The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Centre recently hosted an event focusing on advanced technologies in transportation where the director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Kirk T. Steudle said that while fully autonomous vehicles may still be a long ways away, connected vehicle deployments are happening. He added that the connected vehicle technologies could lessen human error that can lead to deadly accidents. Steudle said with raising the question that if all know the technology can save lives, then why are we waiting to deploy it?
Michigan is working with vehicle manufacturers and university researchers; and the state is already deploying technology that enables cars to communicate with the infrastructure and other vehicles, including Road weather management, Red light violation warning, Pavement condition monitoring, and Work zone warning system.
In 2015, a large amount of car pileup occurred in Michigan and was blamed on a blizzard that cut visibility so drivers couldn’t see the accidents ahead. To address this trouble, Steudle recommended that roadside units that communicate with alongside cars, connected to weather stations for information about bad weather and road icing and send drivers warnings of perilous driving conditions so they can reduce their speed.
Red light violation warning, a smart traffic signal that conveys a message to an approaching car that the light about to turn red and issues a warning to drivers to break if they’re approaching very fast. Michigan is not the only state who experiment this technology, though the effort has been deployed for Audis in Washington, D.C.
For Pavement condition monitoring, when a car hit a pothole, a vehicle’s onboard sensors will send data to roadside units and ultimately to send asset management systems that can alert DOT maintenance officials to roads that need repairing. Through Work zone warning, drivers can be notified of changes in the speed limit or lane closures. If a vehicle is approaching to a work site too fast, the technology will send a warning.