UK invests £150 million in smart highways image

The British government will spend 150 million pounds (213.9 million dollars) for wifi-connected motorways, thus paving the way for self-driving cars trials.

The UK government announced last year a five-year project worth about 15 billion pounds (21.39 billion dollars) to drastically improve England’s motorways and major roads. As part of this long term-plan, the British authorities recently said that 150 million pounds were going to be spent on harnessing new technology, including trials of driverless cars on public roads. The plan is to make a connected corridor or ‘wi-fi road’ for cars and infrastructure to be wirelessly connected, helping drivers to receive news of advanced road closures or congestion warnings.

The strategy also includes trialling radar technology on motorways and in tunnels to improve the way breakdowns are detected, a technology that would continually monitor traffic and immediately notify control centres of a stationary vehicle. The plan builds on the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne in the March 2016 budget that driverless cars will be tested on highways by the end of 2017.

The project also looks at improving the signalling of junctions to increase traffic flows and would involve adapting timing of the signals depending on the time of day and use. Furthermore, it will investigate the use of sensors that could provide better information about the condition of roads, bridges and tunnels on the network, as in the future this could allow for more targeted maintenance programmes and save money as well.