Why the Fate of Driverless Vehicles is in the Hands of DOT CIOs

By Adam Petrovsky, GovEd Practice Leader, Logicalis US

Driverless cars are quickly becoming the buzz in “connected” transportation today. But before our roadways are ready for this kind of alternative transportation initiative, we need to take a hard look at the technology being used behind the scenes to make decisions about important changes to our roadways that will accommodate these inventions.

When it comes to Department of Transportation (DOT) projects at either the state or local level, data drives the decision – and the adoption of innovations like driverless vehicles. As public organizations with the tremendous responsibility of planning, managing and maintaining our most vital roadways, DOT executives are making funding decisions that carry almost unimaginable price tags. In fact, each year, nearly $200 billion is spent on transportation-related infrastructure.1

To spend responsibly, DOT authorities need access to the most comprehensive decision-making data available, and they need that data to be captured by sophisticated tools like IP video surveillance camera systems and turned into usable information by top computing solutions like IBM’s Watson that can help them make reliable predictions and prepare our transportation systems for the incredible technological innovations on the horizon.

Clearly, technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the fabric of America’s transportation system. Where highways once grappled with how to create a flashing “detour” sign with a single data stream, to support driverless vehicles and other similar innovations, today’s most traveled roadways will soon require full Internet connectivity, which means industrial-grade, fully functional, ruggedized, Internet-ready networks uniquely housed either underground or sparsely protected from the elements by freeway overpasses will need to be designed, deployed and managed. It’s a whole new level of technological sophistication that requires streaming massive amounts of live data from traffic systems throughout the country to the cloud, then using data analytics to help make sense of what has been captured.

This is where an experienced solution provider like Logicalis becomes invaluable. We can help state and local DOTs with everything from camera installation to managing the video data they’re collecting.  As a Cisco Gold Partner, we excel in designing and deploying connected cameras like the vandal-resistant 7000 Series as well as Cisco’s Video Surveillance Manager software solutions and the networks – both wired and wireless – that are needed to take advantage of them. And we understand how to apply data analytics to deliver the information DOT professionals need to make informed decisions. In fact, as a Premier IBM Business Partner, we are already implementing Watson analytics services into smart transportation initiatives.

To understand the reasons technology is critical to smart transportation projects, consider these three important truths.

Strategic thinking delivers long-range plans.

DOT CIOs must resist the urge to buy technology reactively; always think three to five years into the future. How, for example, will you prepare your state or municipality for driverless cars and other automated transportation initiatives? Will you employ IoT devices and sensors to deliver data from street lights, stoplights and train crossings – and what role will IoT play in helping driverless vehicles recognize landmarks, guard rails and street edges? If you invest strategically today, your budget will stretch farther tomorrow.

Connected transportation makes your job easier.

Cameras and IoT devices are weaving a giant connected, “smart” network throughout America’s system of highways. Not only will these devices help you with state and local traffic analyses and predictions, but they’ll provide a web of eyes and ears that can alert you to broken bridges, congested off-ramps, and emergency repairs that require immediate attention, allowing DOT employees to be used more strategically.

The public dictates change.

The way citizens choose to travel dictates the need for roadway expansions, new high-occupancy or toll lanes, or driverless vehicle infrastructure adaptations. As a result, DOT CIOs need to understand public demand in order to accommodate it, and technology can help deliver the information required to make the needed decisions about transportation change.

 

Want to learn more? When most people look at highways, they see cars and trucks going by, but we see data – vast amounts of data. Learn how Logicalis can help DOT CIOs securely capture, transmit, store, manage and apply data analytics.  Next, find out how Logicalis helps government CIOs embrace digitization by exploring the Logicalis US GovEd website. Then, read Logicalis’ recent GovEd news as well as a few of its expert blog posts.

1According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

 

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