CAR-STOP Project Improves Transportation Communication, Safety

Monday, February 06, 2017

Over 80 percent of annual car crashes could be prevented by vehicular  communications, a recent NHTSA report demonstrates. To improve vehicular communications and substantially improve safety benefits for all, TxDOT funded the Communications and Radar-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning (CAR-STOP).

Under the direction of the Center for Transportation Research’s Dr. Chandra Bhat, the project also includes Co-Principal Investigators on the project, WNCG Profs. Robert Heath and Joydeep Ghosh. Other research team members include CTR’s Jennifer Duthie and James Kuhr, as well as multiple graduate students.  

“We are excited about this project because of its true, collaborative nature, which we believe is key to resolving many issues in the connected and automated vehicle space in terms of data collection, science, management, generalizability and scalability,” Dr. Bhat states.

The project will create a new framework to integrate radar sensing and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to improve safety for partially automated vehicles. Additionally, the project will develop the means for vehicles to exchange higher rates of sensor data using millimeter wave communication.

By sharing raw sensor data between vehicles, including non-motorized traffic such as bicyclists and pedestrians, more accidents can be prevented through better situational awareness.

The project includes two phases, the second of which began in September 2016. The first phase developed a framework using wireless technology to improve transportation safety that emphasized collision warning and avoidance systems, fusing data obtained from wireless and radar. It also established millimeter wave communication’s potential for use in both communication and radar simultaneously.

The second phase involves further development of the data fusion algorithms to make them more robust, and also to consider additional data sources like LIDAR and cameras. It also considers a more expansive suite of millimeter wave communication techniques that improve communication between vehicles and the base station by leveraging additional sensor data.

Lastly, phase two will create a complete, functioning collision warning and avoidance software for field use by agencies such as TxDOT, various vehicle manufacturers, and other interested parties that will aid in automotive design and future strategic planning of road design and infrastructure.

Phase two will create working prototypes and equipment for collision warning and collision avoidance systems that use joint radar and communication technologies. This equipment will demonstrate and test the theories and algorithms developed during the first stage of the project. These technologies could help improve safety at urban intersections, areas with heavy bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and in the case of passing maneuvers on rural roads.  

“If you want talk between vehicles or between a vehicle and some infrastructure,” Dr. Bhat states, “It has to be reliable. “There’s a balance between trust, privacy and control.”