Southeast Michigan Leads in Smart Road Technology

June 27, 2017

Southeast Michigan is becoming a leader in developing “connected” roads and traffic signals that will “talk” directly to the next generation of cars.

The features are the building blocks that will eventually guide self-driving cars safely to their intended destinations without anyone steering the wheel, The Detroit News reported.

General Motors Co. is testing a safety feature in Macomb County that warns drivers when traffic signals are about to turn red.

Test cars on a section of Interstate 75 in Oakland County can read high-tech roadside bar codes that communicate when lanes are closed up ahead, and reflective strips on workers’ safety vests also contain information that identifies them as people instead of traffic barrels.

The road is believed to be one of the first “connected” construction zones in the nation.

Macomb County and the state Transportation Department are two of the government units working with carmakers and auto suppliers in testing the life-saving technology. Michigan has established at least 100 miles (160 kilometers) of “connected” highway corridors with roadway sensors for testing in the Detroit metro area, with plans to grow to about 350 miles (560 kilometers).

Numerous automotive suppliers and several automakers with operations in southeast Michigan already are testing autonomous vehicles and automated technology on the state’s roadways.

“Smart” traffic signals and sensors in the roadway outside the GM Tech Center in Warren can exchange radio information with Cadillac test sedans equipped with vehicle-to-infrastructure capability. The equipment at the intersections was installed by Macomb County.

“We’re just scratching the surface of V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) with red-light violations,” said Steve Martin, a spokesman for Cadillac

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