Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety (VOICES)


Source: FHWA.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has initiated the Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety (VOICES) proof of concept (PoC) project. VOICES PoC will be a distributed virtual platform that will enable stakeholder virtual collaboration among participating entities (public sector including State and local governments, private sector, and academic institutions) in an intellectual property-protected virtual collaborative environment for research and interoperability testing of prototype CDA applications (VOICES Research Hub reference).

As the first use case, the VOICES PoC will focus on CDA, research, and interoperability-distributed testing of Cooperative Automated Driving Systems applications as defined by SAE J3216: Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Cooperative Driving Automation for On-Road Motor Vehicles

For more information on the VOICES PoC, or to join the VOICES Community of Practice (CoP), please contact


The VOICES PoC will be accessible to Federal, State, and local governments; transportation infrastructure and automotive industries; manufacturers; technology developers; research institutions; and academia.

The initial PoC project will focus on the utility of VOICES to advance CDA-based solutions. The goal of the PoC is threefold:

  1. Establish a community of practice (CoP) for advancing the research, development, and testing of CDA systems

  2. Establish requirements for and demonstrate a distributed synthetic test environment (DSTE) that meets the needs of the CoP

  3. Transfer this technology to the private sector.


Source: USDOT.

Currently, there is a lack of simple, effective and efficient mechanisms for performing collaborative research and testing. In order to research and test for interoperability and CDA, the systems being assessed must come together to interact and communicate with each other in a common scenario and environment. For this to happen, the test methods, tools, and infrastructure must be interoperable, but also needs to be accomplished in a way that:
• Does not force all entities to rearchitect their test and simulation assets.
• Does not require extensive expertise to operate the test assets.
• Does not require extensive investment and resources.
• Protects IP.
• Overcomes mistrust and competitiveness.


VOICES works as a “virtual sandbox” that allows companies and entities to experiment and test together in a safe, realistic, and cost effective environment.

Source: USDOT.

All participating systems are driven by a common use case and scenario, in which the systems/platforms are “virtualized” in a lab environment with hardware, software, and communication mechanisms. Live system behavior and communication is captured through instrumentation. VOICES provides the tools to plan, setup, connect, execute, manage, visualize, and capture data for a distributed test.

VOICES seeds the capability and fosters the vision for USDOT to manage and oversee the National Transportation System of the Future as a holistic, integrated system-of-systems. The transportation system itself is becoming blended across transportation domains (e.g., aviation, surface, and maritime) and is becoming a single, integrated transportation system.

VOICES provides a way to create a realistic representation of that integrated transportation system enabling collaborative research and testing, allowing preparation for the future transportation system. The environment and tools provided by VOICES take a systems engineered approach to build out the intelligent and connected Transportation System of the Future.

Source: USDOT.


VOICES will foster an industry-driven community of practice (CoP) to establish a PoC CDA test architecture and open use case database. This CoP will ensure a common mechanism of collaboration among stakeholders who will:

  1. Have direct input on the common interfaces and technology that the CDA community is creating.

  2. Define use cases needed for research and testing in the CDA community.

  3. Participate in cooperative distributed testing.

  4. Share information and lessons learned from collaborative testing.

  5. Create a coalition of the willing to carry forward VOICES in a sustainable model after the project concludes.

Source: USDOT.

CoP members will identify their needs and priorities, which will ultimately drive the success of participation in the PoC and tech transfer (T2). VOICES CoP membership will be open to a diverse group of participants from across the surface transportation industry, including but not limited to:

  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and ADS developers.

  • Infrastructure owners and operators (IOOs).

  • Infrastructure technology developers.

  • System integrators and suppliers.

  • Simulation toolchain suppliers.

  • Cloud services suppliers.

  • Sensor suppliers.

  • Universities and research institutes.

Source: USDOT.
Arch = architecture; ConOps = concept of operations; CoP = community of practice.

Tthe VOICES CoP will consist of one core group, multiple working groups, and one secondary group.

Core group members will lead the CoP and will have the freedom and ability to interact with the various working groups in order to achieve CoP goals, and to distribute or request appropriate resources.

Working groups will be comprised of relevant subject matter experts who will provide pertinent insight, and they will have the ability to work with the VOICES CoP team to discuss goals, resources, and barriers.

Secondary group members will fulfill a monitoring role that involves low commitment but allows them to inject their industry knowledge and resources when available. The CoP will be organized by specific use cases, with each use case having specific working groups that are composed of core stakeholders.

The CoP working groups topics are:

  • Cooperative perception.

  • Platooning.

  • Eco approach & departure.

  • System Integration & test.

  • Technology transfer.


Danielle Chou
Faroog Ibrahim
Sam Toma
Robin Laqui
VOICES Project Manager
Andrew Loughran
VOICES Principal Investigator