Connected cars study for interior connected stop signs, no stopping when there’s no traffic

M_stop-signStop signs mean stop, the usual reason for stopping is to look both ways at an intersection to see if anyone else is coming. In areas without a lot of traffic stopping at stop signs burns fuel and wastes time/money.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute are in the early stages of research in which, instead of putting the road signs on the road,  interactive signs appear inside the car.  If no other car is present at the intersection, the will driver can drive on through.

The concept is being developed by  Alexandria Noble of Newark, Delaware, a master’s student with the Virginia Tech Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

It is one of many ways that connected cars can communicate not only with each other with infrastructure to help prevent auto crashes and ease congestion.

Adaptive stop/yield signs have the potential to be a long-term solution for reducing congested roadways and negative environmental impacts

The study included a  17-week closed experiment at the Virginia Smart Road, in cars withsmall GPS-like dashboard screens that would alert the driver with a flashing display to either stop or yield, and proceed through the intersection. Other cars were driven by safety trainee researchers. There were several scenarios including times when the signs did not function, leaving the test subject so act on their own accord. All of the participants were shot on video to study.

This kind of technology in the real world is still many hears off in the future, it will require V2I technology and a reworking of the transportation system.

The project is only beginning, technology could change as the concept develops, such as

  • Augmented-reality images appearing on a windshield, replacing dashboard screens.
  • Fail-safe measures.
  • Intersections with traffic lights.

The benefit of signs in the car include

  • Are hard to ignore.
  • Could be cheaper because signs require maintenance.
  • Could be used for specific times, such as “Bridge Freezes Before Road,” slippery when wet, dear crossing, elk crossing, etc.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Noble is the first student in the newly launched Human Factors Transportation Safety Graduate Certificate Program.

Virginia Tech researchers are also studying commercial vehicle safety, and  vehicle-to-infrastructure processes. Meanwhile there is also research for connected traffic lights from MIT and UR: BAN in Bruswick, Germany.