Can you imagine a road without any signs? Surely not, as chaos would ensue; yet, increased vehicle connectivity could make this a reality – and much sooner than one might have expected.
At least this is what a new report titled “UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030”, by Zenzic, an organization that describes itself as “dedicated to accelerating the self-driving revolution in the UK by uniting industry, government and academia” suggests.
According to FleetNews, the report states that emerging CAM (connected and automated mobility) technologies will eliminate the need for road signals, with UK drivers seeing “naked highways” as early as 2027. From next year, new planning guidance and blueprints for CAM-ready cities, towns, highways and rural roads will look to accommodate CAM services for efficient operations. This, Zenzic claims, will result in plans for new highways moving away from high cost (£10 million per km of smart motorway) assets in favor of digital infrastructure.
Zenzic CEO Daniel said: “We are in a period of dramatic social and economic change. Transport is fundamental to the change and will soon be transformed by the new technologies associated with connectivity and automation, including digital infrastructure that will change the face of the UK’s highways. The ‘naked highway’ concept aims to bring economic benefits in terms of local and national efficiencies, as well as tangible benefits to public mobility including improved safety and better routing through centralized communication with drivers.”
The issue that arises, of course, is that apart from new, autonomous cars with advance connectivity features, there are also millions of older ones that don’t have that tech and whose drivers must rely on traditional signals. Moreover, given the time frame, it practically impossible that owners would have made the transition to the latest generation of “smart” models. Zenzic recognizes this, but responds that putting the infrastructure in place will help in the faster development of autonomous cars and the related technology.