• Connected and Automated Vehicles

    Automated and connected vehicle technologies are becoming some of the most heavily researched automotive technologies. Currently, some automated and connected vehicle technologies are available, but are only a fraction of what will be available in the future. Although this page contains separate sections for connected and automated vehicle technologies, be aware that many of the technologies overlap. For instance, to have a fully automated vehicle, the vehicle must also be a connected vehicle.

    Connected Vehicles

    Source: Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Publications

    Connected vehicles are vehicles that use any of a number of different communication technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle [V2V]), roadside infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I]), and the “Cloud.” This technology can be used to not only improve vehicle safety, but also to improve vehicle efficiency and commute times. Listed below are some of the benefits of connected vehicles:

    crash elimination

    Crash Elimination: Crash-free driving and improved vehicle safety could change the concept of a vehicle as we know it

    Reduced Need for New Inf

    Reduced Need for New Infrastructure: Self-driving can reduce the need for building new infrastructure and reduce maintenance costs

    Travel Time

    Travel Time Dependability: Convergence can substantially reduce uncertainty in travel times via real-time, predictive assessment of travel times on all routes

    Productivity Improvements

    Productivity Improvements: Convergence will allow travelers to make use of travel time productively 

    Improved Energy

    Improved Energy Efficiency: Reduced energy consumption in at least three ways: more efficient driving; lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles; and efficient infrastructure

    New Models

    New Models for Vehicle Ownership: Self-driving vehicles could lead to a major redefinition of vehicle ownership and expand opportunities for vehicle sharing

    New Business Models

    New Business Models and Scenarios: Convergence of technologies may realign industries such that ecosystem participants need to compete and collaborate at the same time

    Although adding connectivity to vehicles has its benefits, it also has challenges. By adding connectivity, there can be issues with security, privacy, data analytics, and aggregation due to the abundance of data associated with vehicles.

    This technology may seem new, but the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a joint research effort with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has already started setting V2V and V2I communication standards, such as using a 5 GHZ frequency for transmission. Click here to learn more about this research and these standards.

    Some modern examples of vehicle connectivity are General Motor’s OnStar, Ford’s Sync, and Chrysler’s Uconnect.  Click here for a view of the future on how your car may become the control center of your life.

    Automated Vehicles

    Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Policy on Automated Vehicle Development

    Fully automated (sometimes called autonomous) or “self-driving” vehicles are defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.” Further, the NHTSA has defined vehicle automation into five levels; the higher the level the more automated the vehicle is. Listed below are the NHTSA’s five levels of automation:

    • No-Automation (Level 0): The driver is in complete and sole control of the primary vehicle controls – brake, steering, throttle, and motive power – at all times.
    • Function-specific Automation (Level 1): Automation at this level involves one or more specific control functions. Examples include electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes, where the vehicle automatically assists with braking to enable the driver to regain control of the vehicle or stop faster than possible by acting alone.
    • Combined Function Automation (Level 2): This level involves automation of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of those functions. An example of combined functions enabling a Level 2 system is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering.
    • Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions and in those conditions to rely heavily on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions requiring transition back to driver control. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time. The second-generation Google car is an example of limited self-driving automation.
    • Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles. The third-generation Google car is an example of full self-driving automation. Vehicles with level 4 automation may also be referred to autonomous vehicles. 

    *Note: Vehicles with automation levels above 3 must also incorporate connected vehicle technologies. 

    Of these five levels, only up to level 2 is currently available to the public. However, the federal government and manufacturers are now researching, developing, and testing level 4 automation technologies on public roads in certain states that have passed enabling legislation. The states that have passed legislation allowing higher level automated vehicles include California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. Several other states are also working to pass similar legislation. 

    The Road to Autonomous Vehicles Presentation - HI-TEC 2016 - A presentation by Bob Feldmaier, Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology, at the 2016 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) discussing the following three questions: Why the interest in autonomous vehicles?  How does the technology work?  What are the remaining challenges?

    To learn more about automated and connected vehicle technologies, visit the Automated and Connected Vehicle Technology section of our Resource Library, our Quick Links page, the videos and links below, or this article explaining how automated vehicles could change our lives:

    Michigan is at the Forefront of Transportation: The American Center for Mobility (ACM) is a unique 335-acre facility for testing, verification and certification of connected and automated vehicles which is modeled in the highly automated driving and ADAS simulation platform PreScan.


    CNET On Cars - Car Tech 101: Three layers of autonomous driving 


    Michigan Engineering: Ann Arbor - a test bed for driverless cars?


    Chevrolet Bolt EV Autonomous Drive Demo


    Autopilot Full Self-Driving Hardware 


    Hyundai : The Empty Car Convoy 


    CAAT Seed Funded Programs

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