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News: 2006 Archived News Items

The Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) Initiative

Vehicle-infrastructure integration (VII) has been a hot topic in the ITS arena for the past three years. The central thought behind VII is that it creates an infrastructure for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure intelligent communications. Although the concept of intelligent vehicle communication has been around since the Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems (IVHS) days, it wasn't until this century that the US DOT starting outlining plans for its use.

In 2003, the DOTs of Minnesota, Florida, California and Michigan were the first participants in the first US DOT VII initiative. Private partners in the initiative included DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Toyota, and Nissan. Since then, this working group has evolved to include many additional participants, such as the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), and is now known as the VII Coalition. In addition to private initiatives and interests, the Coalition's program is geared towards the deployment of a communications infrastructure that supports vehicle-to-infrastructure, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle communications for improved safety and transportation operations. Ultimately, the Coalition wants to determine whether or not investment of communications in vehicles and roadway infrastructure are warranted and can be synchronized.

What can it do?

Proponents of VII say it can do a lot and, theoretically, it can. While some interests see VII as a means of providing expanded consumer and commercial services, DOT interests lie in mobility and safety use cases. Among all of the potential "killer apps," some of the most pertinent to those in the ITS community are those that provide intersection collision avoidance, traffic management and traveler information.

An intersection collision avoidance system could provide communication to vehicles alerting them of potential collisions with others. It can also provide a means of determining stop sign and signal violations. Traffic management systems could make use of real-time information of vehicle probe data for travel times, speeds, incidents for applications such as traffic signal timing, transit coordination and emergency response. Traveler information systems could provide real time travel information back to vehicles for applications such as congestion mapping and dynamic routing.

What's the latest?

Currently, the Coalition is in the second major step of its initiative, "Proof of Concept Engineering Testing." One of the Proof of Concept tests was conducted last year in Detroit in a partnership between MDOT and DaimlerChrysler. 802.11b-compliant hardware was used as a dedicated short range communication (DSRC) prototype with a volume of over 100 test bed vehicles. Variables such as system latency, data volume, high vehicle speeds, proprietary applications, and quality were studied. As these types of issues are evaluated, lessons learned can be applied towards field operational tests (FOTs).

What's next?

The Proof of Concept is scheduled to conclude with a DSRC prototype at the end of this year. Although DSRC is one of many potential types of wireless technologies that could be used in vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, the FCC allocated bandwidth in the 5.9 GHz band for specifically for this purpose. One of the Coalition's continuing efforts is the development of the VII Architecture which, like the National ITS Architecture, defines data flows and ownership. FOTs will continue through mid 2008 and at that cross-road, a decision will be made whether or not to roll out a nationwide VII system.

For more information, contact Brian Burkhard at , or (312) 798-0268.

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