The committee wishes to stress that bookkeeping is not the issue. The issue is how PNGV can achieve its goals, how the public can reap the maximum benefit from government-funded development, and how PNGV can encourage the support of technologies that will have high payoffs for automotive application. PNGV technical teams and committees should continue to monitor emerging developments, both privately and federally funded, and to conduct systems analysis and design studies to identify developments that could contribute to low emissions, low fuel consumption, and low cost of ownership. The PNGV should have unrestricted access to all relevant federal research programs.

The vehicle, subsystem, and component models being created for PNGV could be very useful in the Intelligent Transportation System Program, and in certain National Highway Traffic Safety Administration programs including the development of a vehicle simulator, the development of a vehicle with variable handling characteristics,3 and the intelligent vehicle initiative, which is in the planning phase and not yet funded. 4 PNGV should continue to establish and maintain communication with these groups and to make PNGV's computer models and system analysis tools available. In addition, because the U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates vehicle safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could appropriately become involved in crashworthiness studies of lightweight vehicles. (See a recent study on vehicle size and weight as related to safety [DOT, 1997b]).

PNGV government managers should continue to interact with other federal research programs by sharing their conclusions regarding high payoff technologies for long-term application to automobiles and by recommending to the government agencies within the partnership redirections or augmentations of ongoing projects that would maximize synergy with PNGV goals. PNGV managers should also recommend that projects that contribute to meeting PNGV goals be included in their future budget requests. The technologies recommended by the PNGV will probably change over time in response to new systems analyses and progress in research investigations.

Recommendation. The PNGV should expand its liaison role for the exchange of technology information among federal research programs that are relevant to automotive technologies and should accelerate the sharing of results among the participants in the PNGV on long-term, high payoff technologies applicable to automobiles.

3  

For example, a vehicle could incorporate rear wheel steering on demand or yaw control to correct skids.

4  

The goal of the intelligent vehicle initiative is to accelerate the development, introduction, and commercialization of driver assistance products to reduce motor vehicle crashes and incidents (DOT, 1997a).



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