tv Communicators Tours Driverless Car Test Site CSPAN January 3, 2017 4:44am-5:33am EST
at 9:00 a.m. >> the presidential inauguration of donald trump friday, january 20. c-span will have live coverage of all of the days ceremonies. what's live on c-span, c-span or, and also live on the c-span radio cap. -- c-span radio app. this week, the communicators goes to the university of michigan near detroit were car companies are using a new test to check out new
technology. lawmakers are experiment in with technology that allows cars to talk to each other and talk to roads and traffic lights so there will be fewer accidents. we spoke with a transportation analyst studies this technology and with the director of the university of michigan's mobility transformation of center. host: where are we right now? >> we are at the university of michigan. this is m city, it was built specifically to test and develop automated vehicles. this is a fake storefront. it can create different scenarios for both connected and automated vehicles. we want to test and be able to repeat. when you are out on the street, it is hard to be able to repeat consistently. behind us is a facade. you can move it back or further up. you can make it suburban or urban. we have many different road
types, intersections. many different ways to park. we have a pedestrian you can use. the basic principle is that you are able to repeat the testing in a consistent manner. host: what is your goal with all of this testing? city and fakefake roads. debbie: our goal is to help all of the people in this industry. host: who are some of the stakeholders? who is involved in this research? debbie: a lot of stakeholders. you look into the automotive industry and you have your manufacturers. chrysler, gm, etc. you also have all of their tier ones and startups in the area. it is huge.
announcer: "the communicators" talked with the director of the university of michigan's mobility transformation center which runs m city. professor peng: these cars do not coordinate with one another except that you look at the size of the car in front of you, the brake light and the turn signal. that is the only communication. but communication can be so much richer and more efficient if we start to have a communication opportunity. and between vehicles and traffic signals. traffic can become much safer and much more efficient. congestion can be reduced. there are a lot of potentials. host: essentially, cars are talking to cars. with what kind of equipment? professor peng: it is just like a wi-fi. as a matter of fact, much of the fundamentals are the same. host: you have this equipment in your car, but what if no one else does? professor peng: sometimes people look at this situation just like in the early days. no one wanted to purchase the first fax machine.
no one to talk to. we are having this dilemma. no one wants to be the first one investing in this equipment with nobody else to talk to. everyone wants to be a follower. that is a problem. we need leaders and someone who is looking at the long-term rather than the short-term to lead the effort. host: we took a test drive at mcity to see how connected technology works. debbie: i am going to demonstrate from vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure. we will start with vehicle to vehicle. emergency electronic brake light is the driver a warning that a vehicle ahead of it has slammed on their brakes. panicked braking. not just braking. it doesn't have to be the
vehicle directly in front of you. most sensor-based systems only sees the vehicle directly in front of you. because this is transmitting over the air and it transmits a minimum of 300 meters, i can hear a car 4-5 vehicles ahead. i will get a nice warning that i need to look out and potentially brake. ready. ok, brake. [beeping] >> if someone ahead of you is panic braking. host: and what shows up in your rearview mirr? debbie: it is a red icon warning you that someone is panic braking. host: is this communing -- communicate cart car? debbie: this goes car to car. it is not like a sensor but more like a radio. hold up one second.
if you think of a radio, it is tuned to a specific channel. our vehicles communicate with each other. that is the protocol. very much like wi-fi except it has a lot lower length and it is more secure. host: can a third vehicle get into that communication? debbie: absolutely. you want everyone equipped around you and transmitting. you are doing a threat assessment on the vehicle. it is really the vehicle's interest is the only when you would get a morning. -- warning. host: you are calling this a threat assessment. debbie: to provide the driver a warning. for connected vehicles. you could get into where the vehicle took control. for instance, and this is way out there, but if you are doing green intersectioning and we have a signal controller that is broadcasting the signal phase and timing.
what color the light is for each lane and how long it will remain in that state. if you wanted to do a safety application, you would do red light violations. you ll the driver,ou will not make the light, so, stop. if you are doing a sustainability application, you would do, if you do 30 miles per hour, you don't have to touch the gas. you are decreasing your carbon footprint. if you wanted to get into the automated world, who is the best person to determine who goes into the intersection. that is the signal controller but all of the vehicles need to be connected. it would take control or tell your vehicle to take control and guiding you through the intersection. if you ever see those futuristic renderings about how an intersection works and the vehicles are zooming through, that is what we will need. host: how far away are we from that? debbie: that is a good question.
