Peters Applauds $2.7 Million Project with University of Michigan for Study of Connected Vehicles and Fuel Efficiency

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Gary Peters today applauded the announcement of a $2.7 million project with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), the Transportation Research Institute and the College of Engineering to study how connected vehicle technology can make driving more efficient. The project was announced today by the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office. Connected vehicle technologies like vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications allow vehicles to communicate with each and their environment to reduce traffic congestion and prevent accidents.

“Connected vehicles and infrastructure are the next frontier for American cars and drivers, and we must invest in and promote the development of these critical technologies that can improve vehicle performance, prevent accidents and save lives,” said Senator Peters. “This project will help the Mobility Transformation Center better understand how connected vehicles can making driving more efficient, reduce fuel consumption and save drivers money.”

“Nobody knows the magnitude of what the energy savings of connected and automated vehicles will be,” said MTC Director Peter Sweatman. “We’re going to actively collect the data to do that.”

Through the project, the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center will conduct a research study using 500 privately-owned vehicles in the Ann Arbor area to collect data about how the vehicles are driven, including energy consumption, speed and location. The study will also examine how drivers use connected vehicle technologies with a focus on whether they can help make driving more fuel efficient.

The University of Michigan will work in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories to develop models of driving behavior and provide assistance with data collection and analysis.

Peters is a strong supporter of connected vehicle technologies. He recently introduced the Vehicle Innovation Act which consolidates and reauthorizes the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program to continue promoting investments, like the University of Michigan project, in research and development of clean vehicle technologies to create more fuel-efficient vehicles, reduce energy consumption and support American auto manufacturers and suppliers. The legislation includes provisions to specifically encourage the development and testing of vehicle-to-vehicle technology.

Peters also introduced legislation to allow states to use existing highway funds to invest in vehicle-to-infrastructure technology that allows vehicle to communicate with infrastructure when upgrading or improving infrastructure. This provision passed the Senate in July as part of the six-year highway bill.