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Dr. Kenneth Smith, Hedblom, Hansen and Peterson
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Infrastructure to Facilitate Automated and Assisted Driving (Presentation 830)

Over 1 million people die on the road each year, a death rate equivalent to five jumbo jets crashing every day.  Of these deaths, 94% have been attributed to human driving error (1).  Improved road safety is just one of the many benefits associated with the advent of assisted- and automated-driving systems.  Automobile innovators are developing video cameras, lidar-, radar-, and ultrasonic-sensors to equip cars with the tools necessary to safely and efficiently navigate the roads.
To help fully deliver on the promise of autonomous driving, 3M is developing innovative solutions for road way infrastructure.  These innovations are built on over 75 years of history of developing safe, robust solutions for conventional driving and on the technical and regulatory expertise that comes with industry leadership.
3M is working with automakers, government agencies and regulatory bodies to develop infrastructure solutions that provide consistent, reliable tools to communicate effectively with both automated and non-automated vehicles.  These infrastructure solutions are designed to interact with sensor and sensor fusion systems, providing a back-up solution should one system fail.  For example, pavement markings with higher contrast provide improved lane detection to humans and to cars equipped with camera systems.  Next generation lane markings can be detected even when covered with snow or during heavy rains.  According to auto manufacturers and designers, a high degree of robustness and detectability in pavement marking is needed to ensure consistent performance of the automated vehicle (2).
In addition to pavement markings, 3M is developing innovative solutions in signing that increase detectability by sensor systems and have the potential to deliver more information to the vehicle…information that can warn the vehicle and driver of changing road conditions, of obstacles that may impede traffic flow or of specific safety risks that arise.  This leap in technology can be encoded within existing sign formats so that human drivers experience no degradation of information.
3M has begun testing prototype systems on test tracks and highway corridors in United States.  These “real world” testing environments have provided insights into prototype successes and future development needs.