Michigan, 3M To Install I-75 Technology Allowing Roads And Cars To 'Communicate'

May 25, 2017 01:00 AM EDT | Rebecca Pearson

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently established a partnership with 3M for its I-75 project. The government agency will soon begin construction and installation of technology that will allow "communication" between the road and the cars.

Using vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) advancements, the project will prepare the Michigan I-75 for the coming of connected autonomous vehicles. Among the road features that will be installed include retro-reflective signs fitted with smart technology, all-weather lane markings and dedicated short-range communication devices.

These additions will enable connected cars to gather details about the I-75, such as traffic situation and environmental conditions, as well as other pertinent information, The Drive reported. Drivers, on the other hand, won't likely notice the differences, so they won't be distracted by all the changes.

"They will see the same 'work zone ahead' signs," MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi told Detroit News. "But their cars will read bar codes on posted signs, giving them this information and more."

The I-75 modernization project, which will take four months, will put Michigan in a prime position as the first in America to build a connected highway. "Michigan is globally recognized as the leader in automated vehicle research and technology," State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle said. "Through our Planet M initiative, we have solidified ourselves as the hub for mobility innovation."

As technology impacts changes in car manufacturing and driving habits, infrastructure must also keep with the pace. Existing features should be updated to ensure road safety and reliability for the benefit of all motorists.

The shift towards connected roads has automakers also developing new technologies. According to Autoblog, Cadillac is also building a communication system for its 2017 CT6, which will help the cars avoid hazards or find each other. Audi, on the other hand, has its own V2I as it's developing a car system that will allow it to "talk" to traffic lights.

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