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A deeper look at how GM will cooperate with Michigan on connected road

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【Summary】Partnering with General Motors, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is building the 3-mile I 75 road section with connected technology, targeting smart traffic signals at the current stage.

Original Claire    May 30, 2017 12:03 PM PT
A deeper look at how GM will cooperate with Michigan on connected road

Last week, we reported Michigan's on-going project of building the country's first "connected highway". Automotive News has recently delved into the program a bit more about what is tested and installed on site.

Partnering with General Motors, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is building the 3-mile I 75 road section with connected technology, targeting smart traffic signals at the current stage. If completed in a four-month frame, it will become the country's first-ever highway equipped with V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) technology.

What exactly is V2I technology?

Similar to V2V(vehicle-to-vehicle communication), the Vehicle to Infrastructure interaction is based on wireless communication technologies, to make cars and highway infrastructure exchange critical safety and operational data, which could help avoid accident on roads. Simply put, it will make the vehicles and road settings "talk to each other" to share updated transportation information.

V2I communications apply to all vehicle types and all roads, and transform infrastructure equipment into "smart infrastructure".

How does this work?

Several models of GM's Cadillac CTS are under testing at the I 75 modernization project work zone in Oakland County in Michigan, they could successfully be alerted to soon-to-change traffic signals at intersections.

The testing fleet receive data via dedicated short-range communication technology(DSRC) from MDOT's connected and automated vehicle team, which is another partnership with 3M. The company will help MDOT in advanced all-weather lane markings, retroreflective signs with smart sign technology and DSRC devices to V2I communications. As a manufacturing company, 3M will provide materials that allow for greater machine vision, which makes cars easier to detect and receive information.

The smart traffic signals will emit information every one-tenth of a second. After one second, a digital representation of the traffic infrastructure is beamed to all cars that are able to receive the data.

The development model of Cadillac can handle 1000 messages per second from vehicles up to about 1000 feet away. The vehicle will then process that data and tell drivers how to proceed, leaving them enough reaction time to a potential accident before it's too late.

"This alert helps avoid the dangerous decision to either brake abruptly or accelerate through a busy intersection," said General Motors spokesman Chris Bonelli. "It is designed to allow the driver more time to safely react to the road conditions ahead."

He also mentioned that the red light alert system is one of the V2I features that GM's R&D center delves into.

On Privacy

People are often afraid of personal privacy leak in terms of car-to-car or car-to-infrastructure communication.  GM said in an earlier release that identification information such as a car's VIN number, registration or MAC address in their messages won't be transmitted. For example, if there's a traffic violation, the red light won't report the exact car's information, but only the violation fact.

Besides, there will be firewalls installed to prevent potential cyberattacks on either the connected car or the traffic signals, ensuring the DSRC signals won't be interfered while transmitted between the two.

Although currently focusing on red light interventions, expert at MDOT's connected and automated vehicle team mentioned that future uses would include inclement weather warning, traffic jam, or even war-zone situations.



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