Car manufacturers incorporate more autonomous features in their vehicles every year, and drivers continue to expect more autonomy from their vehicles as the technology advances. With this evolution underway, the question of how vehicles ‘read’ the road has become a topic of study spanning multiple disciplines including science, engineering, safety, and construction. At Safety Marking Inc., the role of pavement markings and their impact on vehicular traffic is of the highest importance.
Mark Kelly of Easton CT, Safety Marking Inc.’s Founder and President, shares “The future of autonomous driving, in large part, depends on the infrastructure. A core component of that infrastructure will be reliable pavement markings. Road striping has always been integral and critical to the safe movement of traffic. Markings may change and look different in the future; however, their primary function will remain the same: to guide and safely direct the flow of vehicular traffic.”
Why are pavement markings necessary? The very essential purpose of road markings is to guide and direct the flow of traffic safely to, and from, all points at all times regardless of conditions. For example, in addition to identifying lanes and turns, roadway markings direct traffic away from hazards, identify changes to lane width, signify exit and entrance ramp, and focus a driver’s attention during inclement weather. In autonomous vehicles, road markings will increase lane detection and continue to provide vehicles (and its users) with a clear lane delineation.
So, what does this all mean to the pavement marking industry, since autonomous systems rely on clear road markings? Today, many cars have lane departure warning systems that use the line markings. For example, Tesla Motors incorporates lane line detection in its cars fitted with an autopilot system, and other car manufacturers are following its example. As more autonomous vehicles are being tested and developed, more drivers are comfortable with the idea of owning autonomous driving vehicles. It is estimated that over 33 million AVs will hit the road by year 2040.
Increasingly, research is directed at exploring and testing devices installed in the environment around the vehicle, known collectively as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I). These efforts include the development of machine-readable pavement markings and directional signage technology. These devices reflect light inside and outside of the visible spectrum. This makes road boundaries and typical traffic and highway signs visible to both drivers and on-board sensory devices even in the worst of road conditions.
A recent study by Research and Markets states globally autonomous vehicles market revenue is expected to grow to reach US $126.8 billion by 2027. Another study, by Rethinkx, shares that that “95% of U.S. passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles owned by fleets, not individuals.”
Since 1973, Safety Marking Inc. of Bridgeport, CT has focused exclusively on advancing the effectiveness of pavement (road) markings “Safety Marking has been committed to making roads as safe as possible for almost 50 years. Our future will focus on applying innovative material solutions to enable and enhance to burgeoning use of autonomous vehicles. We are fully committed to helping advance the use of technology-based road systems,” states David Steffens, Director of Operations at Safety Marking Inc. For more information about Mark Kelly, Safety Marking Inc.’s Founder, and their Services, visit the company website at www.safetymarking.net