The Dept. of Transportation is inviting truck drivers to try connected commercial vehicle technology and let officials know what they think about it.  Two driver clinics to test the technology will be held this summer, one in Ohio in July and the other in California in August.  

Interested truckers will go to a test track where special trucks equipped with connected vehicle technology will be available to test.  Drivers will participate in a question and answer period, and then spend about one-half hour driving one of the trucks through a series of carefully planned scenarios to demonstrate the new technology.  Afterward, drivers will be asked what they like and what they don’t like about it.  DOT will pay participating truckers for their time, and will give them a gas card to reimburse them for their travel.

The Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program is part of a major scientific research program run jointly by DOT and research and development partners in private industry.

The Connected Vehicle Safety Research Program supports the development of safety applications based on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications systems, using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology.

According to DOT, a connected vehicle network can vastly improve system-wide safety. Potential V2V safety applications include driver safety warnings such as:

  • Emergency brake-light warning
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Intersection movement assist
  • Blind-spot and lane-change warning
  • Do-not-pass warning
  • Control-loss warning
  • Vehicle stabilization activation on roadways alerting motorists to weather-related information.

The pilot program is designed to determine the effectiveness of these safety applications at reducing crashes and to show how real-world drivers will respond to the safety technology in their vehicles. The test will include many vehicles with vehicle awareness devices, others with integrated safety systems, and others that use aftermarket safety devices to communicate with surrounding vehicles. The pilot program includes multiple vehicle types — cars, trucks, and buses.

The vision of the pilot program is to test connected vehicle safety applications in real-world driving scenarios to determine their effectiveness at reducing crashes and to ensure that the devices are safe and do not unnecessarily distract motorists or cause unintended consequences.

The pilot will evaluate everyday drivers’ reactions both in a controlled environment through driver clinics and on actual roadways with other vehicles through the real-world model deployment. In all, approximately 3,000 vehicles will be included in the combined model deployment and driver clinics.

Driver reactions will be evaluated as they use the latest wireless vehicle safety applications and receive in-vehicle warning messages if they approach potentially dangerous traffic situations. Testing will be performed on passenger cars as well as commercial trucks and transit vehicles.

The July clinic will be held in central Ohio at the Transportation Research Center, Inc., 10820 State Route 347, East Liberty, Ohio on Tuesday Mornings:  July 10, 17, and 24; and Thursday Afternoons:  July 12, 19 and 26.

The location and dates for the August clinics in California have yet to be announced.

DOT will begin scheduling drivers in the next few weeks. To sign up to participate in the clinics go to http://www.driverclinic.org/.

To learn more about the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program, contact: Mike Schagrin, Program Manager, Connected Vehicle Safety Programs, ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration at (202) 366-2180 or email mike.schagrin@dot.gov.