The North American subsidiary of Japan’s Panasonic Corporation is going to partner with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to build a connected transportation program in which real-time data would be shared across vehicles, infrastructure and people, to improve safety and mobility on the road.
A trailblazer in building connected transport systems and developing smart cities in Japan, Panasonic will, for the first time, apply its integrated, intelligent automotive and traffic management technologies and other expertise to a connected transportation pilot in the USA. Working with CDOT and other partners, Panasonic will focus first on connecting cars and the transportation system on I-70, one of the country’s most challenging corridors, as part of the state’s RoadX program, which is Colorado’s investment in technology and systems, with the aim of making roads crash-free, injury-free and delay-free.
Much of the technology needed for the Colorado project has already been used in Japan by Panasonic, where it is using big data to make transportation smarter and safer. In Japan, the company is developing 79GHz radar that operates at a higher frequency than the technology behind collision warning and other current driver assistance systems. Advantages of a higher frequency bandwidth include greater capacity for distinguishing between different objects. The 79GHz radar technology can help make pedestrians hidden from a driver’s view visible, and it can detect numerous pedestrians and vehicles. It has a wide viewing angle for detection, and a highly accurate sensor that can reveal multiple objects, even in bad conditions such as at night or in rain.
Panasonic will also deploy V2X wireless communication systems that make moving vehicles and pedestrians ‘visible’. The technology enables vehicle to vehicle (V2V) signals, vehicle to pedestrian (V2P) communication, and information transfer between vehicles to infrastructure (V2I).
The use of V2X in the RoadX program is expected to help prevent traffic accidents by warning drivers and pedestrians of dangerous situations, particularly at intersections. Panasonic will also make use of multi-object detection systems that use artificial intelligence to make pedestrians and vehicles visible within camera images. The system automatically learns behavioral characteristics of objects captured by a vehicle camera, even if part of their body is hidden from the camera.
“We are thrilled that Panasonic has chosen to partner with Colorado in bringing advanced technologies and strategies for smart transportation and smart cities,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Not only does that position Colorado as one of the leading states in harnessing tomorrow’s smart technology today, but it accelerates the benefits of such innovations to the residents and travelers of our state.”
Joseph M Taylor, CEO of Panasonic North America, said, “Our shared vision is of an integrated platform that will provide drivers with the most real-time data possible and enable them to make better decisions when traveling. This joint project with CDOT is a logical extension of our ongoing public-private partnership with the State of Colorado, the city of Denver and Denver International Airport to develop Smart City solutions.”