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Research Overview

Based on recent U.S. DOT studies, an integrated countermeasure system could prevent over 48 percent of rear-end, run-off-road, and lane change crashes. Through the Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) Initiative, the U.S. DOT established a partnership with the automotive and commercial vehicle industries to develop and field test an integrated safety system on light vehicles and commercial trucks.

The Transportation Problem

IVBSS image

More than half of all crash-related fatalities – accounting for 27,500 lives annually – are caused by three types of crashes:  rear-end, lane-change/merge, and road-departure or lateral drift (inadvertently driving off the side of the road or drifting into another lane).  Collectively, these three crash types account for 60 percent of all police-reported light vehicle (automobile) and heavy truck crashes.

Research Approach

In November, 2005, the U.S. DOT entered into a cooperative research agreement with a private consortium led by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) to build and field test an integrated vehicle-based safety system designed to prevent rear-end, lane change and run-off-road crashes. The prototype vehicles being developed provide forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), lane change warning (LCW), and curve speed warning (CSW) functions:

  • FCW alerts drivers when they are in danger of striking the rear of the vehicle in front of them traveling in the same direction.
  • The LDW function provides alerts to drivers when a lateral drift toward or over lane edges is sensed without a turn signal indication.
  • LCW will increase a driver's situational awareness of vehicles in close proximity traveling in adjacent lanes in the same direction.
  • The CSW function warns drivers when they are traveling too fast for an upcoming curve.

During the first two years of the program, the industry team designed, built, and conducted tests to verify the prototype systems on passenger cars and heavy trucks. The prototype vehicles underwent a series of closed-course track tests aimed at ensuring that the integrated system met the performance requirements and was safe for use by unescorted volunteer drivers during the field operational test, which was planned for Phase II. Approval to proceed with Phase II of the Program was granted on April 8, 2008.

In Phase II, the industry team built a vehicle fleet of 16 passenger cars and 10 heavy trucks for use in the field test.  Ten (10) IVBSS-equipped International ProStar 8600-series trucks owned and operated by Conway Freight, Inc. of Ann Arbor, MI participated in the field test.

The heavy truck field test began in February 2009 and was completed in December of that year. The trucks were driven by 20 volunteer drivers for Conway’s regular pick-up and delivery and line haul routes over the ten-month period, amassing 16,500 hours of driving. Approximately 650,000 miles of driving data were collected, with 140,000 miles of baseline data and 510,000 miles with the integrated system enabled.

The light vehicle field test began in April 2009 and continued through May 1, 2010. Sixteen 2006-07 Honda Accord LX sedans were outfitted with the safety system sensor suite and were used by 108 volunteer drivers recruited in southeastern Michigan. Field test participants used the vehicle for a 40-day period. During the first 12 days, the integrated system was disabled, allowing collection of baseline driving data. The system was made operational at the end of the 12th day, allowing collection of 28 days of driving data per volunteer with the system enabled. Drivers were debriefed following completion of their use of the test vehicle and were invited to participate in focus groups along with other drivers.   By the end of February 2010, 97 drivers had participated in the light-vehicle test and 79 had completed their 40-day vehicle use. Approximately 175,000 miles of driving data were collected, with 53,000 miles during baseline driving data and 123,000 miles collected with the integrated system enabled.  Analysis of the data was conducted by both UMTRI and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

IVBSS Light-vehcle Driver Interface
Figure 1. IVBSS Light-vehicle Driver Interface
image of 3 different IVBSS scenarios: rear-end, lane-change/merge, and road-departure or lateral drift

Research Findings

Data Analysis and Reporting

Data analysis for both platforms concentrated on characterization of the driving environment the integrated system was exposed to, documenting changes in driver behavior and collecting information through driver interviews and subjective questionnaires on driver experience and acceptance. Drivers in the light-vehicle field test also participated in three focus group discussions. The FOT data were used by the Volpe Center to estimate potential safety benefits, characterize system performance and correlate driver acceptance with driver on-road experiences.   All data collection and analysis activities for the field operational test and the independent evaluation have now been completed.

Research Contact

Steve Sill
Program Manager, Vehicle Safety Technology, ITS Architecture and Standards
ITS Joint Program Office
(202) 366-1603
steve.sill@dot.gov

 




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