The Arizona Connected Vehicle Consortium, led by interim dean of the UA College of Engineering and professor of systems and industrial engineering Larry Head, is working to ensure emergency vehicles can arrive at accident scenes more quickly and safely.
The consortium is composed of UA researchers, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Transportation, and is testing a new vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, system that enables vehicles equipped with shortwave radio to talk to each other -- and to traffic signals.
The system delivers messages in bursts as short as two-tenths of a millisecond. As a vehicle approaches an intersection, the signaling system prioritizes the emergency vehicle and turns the light green for them, thereby clearing the intersection of incoming traffic. As it passes out of the intersection's zone, a signal is sent to return the traffic light to normal operation.
With technology that can shave valuable seconds -- or even minutes -- off response times, V2V vehicles can save lives and may prove to be as revolutionary as the introduction of seat belts.