New York City Connected Vehicle Pilot Prepares to Install Devices to Thousands of Vehicles

Device installation is a key stage of the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilots as Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure technologies are deployed into the field at large quantities. The CV Pilot teams are working hard to ensure quick, smooth, and quality installations, while documenting lessons learned from the process for future deployers of CV technology.

The Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment (CV Pilots) Program is wrapping up Phase 2 where the pilot sites have worked to design, build, and test the deployments of integrated wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. The three pilot sites (New York City, Tampa and Wyoming) have started to install on-board units (OBUs) and after-market safety devices (ASDs) on over 10,000 pilot vehicles. Sponsored by the USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), the CV Pilots Program is a national effort to deploy, test, and operationalize cutting-edge mobile and roadside technologies and enable multiple connected vehicle applications. These innovative technologies and applications have the potential for immediate beneficial impacts – to save lives, improve personal mobility, enhance economic productivity, reduce negative environmental impacts, and transform public agency operations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) conducted site visits to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) over the past twelve (12) months to learn more about the partners and progress in preparing for CV device installation. The visits included demonstrations of how the ASDs will be installed in taxis, buses, and New York City’s fleet vehicles.

USDOT visitors were shown initial device installations for NYCDOT fleet vehicles, taxis and buses. They noted the highNYCDOT quality of the initial device installations as well as some potential roadblocks NYCDOT will need to resolve. For example, the device installations for taxis uses a custom Controller Area Network (CAN bus) gateway for each vehicle type. NYCDOT will need to find the best approach to ensure the correct gateway is installed on each vehicle so that the devices function properly while not adversely impacting installation time. Using NYC certified taxi system integrators, the average installation time will be 60 – 90 minutes per vehicle using two (2) or three (3) shifts at several garage locations. The photo on the right shows the conceptual in-vehicle installation, which includes the layout of the proposed ASD placement, connections to the battery fuse box, vehicle CAN Bus, and Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and GPS antennas.

NYCDOT and their systems integrator contractor have lined up installation contractors to complete the full device installation and contract negotiations which are currently in progress. The NYC CV Pilot project will need to install ASDs in 2,500 to 5,850 taxis (i.e., based on availability), 700 Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses, and 2,500 to 5,850 in NewNYCDOT TAXI York City fleet vehicles (i.e., based on availability), and 1,050 in a combination of sanitation and NYCDOT fleet vehicles. The photo on the left depicts the DSRC and GPS antennas mounted on the vehicle. The DSRC and GPS are integrated into one (1) housing; however, the placement of the antenna is a major challenge because of the pre-existing advertising equipment on the rooftops. For some of the commercial vehicles and the MTA buses which do not allow additional holes in the roof areas, NYCDOT will be installing a through-the-glass antenna coupling device with an external antenna developed by one of their ASD suppliers. This approach is being piloted in several buses which undergo daily washing to test their long-term reliability.

Deployment and installation of CV technologies does not end with the ASD and antenna as the NYC pilot is also deploying additional Human Machine Interface (HMI) devices to deliver CV application warnings and messages into the cabin. NYCDOT elected to install an audio-only HMI in the participating vehicles to satisfy driver needs. When gathering stakeholder feedback, NYCDOT learned that an additional screen would be unwanted by drivers as they already have several other screens competing for their attention. The audio-only HMI provides a series of tones and words associated with specific threats and situations. Tones are used to notify the driver of an immediate threat, while preprogrammed directions are given to describe the situation. The device will be installed so that the warnings are isolated primarily to the driver area of the cab, so they will not be noticeable to passengers.

USDOT will host webinars about the connected vehicle devices being acquired and installed from the three pilot sites. Representatives from each of the pilot sites will provide an overview of their approaches to engaging with vendors and getting the devices in hand and installed while adhering to a stringent installation schedule. For more information on the webinars, please visit the CV Pilots website: https://www.its.dot.gov/pilots/.