build professional capacity using scaled-down (and lower cost) cooperative ADS’s and infrastructure while also serving as a tool for evaluating and demonstrating CDA applications while reducing development and testing costs.

Andrew Berthaume, PhD

General Engineer

Wassim Najm

Andrew Berthaume has worked for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center for the past ten years. He is a project manager and technical expert in the Advanced Vehicle Technology Division. Berthaume leads a portfolio focusing on traffic safety and operations, automated and connected vehicles, traffic modeling and Intelligent Transportations Systems. He is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Committee on Traffic Simulation and has taught graduate engineering courses at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Berthaume has recently led work for Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to collect work zone behavioral data and develop a car-following model for freeway work zones. He also served as a principal investigator for FHWA’s Driver Model Software for Practical Application and Advancing Research Capabilities through Cooperative Driving Automation Data. Berthaume has published several papers for TRB, Transportation Research Record, and national engineering organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Science, master’s degree, and PhD in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Amherst, MA).

John Brewer, PhD

Mechanical Engineer, Engineering Research and Project Management

John Brewer, PhD, has conducted basic and applied engineering research for more than 40 years. He received his BS, MS, and PhD from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) and his MBA from the Sawyer School of Management at Suffolk University (Boston, MA). Brewer’s areas of research have included strength and longevity of aerospace structures, crash energy management of automobiles, and functional safety and cybersecurity of automotive systems. His recent projects have included electronic systems functional safety of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving Systems (ADS), a Road Transportation Cybersecurity Program Plan for Transport Canada, a cybersecurity assessment of an electronic component used by a major metropolitan transit organization, a functional safety assessment of a Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA) concept, and a combined functional safety/cybersecurity assessment of a generic teleoperation system for a Level 4 vehicle.

Daniel Chin

Computer Engineer

Daniel Chin received his BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA) in 2016. He has been with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center for more than five years with experience in cybersecurity of automotive vehicle systems and in automotive vehicle functional safety applications. Some of his projects include cybersecurity assessments of telematics units and truck stop technologies, cybersecurity mitigation technologies for electronic control units in automotive vehicles, development of a simulation tool for advanced driving assistance systems, and the development of a wireless remote-controlled vehicle.

Anne-Marie Chouinard

General Engineer

Anne-Marie Chouinard holds a BS in biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA) and a MS in Learning, Teaching, and Educational Transformation from University of Massachusetts – Boston (Boston, MA). She has been with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center since 2016, working on:

  • Modeling and Simulation Construction – created a network using SUMO simulation software to model tolling network, pre- and post-open gantry conversion.
  • Database Analysis – constructed and investigated target crash populations and evaluated pre-crash scenarios to identify potential safety benefits. Leveraged data visualization using Tableau in conjunction with data mining techniques in R and Excel to refine algorithm to better capture conditions to shape various break-out groupings of desired conditions.
  • Data Analysis – comparison of ACC and CACC runs to determine performance and emissions differences between the systems from data obtained from test vehicles.
  • Modeling and Simulation Output Analysis – evaluated output from VISIM traffic simulation modeling software using Python and statistical tools to determine the effect of various levels of penetration of cooperative adaptive cruise control in traffic across different levels of congestion.
  • Simulation Analysis – performed analysis on simulation data to determine reaction times and levels under different types of safety technology such as intersection movement assist, left turn assist, and forward collision warning.

Brendan Harris

Cybersecurity Specialist

Harris headshotBrendan Harris is a cybersecurity specialist in the Advanced Vehicle Technology division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He also serves as the technology manager for cybersecurity at the Joint Office of Energy and Technology. Harris has more than 14 years of experience leading and executing federal cybersecurity research and development projects. His area of expertise is joining the cybersecurity and systems engineering disciplines at the intersection of transportation, communications, and electrification technologies. Through his work, Harris researches and evaluates how emerging cybersecurity tools, techniques, vulnerabilities, and mitigations apply to modern vehicle architectures and critical infrastructure. These activities help develop and socialize cybersecurity best practices, emerging technology, and industry standards through stakeholder engagement, technology transfer, and community development. His projects have been sponsored by numerous federal offices including Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, NHTSA, and Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. Harris has also worked internationally to share his expertise with Transport Canada. 

