The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen six locations to test connected-vehicle technologies.
The tests, dubbed Driver Acceptance Clinics, will take place in urban, suburban and rural locations around the country to gauge U.S. residents' acceptance of in-car safety technologies.
The clinics will be held:
- Aug. 8-11 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.
- Sept.19-22 at a location to be announced in Brainerd, Minn.
- Oct. 22-25 at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Orlando, Fla.
- Nov. 6-9 at the Smart Road Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Blacksburg, Va.
- Dec. 5-7 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas
- Jan. 16-19, 2012, at Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif.
In each clinic, about 100 local drivers will operate vehicles in controlled settings designed to simulate real roadways and intersections. The drivers will receive warnings of crash risks or other safety hazards. The technologies in the approximately 24 vehicles at each clinic will try to aid drivers by making blind spots visible, anticipating traffic congestion and keeping safer distances from other cars.
Researchers will evaluate the drivers' performance.
DOT's research program will be conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. DOT also is collaborating with the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership, a research group consisting of eight automakers.
After the clinics, DOT will deploy thousands of vehicles with connected vehicle technology to test its performance in real driving situations. That deployment is expected to begin in fall 2012 at a site chosen through open competition.
Both driving clinic and model deployment research results will factor into NHTSA's 2013 decision on whether to mandate the technology in new vehicles.
The Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership's consortium of carmakers includes Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co., Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit, Nissan Technical Center North America, Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen Group of America Inc.