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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 safe autonomous driving. (Adobe Stock Image/metamorworks) 

About Us

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Advanced Vehicle Technology Division performs engineering research and analysis to help deploy advanced safety and mobility technologies in motor vehicles.

Our experienced engineering team is made up of general engineers, electronics engineers, and mechanical engineers. We evaluate crash avoidance and severity mitigation systems, automated vehicle applications, and cooperative automated driving systems. We focus on connected vehicle safety, the reliability of electronic, automotive control systems, and cybersecurity of vehicle systems and telematics. Our sponsors include NHTSA, ITS JPO, among others.

We bring together government and industry organizations to address national safety, mobility, and cybersecurity issues by:  

  • Building and deploying advanced-technology automotive systems to improve traffic safety and mobility
  • Issuing safety and cybersecurity standards, guidelines, and best practices
  • Understanding the societal safety problems from motor vehicle crashes and recalls
  • Performing cost-safety benefits analysis of advanced automotive technologies
  • Testing the safety and cybersecurity of emerging vehicle technologies, converting vehicles from conventional to automated driving, and building proof-of-concepts for advanced transportation systems with our Advanced Transportation (Vehicles) Lab 

Some highlights of our work include:

  • Researching the effectiveness of pedestrian detection technology in cars for NHTSA to prevent pedestrian crashes and injuries.
  • Developing the transportation systems Safety Hazard Analysis Tool (SafetyHAT), a software tool that facilitates hazard analysis using the System-Theoretic Process Analysis. SafetyHAT helps safety analysts become proficient with the STPA method. 
  • Work with FHWA, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, and U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center to test and evaluate car platooning proof-of-concept. Platooning is when self-driving cars, equipped with technology within their vehicles, can connect and exchange information with one another. Instead of driving alone, these cars form a smooth train. 

Our Capabilities

Safety and Security Assessments

  • Provide safe reliability analyses of automotive electronic systems
  • Perform objective testing of vehicle safety systems
  • Conduct safety analyses of rechargeable energy storage systems

System and Infrastructure Modernization and Optimization

  • Develop crash countermeasure concepts
  • Develop performance requirements for safety systems
  • Provide safety benefits estimation
  • Perform simulation of system-vehicle-driver interactions

Impartial Investigations and Program Evaluations

  • Perform motor vehicle crash analysis
  • Perform state-of-the-art technology assessment
  • Evaluate field operational tests

Meet Our Team

View selected staff biographies.

Wassim Najm, PhD



Last updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2022