Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT)

Cooperative Automated Transportation

Roadway safety in a cooperative automated world

Highway automation is not years away, or even days away. It’s here now, causing a number of state transportation agencies to react with initiatives related to preparing and supporting Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) on U.S. roadways.

Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT) deals with CAVs, which are vehicles capable of driving on their own with limited or no human involvement in navigation and control. Per the definition adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are six levels of automation (Levels 0-2: driver assistance and Levels 3-5: HAV), each of which requires its own specification and marketplace considerations.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) and Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

For traffic safety, vehicle-to-everything communications is the wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between vehicles and anything else. The "X" could be roadway infrastructure, other vehicles, roadway workers or other safety and communication devices. ATSSA members are at the forefront of these technologies, and are working with stakeholders across new industries to see these innovations come to life.

Sensor Technology

CAVs rely on three main groups of sensors: camera, radar, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). The camera sensors capture moving objects and the outlines of roadway devices to get speed and distance data. Short- and long-range radar sensors work to detect traffic from the front and the back of CAVs. LIDAR systems produce three-dimensional images of both moving and stationary objects.

For more information about ATSSA’s efforts on CAT and CAV’s and their interaction with our member products check out the resources below.


ATSSA explores importance of infrastructure for autonomous vehicles at ITS America
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ATSSA explores importance of infrastructure for autonomous vehicles at ITS America

Session to highlight pavement markings, work zones, signage, and uses for vehicle fleet data

ATSSA will hold a session at ITS America on Wednesday, June 6, from 4-5:15 p.m. “Preparing Infrastructure for Automation Levels 1-3” will examine areas within roadway infrastructure that will be affected with the emergence of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs). Speakers will discuss road markings, work zones, signage, signals, and identifying pedestrian hot spots using crowd sourced vehicle fleet data.

While it is speculated that we are decades away from needing roadway infrastructure that supports a fully autonomous vehicle fleet – the need for roadway safety devices and infrastructure that supports CAVs is already here.

“It is imperative to explore the ways roadway safety devices and infrastructure will need to change to support connected and automated vehicles,” ATSSA Director of New Programs Brian Watson said. “As these vehicles continue to enter America’s roadway system, installers and manufacturers of roadway safety devices and roadside infrastructure need to be aware of the needs of these vehicles. But it is a two-way street. Auto manufacturers need to communicate their needs with the roadway safety and infrastructure industry. This collaboration will help increase safety on U.S. roadways as we advance into this new autonomous era.”

Paul Carlson of Road Infrastructure Inc. will discuss the important role of pavement markings and machine vison though automation levels 1-3. This presentation will include relevant research findings from around the world, including the NCHRP Project 20-102(6) study on road markings and machine vision.

Levels of Automation (LoA) designate the automated capabilities of a vehicle, and differentiate AVs from HAVs, with level 0 translating to no automation and 5 translating to full automation. An AV with an LoV greater than 3 would be considered an HAV and be more likely to fair well on a well-maintained roadway with adequate striping than it would on a rural road because the sensor technologies rely heavily on pavement markings to operate.

Another area of focus relating to infrastructure, safety and CAVs is work zones. Ross Sheckler of iCone will discuss how the next round of real-time/real-presence work zone related information systems is emerging to address the needs of vehicle navigation for multiple automation levels.

Sheckler will present the available systems for various work zone elements, the related data types, and data sharing formats. Among the elements are; flagger activity, lane closures, worker presence, mobile operations, and work vehicle hazards.

Signage and signals will play important roles in communicating with CAVs.

Andrew Dubner of 3M will discuss a recent I-75 project that involved coordination between the Michigan Department of Transportation and 3M. The project showcased some intriguing signage prototypes for vehicle machine vision systems. Dubner will also highlight some of the new signage trials that 3M has recently conducted using special sign sheeting to assist with information sharing between future CAVs and signs.

William Sowell of Eberle Design Inc. (EDI) will discuss the current trends and future visions related to traffic signals and how they expect to evolve in the transformation of the transportation system.
Pedestrians is an important roadway user group that need to be factored in as CAVs emerge on more U.S. roads. There is a proliferation of companies capitalizing on crowd sourced information: from Waze, Strava or Mapillary - all build their business models around turning individuals into passive or active data collectors. There is even a crowd sourced application for identifying reckless drivers through forward facing cell phones in your car. Terry Bills of ESRI will discuss utilizing vehicle fleet data and machine learning techniques and illustrate a methodology to identify dangerous pedestrian locations, and how we can turn that information into actionable intelligence to address pedestrian safety issues.

For more information about this session, email ATSSA Director of New Programs Brian Watson at

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