Monday, 29 january 2018 | Redacción CEU
A lot has been written about the cars that will move on our roads tomorrow. We know that within some decades cars will be able to drive without our help, take care of the environment better than their predecessors and offer as many services as our cellphones now do. We know that if they are not electric vehicles, at least, their fuels will be more eco-friendly, that drivers will change their habits and new formulas will emerge such as shared mobility, that big cities do not bet on diesel cars and that, in short, the automotive world will change forever. But in order to understand the holistic change that the sector is about to experience, we need to know more about what will be the future of the infrastructures surrounding it, because if they will not change, could the rest do it?
With the arrival of connectivity and the Internet of Things, the concepts are now constructed by two words, usually one of them is the adjective "smart". Roads have not managed to escape the trend. The smart roads of tomorrow promise to be able to keep the cars that pass over them under observation, to warn about incidents, to favor traffic, to reduce the risk of accidents or to establish a connection in real time with the vehicles that roll on them. Although these designs are still in an initial phase, the proliferation of different pilot projects shows the great interest in them.
The connected European roads
One of these initiatives is C-Roads, a project promoted by the European Union that intends to start preparing the roads for the autonomous future that awaits. Initiated in 2016 by eight member countries –Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, United Kingdom and Slovenia–, its goal is to establish the bases for the use of intelligent systems in autonomous driving and cooperative transport, in short, initiating the way so roads can become connected and intelligent infrastructures in time. Thanks to their development, they also want to improve road safety, favor efficient traffic and reduce emissions.
Along with Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, Spain has adhered to this futuristic program. Specifically, with a budget of 17.9 million euros co-financed by the EU, our country has recently announced that it will launch five pilot projects that will cover the Mediterranean Corridor, Madrid and the northern area of Spain. Even one of them will cover the entire national territory. It is the so-called DGT 3.0 that will be focused on the development of a platform that allows the interconnection of all the elements involved in the traffic ecosystem. Although each plan has its own peculiarities, all the projects will test, from the first moment, warning services to drivers about the risks that may occur on the road. The implementation of a self-driving model on our roads requires not only cars that are connected to each other, but also infrastructures that can also exchange information with vehicles.