connected vehicles being on the road in large scale is still a few years away. connected and automated are even a few years away. host: we are on this test track -- are these legitimate road signs? debbie: yes, and it is a very good cross-section of road signs. they are not all brand-new. you will see some that have faded or have graffiti. that is more along the lines of the automated side. if you have a vision system doing a detection on the sign type, they need to be able to figure out what the sign is. they cannot all be pristine. that is not how it is in the real world. i think we will go by one that is absolutely horrible. it is right up here. host: are the signs connected? do they have any sensors? debbie: the gns do not but the intersections are putting up the infrasucture. they do have the signals but there arthe e not adside units.
that is the next step, to put up infrastructure side. host: what will the next experiment be? debbie: we are going to take you on the road and show you the roadside units. that is the infrastructure portion. we will show you a ice warning and curb speed morning. ice warning, we have sensors embedd in e road. when it is snowing and icy, and when you drive by, you will get a warning saying that there is ice on the road. what we have done is we have a roadside unit installed and it is broadcasting that there is ice on the road. every time i go by that location, we will get an ice warning. it is not quite a true demonstration but it is showing that i am communicating with the infrastructure. if you notice the two white boxes with the rabbit ear antenna on the roof over there.
they are the roadside units broadcasting the connected vehicle technology. this is part of the university of michigan transportation research institute. in we use those a lot for testing and when we do installations. to make sure they operate properly before we send them out into the field. we also use them for demonstration purposes. that roadside unit is broadcasting traveler information message. and it is telling us that there is ice on the road and a curve on baxter road. host: you have to install the technology into the road itself.
debbie: there are different ways you can do that. you can gather information from the vehicles in the area or use a sensor-based system. here is our ice warning. host: that is the ice warning. debbie: and you can see itn the mirror. it is geo-sensitive to the location. host: we are on a public road here. active street, not a test road anymore. debbie: correct. this curve on baxter road, we have it broadcasting that this speed limit is 19 miles per hour. that is just so we can do a demonstration about a safe environment. we will get the warning. host: the curve warning. where is the sensor installed? debbie: there is no sensor. it is the information from the roadside unit being broadcast to the car. there is an icon that will appear in the mirror that i am
going too fast. host: just coming directly to and this car. debbie: correct. i think what i will do -- host: you have been working in the automotive industry for a long time. how advanced is this technology that we are seeing? debbie: i think it is getting ready to go. gm announced that they want to put this technology on their 2017 cadillac cts. it is ready to be deployed. the application that you can use, the basic applications have been developed including collision warning, red light violation. hi him other applations need a little more work. the pedestrian detection, the bicycles, things like that.
more work on vulnerable road users and on the sustainability and mobility applications. host: other cars have sensors already including collision warning. debbie: you can replace the sensors with this technology to do the same type of thing. you can also use it to augment the road to automotive vehicles. -- automated vehicles. we think that is important. enabling technology to get automated vehicles on the road. host: is this in any way connected to the driverless cars? in that would be fully autonomous? debbie: we believe that it is in that it is a technology so it can be used as a sensor. another sensor for an automated vehicle. we do not think that we are going to have autonomous vehicles in the sense that autonomous works on their own. where we think they will be
connected and automated. necessarily, they are not autonomous because they talk to each other. i truly think that being connected to the infrastructure is very important in automated vehicles as well. my view is that a really safe way to deploy automated vehicles is using the equivalent of the hov lane and so they can get into the lane, the infrastructure is connected, they are talking to each other and the infrtructure and it really gives you a nice caravaning you can do. host: we learned more from the professor. host: what do you do here? at the university of michigan? professor peng: i am a professor in the mechanical engineering department and the director of the mobility transformation center. host: what is that? professor peng: it is a public-private partnership focusing on the research development and the deployment
of the connected and automated vehicle technology. host: what do you mean by connected? professor peng: there are several ways to connect to the car including your cell phone, wi-fi, and bluetooth and that is what many companies are pushing for. there is a new technology we focus on, dedicated short reach communication. dsrc. the main reason we are pushing for a dedicated frequency and short range communication is for safety purposes. if we have a different communication technology that is solely and not interfering by many other applications, safety of cars can be more guaranteed. host: in a world where we are very reliant on our cell phones, why not connect through the cell phone? professor peng: excellent question. a cell phone or data plan, they
were designed not to have guaranteed communication. for example, when you pick up your cell phone and you try to dial a number, sometimes you wonder why it is not responding immediately. the reason is that all of the communications are going through a tower and the tower is covering a cell and is trying connect to the correct tower. for this technology, it is a simple peer to peer communication meaning we are not communicating with a tower. we directly talk to everybody using a short range.
