DOT Launches Competition for Better Wireless Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) has announced the Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge, a new national competition seeking ideas for using wireless connectivity between vehicles to make transportation safer, greener and easier.

Through the competition, RITA is soliciting ideas for products or applications that use Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), an advanced wireless technology, similar to WiFi but faster and more secure. DSRC can communicate basic messages – such as alerts about imminent crash situations or roadway hazards – from one vehicle to another in a fraction of a second with minimal interference and without manipulation by the driver. The spectrum used by DSRC technology has been reserved by the Federal Communications Commission for transportation applications.

“This is an example of new technology helping to make transportation safer and more efficient,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

DSRC will be the basis for a future system of connected vehicles that will communicate with each other as well as the surrounding infrastructure, such as traffic signals, work zones and toll booths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wireless Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications can potentially address 81% of all unimpaired vehicle crashes.

“This technology is an opportunity to help create a future where millions of vehicles communicate with each other by sharing anonymous real-time information about traffic speeds and conditions. This new world of wireless communication will make transportation safer, provide better and faster exchange of information for vastly improved daily and long-distance travel, and even reduce environmental pollution,” says Peter Appel, RITA administrator.

The Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge is open to all idea generators and innovators, including those not working in the transportation industry. It will run from Jan. 24 through May 1 and competition rules and additional details can be found here.

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