by Graham Chin, paultan.org, 12 April 2016
The UK government has just announced that it will be putting in £150 million (RM829 million) to develop “wi-fi roads.” The plan highlights a connected motorway and autonomous cars to be tested in the UK by end 2017.
A connected corridor such as this will see vehicles and infrastructure wirelessly connected to each other. The highway aims to allow drivers to receive news of road closures or congestion warnings, in advance. Meanwhile, the strategy also includes testing of radar technology on motorways and in tunnels so as to improve the way breakdowns are detected.
“Innovation is absolutely critical to our £15 billion (RM82.9 billion) investment plan for roads. A more reliable road network is good news for motorists and good news for the economy. Quicker, safer roads will improve access to jobs and opportunities,” said Roads Minister, Andrew Jones.
Highways England has confirmed that research and development areas for the strategy include trial radar tech on motorways and acoustic tech at the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey, for improved breakdown detection. This will allow for continuous monitoring of traffic and immediate notification of stationary vehicles.
Apart from that, it will also study wireless transmission of information on the A2/M2 between London and Kent, along with investigation of sensors that can provide better info about the condition of roads, bridges and tunnels. This area will allow for more targeted maintenance programmes and, in the long term, help save money over the lifetime of the road surface and structure.
Other confirmed areas include ensuring that trials are being undertaken for autonomous vehicles by the end of 2017. This carries with it the aim of collecting real world data on performance and potential impacts relating to capacity and operations.
About the author:
Having spent a number of years as a journalist for a local paper, a marketing executive for a popular German automotive brand and a copywriter, Graham, a true-blue Sarawakian, knew he had to take the leap back into the motoring scene - and so he did. To him, nothing’s better than cruising for hours along a scenic route, in a car that’s designed and built for that purpose.