U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

Public Roads
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
Public Roads Home | Past Issues | Subscriptions | Article Reprints | Guidelines for Authors: Public Roads Magazine | Sign Up for E-Version of Public Roads | Search Public Roads
| Current Issue |
Back to Publication List        
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-20-001    Date:  Autumn 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-20-001
Issue No: Vol. 83 No. 3
Date: Autumn 2019


Hot Topic

FHWA Grows Its CARMASM Vehicle Fleet by Four

by Taylor Lochrane and Laura Dailey

Automation is transforming mobility. Cooperative driving automation (CDA) supports and enables automated vehicles to cooperate through communication between vehicles, infrastructure devices, and road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooters. CDA has the potential to improve transportation efficiency, facilitate freight movement, increase productivity, and save billions of dollars in the reduced need to increase roadway facilities. Most importantly, CDA has the potential to reduce crashes caused by human error and save lives.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to facilitating this new era of transportation innovation and safety. To this end, the Federal Highway Administration developed the Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications PlatformSM and CARMA CloudSM (collectively referred to as CARMASM). CARMA supports the research and development of CDA features in support of transportation systems management and operations (TSMO).

Enabling Cooperative Driving Automation

CARMA is a multimodal effort among FHWA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, the Maritime Administration, and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. Together, the agencies work to facilitate collaboration, research, and testing in cooperative automation.

The CARMA Platform enables cooperative research functionality for an automated driving system. CARMA Cloud makes it possible for the roadway to provide information to support safe operation for new TSMO strategies.

Developed to be vehicle and technology agnostic, CARMA uses open-source software and an agile software development process. The latest version of CARMA is available on GitHub, a web-based repository and version control system for computer code that includes features for code review, documentation, and collaboration. CARMA supports industry collaboration and expands upon existing automation capabilities to reduce research and development time and advance cooperative automated driving technology.

Automated Vehicles Working Together

Over the summer, FHWA added four new passenger vehicles to its CDA fleet. These vehicles use the third phase of CARMA (CARMA3), which was released in mid-July 2019. CARMA3 features:

  • AutowareTM, open-source software designed for autonomous driving, which provides capabilities for localization, motion planning, and obstacle detection and avoidance.
  • Mobileye®-integrated roadway sensing devices, as well as environment sensing with light detection and ranging (LiDAR), radar, and video.
  • Level 2 automation steering and speed control while maintaining lane position.
  • Basic safety message (BSM) broadcasts using CARMA data.
  • Operation on three different types of passenger vehicles with three different brands of controller modules.

The CARMA3 vehicle fleet includes two sport utility vehicles, one minivan, and one mid-size sedan. These four vehicles expand FHWA's testing capabilities and demonstrate how connected automated vehicles can work together through communication and cooperation. The vision of CARMA is to transform transportation, improving efficiency and safety through automated vehicles working together.

"The additional vehicles expand FHWA's ability to research transportation systems management and operations use cases."

— Brian Cronin, director of FHWA's Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development

The CARMA3 vehicles will hit the road in 2020 to conduct further research, testing, and demonstrations.

For more information, visit https://highways.dot.gov/research/research-programs/operations/CARMA.

Taylor Lochrane, Ph.D., P.E., is a technical program manager for enabling technologies in FHWA's Office of Operations R&D.

Laura Dailey is a contracted communications manager at FHWA's Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory.

Preview the new vehicle fleet at the Transportation Research Board's Annual Meeting in January 2020.

FHWA recently expanded its CDA fleet by four new passenger vehicles. The four different makes and models are shown below. All use the third phase of CARMA (CARMA3).
Four passenger vehicles equipped with the CARMA Platform. All the vehicles feature CARMA branding. Source: FHWA



Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101