Gonzaga students help advance cars of the future - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gonzaga students help advance cars of the future

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Students help advance future cars. Students help advance future cars.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Gonzaga University's senior engineering students are gaining hands on research experience with connected vehicles.

The technology is expected to enhance traffic safety and improve effectiveness of driverless cars. 

The research opportunities are a result of two federal grants, and allow students to contribute to the rapidly evolving changes in automotive transportation. 

The newest grant will provide the university with an additional $10,000 per year over the course of five years, and allow for an additional four to eight students to become involved in the research through summer experiences and their traditional senior projects.

The project will be comprised of three phases, with the third implementing the research of Gonzaga students. 

Autonomous and connected vehicles both have the ability to operate with or without a driver. However, connected vehicle gather data and share if with nearby connected vehicles. 

Associate professor Rhonda Young of Gonzaga's School of Engineering and Applied Science says that safety and reduced financial loses from big road closures may be the biggest short-term benefits of connected vehicles. "Connected vehicle are constantly seeing road surfaces, conditions, and sharing information via short-range frequency of about 1,500 feet. 

Other project benefits may include alleviated traffic congestion, enhanced trip planning, and a better range of rural transportation options. 

As the race to develop and market driverless cars continues, the government is working to advance connected vehicle technology. 

Beginning in 2018, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. must be able to transmit data to other vehicles and connected sites. 

Young says that she forsees the roads becoming a mix of connected and non-connected vehicles, with society quickly adapting to driverless cars such a they did with color televisions and smartphones. 

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