April '17

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APRIL 2017 THE SHOP 57 TECHNOLOGY & ELECTRONICS "Accelerating the deployment of these communications requires collaboration across industries and government agen- cies," says Butler. ACHIEVING CRITICAL MASS The University of Michigan created a test bed for the cars of the future that can com- municate with each other—it is among the first of many test beds for V2V technolo- gies. It is called the Mobility Transforma- tion Center or Mcity. The area is designed to be a 32-acre fac- simile of a small-town city center. In it, vehicles are able to communicate with one another via wireless devices. What is even cooler is bicycles and pedestrians can also be V2V connected—offering them further protection as well. While that may seem like a pipe dream today, theoretically with everyone carrying a smartphone it will not take long to offer an extra layer of protection to bicyclists and walkers. The MTC's goal is to ulti- mately automate vehicles while dramati- cally improving safety, reducing congestion and conserving energy. According to the MTC in partnership with government and industry, Mcity will improve the safety, sustainability, and acces- sibility of the ways that people and goods move from place to place. One aftermarket company that is involved with early V2V development and has also been an early investor in the MTC is Brandmotion. Because the com- pany is involved in cutting-edge vehicle safety products, Brandmotion will lend its expertise to the OEMs on how best to integrate the technology—not only into new vehicles, but also existing vehicles that are on the road today. "If we are going to be living in a world where vehicles talk to other vehicles, the aftermarket will play a critical role," says Jeff Varick, president of Brandmotion. "Otherwise, it will take much longer to achieve any kind of critical mass, and that's what V2V requires." One area where V2V will have big growth will be in the trucking industry. V2V tech- nology can greatly improve fuel economy among truckers through platooning. The trucks will be able to communicate with each other. Then they can ascertain the correct distance for drafting. One company to look for is Peloton Technology. Its system works similarly to adaptive cruise control. When the system is activated, trucks in the back of the pack will automatically move closer to the lead vehicle. According to Peloton, there will be a gap of 35 to 50 feet. Drivers in each truck steer their vehicle, while cruise con- trol systems adjust speed. V2V technologies will mean safety for us and our customers, and lead to potential opportunities. We will be able to sell and install this technology into current rides after customers see the benefits of V2V. After all, most vehicles on the road today are approximately 10 years old. All it is going to take is one son or daughter getting their driver's license for the first time to implement the technology in the family's 10-year-old Accord. The installation will most likely involve tapping into the vehicle's OBD-II data, installing a transmitter, and perhaps an acoustic/visual warning system. Once that is completed, it will breathe new life into older vehicles and keep them current with the latest safety and convenience features. University of Michigan Mobility Trans- portation Center looks like a real town.

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