for example, about 1000 feet radius. everyone in this range will hear us immediately. there is no delay. and delay is very fatal. imagine yourself driving on the highway. 60 to 65 miles per hour. roughly speaking, you are driving 100 feet per second. if you delay that by one second, that is 100 feet. and we do not want that. host: cars are talking to other cars. what kind of equipment? what does it look like? professor peng: the simplest way to understand this is that it is just like wi-fi. as a matter of fact, much of the fundamentals are the same. they follow a very similar standard. it is different from your at-home wi-fi. these are all of the variations that we have refined over the years. following this technology. it is similar. it is operating in a different channel. think of it as a wi-fi.
host: if you are a driver in a connected car, other connected cars around you, what kinds of signals are you getting? professor peng: there are 15 different message sets defined. people dream up all the possible applications. the simplest one that we always use and we tested on every car is the so-called basic safety message. literally, the safety message only tells everybody else, here is my position, my acceleration, my vehicle weight. that is basically it. if there is an important event like a heavy braking, you add that to the basic safety message sets. literally you are telling everybody, i am here. do not hit me. host: if there is a heavy braking incident, what happens? professor peng: you can imagine that if the car in front of you
or the car in front of you but there is a heavy truck in between. you do not want to wait until you see the brake light. you do not want to see that the car is looming bigger. you want to start reacting sooner because it is a heavy braking. the message receivedrom the following car would be t position and acceleration. and the system onboard can start to say, that is going to be a threat and how heavy should i brake or do i need to think about other actions like making a lane change. host: how advanced is this technology?
professor peng: we are making sure that all of the companies agree on the same message for the standards. it has happened for about 16 to 17 years. however, in terms of commercialization, we are just at the cusp of that. general motors just announced that they will have the equipment on their 2017 cadillac cts. that will be the first vehicle in the u.s. in japan, toyota offered the technology on two models. host: when you look a few years down the road, are we going to see a fundamental change in cars and their communication devices? professor peng: absolutely. we have witnessed the evolution of a very useful and powerful personal computers being connected by internet. they are now so ch more useful. i can't imagine many of our youngsters able to live a day without a connected computer or a connected smartphone. imagine now that we are at the
same stage and we are trying to connect cars together. there are cars that do not coordinate too much with one another except that you look at the size of the car in front of you, the brake light, the turn signal. that is the only communication. t communatn can be so much richer and so much more efficient if we start to have a communication between vehicles and between vehicles and traffic signals. host: technology in the future will also be inserted into traffic signals, lanes? proferssor peng: i don't know if you are aware of the fact that there is an intersection with these devices. we had as many as 2800 vehicles, today it is more like 1600. they talk to each other and the 19 intersections. host: what have you learned from your demonstration project here in ann arbor?
professor peng: quite a bit. a lot of people worry when you start to instrument hundreds and thousands of cars. as a retrofit. we had many volunteer their vehicles and the michigan bus system volunteered. people wondered whether you could actually put this system and start to broadcast the vehicle position with enough accuracy. what we found was surprisingly, roughly speaking, 80% of the time, the gps accuracy is below 1.5 meter. how do we choose this accuracy requirement? 1.5 meters makes sure that you can differentiate the vehicles position with half of a lane length. whether you are in the left lane
or right lane with enough confidence if you are indeed wanting to make a lane change. that is very important. that is one thing we learned. technology is almost ready, they are not cheap yet. we are trying to make sure that they are cheap enough so that there will be a quick deployment, a large number. but the learning we have has helped us learn other things. first, we understand the traffic condition of the city very well. because we know 3% of the cars, where they are, how fast they are driving 24/7. we learn a lot about the city. we also learned that this signal can be used to trend smart algorithms.