Faroog Ibrahim, PhD

General Engineer

Faroog Ibrahim, PhD has more than 25 years of wide spectrum of expertise in ADAS/Active Safety, Automated Vehicles, Connected Vehicle, Smart Cities, Cooperated Driving Automation and its simulation, Digital Map as an automotive sensor, Positioning, and Sensor Fusion. This experience includes leadership, business development, requirements developments, Algorithm developments, Control, Simulation, HMI, testing and validation, and standardization. He was in the OEM’s side, Tier1, and Tier2 side, and was heavily involved in the Model Deployment Safety Pilot, NY CV Pilot, and Tampa CV Pilot. Ibrahim holds more than 50 patents and 50 published papers. He also has more than ten years of teaching and research experience at universities and research institutes including lecturing at the University of Michigan.

Ibrahim has been a U.S. expert at ISO/TC204/WG14 since April 2008, standardizing many aspects of intelligent transportation system including L3 and L4 AD systems, and has successfully led the development of the CACC, FVCWS and VVICW ISO standards. He is currently supporting different projects in advanced ITS for various sponsors, including FHWA, FMCSA, Maritime, OSR- R/P, ITS JPO, and recently attending two kickoff meetings for NHTSA projects with UMTRI. Ibrahim has been also playing a technical advisory role for different U.S. DOT team members as needed.

Andy Lam

General Engineer

Andy Lam holds an MS in Transportation Engineering from Northeastern University (Boston, MA) and a BS from University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Amherst, MA) with a major in Mechanical Engineering. He served as the technical lead in the safety impact assessment of crash warning systems from naturalistic driving data collected during the Connected Vehicle Pilot (CVP) program, where he performed the following:

  • Set up relational databases for three CVP sites in SQL format
  • Developed algorithms, data mining, and data queries to process complex data
  • Programmed tools to validate the efficacy of system alert events
  • Implemented composite performance measures and performed statistical analyses
  • Assessed the safety impact of crash warning systems on driver-vehicle performance

Ahmad Nasser

Electronics Engineer

Ahmad Nasser holds a BSEE and MSEE from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI). He has more than 32 years of automotive experience including 14 years in the development and applications of driver assistance and driver safety technologies, including camera, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and sensor fusion based technologies. Nasser worked with most automotive safety standards and regulations with more than 13 years of experience in functional safety, serving:

  • As a member of the U.S. committee that updated and released the second version of ISO 26262 and the Safety of the Intended Function ISO/PAS 21448
  • On the SAE committee that developed and released SAE J2980.

As a member of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center team, Nasser worked in two major areas:

  • Safety of automotive based systems where he conducted safety analysis and developed functional safety concepts for several vehicle systems including high energy storage, powertrain (ICE and electric), steering, and braking, as well as Level 4 autonomous system, teleoperation system, and Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA) system.
  • Transferability of driver assistance and safety technologies from passenger vehicle applications to Medium and Heavy Duty commercial vehicles, buses, and school bus applications.

His additional expertise includes the use of statistical tools, as a Certified 6-Sigma Master BB Level II, with high technical expertise in Electric Vehicle Drive Systems.

Ray Resendes

Electronics Engineer

Ray Resendes has more than 30 years of experience in intelligent transportation systems and transportation safety. He specializes in the areas of connected vehicles and vehicle automation, and transportation cybersecurity. Resendes was formally the executive director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) National Capital Region, where he managed Virginia Connected and Automation Test Bed. He was the Chief of Advanced Vehicle Safety Research at NHTSA, where he created the connected-vehicle program. Resendes previously led the intelligent vehicle initiative and Automated Highway Systems programs for ITS JPO. He led the development of the Cybersecurity Profile for Connected Vehicle Environments and is currently leading the expansions of this profile to the full ITS environment. Resendes developed the ITS Cybersecurity Workforce Framework for the ITS Professional Capacity Building program. He is the co-chair of the Transportation Research Board Cybersecurity Sub-committee and recently appointed a member of the Standing Committee on Systems, Enterprise, and Cyber Resilience. Resendes received a BS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY) in 1987 and an MS in administration from Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, MI) in 1990.

Sam Toma

Mechanical Engineer

Sam Toma holds a BS in mechanical engineering. He has worked regularly with NHTSA crash data and the application of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Pre-Crash Scenario typology to assess the safety benefits of advanced driver assistance systems. Toma also has extensive analytical and software development skills. In his 21 years with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he has provided expertise in Agile software development and project management, as well as data analytics to NHTSA, ITS JPO, and OST-R. Toma now leads the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's support to OST-R on the Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety (VOICES) and Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) projects to collaborate with academia and industry to advance ADAS deployment and better understand the effectiveness of these systems to address the nation's crash problem over time. Most recently, he developed the Pre-Crash Scenario Tool for NHTSA that NHTSA and the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Division employ to examine crash trends across time and identify research questions based upon the observed crash contributing factors.