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May 8, 2019

Wireless on the Go: How Connected Transportation Will Change Rush Hour as We Know it .

Wireless on the Go: How Connected Transportation Will Change Rush Hour as We Know it


Kasey McGee

Wireless connectivity has become an integral feature of many devices, from toasters to TVs, making our technology safer, smarter, and more efficient. Some of the most exciting applications of this connectivity can be found in the transportation sector, specifically in our cars and roadways.

Connected technology will protect Americans on the road.

Wireless-enabled self-driving cars are predicted to save up to 21,700 lives and $447 billion each year. In the future, 5G and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications will help make roads safer by enabling cars to travel in groups or “platoons” on the road. Lead cars will communicate road hazards to following cars and increase braking reaction times, avoiding accidents.

Smart city technology will help link everything around smart roads and cars, such as smart stop signs, connected streetlights, security cameras, and even drones. Connecting these other pieces of our infrastructure will further enhance Americans’ safety while on the road.

In a roadside emergency, drones can feed live video to police on the ground, giving them critical intelligence about the nature of the accident. This allows first responders to survey a situation quickly and safely before deciding upon the best course of action. In San Diego, local police have flown over 200 missions in support of patrol operations in just one month.

Getting there faster with wireless technology.

Already today, connected stoplights are being adjusted based on information from sensors in the road, adjusting the flow of traffic based on how many cars are passing by at a given time. These small changes can add up– in Pittsburgh, smart stop lights reduced the time vehicles spent idling by 40 percent, resulting in a 21 percent reduction in emissions.

With the arrival of self-driving cars connected via 5G to parking data, the days of circling the block for a space will be gone . Driverless cars will be programmed to pick you up, drive you to your desired destination, and then pay and park themselves, all without your help. As cars guide themselves, windshields can act as a screen for movies, computer desktops, and even augmented-reality programs, allowing you to use your travel time more productively.

Hitting the streets on smart pavement.

The creation of “smart pavement” promises to make roadways safer and bring them into the 21st century by infusing the surface itself with smart technology.

Installing smart roadways involves replacing traditional, pothole-riddled asphalt with sophisticated, software-enabled concrete squares. These squares help serve as a platform for in-car connectivity and give roads the ability to detect vehicles and track them in real time, providing data that will reduce traffic significantly.

By combining information about the speed and location of vehicles with real-time data on road conditions and congestion, smart roads will let drivers and self-driving vehicles choose the route that is most efficient and safest to follow. If the pavement senses an unsafe or emergency situation, the technology will be able to dispatch first responders directly to the location. That data can also be used to prompt a reconfiguration of lanes to relieve congestion.

Consumers can look forward to a future in which 5G-enabled wireless technology automates the tasks of driving and navigation. Self-driving cars and the connected infrastructure that supports them will make our roads safer and more efficient.

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