20 'smart intersections' coming to Ann Arbor

Posted at 1:36 PM, Jan 07, 2021

(WXYZ) — The future of driving will soon be revealed in Ann Arbor as 20 "smart intersections" are planned for the city.

The University of Michigan announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has awarded the project, headed by U-M's Transportation Research Institute, $9.95 million to help equip existing infrastructure with technology that will provide data to connected and automated vehicles. Other partners have also given $10 million toward the project, according to U-M.

The intersections will eventually be able to capture the speed and direction of anything or anyone moving in the area thanks to cameras, radar and infrared sensors. The information would then be sent to connected vehicles to alert drivers of possible dangers, the university said, noting the current limitations of connected and automated vehicles' onboard technology.

"One way to overcome the physical limitations of the onboard technology is to have these sensors placed locally that can provide information in situations where, say, line of sight is being blocked by a bus, or some other barrier," Henry Liu, a U-M professor of civil and environmental engineering and a research professor at UMTRI, said in a press release. "Roadside sensors can detect a possible danger that is blocked, and broadcast that danger's information to the vehicle."

The intersection project is expected to take up to three years.