ITS America

Technology Scan & Assessments

Technology Scan Assessment Topics & Reports

What new technologies are on the horizon?

The Technology Scan and Assessment is a series of ongoing studies that tracks trends, technologies, and innovations that could influence, or be leveraged as part of, next-generation intelligent transportation systems.

+ Computer Vision

Camera based “Computer Vision,” have been employed to support Advance Driver Assistance Systems in vehicles, and advance traffic management systems on highways. All of these sensors are critical to support the next generation of Autonomous Vehicles as well, such as the Google Self-Driving Car.

Report: Trends in Computer Vision, An overview of vision-based data acquisition and processing technology and its potential for the transportation sector, DOWNLOAD LINK.

This report foresees imaging technology rapidly advancing in applications that require simple object detection, such as vehicle collision avoidance and advanced traffic management systems. The paper speculates that future advances, such as improved object detection algorithms, machine learning and “augmented reality” may influence a number of transportation applications in the automotive, industrial, and infrastructure sectors.

+ Active Sensing Technology

Active sensing systems have been at the core of most infrastructure-based intelligent transportation systems for a number of years, however active sensing is also coming to the next generation of "smart" vehicles.

Report: Trends in Roadway Domain Active Sensing, Developments in Radar, LIDAR and other Sensing Technologies and Impact on Vehicle Crash Avoidance/Automation and Active Traffic Management, DOWNLOAD LINK.

The report analyzes the merits and limits of active sensing technologies (Radar, LIDAR and Ultrasonic detectors) and how the demands for such technologies is evolving. Of all the roadway domain active sensing technologies, vehicular radar is the best at detecting typical driving conflicts representing the most common crash risks and thus likely will serve as a key component of collision avoidance systems in many next generation smart vehicles. The report examines how future Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications and Active Traffic Management techniques will improve and complement active sensing in vehicle crash avoidance and driving automation.

+ Fourth Generation Wireless

Fourth generation (4G) wireless represents an enormous opportunity in transportation. 4G will not only enable new vehicle applications, but transportation infrastructure and "right-of-way" may potentially play host to these networks

Report: Fourth Generation Wireless, Vehicle and Highway Gateways to the Cloud, DOWNLOAD LINK.

This paper examines how next generation wide-area cellular such as 4G will be able to support vehicular applications, and how transportation infrastructure may mesh with wireless networks.

Specifically, the report suggests that automotive electronics engineers will need to be cognizant of how application data is treated by 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, and how innovations such as self-organizing small-cells, “traffic shaping” and heterogeneous or “vertical roaming” across different radio access technologies may improve the performance of off-board or “cloud” -based vehicular applications

This report speculates on the future impact of a given technology to the transportation sector in general, and specifically to a future Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Device, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) core system relying on vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications, as contemplated in USDOT's Connected Vehicle R&D program.

+ The Architecture for Machine-to-Machine Services

Nearly 50 billion Machine-to-Machine (M2M) devices are predicted to be deployed by all sectors by 2025. Intelligent transportation and the so-called industrial internet are the linking of millions of vehicle and infrastructure sensors to support applications that improve efficiency, mobility and safety. The “internet-of-things” is coming!

Report: Machine-to-Machine Communications, M2M Technology and Potential for the Transportation Sector, DOWNLOAD LINK. The largest impediment is to M2M deployment in the transportation sector is largely life cycle cost, which is driven by stringent design and certification processes. This paper speculates that a “service-oriented” architecture, one that allows any M2M device to be securely accessible to any application, would be desirable for faster market growth.

This report speculates on the future impact of M2M to the transportation sector in general, and specifically to a future Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Device, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) core system relying on vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications, as contemplated in USDOT’s Connected Vehicle R&D program.

This paper is a companion report to Fourth Generation Wireless: Vehicle and Highway Gateways to the Cloud.

+ Vehicle Applications and Wireless Interoperability

The GSM Association predicts that the growth of embedded, cellular-based telematics will reach nearly 11 million per year by 2020. Will nomadic wireless technologies play a positive role?

Report: Vehicle Applications and Wireless Interoperability, Heterogeneous Networks, "Multi-Path" Applications and their Impact on Transportation, DOWNLOAD LINK.

