California Considering AI for Safer Roadways

Jan. 9, 2024
State hopes to launch demonstration projects this year

California state officials are currently taking steps to use AI to improve roadway safety. 

"Right now, it's a significant problem," said Timothy Weisberg, California Office of Traffic Safety, said in a statement. "We're losing about 12 people a day. These are people that are killed on our roads."

The state government operations agency is now trying to use generative AI to decrease traffic congestion and prevent vehicle collisions.

"We want to be diligent about it," said Amy Tong, secretary of California's Government Operations agency, in a statement. "Let's test it out, see if it works. If it works, then let's take the next step."

The state has more than 53,000 miles of highways, and there are thousands of traffic sensors, weather monitors and cameras that provide real-time data.

"But what do you use that data for?" Tong said. "And actually coming up with a strategy is not something that we're doing very well at the moment. Having a tool can help automate that."

Officials say AI could one day be used to warn drivers in real-time about weather-related phenomenon that could impair driving or even alert motorists about a wrong-way driver. The messages could be sent to a phone or a car's dashboard and would be similar to the state's earthquake warning system which gives people a few seconds to prepare.

"Being proactive versus reactive is a significant game changer and something that traffic safety community has embraced," Weisberg said.

The state is now asking the tech sector to submit proposals to begin using this technology with the hope that demonstration projects can be launched later this year.

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Source: CBS News Sacramento