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Smart vehicles – but what about the roads?

Monday, November 20, 2023

Aligning the introduction of high-tech features that facilitate interaction between cars, roads, and surrounding infrastructure continues to pose challenges. We’re taking a look at what’s happening right now!

Nyhetsbrev-what about the roads

Good communication is a key element in most well-functioning processes, but so far, road traffic has not fully capitalized on high-tech communication technologies. About twenty years ago, expectations for mass deployment of V2X (vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure) communication were high. However, due to battles between different technology standards and a lack of funding for infrastructure investments, not much has materialized, aside from quite a few pilots.

 Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation is making another attempt by offering substantial funding to accelerate the deployment of V2X communication. However, not everyone is on board, and it remains to be seen if this significant chicken-and-egg problem will ever be resolved. Reflecting the challenges of aligning vehicle manufacturers' interests with legislators', there is current discussion in the U.S. Congress about whether the almost antiquated AM radio should be mandated for a few more generations of cars since it is occasionally used for traffic emergency messages.

 A more representative U.S. action to apply new technology is a proposal from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to require an intelligent speed-assistance feature in all new vehicles, based on GPS and/or camera readings. This follows in the footsteps of similar legislation in the EU, which will become effective in July 2024.

 Another avenue for applying high-tech solutions on roads is the use of AI to analyze traffic data. As the technology supplier Rekor puts it, "by plugging a very powerful computer into the roadway," they are assisting Florida and other states in detecting incidents faster and increasing safety around roadworks. Rekor has also been involved in the Drive Sweden-funded series of AI Aware projects, which will present its end results this week.