The Technology Scan and Assessment program
identifies, analyzes, and presents technology
options that might enable successful connected
vehicle deployments. The activity is part of a
multimodal connected vehicle research program,
led by the U.S. Department of Transportation
(USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint
Program Office (ITS JPO). This research focuses
on leveraging the potentially transformative capabilities of wireless technology
to enhance the safety, mobility, and environmental sustainability of surface
The mission of the Technology Scan and Assessment program is to identify critical
technologies or technical trends that may enable successful deployment of ITS
technologies. The technology scan focuses on long-range, global, and crosscutting
technologies. The technology assessment is specific to the USDOT’s plans for
connected vehicle research. The assessment highlights particular global technical
risks (such as security), uncertainties (for example, a game-changing scenario such as
a technological breakthrough), or social or economic changes that may tilt the playing
field to favor one technology over another. The Technology Scan and Assessment
program will identify and explore issues regarding trends outside of transportation
that may potentially impact state-of-the-art ITS deployment over the next decade.
Identifying Critical Technologies
The Technology Scan and Assessment program is designed to: (1) identify new or
converging technologies that may influence specific trade-offs that occur along the
path of research and development, prototyping, testing, and model deployments;
and (2) facilitate discussion among the engineering community and decision makers
to enable continued progress in technical research. The research plan is to:
- Cover technologies over three time horizons—
science-based technologies (10
to 30 years), emerging technologies (5 to 10 years), and pacing technologies
(3 to 5 years, applied on a trial basis)—
in the information technology,
telecommunications, transportation, and energy sectors.
- Focus on technologies that are centered on efficient data and information flows,
from acquisition (sensors) and dissemination (wireless) to processing (computing)
and management (decision support) systems.
Evaluating Technology Evolution
Technology Scan and Assessment also seeks to:
- Evaluate a given technology’s technical merit and evolution
while also searching for constraints or compromises that may
reduce capability, affordability, adaptability, economies of
scale and scope, and market demand.
- Examine, across several technologies, the competitive
and complementary elements and nascent development
of industry value chains that can encourage a given
technology’s widespread application.
- Identify centers of research excellence in the government,
academia, and industry. Engage domain subject matter
experts to speculate on a given technology’s potency,
desirability, and timing.
Technology Scan and Assessment Research Outcomes
Through the structured, comprehensive research and analysis
framework cited above, the Technology Scan has provided
perspective on a number of long-range technology trends:
- Navigation, ranging, and computer vision-based object
detection sensors, along with innovations such as sensor
fusion and processing algorithms, will likely exploit a wealth
of information that may support future connected vehicle
collision avoidance or mobility applications.
- Computer vision has been long used in highway
infrastructure, but it may become as common as GPS as a
data acquisition platform on vehicles.
- Fourth Generation (4G) wireless networks will likely become
“application- aware,” intelligently supporting critical “offboard”
or cloudbased ITS applications, such as an automated
- Future advanced 4G systems may be able to establish and
manage communication sessions that hop between many
wireless nodes (e.g., 4G, WiFi, dedicated short-range
communications) in a coordinated fashion, a concept known
as heterogeneous or “vertical” roaming, operating based on
application needs such as coverage, availability, and cost.
- Telematics (or more broadly, machine-to-machine
applications) architecture may evolve to allow resources to be
pooled, allowing any sensor to be securely addressable and
accessible to any ITS application service.
The Technology Assessment highlights particular risks or
uncertainties that are broadly understood to impact a number of
sectors, not just transportation.
Assessment topics will discuss:
- Security: Global innovations in computing and designing
secure systems, as well as risk management (addressing
unique challenges in securing safety-critical systems).
- Energy: Global innovation in the development of a utility
“smart grid” and electric vehicle powertrains and support
systems, and how they may leverage these innovations
to improve vehicle safety, mobility, and environmental
The goals of the Technology Scan
and Assessment program are to:
- Educate and enrich discussion
about technology options among
members of the engineering
community interested in
connected vehicle research.
- Encourage the ITS community
to evaluate technology
years ahead, rather than
basing assumptions on past
developments or potential
misconceptions regarding future
- Establish, validate, or revise, key
assumptions in ITS JPO research
and development programs
regarding scalability, security, or
safety of particular technologies.
- Inventory new technologyenabled
systems that may
interface with future connected
vehicle core systems utilizing
vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-toinfrastructure
To learn more about this research, contact:
Program Manager, Communications and Outreach
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
ITS Joint Program Office