Drivers to get advice while on smart motorways

Highways England are to announce plans to fit 700 miles-worth of fibre optic cables under motorways that will help with smart and autonomous vehicles.

Information on the road ahead and traffic conditions will be transmitted into modern and driverless cars, which could also spell the end for conventional road signs.

The plans say that the main roads between London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds will be converted by 2030 to allow for this, as many of those roads have been prepared to take on the fibre optic cabling.

The M1, M4, M6, M25, M40 and M42 are the country’s busiest highways, and all of these are expected to be converted into smart motorways.

By using 5G superfast internet, the system will be used to direct smart vehicles and drivers into the correct lanes if an accident has occurred and help them navigate on their journeys. It could also predict when road-use will be at its highest, and divert people away from highly concentrated areas.

Data will also be collected from the suspension travel of vehicles so that authorities can tell where there are potholes on the road network.

These plans come after it was announced that there were 68 billion miles of traffic in the UK from the year ending in June, with the largest increase coming on motorways.

Highways England also said that drones will be introduced to collect footage of congestion, which would then be relayed back so that the information could be passed on.

These plans are due to be implemented in the next funding period between 2020 and 2025, with initial reports saying the project is due to cost £30 billion.

Chief executive of Highways England, Jim O’Sullivan, told the Times: “Ultimately, our engineers’ dream would be to stop having speed limit signs by the side of the road because you have just broadcast to the car what the speed limit is.”

Jack Healy


December 13, 2017

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