The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has produced a project that has Ann Arbor talking—even its cars and traffic lights. With funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, UMRTI has designed a test drive scenario, installing 3,000 cars with a variety of devices: the Vehicle Awareness Device (VAD) transmits the vehicle’s speed and location to other vehicles in the area; the Aftermarket Safety Device (ASD) sends and receives this information, and if there is threat of a crash, will audibly warn the driver; the Data Acquisition System (DAS) uses ASD and collects video and audio data on the driver (to be used for research purposes only). There are four cameras installed in the vehicles: one facing the driver, one facing the road, and two in the rear, angled right and left.
Seth Goldstein, a freshman in the College of Engineering, began working on this project last summer. He was familiar with 3D printing from classes at Ann Arbor Skyline High School, and when he saw a machinist working on camera mounts for the cars, he suggested it might be simpler to create using rapid prototyping. He drew the design in SolidWorks CAD Software, and after comparing quotes and other options, printed the part in ABS plastic at the UM3D Lab. Three of the four camera mounts were printed, and one was made in-house, because its simplicity didn’t require the lab’s equipment.
The Safety Pilot project will run through February 2014, so that all cars have a full year on the roads. To learn more about the project (or to get involved) check out: http://safetypilot.umtri.umich.edu/.
By Josephine Keenan