Autonomous Vehicles, New Mobility & the Built Environment Smart Cities

Smart Paint – Giving Autonomy to Cars and People #SmartDrivingCar

Princeton’s Dr. Alain Kornhauser has often emphasized the importance of good signage and road paint to help improve autonomous vehicle guidance. As he points out, good markings are helpful for human drivers as well. It is right then that one of the exhibitors at Kornhauser’s 2018 SmartDrivingCar Summit demonstrated an additive that can integrate paint into the infrastructure of a smart city.

Josh Collins, Intelligent Material’s CTO, explains that their additive allows embedding of multiple levels of information into a standard thermoplastic paint, beyond just what is visible to the human eye.  This sort of invisible QR code provides complementary information to GPS and mapping programs.

Activated by various wavelengths of light from a transmitter, say on an autonomous vehicle, the Intelligent Material infused-paint reflects back its information to a detector that relays this information to the brains of the autonomous vehicle. The value of this idea extends beyond autonomous vehicles and directly to humans.

Collins explains how their work with The Ohio School of the Blind led to the development of a cane attachment, which includes a transmitter and detector to alert the pedestrian, via vibration or audible means, about various sidewalk/road metadata, such as condition, location, etc. Their approach enables virtual truncated domes (the bumps that are the demarcation between sidewalks and streets) and offers potential cost savings and benefit to all people, compared to physical truncated domes (this article points out that truncated domes may be more harmful than beneficial).

It is not too far-fetched to envision shoes with built-in transmitter/detectors that would allow for hands-free way-finding and guidance for both the sighted and non-sighted, as Lechal offers way-finding/fitness tracking with their insole inserts.

As part of the Smart City testing in Columbus and Tampa, Intelligent Materials’ additive has had a real-world deployment. The additional cost of the additive is minimal, as it comprises less than 1% of a given paint. Collins anticipates a licensing-type model and that end products should hit the market within a year.

To listen to the above interview, click on the player below.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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