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New Approaches for Testing Connected Highway and Vehicle Systems

Project Information

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Project Abstract: 

Connected vehicles offer the potential to transform the way that mobility can be managed in future transportation systems. Cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) is one example of the near-term applications that have the potential to address this vision. Before such applications can be approved and deployed in the field, however, they need to be vetted and thoroughly tested using an evaluation environment that can replicate actual deployment conditions as closely as possible. FHWA needs a platform to test, validate, and assess the potential benefits of deploying these different applications in a safe environment under a variety of operating conditions, including: 'Different levels of market penetration of connected vehicles'. Different physical operating environments (e.g., communication characteristics, network topology, and GPS reception quality). Different hardware infrastructure/roadside equipment components. The research team proposes to develop an integrated platform that can be used to develop, test, and validate connected vehicle concepts and technologies in a realistic evaluation environment that replicates real-world conditions. The goal is to design and implement a comprehensive evaluation platform that integrates a multimodal microscopic traffic simulation model (VISSIM) into a hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) platform and an advanced wireless communication simulation model that would allow FHWA to install and test different vehicle- and infrastructure-based connected vehicles applications on real technologies as they might be deployed in an operational setting. As part of this project, the researchers plan to construct an HITL simulation platform that contains the following four environments: 'Traffic Simulation Environment (TSE)'. Dedicated Short-Range Communications Hardware Testing Environment (HTE). 'Communication Simulation Environment (CSE)'. Connected Vehicles Applications Testing Environment (ATE).


  • Expanding beyond traditional hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) simulation: to date, traditional HITL simulation-based evaluation platforms attempt to integrate only two connected testing environment components' a traffic simulation test environment and a vehicle-based application logic. The researchers' proposed test platform will expand Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) testing capabilities by adding to this test two other platforms: a communication simulation environment, whereby the effects of different communication issues and technologies can be examined, and a hardware testing environment, where different infrastructure-based technologies can be examined in a 'plug-n-play' setting.
  • Highly flexible and modularly integrated system: the proposed platform is also the first of its kind to attempt to build a modular platform where multiple applications from different vendors and developers can be tested directly.
  •  Advanced HITL with traffic and communication simulation: the proposed evaluation platform is the first time that an advanced communication simulation model has been integrated into a traffic-oriented HITL simulation environment. This simulation model will allow FHWA to examine how different communications environments and topologies might impact vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and video-to-infrastructure (V2I) data exchange. The approach also permits FHWA and applications developers to assess the impacts of real-world communication issues on the performance of vehicle- and infrastructure-based applications.
Project Status: 
Project Funding Amount (Contract Award Amount): 
Start Date: 
Thursday, January 2, 2014
End Date: 
Friday, December 30, 2016
Public Access Plan: 
Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory
FHWA AMRP Program: 
Exploratory Advanced Research

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(202) 493-3484
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