Michigan is building the nation’s first smart highway

Michigan is building the nation’s first smart highway

A three-mile stretch of Interstate 94 in Michigan will be converted into America’s first smart highway.

Axios reports that the Alphabet-backed startup Cavnue has started constructing the smart highway as part of a new pilot project that could spur other construction projects across the country. Two more highways are in the works for Austin, Texas and somewhere else in the Southwest, according to Cavnue’s website.

The new smart road is big, long car tracking system for Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) and for drivers on the highway. The smart highway is designed to send data like traffic updates, weather conditions, driving conditions and stranded vehicles in the hopes of relieving traffic congestion, preventing accidents and providing efficient responses to roadway emergencies.

The pilot program of the highway is located between Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. There are future plans to extend the smart highway to 40 miles into six more phases that would connect to both cities once the pilot program is complete.

The smart highway works with a series of poles placed every 200 meters (about 655 feet) along the road that hold sensor pods, compute pods and communication equipment. There are also cameras along the highway that monitor every stretch of roadway and take images that are analyzed by AI and machine learning algorithms to identify hazardous driving conditions. Alerts are sent to MDOT and drivers connected to the roadway.

So far, the system can only talk to autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles but Cavnue expects half of cars to have some level of autonomy by 2030.

America has some catching up to do when it comes to building and implementing smart highways. Great Britain, for instance, started working on its first internet-connected road in 2014.

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of Technoshia.com - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.