Vehicle infrastructure integration

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Vehicle infrastructure integration (VII) is an initiative fostering research and application development for a series of technologies directly linking road vehicles to their physical surroundings, first and foremost to improve road safety. The technology draws on several disciplines, including transport engineering, electrical engineering, automotive engineering, and computer science. VII specifically covers road transport, although similar technologies are in place or under development for other modes of transport. Planes, for example, use ground-based beacons for automated guidance, allowing the autopilot to fly the plane without human intervention. In highway engineering, improving the safety of a roadway can enhance overall efficiency. VII targets to improve both safety and efficiency.


The goal of VII is to provide a communications link between vehicles on the road (via On-Board Equipment, OBE), and between vehicles, and the roadside infrastructure (via Roadside Equipment, RSE), in order to increase the safety, efficiency, and convenience of the transportation system. It is based on widespread deployment of a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) link, incorporating IEEE 802.11p. VII's development relies on a business model that supports the interests of all parties concerned: industry, transportation authorities, and professional organizations. The initiative has three priorities:

  • Evaluation of the business model (including deployment scheduling) and acceptance by the stakeholders;
  • Validation of the technology (in particular the communications systems) in the light of deployment costs; and
  • Development of legal structures and policies (particularly in regard to privacy) to enhance the system's potential for success over the longer term.


Current active safety technology relies on vehicle-based radar and vision systems. For example, this technology can reduce rear-end collisions by tracking obstructions in front or behind the vehicle, automatically applying brakes when needed. This technology is somewhat limited in that it senses only the distance and speed of vehicles within the direct line of sight of cameras and the sensing range of radars. It is almost completely ineffective for angled and left-turn collisions.[1] It may even cause a motorist to lose control of the vehicle in the event of an impending head-on collision. The rear-end collisions covered by today's technology are typically less severe than angle, left-turn, or head-on collisions. Existing technology is therefore inadequate for the overall needs of the roadway system.

VII would provide a direct link between a vehicle on the road and all vehicles within a defined vicinity. The vehicles would be able to communicate with each other, exchanging data on speed, orientation, and perhaps even driver awareness and intent. This could increase safety for nearby vehicles, while enhancing the overall sensitivity of the VII system, for example, by performing an automated emergency maneuver (steering, decelerating, braking) more effectively. In addition, the system is designed to communicate with the roadway infrastructure, allowing for complete, real-time traffic information for the entire network, as well as better queue management and feedback to vehicles. It would ultimately close the feedback loops on what is now an open-loop transportation system.

Through VII, roadway markings and road signs could become obsolete. Existing VII applications use sensors within vehicles that can identify markings on the roadway or signing along the side of the road, automatically adjusting vehicle parameters as necessary. Ultimately, VII aims to treat such signs and markings as little more than stored data within the system. This could be in the form of data acquired via beacons along a roadway or stored at a centralized database and distributed to all VII-equipped vehicles.


All the above factors are largely in response to safety but VII could lead to noticeable gains in the operational efficiency of a transportation network. As vehicles will be linked together with a resulting decrease in reaction times, the headway between vehicles could be reduced so that there is less empty space on the road. Available capacity for traffic would therefore be increased. More capacity per lane will in turn mean fewer lanes in general, possibly satisfying the community's concerns about the impact of roadway widening. VII will enable precise traffic-signal coordination by tracking vehicle platoons and will benefit from accurate timing by drawing on real-time traffic data covering volume, density and turning movements.

Real-time traffic data can also be used in the design of new roadways or modification of existing systems as the data could be used to provide accurate origin-destination studies and turning-movement counts for uses in transportation forecasting and traffic operations. Such technology would also lead to improvements for transport engineers to address problems whilst reducing the cost of obtaining and compiling data. Tolling is another prospect for VII technology as it could enable roadways to be automatically tolled. Data could be collectively transmitted to road users for in-vehicle display, outlining the lowest cost, shortest distance, and/or fastest route to a destination on the basis of real-time conditions.

