BY HOURJYA MOOKERJEEJUL 12, 2021
The Ray, a Georgia-based collaborative project focused on connected-vehicle infrastructure development along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85, recently added an OEM partner that will help with the second phase of rollout.
Dubbed a “green highway of the future,” The Ray is a partnership between state agencies, a family foundation and private companies that aims to advance autonomous vehicle testing. This public-private-philanthropic-partnership was formed in 2019 when Georgia’s Department of Transportation joined the venture. The South Korean car manufacturer Kia, supported by Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI), is the latest business to sign onto the venture, joining companies like 3M and Panasonic.
Kia and the HATCI engineering research group will primarily focus on connected vehicle applications such as roadwork zone warnings and freight signal priority, which adjusts traffic lights to accommodate freight traffic. This new phase of The Ray’s development will add seven new dual-active roadside radios and 10 C-V2X, or cellular vehicle-to-everything, connected vehicles provided by Kia, almost tripling the scope of the interoperable infrastructure project.
In this new phase, Kia drivers will receive messages from the roadside radios – via either dedicated short range communication or cellular V2X communication protocols — displayed on the vehicle’ s heads-up display. The Kia vehicles will also be retrofitted with prototype on-board units developed by HATCI that will collect data to analyze the V2X technology’s performance.
The Ray’s first phase laid the foundation for this environment-friendly ecosystem by linking several of Georgia DOT’s vehicles, equipped with C-V2X, to six dual-mode roadside radios and Panasonic’s cloud-based data management platform CIRRUS.
Georgia DOT can access the connected vehicles through the CIRRUS platform, receiving, analyzing and distributing data among those cars and trucks. This free flow of information can help send out timely alerts for accidents as well as traffic and weather advisories – not only improving transportation safety but allowing commuters to get to their destinations faster.
In addition, connected vehicle ecosystem and direct communication between these cars have offer public transit and safety benefits. Emergency responders can be given all-green lights in metropolitan areas, reducing the risk of harm to motorists and pedestrians; traffic signals can by synced for city buses and even freight vehicles to travel more efficiently through congested intersections. Nearly 80% of all crashes that do not involve impairment could be averted or eased by the safety applications of V2X technology, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
“This project puts citizens’ safety first by utilizing performance-based management, innovation and public-private-philanthropic partnerships to deliver safer, smarter and more efficient infrastructure for Georgians,” DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said. “Our vision at Georgia DOT is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness as a leader in transportation across the nation. V2X technology only enhances this goal.”