Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been on the cutting edge of innovating homeland security since the age of Sputnik, but the DARPA autonomous vehicle research is prompting a collaboration among different industries committed to changing how consumers (not just the military) travel in the decades to come. As soon as the Russian satellite, Sputnik, was launched in 1957, the United States was on high alert. It is that momentous event that led to the creation of one of the most innovative agencies in the Federal government, thanks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which, at the time simply went by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) —the “D” wouldn’t be added until 1972—was assembled to push America to be leaders of strategic technologies rather than play catch-up.
The Vision Zero Strategy makes a global promise of zero road deaths and injuries by as early as 2020 in some countries. The shocking rise in traffic fatalities in the U.S. makes broader implementation critical. On October 5, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that U.S. traffic deaths had reached a crisis level in the first half of 2016.
When the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act passed in 2015, $305 billion was earmarked for innovative highway, motor vehicle and safety projects over the next four years. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) responded by funding several grants to move current and new transportation infrastructure plans forward. It is expanding the potential for passenger and freight travel while encouraging innovation on actual roads themselves. However, there are many parts and pieces to the new world of transportation beyond what is even outlined in the different documents available on DOT’s website.
After 20 years, you are finally donating your Ford Taurus to your favorite charity and are ready to buy a new connected car that will transport you into the 21st century. Years after buying it at the auto dealership, and wondering if the optional cruise control was worth it, you’re finally stepping up to a truly intelligent car. But what a ride it’s been, with the countless memories, vehicle-related transactions – and hassles. Like a living creature, an automobile has a long and complicated life-cycle that makes automobile ownership or leasing a big responsibility. Over the years, you’ve had countless oil changes, continuously paid insurance premiums, and had to renew your registration regularly.
A smartphone on wheels. And more. That’s how innovators in the automotive and auto tech industries are envisioning cars of the future. Imagine an intelligent, connected vehicle that communicates with your home heater on a cold, snowy day to ensure the interior is toasty when you walk through the door. A car that preheats your oven so you can start dinner upon arrival.
As smart cars continue to evolve, so too will the infrastructures that will soon be able to directly communicate with these cars. Via vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, every new car on the road will be wirelessly talking with every other new car on the road. With capabilities including the ability to control steering for parking, engaging brakes, and even car diagnostics, V2V car controls will oversee everything from traffic management to stopping a vehicle from entering a dangerous intersection. While all this might seem a little creepy, as vehicle-to-vehicle communication becomes more widespread, vehicle-to-government (V2Gov) communication will evolve into a common and extremely useful tool. Enabled by connected vehicle technology and eGovernment (eGov) strategies, the objective of V2Gov is to reassess, optimize and automate the delivery of vehicle-related public services to businesses and drivers. Technology, particularly the internet, has enabled greater interaction between public agencies and citizens, making vehicle-related transactions more time- and cost-efficient and convenient.
Could we ever create a world that frees drivers of distractions? While in the car, responsible drivers never touch their phones, don’t crane their necks to stare at a truly distracted driver who’s been pulled over by the cops, and don’t juggle their breakfast and hot coffee during their commute, among other things. Yet they still have to stop to pay at a toll bridge and still come home to find their mailboxes full of pesky paper notices about registration and license renewals, getting smog checks or paying parking tickets. Being a driver is much more than just focusing on the road to get to a destination. The regulations that bring order to the road and help keep us safe also make being a driver complicated, time-consuming and expensive.