Autonomous vehicle technology tested in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Autonomous vehicle technology tested in Michigan

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A driverless truck could soon be rolling down a street near you.

Its the first of its kind and it was tested for the first time in Michigan.

The U.S. Army and the Michigan Department of Transportation teamed up on Thursday to test driverless technology. The test may lead to the Army deploying the autonomous long-haul trailer tractors.

"This is about making it safer for the drivers that are in a big rig or a military convoy and frankly safer for all of us that are around those," said Kirk Steudle, MDOT director.

The short range radio technology in a tower is integrated with radio technology in the trucks. The trucks will be able to send and receive information on road conditions.

"So if there are emergency vehicles coming up, you'll see an icon on the screen that says there's an emergency vehicle coming up from your rear. If there's a disabled vehicle on the side of the road it pops up saying there's a disabled vehicle," said Scott Heim, test engineer.

The technology will eventually lead to automated driving.

"There's a ways to go, but this is one of the key links to make sure communications between the vehicles is solid, accurate and prove positive that it is going to work," Steudle said.

Gov. Rick Snyder was there and he gave the project a big thumbs up.

"This is something we are literally going to stay on the gas to make sure we're a leader in mobility and to do it right here is so exciting," Snyder said.

It's predicted that by the year 2020 a lot of vehicles will have the warning systems that were tested on Thursday.

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