in the past, not too many people are able to estimate the traffic flow accurately but we have developed technologies to understand the traffic flow accurately with only 3% of the vehicles being instrumented. knowing the traffic flow helped us direct or control the city traffic well even though we have not really started to program the traffic signals. the potential is there. we are able to control the traffic signals to respond to the traffic flow in real-time to reduce congestion. host: you mentioned a couple of times that this is pretty expensive technology. who is funding mobility transformation center? professor peng: the center is a public-private partnership. what we tried to do is leverage the resources. the university internal investment, about $10 million to get the center going.
and now, we have 16 industrial members and a two-tier structure. together, we collect about $6 million in membership fees a year. we also try to work with our faculty members to write proposals to get support from the department of transportation, the department of energy and other sources. it is an effort trying to get resources from any place we can get. host: all of the major car companies are partners in this? professor peng: we are very fortunate that our view of building a living laboratory, instrumented a large number of vehicles, is getting a great deal of support.
gm, ford, toyota, nissan, honda, bmw -- these are the members. these are only six of the 16 members and we have many first-tier companies. host: you mentioned that you are also studying autonomous vehicles. how is the conductivity related to autonomous vehicles? professor peng: another excellent question. we think that today's autonomous vehicles, they may primarily rely on three kinds of sensors, camera, and radar. they also rely on gps and map. but now, the sensors are -- none of the sensors are perfect. they all have their weakness and many are still very expensive. if you are able to use communication to augment the sensor system, you can do such a better job in terms of perceptive and localizing where
you are and do a better control to enhance safety. i will ge you three examples of how conductivity helps autonomous vehicles. first, we think that communication is better sensor. the range of communication is about 1000 feet, many of the camera and radar cannot see very clearly beyond 100 meters or 300 feet. communication is at least three times longer range. second, if there is a little kid who is standing behind a bus and he is going to walk from behind the bus. or there is a car around the corner but your view is blocked by the building. in both cases, communication will help you perceive the driving condition better.
so we say that communication is a better sensor than most of the onboard sensors you have. on autonomous vehicles. second, communication provides you a power. the fire truck, the ambulance for example can tell the traffic signal in front to change the signal facing to red. all right, every direction. no one move. you can cross the intersection quickly and probably that will save a life or two. they may be very smart. google cars, tesla vehicles. they still basically work on the gritty little stuff. you only worry about your own safety. what is in your small region. when you coordinate with other vehicles, you can build a traffic system which is more
safe, more efficient, and less congestion. communication is like the internet. we can connect very smart cars together and build a smart transportation system. host: you mentioned lidar. professor peng: it works almost like radar but it uses laser. laser uses a narrow spectrum of light and therefore it is very precise. you can detect the reflection. you will not confuse that with sunlight or other light sources. host: we are taping this interview in september 2016. if someone went out to ford, gm, chrysler, etc. and bought a top-of-the-line car, what kind of sensors, communication equipment, will they be getting on their car today?
professor peng: today, you can buy vehicles with lower level of automation already. when i say lower level, i mean we have a society of automotive engineering defining the automation level. level one would be a adaptive cruise control. you can already purchase that for more than a decade now. you can buy vehicles with lane keeping assist. and that would be lower level but if you combine them together it would be level two. tesla autopilot is a level two automated vehicles. not driverless or autonomous. a level two automated vehicle. today, most of the cars that you can buy already, they only use camera, radar augmented with ultrasonic.
ultrasonic works similar to radar but is even cheaper. none of them, none of the vehicles you can buy on the market today use lidar. valid dime is the vendor for the google car. google uses a 64 beam lidar which costs $70,000. that is why they are not yet on your production vehicles. host: how many sensors with a car today have? is there a number? cameras. lane changers. professor peng: hundreds. for example, in the engine, you have to measure a lot of things including the firing angle, engine speed, transmission speed, pressure, air flow, voltage.