ITS America's first wireless report examined how next generation 4G cellular (wide-area), and nomadic wireless such as Wi-Fi (local-area) and Dedicated Short Range Communications (vehicle-area) will evolve and possibly support a number of vehicle applications.

This report investigates how heterogeneous mobile broadband networks, or “hetnets” will come about, and how they might enable wireless interoperability of next generation vehicle/road infrastructure applications.

This a companion report to Fourth Generation Wireless: Vehicle and Highway Gateways to the Cloud.

+ Vehicle Electrification and Sustainable Transportation and Energy

Electric Vehicles are the only type of cars that get “cleaner” over time, as electrical power generation begins to convert slowly over time to lower-polluting energy sources. Vehicle electrification and connected charging infrastructure may establish the foundation for a more reliable “smart grid” and a more environmentally friendly transportation system.

Assessment: Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid, The Supporting Role of Safety and Mobility Services, DOWNLOAD LINK.

The report recognizes that the key technologies that may ensure electric vehicles’ further success in the marketplace are battery attribute improvements – improved energy densities, recharging times, and durability – that lower the cost and improve the range, efficiency and powertrain performance of the vehicle. Absent improvements in the battery, the approach the auto industry is likely to take is a transitional one, eschewing large-scale production of battery electric vehicles for hybrid-electric ones that can bridge the gap in range and performance between EVs and gasoline vehicles. Over the long term, new battery chemistries may improve range and performance of battery EVs to equal that of gasoline-powered light vehicles. In the meantime, the continued roll out of connected charging infrastructure may also improve the range and performance of all types of EVs.

This report speculates on the future impact of a vehicle electrification and the smart grid to the transportation sector in general, and specifically to a future Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Device, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) core system relying on Dedicated Short Range Communications/Wireless Access for Vehicular Environments (WAVE), as contemplated in USDOT’s Connected Vehicle R&D program.

+ Cybersecurity

In transportation, new technology is creating incredible opportunities to improve the safety and efficiency of our vehicles and highways. However, new technologies and growing connectivity also represent new challenges as well -- in particular in the area of security.

Assessment: Cybersecurity and Dependable Transportation

System Assurance, Operations and Reactive Defense for Next Generation Vehicles and Intelligent Highway Infrastructure, DOWNLOAD LINK

This report is an overview of global innovations in risk management and development of safe, dependable and secure systems. Cyber security is about meeting critical assurance requirements - maintaining transportation systems that ensure the preservation of human safety, the environment, critical economic infrastructure, and the viability of commerce and maintenance of personal privacy.

Other topics

In addition to those published reports, the project team has also investigated topics including data science, drive vehicle interface, driver assistance and autonomous driving.

Under sponsorship and guidance from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS-JPO), the ITS America is conducting this multi-year study series that assesses emerging, converging and enabling technologies that stretch beyond the domain of mainstream transportation research. The purpose of the project is to:

1) Synthesize and enrich discussion about new technologies among members of the engineering community focused transportation safety, mobility and environmental sustainability

2) Establish, or otherwise validate or revise, key assumptions in research programs regarding scalability, security, or safety of particular technologies and systems; and

3) Inventory new technologies and systems that may leverage a future Vehicle-to-X (V2X) Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) -based safety and mobility applications.

The reports rely on evaluations from principal technology developers, system integrators, product and service engineers, and market analysts that are actively seeking opportunities to develop applications in transportation, telecommunications, information technology, energy or other related sectors.

Technology Scan reports include Vehicle/Infrastructure Sensors, Fourth Generation (4G) Wireless, and Machine-to-Machine Networks. Technology Assessment reports are broader and thematic, with reports covering Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid, Cybersecurity, and Advanced Driver Assistance and Autonomous Driving.


Please contact Steven H. Bayless if you want to learn more about the project or discuss new ITS technologies.

To learn more about USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Research, visit USDOT ITS Joint Program Office website and read the Technology Scan and Assessment Fact Sheet.

*Note:  These publications were developed by ITS America on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, in the interest of information exchange. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration or ITS America.  If trade or manufacturers’ names or products are mentioned, it is because they are considered essential to the object of the publication and should not be construed as an endorsement by either ITS America or the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.