Wyoming Implements Connected Semi Trucks to Limit I-80 Fatalities

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【Summary】A new pilot program being tested by the state of Wyoming, uses connected trucks and infrastructure to relay messages. The hope is that this system will keep drivers more informed, leading to safer roads.

Mia Bevacqua    Apr 29, 2018 10:07 AM PT
Wyoming Implements Connected Semi Trucks to Limit I-80 Fatalities

If you've driven from the Pacific Coast to the rust belt, there's a good chance you traveled on I-80 across Wyoming. This portion of the interstate is a major artery for travelers, as well as trucks hauling freight. It's also extremely dangerous in the winter, when it's being blasted by snow and strong winds. Countless crashes and pileups occur on this stretch of road every year. To address the issue, the state of Wyoming is implementing a plan involving connected semi trucks. 

Putting the pieces together  

By the end of 2018, Wyoming plans to have dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radios installed along I-80. The devices will be placed both in the infrastructure and in trucks driving the route. This system is designed to make the deadly stretch of road safer.

For it to work, existing weather stations will collect data and share it with the state's transportation management center. From that point, operators will send it to DSRC radios on I-80.

Transceivers, supplied to trucking companies by the state, will pick up the roadside DSRC signals. DSRC communications will warn drivers about dangerous road conditions ahead. Once the transceivers are installed in enough vehicles, the system will also be able to alert drivers if they're about to hit another truck. 

The radios used will be supplied by Lear and SiriusXM. Each time a driver passes by a roadside DSRC device, their truck will upload data about the conditions experienced on the last stretch of road. It will also download information about the conditions ahead. An onboard tablet will relay any necessary information to the driver. 

Another handy function provided by the system is a push-button distress signal. This alerts other drivers, and the Wyoming Transportation Management Center, of a driver in peril. 

Other states get onboard 

Wyoming isn't the only state trying out the connected truck concept. Other department of transportation funded pilot programs are taking place in New York, Tamp and Florida.  Elsewhere, Colorado and Utah, are conducting similar, state-funded pilots. If these trials work out, DSRC could becomes more much important in the near future. 

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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