Highways England has staged a week-long demonstration of connected car technology, showcasing the high-tech ‘corridor’ between London and Dover to an international delegation.
Innovative wireless technology on the A2 and M2 will allow vehicles and the road infrastructure to ‘talk’ to each other. This means that information such as speed limits, traffic conditions, roadworks and weather reports can be sent directly to drivers’ dashboards.
The technology could improve traffic flow and also has the potential to improve road safety, as displaying the information on screens inside vehicles reduces the likelihood of drivers missing roadside signs, for example when they are obscured by vegetation or other vehicles.
The two-year trial is a joint project between the Department for Transport, Highways England, Transport for London and Kent County Council.
More than 60 people from the automotive industry attended the week-long ‘TestFest’ in Kent to learn more about the technology and see how it could be used in the construction of future vehicle designs.
Jo White, head of Highways England’s Intelligent Transport Systems Group, said: “Connecting vehicles to each other and the road around can improve journeys, make them safer and give drivers reliable, real-time personalised information; it could also help us manage traffic and respond to incidents. We’re supporting the government’s aim to be world leading in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV). The TestFest is a vital part of that, because it means the initiatives we take forward and the vehicles being developed all align so drivers continue to have safe journeys in the future.”
Transport for London’s director of network management, Glynn Barton, added: “These first live tests of connecting vehicles to our road systems and infrastructure have been an exciting opportunity for us to explore the possibilities for the future. It’s only through these events that we can understand the opportunities, risks and challenges that we face in operating transport networks in the coming years.”