USDOT Transportation Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility

February 20, 2018

In the Spring of 2017 it was announced Clemson was awarded  a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) by the United States Department of Transportation,  headquartered in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. We are delighted to showcase the efforts of our multi-disciplinary, multi-campus collaboration as the University Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility (C2M2) in the months and years to come as our vision for our center transforms from proposal to reality.

Smart cities prosper because their diverse infrastructures are connected to provide required services in a sustainable, secure, reliable, and efficient fashion. To create the smart transportation network of the future, C2M2 brings together five institutions of higher learning from across the state of South Carolina to improve connectivity between vehicles and other vehicles (V2V communication) and vehicles and infrastructure (V2I communication). The aim is to create a seamless network connecting transportation system users and service providers such as state departments of transportation or transportation network companies.

Such connectivity promises broad benefits in terms of safety, mobility, environmental sustainability, equity, and much else. For example, connected vehicles and infrastructure may warn motorists or autonomous vehicles of impending collisions, thus saving money, and, more importantly, lives.
Smart intersections that communicate with approaching vehicles may dramatically reduce traffic signal delay, with benefits for travelers and the environment. V2V may permit dense “platoons” of vehicles on our highways, allowing them to travel safely in close proximity to each other and at high speeds, increasing functional roadway capacity and reducing travel times and congestion.

It has been an exciting and productive fall here at Clemson, and we are advancing towards our vision to be “an innovation center for transforming multimodal mobility through connectivity, data analytics, and automation.” We have selected 12 research projects for funding through our Center. These cover topics as diverse as rail; freight and goods movement; pedestrian planning; transportation security; shared mobility; transit; and autonomous vehicles. Each project is a collaboration between at least two of our partner institutions. Our minority-focused institutions (South Carolina State University and Benedict College) are involved in eight of these projects. Several of these projects are already underway, and those that remain will start soon.

Further, we hosted our first Advisory Board meeting on November 2nd, 2017. Our Board members, who include diverse participants drawn from various transportation organizations, provided valuable guidance to our Center administrators. Ms. Jennifer Johnson, BSCE 2011, MSCE 2012  was selected as the Chair of the Advisory Board.

The following day, November 3rd, we hosted our first major C2M2 conference at the Madren Conference Center in Clemson, South Carolina. The conference keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Hendrickson of Carnegie Mellon University,  spoke on “Transformational Transportation Technologies.” Dr. Hendrickson was the second keynote speaker C2M2 has hosted, following up on a successful talk from Dr. Essam Radwan of University of Central Florida who presented to our Center’s faculty and students on September 8th, 2017. Our demonstrations of the connected vehicle (CV) technology developed through our Center have been successes. The first demonstration took place at our Fall Conference, and the second was at the 5th Annual University Transportation Center (UTC) Conference for the Southeastern Region in Gainesville, Florida. Our demonstrations have included work on cyber-physical systems (CPS) using edge computing techniques, heterogeneous wireless communication technology, and a new software-based vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) cybersecurity platform.

The uniqueness of our edge-centric CPS is that it is easily scalable depending on the deployment area and penetration level of CVs. Thus the edge-computing technique is applicable for future large-scale CV deployment. Proximity to the edge provides the flexibility to communicate  efficiently with the immediate edge layers, and reduces data loss and delivery delay. The computation functions can be distributed between different edge layers of edge-centric CPS to reduce the processing time for applications that require high computational power requirements.

We have demonstrated that the heterogeneous wireless technology we have developed can enable multiple wireless networking options (e.g., dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), Wi-Fi, LTE) simultaneously based on availability, accessibility, and data-delivery delay requirements of the CV applications as well as the communication coverage area. The use of this heterogeneous network technology can expand and improve the safety, mobility, and positive environmental impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles.

We have also demonstrated CVGuard, which is a new software-based security architecture designed to protect CVs in a V2I communication environment. V2I interfaces must be analyzed for developing security controls that can provide the right level of protection given the data and means of transmission in a V2I environment. CVGuard can detect and isolate any cyberattacks in a V2I environment before they can adversely affect vehicles or transportation networks, potentially causing crashes and impeding the adoption of CV technologies. We demonstrated a V2I application, Stop Sign Gap Assist (SSGA) under a distributed denial of service (DDoS), and we found that CVGuard was effective in detecting a DDoS attack.

We are very excited to continue our quest to make multimodal transportation the best it can be, developing new technology, studying the ways in which this technology can serve businesses and the public, and educating and training students and professionals to carry the torch forward. We hope you will continue to accompany us on our journey.

Dr. Mashrur “Ronnie” Chowdhury
Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation
Professor, Civil Engineering
Professor of Automotive Engineering
Professor, Department of Computer Science
                                                 Director, USDOT Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility
                                                 Co-Director, Complex Systems, Analytics and Visualization Institute