Truly intelligent transportation systems and autonomous vehicles may be just around the corner in the United States. While a very different innovation – the unmanned aerial vehicle – is responsible for the public’s fresh interest in how technology and transportation intersect, many factors are coming together to drive innovation.
One of the most important: The Department of Transportation’s 2017 budget and the opportunities it presents for manufacturers and integrators of vision technologies.
What OEMs and Integrators Should Know About the DOT Budget
2017’s DOT budget is part of a 30-year plan called “Beyond Traffic” that seeks to foster transportation innovation. Since the U.S. population will grow about 70 million within 30 years, infrastructure must evolve to meet a number of challenges.
Some fascinating initiatives are implied or mentioned in the budget:
Pilot Programs for Autonomous Vehicles
One of the most promising applications of vision technologies is in autonomous vehicles. Early tests have indicated these can operate effectively on existing roads, but much potential remains untapped. Local pilot projects may make it easier for vehicles’ on-board technology to interact with Wi-Fi and other information systems within the transportation network.
Enhanced Driver and Pedestrian Safety
Vision technologies are experiencing a heyday in some vehicles as the National Highway Safety Administration has thrown its influence behind rear-view camera technology. Today’s cameras can significantly enhance safety for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians by interfacing with sensor systems to help avoid accidents.
Positive Train Control
After the Amtrak derailment outside Washington D.C., safety experts have been working around the clock to implement a comprehensive, automated system for tracking trains’ position, speed, and performance status. Machine vision will be an integral part of ensuring the system provides adequate fail-safes for unusual situations.
With over $98 billion at stake, 2017's DOT budget provides many opportunities for vision components manufacturers and vision system integrators to get involved in federal projects with long-lasting implications. The transportation world of the future is taking shape before our eyes.