Washington, D.C. – Cars that choose the safest routes and even reserve their own parking spaces are among the six winning technologies in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) announced six winners of a national U.S. competition for ideas that use wireless technology to enable vehicles to communicate with each other. The winning ideas may be incorporated into ongoing research on using technology to improve vehicle safety and transportation operations.

“Innovative thinking and advanced technology have become the keys to improving safety and efficiency on our roads and highways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The winners of this competition have given us ideas that will help build the transportation system of the 21st century.”

The entries in the Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge had to be based on an innovative use for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a wireless technology similar to WiFi. The DOT panel selected five entries, and a sixth winner was decided by votes from viewers on the competition website.

The winners were:

– A real-time collision awareness system that accelerates emergency response and assists with traffic management, as vehicles in a six-car pileup automatically inform emergency responders and traffic management centres. Presented by Matthew Henchey and Teja Swaroop Geetla of the University of Buffalo.

– A driver guidance system that collects and uses crash locations and types to help drivers choose safer routes. A driver is alerted to an upcoming intersection with frequent rear-end collisions and has the option of choosing an alternate route. Presented by Norio Komoda, Jennifer Smoker and Ariko Komoda of Sakura Associates.

– Vehicles that use DSRC signals to improve weakened positioning information and to correct illegally jammed GPS signals, enabling DSRC-equipped vehicles to automatically correct the GPS positioning of other similarly-equipped vehicles. Presented by Venkatesan Ekambaram, Kannan Ramchandran and Raja Sengupta of the University of California Berkeley.

– An automated system for trading pollution credits among vehicles, in which the level of pollution allowed per vehicle is capped and credits are awarded to less-polluting vehicles. A low-emissions vehicle can accumulate credits that it automatically sells to a higher-emissions vehicle. Presented by Doug Lundquist of the University of Illinois Chicago.

– A position-estimating system that blends inputs from GPS and DSRC links to roadways to improve location measurements, allowing a GPS-equipped vehicle to determine its location to within one metre by communicating with devices embedded in the road. Presented by Michael Todd, Jay Farrell and Matthew Barth of the University of California Riverside.

– A system that enables a vehicle to help with trip and day scheduling, including choosing a route and reserving a parking space. Presented by Lee Tupper, Rahul Amin, Fan Yang and Parth Bhavsar of Clemson University.

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