Connected vehicle pilot program in Ann Arbor extended image

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is extending a pilot project in Ann Arbor on connected vehicles by another six months, but said it won’t change its timetable for deciding whether to move forward with the new technology.

When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Gov. Rick Snyder kicked it off in August 2012, the project was initially supposed to last a year. Nearly 3,000 “smart cars” that could one day revolutionize auto safety are used in it. Cars that, for example, could alert each other that a driver was about to miss a stop sign or pull onto a busy street. Or a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot.

“Additional tests will allow for further examination of the technology on motorcycles and vehicle-to-infrastructure applications, and will help inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s decision on heavy vehicles in 2014,” the Transportation Department said in a statement.

NHTSA will use the results from the vehicle-to-vehicle safety pilot to decide by the end of year whether to advance the technology through regulatory proposals, additional research, or a combination of both.

The Transportation Department is funding 80 percent of the $25 million project, partnering with eight major automakers, including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Hyundai Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has been conducting the test of approximately 2,800 cars, trucks and buses.