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Columbus Plans Connected Vehicle Project to Improve Safety, Advance Autonomous Technology

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Columbus is launching an experimental project to connect vehicles electronically and gather data to improve traffic safety
Photo: Rod Berry/Ohio Stock Photography

An experimental project in Columbus, Ohio, will connect vehicles electronically to help improve safety and traffic flow. It will also gather information that could pave the way for more widespread autonomous vehicle use.

“Connected vehicle environments” will be set up at 113 intersections and numerous corridors throughout Columbus. These environments will use roadside technology to collect data. Meanwhile, technology in 1,800 volunteer vehicles will collect even more data. This technology will also connect vehicles with each other and with roadside equipment to help drivers receive important information along their routes.

Most of the project’s volunteer drivers will be people who live or work in the areas being studied. Equipment will also be installed in buses, police cars, ambulances, and delivery vehicles.

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The Columbus connected vehicle project will give drivers alerts about traffic light timing

The information sent to these vehicles will aim to reduce crashes and increase safety. Drivers will get notifications about traffic light timing, hard-braking drivers in front of them, vehicles in their blind spots, and school-zone speed limits.

In-vehicle technology won’t track traffic violations or other illegal driving. Instead, the collected data will help ease the flow of traffic, guide emergency vehicles, and improve safety for public transit and pedestrians.

The connected vehicle environments should be ready by June 2020 and will run for nine months. They’re part of the larger Smart Columbus program, which was launched after the city won a $40 million Smart City Challenge grant from the federal government. Other Smart Columbus projects are focused on increasing the number of people who used public transportation and environmentally friendly vehicles.

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News Sources: The Columbus Dispatch (subscription required), Government Technology