SMART ROADS: Colorado DOT to partner with Panasonic on I-70 smart highway project

The department hopes to test the technology on the interstate by the end of 2017

January 09, 2017
Colorado DOT to partner with Panasonic on I-70 smart highway project

Panasonic announced it is partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to turn a stretch of I-70 into a smart highway, enabling cars to communicate with each other as well as road infrastructure.

Together, the two organizations will build a communication platform that will allow cars to share information like slick spots, road hazards and traffic jams, allowing computers in vehicles to prepare for what is ahead on the road and slow down.

The project will focus on I-70 from C-470 to Vail. The stretch of road is known for its treacherous weather conditions and heavy congestion.

CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford said 600 people died in traffic accidents in Colorado this past year. Ford said the new technology could reduce the number of deaths by 90%.

In 10 to 15 years, CDOT estimates 3 to 4 million vehicles on Colorado roads will be equipped with communication capabilities. Ford said this stretch of I-70 is the perfect place to test this technology.

Ford said drivers of older cars will be able to purchase and install radio units that connect them to the communication platform. If people cannot do that, they will still benefit from the new technology.

CDOT and Panasonic will start building the communication platform soon. They hope to start testing by the end of 2017.