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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces $35 Million Joint Research With GM On Vehicle Crash Warning Systems

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater, General Motors

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces $35 Million Joint Research With GM On Vehicle Crash Warning Systems

Federal Highway Administration
June 24, 1999

Thursday, June 24, 1999
Contacts: FHWA, Virginia Miller, (202) 366-0660
GM, Chuck Licari, (810) 986-0077
FHWA 40-99

BOSTON—At a national conference about innovation in transportation, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced a $35 million joint research effort into vehicle crash warning systems by the U.S. Department of Transportation and General Motors Corp.

"President Clinton said that research is critically important to the nation, helping foster the discovery of knowledge, stimulating technological innovation, improving the quality of life and contributing to America’s prosperity," Secretary Slater said. "This innovative research project is especially important to safety, which is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority, and I am pleased that General Motors is joining us in this endeavor."

The joint U.S.-GM research will create prototype crash-warning systems. It also will involve extensive testing of collision warning technology in real-life situations. The new systems will caution drivers about potential hazards ahead of them by means of audible tones and visual displays.

"Our objective with this real-world study is to develop and integrate key technologies that can accelerate the introduction of a cohesive vehicle package with both forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control," said Dr. Lawrence D. Burns, vice president for GM research and development and planning, the lead GM unit for the program. "This research underscores our belief that the best crash protection we can provide is to help people avoid the collision altogether."

Collision warning technology helps prevent crashes by detecting and assessing hazardous conditions in a vehicle’s forward path, such as a rapidly decelerating or stopped vehicle, and alerting the driver. Adaptive cruise control can adjust the speed of a vehicle to match that of another one in front of it. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than one-fourth of all injuries in motor vehicle crashes result from rear-end collisions, which are the focus of the research.

The $35 million Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) research project, which is the largest of its kind, will run for five years and is expected to be launched later this month. It is the first IVI operational test under the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program, which was authorized by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

The ITS project will involve a 61 percent federal contribution, with the balance coming from GM and Delphi Automotive Systems. Its goal is to measure the performance of the new collision warning systems. Also, the research will provide valuable information on driver acceptance of the technology.

The first half of the five-year program will involve pre-development of prototype vehicles equipped with the crash avoidance technology. The second half will include field testing of the prototypes and will involve more than 100 licensed drivers from Michigan. Drivers will be selected to use one of 10 vehicles, each equipped with a collision warning package and adaptive cruise control.

Each test driver will have unrestricted use of a specially equipped vehicle for at least two weeks. Data will be collected by on-board recording devices, in post-test interviews and at clinics that help gauge customer acceptance, among other factors.

A primary partner in the field research is Delphi Delco Electronics Systems, which will provide expertise, along with GM, in adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and driver interface. GM will also assemble the vehicles and lead the vehicle systems integration.

The research will be conducted at GM facilities in Warren, Mich., along with Delphi Delco facilities in Kokomo, Ind. and Malibu, Calif. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will manage the field testing. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation System Center in Cambridge, Mass., will analyze the field data.

Secretary Slater announced the U.S.-GM joint research project during remarks at the John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center at the June 24-25, 1999, Spirit of Innovation in Transportation National Conference. The conference is exploring ways of ensuring that the country ’s transportation system will continue to benefit from new advanced technologies.


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