Michigan and 3M Are Building a Road That Talks to Your Car

This marks the beginning of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication on America's interstates.

V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) technology will soon come to fruition on a three-mile stretch of Michigan’s I-75. The state’s department of transportation and 3M will begin work on the communicating road within the next few months, breaking ground for what could eventually be a sweeping movement across the States. It will allow for autonomous cars and ones fitted with networking technology to “talk” to the road, gaining information about traffic, environmental conditions, and various other measurements.

The project will reportedly take four months to complete. Seeing as it’s the first of its kind, many will study the results of this technology, using it to improve on future systems that operate on the same principle.

“Technology is transforming not only how we live, but also how we drive,” says State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. He went on to say, “In the spirit of Michigan’s commitment to collaboration in the smart mobility sector, we are excited to partner with 3M on this project to make the concept of connected roadways and autonomous driving a reality.”

The road will be fitted with advanced reflectors that are not only easier for drivers to see, but also for autonomous car sensor systems. This new introduction will improve response and accuracy for future self-driving vehicles.

Companies like Audi have already been working on V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) technology over the past year. In Las Vegas, select Audis equipped with the system are able to “talk” to traffic signals throughout the city, helping the car to time the length of each red light. This adds a convenience feature for the driver and helps to improve efficiency with the vehicle’s automatic start/stop system.