Existing applications[edit]

To some extent, results along these lines have been achieved in trials performed around the globe, making use of GPS, mobile phone signals, and vehicle registration plates. GPS is becoming standard in many new high-end vehicles and is an option on most new low- and mid-range vehicles. In addition, many users also have mobile phones which transmit trackable signals (and may also be GPS-enabled). Mobile phones can already be traced for purposes of emergency response. GPS and mobile phone tracking, however, do not provide fully reliable data. Furthermore, integrating mobile phones in vehicles may be prohibitively difficult. Data from mobile phones, though useful, might even increase risks to motorists as they tend to look at their phones rather than concentrate on their driving. Automatic registration plate recognition can provide high levels of data, but continuously tracking a vehicle through a corridor is a difficult task with existing technology. Today's equipment is designed for data acquisition and functions such as enforcement and tolling, not for returning data to vehicles or motorists for response. GPS will nevertheless be one of the key components in VII systems.[2]



The most common myth about VII is that it includes tracking technology; however, this is not the case.[3] The architecture is designed to prevent identification of individual vehicles, with all data exchange between the vehicle and the system occurring anonymously. Exchanges between the vehicles and third parties such as OEMs and toll collectors will occur, but the network traffic will be sent via encrypted tunnels and will therefore not be decipherable by the VII system.

Other public concerns[edit]

Critics of tolling believe it will make driving prohibitively expensive for motorists in the lower-income bracket, conflicting with the wish to provide equal services for all. In response, public transit discounts or road use discounts can be considered for qualifying individuals and/or families. Such provisions currently exist for numerous tolled roadways and could be applicable to roadways that are tolled via VII. However, as VII could allow for the tolling of every VII-enabled roadway, the provisions may be ineffective in view of the increased need to provide user-efficient transit services to every area.

Technical issues[edit]


A major issue facing the deployment of VII is the problem of how to stand up the system initially. The costs associated with installing the technology in vehicles and providing communications and power at every intersection are significant.


Another factor for consideration in regard to the technology's distribution is how to update and maintain the units. Traffic systems are highly dynamic, with new traffic controls implemented every day and roadways constructed or repaired every year. The vehicle-based option could be updated via the internet (preferably wireless) but may subsequently require all users to have access to internet technology.

Alternatively, if receivers were placed in all vehicles and the VII system was primarily located along the roadside, information could be stored in a centralized database. This would allow the agency responsible to issue updates at any time. These would then be disseminated to the roadside units for passing motorists. Operationally, this method is currently considered to provide the greatest effectiveness but at a high cost to the authorities.


Security of the units is another concern, especially in the light of the public acceptance issue. Criminals could tamper, remove, or destroy VII units regardless of whether they are installed inside vehicles or along the roadside.

Magnets, electric shocks, and malicious software (viruses, hacking, or jamming) could be used to damage VII systems – regardless of whether units are located inside vehicle or along the roadside.

Recent developments[edit]

Much of the current research and experimentation is conducted in the United States[4] where coordination is ensured through the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, consisting of automobile manufacturers (Ford, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW), IT suppliers, U.S. Federal and state transportation departments, and professional associations.[5] Trialing is taking place in Michigan[6] and California.[7]

The specific applications now being developed under the U.S. initiative[8] are:

  • Warning drivers of unsafe conditions or imminent collisions.
  • Warning drivers if they are about to run off the road or speed around a curve too fast.
  • Informing system operators of real-time congestion, weather conditions and incidents.
  • Providing operators with information on corridor capacity for real-time management, planning and provision of corridor-wide advisories to drivers.

In mid-2007, a VII environment covering some 20 square miles (52 km2) near Detroit was used to test 20 prototype VII applications.[citation needed] Several automobile manufacturers are also conducting their own VII research and trailing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Left Turn Accidents". Car Accidents. 23 March 2023. Archived from the original on 6 August 2023. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  2. ^ GPS Drives Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, GPS World, October 2006.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ U.S. DOT VII Archived 22 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
  5. ^ Full speed ahead for intelligent car design, Financial Times, 20 February 2007
  6. ^ Michigan DOT VII Program Archived 18 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
  7. ^ Expediting Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Archived 11 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 February 2007
  8. ^ Vehicle Infrastructure Integration from U.S. DOT Archived 7 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 February 2007.

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