for batteries you need to measure voltage currt. temperatures. if you add all of the sensors together, i would say hundreds and typically 100 microprocessors. they are already getting smarter, even with this standard car. now we are talking about adding more technology to interact with other vehicles. we are at the beginning of making cars intelligent enough to cooperate with other vehicles. host: professor, what has been your biggest frustration in this project? professor peng: that is a tough one. this is a very complicated problem.
not just limited to technology. because after all, technologies must be doing something good for the society. otherwise, we probably should not be doing it. as such, we need to interact with so many different people, companies, government, students and so on. trying to bring the awareness to the society is very tough. i would not say i am frustrated, it is a tough job. it certainly takes more than what i used to do which was as professor and just doing my own research and teaching. now, i actually have to branch out to many other aspects. but i am enjoying every minute of that. host: behind you we have a map of a test track. what is that? professor peng: that is called mcity. it may be something people don't agree with what it is the worlds first purposely built automated and connected vehicle test
facility. it is 32 acres. we designed it to emulate the real world. but we use a small footprint. only 32 acres. we try to include a very rich driving environment. not only the pavement type, we have 17 different lights. even the street lights, 17 different types. if you look closely at even the parking meters, they are all different. angle parking, parallel parking. we try to emulate a railroad crossing. we try to emulate an underpass situation and tree canopy. using such a small footprint, we try to imagine all of the challenging driving conditions for connected and automated vehicle technologies. we build many of these features in this small footprint.
host: has it been a worthwhile investment? professor peng: it has received unimaginable publicity. i am not exaggerating if i say that we have been visited more than 500 times in a year. we just had a grand opening on july 20, 2015. and we have hosted probably more than 500 visitors. we have lost count. host: the secretary of transportation, anthony foxx, governor rick snyder. what have you learned? have you learned, have you gotten benefits at the mobility transformation center for your mcity? professor peng: certainly so. this is a small test facility. we are trying first to understand how individual vehicles interact with an individual infrastructure device.
we gradually try to extend it beyond. one company that has taken advantage of this facility is ford. they have demonstrated the idea of so-called snow-tonomy. meaning they can drive in snow with no driver even when the road is fully covered by snow. they argue that this is the first time that anyone has reliably demonstrated that technology in the world. host: when you see some of the things that are going on here and some of the research you are doing, at what point will we be using this technology on a regular basis?
professor peng: some of the technologies have already been put into production vehicles. you can buy these high end cars, lexus, mercedes, acura. the number will keep increasing. manyeople try to give a prediction, 2020, 2022, and so forth. in our view, we think the technology itself may already be almost ready. you can already have a driverless vehicle in a recreational park or in an industrial region with very well-defined environment and traffic. you can already deploy an autonomous vehicle pretty reliably. but if we are thinking about a car that can drive itself, facing glaring sunlight, heavy snow, in very complicated traffic conditions, sometimes it we jokingly say beijing or mumbai, then we are probably a few years away.
but depending on how challenging thscens thario i we are talking about, we are almost ready. but it is not just the technology issue. we need to figure out if the government regulations or the traffic rules, safety rules, insurance, and whether it the rules are in place so the vehicles can already be deployed in the real world clearly understanding who is going to pay for the insurance for any crash. those are probably lagging behind compared with the technology. host: what about security? hacking? is that being baked in? professor peng: that is being considered because cars are now being connected. they are 10 years behind the
internet, interconnecting pcs. we know the internet is under constant attack. we know that hackers are trying to steal trade secrets, government secrets, or money from the bank. so, there will be hackers that continue to attack the internet and there will be hackers trying to attack automated vehicles or connected cars. we understand that. the technology we are trying to build in to protect cars are on par or similar to what people have been deploying to protect the internet. host: what about privacy? professor peng: a good question again. we understand that people do not want to be constantly watched, where they are, every moment. the relative position to other cars are important for safety but there are ways of hiding the
privacy by using a security certificate. in other words, you do not really need to be associated with a name or even a license plate. today, we are associated with a fixed license plate. but in the electronic world, your id can be refreshed regularly. you can imagine either days or even every few hours, your electronic license plate will be refreshed. in which case, it is actually protecting your privacy in terms of where you are, by having a fixed license plate. in some countries like london, people say there are hundreds of thousands of cameras. your whereabouts is already in the public domain even though it digging through those video streams to know exactly where
you are is very hard but you have a fixed id. in the connected vehicle world, we can have a refreshed id. arguably, security is different. i would not say it is better. it is different for sure. host: finally, where is the u.s. -- where is detroit when it comes to developing this technology opposed to beijing, tokyo, etc.? professor peng: people have been trying to deployed intelgent systems to solve real-world transportation problems. in terms of solving real problems, many countries are making real progress in particular in the field of connected vehicles. the u.s. is probably in the lead in the sense that we have a very clearly defined spectrum.
