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Utah DOT and Panasonic to create smart roadway data network

The network aims to improve safety and mobility by facilitating the sharing of data between vehicles, infrastructure, roadways and traffic operators in real-time.

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The partnership is helping to prepare Utah's roads for the connected and autonomous future
The partnership is helping to prepare Utah's roads for the connected and autonomous future

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Panasonic are collaborating to build an advanced transportation data network, which will improve safety and mobility by facilitating the sharing of data between vehicles, infrastructure, roadways and traffic operators in real-time.

 

It will provide UDOT traffic operations centre personnel with insights into critical events such as crashes, severe weather, or stalled vehicles. They will then be able to alert connected vehicle drivers in real-time with alternate routes, delay times, or other helpful information.

 

State-wide system

 

The data network will be based on Panasonic’s Cirrus traffic management solution, developed for transportation agencies. It uses open architecture to enable other DOTs as well as third-party developers to coordinate with UDOT and develop and connect their own applications to address critical operations, safety and maintenance needs on Utah roadways.

 

The partnership with Panasonic will allow UDOT to accelerate development toward a state-wide system for collecting, monitoring and sharing connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) data. As a national leader in developing and operating CAV technology, UDOT already has a lot of the framework in place for a connected future.

 

Utah built the first operational connected vehicle corridor in the nation along Redwood Road, and a second along University Parkway and University Avenue in Utah County (the Utah Valley Express).

 

Buses equipped with special radios are already "talking" to the traffic signals along these roads, and if the bus is running behind schedule, the signal can extend the length of the green light – all without any action taken by the bus driver.

"Embracing and developing this emerging technology has the potential to make our roads safer, reduce congestion, and help the environment through lower emissions"

With the Panasonic partnership, Utah will be ready to accommodate the incoming wave of smart vehicles that are more connected, more autonomous, and able to operate more safely and more efficiently through communication among vehicles as well as the infrastructure – including signs, signals, and other sensors.

 

"We’re always looking for better, quicker, and more effective ways to move people in Utah," said UDOT executive director Carlos Braceras. "Embracing and developing this emerging technology has the potential to make our roads safer, reduce congestion, and help the environment through lower emissions."

 

Intelligent sensors

 

As part of the $50 million partnership, Panasonic will help UDOT install intelligent sensors along selected sections of Utah highways. These standards-based sensors, along with similar vehicle-mounted software and equipment, will collect and transmit data at speeds up to 10 times per second, which is then shared with a central cloud-based system.

 

This central software platform monitors the information from the sensor/vehicle network and automatically generates alerts that are shared with vehicles, infrastructure components (such as traffic signals or VMS signs), and UDOT personnel.

 

The first phase of this new system will encompass 40 installation sites, along with a fleet of 30 state-owned vehicles. UDOT and Panasonic will work together to identify specific locations and scenarios where this system is likely to provide the most benefit by making roads safer, helping traffic flow more smoothly, or reducing congestion.

 

Once these are identified, teams from both organisations will develop new software applications, install sensor networks along the selected roads, and build the control system. Future phases of this system will expand to include 220 installation sites and up to 2,000 vehicles.

 

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