The VII-C is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), along with AASHTO, ten State Departments of Transportation, and seven vehicle manufacturers already involved in the U.S. DOTs Intelligent Vehicle Initiative: BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.
The VII-C says that 21,000 of the 43,000 traffic fatalities in 2003 were caused by vehicles leaving the road or entering intersections when they should not have. It hopes a massive network connecting cars to each other and to roadsides can help.
Like a lot of large-scale government projects, VII is a long-term effort that, if all goes well, will roll out between 2015 and 2017. Closer at hand is the deployment decision, which looms in late 2008 or early 2009.
Meanwhile, over the last three months, the VII-C has created prototype hardware that it will now begin to field-test at OEM (original equipment manufacturer) facilities in Michigan and California, and at Motorola and Delphi test sites in Florida and Minnesota.
The component of VII that resides in vehicles is known as "on-board equipment," or OBE. Prototypical OBEs are based on Celeron-powered PC/104 form-factor single-board computers (SBCs) from Parvus, a Utah-based company specializing in rugged boards and systems for transportation applications.