5.9 gigahertz dedicated for road vehicle safety application. and all of the standards are already being defined by aaa and sae. in that see, the u.s. is ahead. europe has been investing a lot in real deployment demonstration projects. their investment is ahead of the u.s. most of their projects are smaller. for example, our demonstration project, we could have 100 cars. most of them have dozens, maybe 100. that is their level. on the other hand again, their demonstration project technologies, the investment is very healthy. so i would say that it is hard to say if the u.s. is ahead or europe is ahead, but it is a friendly competition for sure. the u.s. has a better chance of
requiring the src. that is what the dot is trying to do. the federal multi vehicle safety standard is now being reviewed. if passed, it would require all of the light-duty vehicles in the u.s. to have the src. and that would be the world's first. europe is not likely to pass that with so many european countries and brexit in play and japan is simply not ready to do that. china is still thinking about it. so i would say u.s. is ahead. >> debbie explains more about car technology ii. host: do you approach your work as an engineer or a consumer? debbie: both. i think being a good engineer is you understand what your consumerwa and youeed to make it easy for your consumers to use and understandable.
there is a balance between function and the human factor interface. host: as we drive to the next site, what has surprised you most about what you have learned here? debbie: how far it actually transmits. the specifications that you need to transmit a minimum of 300 meters, and we have found that it goes way beyond 300 meters depending on the geometry. it is pretty much line of sight but your line is huge. right here in this area, it is pretty much 360 degrees. but in an s-curve can only go so far. with this structure, with the wires, when we are testing, we put over what we call a canopy.
it simulates a tree canopy. if you are going on a tree-lined street and you are going under another type of tunnel. we do not keep it out every day because we want to keep the equipment in good working order. typically, it will look like little leaves going across. when you go under, you lose your gps signal. you can test how well you maintain the gps, for how long and how quickly you recover. host: when you talk about gps, you are talking about satellites? debbie: yes. it is getting gps and we are in fact upgrading our devices. gnsf really takes our system, the american version of the gps and adds more satellite. instead of just having our satellites, there is a bigger set of satellites that would be more accurate. host: we have perfected the four
wheels and the air-conditioning in the car but now they are becoming very sophisticated. >> next week, the communicators talks with the president of audi of america. o to c-span.org. there are new congress starts today. watch all of the opening day events and activities on c-span live from the u.s. capitol starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern. you'll meet new representatives and hear from returning members. the house gavels in at noon. opening day business includes the election of the house speaker, his address to the whole house and later a debate and new rules for the congress. one rule getting attention. a proposal to fine member who is live stream video from the house floor in response the last month's democratic sit-in staged
by several democrats. live coverage starts at noon eastern and includes the swearing in of senators. opening day continues on c-span 3 with live coverage of the swearing in of members o congress. vice president joe biden swears in individual senators and at 3:00 speaker paul ryan swears in members of the house. we'll have a full replay on c-span and c-span 2. >> today congressional black caucus will hold a swearing in ceremony. cedric richman serves as this session's chair. you can see that live at 9:00 a.m. eastern on our companion etwork c-span 2.
>> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday, january 20. c-span will have live coverage of all of the day's events and ceremony. on c-span, c-span.org and listen n the c-span app. >> this week, "the communicators" goes to pittsburgh to look at self-driving cars. we talk with one of the nation's key self-driving researchers at carnegie mellon university and take a ride in the autonomous car that the university is eveloping. peter: i'm with raj rajkumar of carnegie mellon. what are we looking at right here? what is this? raj: we are looking at a cadillac which is capable of drivin