The University of Michigan will lead five other Midwestern universities in research for connected and automated vehicles by headquartering the U.S. Department of Transportation-funded Center for Connected and Automated Vehicles as one of 10 regional university transport centers across the nation.
Washtenaw Community College, Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Akron, and Central State University (Ohio) will also contribute research to USDOT’s Center.
“This center provides yet another opportunity at the University of Michigan to conduct groundbreaking research on connected and automated vehicles, and to understand future transportation needs and challenges. We look forward to the many benefits it will bring to the community, the state and the region,” Jim Sayer, director of the U-M Transportation Research Institute, where the center will be housed, says.
In addition to driverless vehicle technology, the center will conduct research on advanced mobility policy, including design of advanced roadways, intersections, and bridges. It will also focus on connected and automated transportation systems control and operations, and public acceptance of self-driving vehicles.
Educating the workforce nationwide will also be necessary for the shift from drivers to driverless cars to be possible, and the participating universities will establish new courses to train engineers who will become leaders, technicians, and entrepreneurs in this evolving field. U-M has recently established the Next Generation Transportation Systems program through its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which aims to cultivate transportation leaders and innovators, college officials say.
The Center also plans to leverage U-M’s existing programs, including the living laboratory of the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment and MCity, which gives researchers the opportunity to test connected and automated vehicles in safe, controlled environment before taking them on public roads.