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Tampa’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Set to Launch in 2018

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Tampa has just announced that it will start testing a connected vehicle technology research project starting in 2018. Aptly named the “Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot,” this program is one of three funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The other two projects are based in Wyoming and New York City. Tampa’s project is unique, though, since it will incorporate resident-owned vehicles.

Why Tampa?

Tampa is the perfect setting for conducting the connected vehicle tech research. For one thing, its moderate size and traffic dilemmas gave the city credibility to secure the U.S. DOT grant. Tampa also has the capacity to shut down some of its roads during the day, a condition which self-driving vehicle companies have taken advantage of when testing their vehicles.

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How the Technology Will Work

The project will involve rigging residents’ personal vehicles with antennas and short-range radios which will receive and transmit traffic data from and to other vehicles. The car’s speakers and rearview mirror will display the safety messages both aurally and visually to alert the driver.

Vic Bhide, chief traffic management engineer for the City of Tampa, elaborates on the significance of the pilot project: “The whole idea is to have drivers aware of their environment—when a light is about to change, or if there’s congestion ahead, or if there’s a pedestrian in the crosswalk. This pilot is about vehicles, about infrastructure, about pedestrians, and eventually, about bicycles as well.”

The system will also integrate 40 roadside units developed by Siemens while tapping into to the short-range communication technology of Tampa’s Transportation Management Center. Each unit is expected to have a 10-20 year shelf life, which will enhance the durability of the equipment.

The Significance of the Project

The research gleaned from the pilot program will help Tampa and other cities make better decisions about infrastructure needs to improve roadside safety. For example, if the data obtained from vehicles participating in the study indicate that a certain intersection experiences more crashes than another intersection, it might mean that the city should revamp the dangerous intersection.

Tampa’s pilot program brings the city one step closer to its ambition to become a smart tech hot spot in the nation. We look forward to more details as Tampa unrolls this exciting initiative.

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News Source: TechCrunch