New partnership in the US takes road safety to another level

The Ray, a US-based highways and transport technology company has announced a extension to its partnership with road safety speacialists, 3M which will see the two companies partnering to build a ‘safe ecosystem’ for drivers, on the US public highways.

The partnership will focus on examining the design and development of innovation opportunities including the development of smart road markers. According to The Ray, by 2022, an estimated 105 million connected vehicles will be on the roads. Technology such as smart road markers is needed to allow roads to communicate with both new, connected vehicles and to drivers of traditional vehicles. Solar-powered smart road dots can bne used illuminate to convey a variety of crucial, basic alerts to drivers and passengers, including wrong way driving, road incidents like crashes and queues, and weather conditions that affect driving conditions, such as fog and black ice.

The two companies will also further develop in-road and Roadside Connected Infrastructure, which will help support the safe operation of autonomous and connected mobility, smart infrastructure is necessary to communicate with the evolving vehicles on the network. The development of connected infrastructure on the interstates and roadsides in the US will enable State DOTs to receive real-time, location-specific data from vehicles to improve roadway safety, ease congestion, identify maintenance needs and roadway interruptions.

Further to that, the partnerhsip will explore a new Digital Data-Management Platform. This approach helps manage and make sense of the inputs and data sets collected by smart infrastructure is critical for improving roadway safety and saving lives, according to the two companies. Creating a cloud-based data management network will allow the information collected from smart vehicles by road sensors to be used for law enforcement, first responders and traffic safety officials, they said.

“We are very pleased to continue and deepen our partnership with The Ray,” says Dr. Dan Chen, Vice President of the 3M Transportation Safety Division. “The opportunities for us to collaboratively work on safety innovation grounded in real-life application and testing make this partnership especially valuable.”

In 2019, fatalities on US interstates and highways went past 36,000. Highways are one of the most environmentally damaging and dangerous infrastructure systems in the world and this issue has only intensified with the COVID-19 pandemic. Though shutdowns significantly decreased the number of miles driven on U.S. roads in 2020, motor-vehicle deaths rose – with the mileage death rate increasing 23%, said teh companies.

“Smart vehicles need smart infrastructure. We already have vehicles with the capability to “talk” with each other on our roads,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “Now we need the infrastructure on our highways to utilize those technologies and create a safer environment for drivers. The Ray’s partnership with 3M builds on our shared goals to support the future of transportation technology and saves lives.”

In December of 2019, The Ray and 3M, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation, restriped all lanes on 13 miles of The Ray Highway’s 18-mile highway corridor on Interstate 85, from the Georgia-Alabama border to Exit 13-LaGrange, with Connected Roads All Weather Elements optic technology. Striping with 3M optics provides visibility daytime, nighttime and in dry or wet weather conditions, which is made possible with unique 2.4 (wet) and 1.9 (dry) refractive index bead technology that supports autonomous vehicles with machine vision systems.

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