Webinar Question and Answer Transcript

Effects on ITS Planning and Development in a Connected Vehicle Environment
(July 26, 2018)

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Q. How does one obtain a copy of federal highways report mentioned by Dan? Specifically the FHWA HOP 1801-CV. And is there a cost?
A.

Jimmy Chu: There is no cost associated. The report is not ready. It is still under final review. I expect the report will be posted on the FHWA operation website by the end of August.

Q. Given the widely used cellular phones, is it feasible to receive as PAT and NAP messages to the vehicle operators now compared to having DSRC radios and vehicles for immediate impact in safety awareness with appropriate acts?
A.

Bob Rausch: One comment I will make is it depends upon the particular app in the media you are using. The reason for the DSRC was you acquired the signal very quickly. And it gave you very low latency updates to the in-vehicle systems that were used, so you only got a last-minute time-to-collision. You are looking at time-to-collision in two seconds, maybe three. Where the latencies typically involved with cellphone and the applications and sell, which if you got an iPhone, tell me that the response time for any application is guaranteed. I think you’ll find that it is not. And if you are looking for safety of life, and that is what you are dealing with things like emergency brake light, red light violation, forward collision warning—some of these—it is do I get the information reliably, in time? And with the cellular phone, the answer so far has been no. Now there are a lot of application that are being built on things like the SPA map for eco-driving that can provide that of not safety or life-critical. That can provide benefits to both the vehicle and the pollution control by giving you enough time for your in-vehicle systems can automatically shut off the engine. It happens in Europe. And restart. There are things you can do—things the cell phone can probably do—in terms of the priority preemption. All that takes a complete infrastructure and right now the DSRC is the only technology we have out there today that we have product for that will actually provide the low latency guaranteed communications—the localized communications to provide that type of data. I will point out that in New York we are tracked by the pedestrian applications; we are using the cellphone. But we are using the cellphone with very limited apps. We are not letting people load up apps. And it is going to be providing guidance to the,—in this case, visually impaired, where a second or two is not going to be life-threatening. Or even a half second is not life-threatening. And we can provide the right information at the right time. And we can eliminate all the communication latencies—that’s easy to do—building on the concepts of the SPA message. There is probably a role for both. The DSRC right now is the only technology for the high speed, low latency safety lowlight application. I don’t know if I said that right. That is why we are proceeding with the DSRC installation. That is why you’re seeing a number of the automakers continuing with the DSRC deployments.

Q. How will real-time traveler information brought directly into individuals vehicles via audio work?
A.

Bob Rausch: We are still having some issues with our supplier. We want text-to-voice very badly. And it is restricted by its geotext voice. That is easy to do. We have one vendor who wants to make it MP3 files. And geo-fence that we have to send over the recording for it. But right now, in New York we have no visual displays. If you have ever looked in the cockpit of a taxi, it’s bad enough that every taxi driver has his own cell phone now hung up, and probably an iPad hung up, and probably all his dispatcher stop. We offer strictly for a set of warnings. Audio gives us a benefit that we can use words. We are still trying to get the right mix, the right balance of tones, the repetition of tones, loudness, types of tones, and words.

Dan Krechmer: But you see in the future more of this type of communications through the telematics as the new vehicles come in. It will be whether the Bluetooth connection or some other way coming through the vehicle itself as opposed to a cellphone hanging that may end up in someone’s hand when you don’t want it there.

Bob Rausch: The problem I have is a personal one, so I have to be careful. I use Waze. I don’t hold it. It is up on the windshield. Because you have to glance at intersection, what winds up happening is I am getting better warnings. If we could get those kind of warnings with the penetrations within our vehicle, that would be great. But we have a problem down here with the tire treads on the road when it gets real hot. And I really like the fact that Waze tries to tell me about that. It’s a situation where the cellphone can do it. The audio can do it very well. But how many people are going to go to a retrofit aftermarket and install this equipment? It can be very effective. And then if it is installed, the agency has to be prepared to collect the information and then make it available.

Q. Impact on technology adoption rate from recent automakers announcements to go forth with CV technology?
A.

Dan Krechmer: I know there is still a 10 or 11 year turnover. That is the big issue with the timeframe. If there is really an accelerating shift to ridesharing and some of these other technologies where you have fleet vehicles, then I imagine you can see the penetration rate accelerate over time as those vehicles put on more miles and need to be replaced more frequently.

Bob Rausch: It’s an interesting dilemma. Because—I have to say this carefully so I don’t misspeak—we have a technology today that works. We know that there are other technologies being perfected that will work as well. Those are not ready yet. As a matter of fact, the standards are not stable for similar other technologies yet; whereas we are pretty stable. We are on our third generation standards for the DSRC. Well, in that case, we know what will work. As the projected benefits are there, we are trying to prove out with pilots. Then you would expect that by the rapid deployment of DSRC, we could probably—in a year—you may save 10,000 crashes. Over a three or four year period—you can do the math—but you are probably looking at maybe a reduction between 30,000 and 50,000 crashes. That is a big number. That’s fatalities. You can look at things like that and you say, well, do I delay the deployment? Which has the unfortunate side benefit for—of the crashes—or do I go ahead? But then again, if I go ahead, who does my vehicle talk to? It’s chicken and egg. If it’s just vehicle-to-vehicle. As I heard people say, when my vehicle comes off the assembly line, who is out there to talk to? It takes 11 years to turn over. It is sort of a dilemma. It’s a challenge to attempt to get the intersection side of being equation covered. That can be very effective. Getting the density of vehicles is going to need some sort of push or some sort of cause that says Bob Rausch, go invest in, put this widget in your car. Because it will save you $10 a month on your insurance bill. And all of a sudden everyone jumps on it. Because my immediate return on investment is very short-term. I get a benefit and we go. So it is a marketing, political, we can answer the questions. But you can see that there is a lot of directions this would take. It would be nice to see these type of issues put forth more squarely on the table.

Q. What kind of policies or legal considerations would each agency need for CV implementation?
A.

Dan Krechmer: I would say the first step from coming at it from a planning perspective, which is more my background, is to start identifying it in your work programs. If you are a regional agency—if you are DOT or larger agency that has a research contract—start thinking about how you can pull together some of the information that is out there now. And build it into your year-to-year program, whether it is paper research or you are interested in some kind of demonstration project that somebody on staff needs to be get plugged in and needs to be part of next year’s work plan. Bob, do you have any thoughts?

Jimmy Chu: If you want to know further about this issue, we have experts in the Federal Highway. Please send me your email address and I will refer you to the right person to discuss these issues.

Bob Rausch: I don’t want to discuss the legal issues for sure. The only comment I have is that the agencies need to work through their concepts of operation as to what they want to accomplish with this CV technology. Certainly there is a lot of guidance from Federal Highway in that arena. Once you start to work that through, then you can start looking at what data you want to collect. Then you can—if it’s data you do want to collect, you may look at the ramifications. What would happen with the data? Because one thing the agency will have to address is: who is responsible for retaining of what data? One of the things that Dan pointed out is that data ownership is going to be a large part of this. And I keep coming back to harping on data because as it stands today, the OEMs have no obligation. They would not have an obligation to transmit anything other than basic safety messages. And the only people that can get that is somebody who has a receiver near the roadside who can hear it. And what we are looking at inner fleet vehicles, we collect a lot of other data so that we can do analysis. And there—somewhere along the line—the agency has to decide what they’re going to do that. If you look at your cutoffs and think through and look at the resources available to you, that would give you a good handle on what the issues are you need to address.

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