Highways That Think and Cars That Communicate

Good news for drivers in Colorado: in less than ten years, the state projects there will be more than 1.2 million “connected vehicles,” capable of communicating info with each other and with sensor systems on its roads. That transformation means many fewer future accidents, according to the state’s Transportation Dept. “Estimates are that a connected transportation system could reduce crashes by 80 percent,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s executive director, at the Colorado Transportation Matters Summit on Nov. 1. Using experience from its smart cities and intelligent transportation work in Japan, Panasonic is helping Colorado make its roadways smart, starting with 90 miles of the state’s heavily traveled I-70 highway.


Thanks to the public-private partnership, Colorado is able to leverage Panasonic’s V2I vehicle to infrastructure communications, and its V2V vehicle-to-vehicle communications expertise in the U.S. to deliver an integrated software platform as the foundational standard for other states. The software platform will allow the dissemination of vehicle data to improve safety, predictable mobility and real-time alternative routing.

“The automotive industry is poised for more disruption in the next decade than the last five decades combined,” Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America President Tom Gebhardt told some 650 attendees at Denver’s sold-out transportation summit. He said capital rich companies such as Google, Apple and Uber are helping to change auto industry strategies in everything from user experience to ownership models.

Much of the technology needed to make smart roads and smart cars already exists—from car to infrastructure communication to multi-object detection using small, powerful sensors. In Japan, Panasonic is a trailblazer developing connected transportation and smart cities. It has prototyped and applied data from intelligent transportation systems to help make roads and cars safer. Here is a look at technologies Panasonic is working on in Japan to use Big Data to make transportation smarter and safer.

Radar that Helps Cars “See” in Bad Weather

Crashes often occur at intersections because these are locations where two or more roads cross and where drivers perform activities such as turning left, or crossing over, which create potential for error. Anything that can help drivers see pedestrians or other vehicles can help reduce risk.

Radar-based driver assistance systems are already in use in collision warning systems, back-up parking assistance and other functions. These systems can enhance safety, but a more targeted radar effort offers the possibility of even better results.

In Japan, work is being done on 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.

Avoiding crashes through V2I communication

V2I wireless communications allow vehicles to communicate with pedestrians and other vehicles through surrounding infrastructure systems. Traffic accidents can be avoided when moving vehicles and pedestrians are warned of dangerous situations quickly through these infrastructure communications.

Multi-Object-Detection Technology

This system uses artificial intelligence to make pedestrians and vehicles visible within camera images. Multi-object-detection technology automatically learns behavioral characteristics of objects captured by a vehicle camera, even if part of the object is hidden from the camera.

Panasonic is a global leader in smart and sustainable automotive and infrastructure technology solutions.  Click here to learn more.

Top Stories

Predictive. Adaptive. Responsive. That’s life in the Big City … Now

Safer. Greener. BETTER ... That’s the promise of CityNOW. Modern society dramatically transformed by intelligent devices, real-time data and responsive infrastructure. People empowered by the instantaneous delivery of information and services that allow them to live healthier, more sustainable and more fulfilling lives. This vision that became a reality with the opening of our landmark Smart Town in Fujisawa, Japan is now coming to the United States!