VAA Virginia Asphalt Fall/Winter 2019

VAASPHALT.ORG 27 Tech Daily. “Let’s say a car with no front-seat occupants approaches a freeway crash that is blocking lanes and a police officer has secured the scene and is directing traffic. How does the officer direct the car around the crash and then know that the vehicle will respond appropriately? This is just one of many scenarios for which industry, govern- ment, and academia must collaboratively provide solutions to enable public trust in this technology,” said Mollenhauer. The testing of this research project will occur on the I-95 Express Lanes, which are operated by the Australian-owned toll-road operator company Transurban. Cathy McGhee, Director of Research & Innovation at VTRC, says her teams are also actively engaged in projects which have sim- ilar end goals of enhancing roadway worker and work zone safety. According to McGhee, “We are actually doing quite a bit of work in the work zone area for connected auto- mation, both in terms of providing better real-time geometric information to drivers/ vehicles and in terms of including workers as part of the ‘connected’ environment so they can be ‘seen’ and receive alerts.” All data that is collected will eventually be able to be transferred to connected vehicles, thus delivering more accurate mapping to oncom- ing cars and their occupants. “Work zones today disrupt the maps embedded in auto- mated vehicles when lanes are closed or shift as a result of the work. The goal of this effort is to provide updated map information to either a human driver or to an automated system such that the vehicles can be navigated safely through the work zone,” said McGhee. Another VTRC project promotes worker safety through new wearable technology designed to alert roadside workers when an intruding vehicle has entered the work zone. The hope for this enhanced technology is that it can add critical extra seconds needed for a road worker to get out of the way when danger is imminent. “Work zones are often loud, with a lot of activity. We need to deter- mine the best way [for this wearable technol- ogy] to alert the worker, whether it’s through vibrations, flashing lights, or something else. We need to be able to keep them out of trou- ble rather than add to it,” said McGhee. Advancements and efforts made by automo- bile manufacturers, the federal government, research agencies, and technology compa- nies will continue to come together such that more standard data sets and savvier technologies will yield more robust safety systems and features in the automobiles and work zones of the very near future. Sources Intellias. “Top 5 Features to Ensure You’re Still Alive After Riding in an Autonomous Car.” Victor Haydon. New York Times. “Eyes on the Road! (Your Car Is Watching).” John R Quain. Virginia Tech Daily. “Virginia Tech Institute Awarded Grants for Automated Vehicle Research.” Anne Deekens. Vital Signs. CDC, Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. In today’s modernized vehicle, automobile manufacturers are including more advanced safety technologies as standard features. AUTOMOTIVE INNOVATION