ATLANTA, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), The Ray and Panasonic Corporation of North America today announced Kia as the OEM partner, supported by HATCI (Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc.), for the second phase of the collaborative vehicle-to-everything (V2X) infrastructure development project on The Ray Highway along Interstate 85 in West Georgia.
With the inclusion of Kia and HATCI, GDOT and The Ray will expand the use of Panasonic technology to directly engage an auto OEM for automotive collaboration on connected vehicle applications, such as freight signal priority and road work zone warnings, to improve transportation safety and enable more efficient driving.
“Our vision at GDOT is to boost Georgia's competitiveness as a leader in transportation across the nation. The V2X technology only enhances this goal,” said GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry. “This project puts citizens' safety first by utilizing performance-based management, innovation and public-private-philanthropic partnerships to deliver safer, smarter and more efficient infrastructure for Georgians.”
“Georgia’s V2X Connected Interstate offers a great opportunity for the Automotive Industry to collaborate with government entities and road operators to research the safety, mobility and environmental benefits of a connected vehicle in a real-world environment," said John Robb, president of HATCI. “Deployment of prototype On-Board Units (OBUs), by retrofitting them into our Kia vehicles, enables us to collect data and analyze the benefits of V2X technology for our customers.”
The innovative public-private-philanthropic partnership began in 2019 to create and install a digital testing environment focused on critical interstate use cases, such as crash and weather warnings, for stakeholder engagement and education. The first phase of work focused on an 18-mile corridor of rural interstate, known as The Ray Highway, and established a connected vehicle ecosystem with six dual-mode and dual-active roadside radios, a number of cellular V2X (C-V2X) GDOT connected vehicles, and the CIRRUS by Panasonic cloud-based data management platform.
The new project phase, announced today, not only expands the partnership but nearly triples the project's breadth by adding seven new radios and 10 additional C-V2X connected vehicles, provided by Kia Georgia. Information delivered from the dual-active radios, called “traveler information messages” (TIMs), will be delivered and displayed into the vehicles with a heads-up display (HUD) that reduces driver distraction.
“Smart, connected infrastructure on our highways is a game changer for driver safety,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “We are on a journey with GDOT to understand the road safety, economic and efficiency opportunities that could be won with this technology. Now, with our collaboration of expertise and Hyundai and Kia’s presence in Georgia/Alabama, we have the potential to scale projects across the Southeast, in cities and on our rural highways.”
“Kia is excited to be the automotive OEM partner for this important V2X development initiative. The ability to study this technology within a real-world application is valuable as we look to improve roadway efficiency and driver safety,” said Jangsoo (Jason) Shin, president and CEO of Kia Georgia Inc. “Establishing reliable infrastructure connectivity is also very consistent with Kia’s “Plan S,” the company’s $25 billion transformation initiative for sustainable mobility, innovative delivery and personal transport solutions.”
According to The National Highway Traffic Administration, 80% of all crashes that do not involve impairment could be averted or eased by the safety applications of V2X technology. Transportation officials, such as State DOTs, can detect and respond to crashes and dangerous driving conditions more quickly and efficiently, while also warning other drivers nearby of upcoming safety concerns or congestion.
“Motor vehicle deaths in 2020 were estimated to be the highest in 13 years, despite a dramatic drop in miles driven during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart connected infrastructure is the solution to resolve our highway safety concerns,” said Andrew Heath, chief traffic engineer at GDOT. “By allowing us to respond more quickly to dangerous driving conditions, we can reduce crashes and save lives.”
By leveraging the CIRRUS by Panasonic data management platform, GDOT gains access to a connected vehicle “brain” that is capable of receiving the data shared between connected cars and trucks, such as crash, traffic and weather warnings, and sending back out important and timely information – directly to connected cars and trucks, all within fractions of a second. The dual-mode and dual-active features of the roadside radios make the infrastructure interoperable and able to communicate directly with connected vehicles through either dedicated short range communication (DSRC) and cellular V2X communication protocols.
The partnership team has already begun integrating the V2X technology ecosystem in the Metro Atlanta area with the CIRRUS by Panasonic platform. GDOT will use CIRRUS by Panasonic for managing the 650-plus existing “connected signalized intersections” to support the installation and ongoing management of 1,000 additional connected intersections.
Since 2017, GDOT has invested in building out the connected vehicle ecosystem in the Metro Atlanta area with a focus on broad applications at “signalized intersections,” otherwise known as traffic signals or red lights. Direct communication between connected cars and connected traffic signals can give all-green lights for emergency responders, which can improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists when a fire truck or police vehicle needs to navigate congested routes and busy intersections. Connected intersections can give green lights to approaching transit buses and even freight vehicles - when it is safe to push them through - to make bus routes, logistics and delivery more efficient and timely.
“Greater scale in more cars and on more roadways is a critical step to bringing the safety benefits of connected vehicle technology to Georgia. The addition of HATCI and Kia Georgia to our public-private-philanthropic partnership launches us towards achieving seamless communication between vehicles and roadways,” said Chris Armstrong, vice president Smart Mobility, Panasonic Corporation of North America. “Our Cirrus by Panasonic platform was developed to scale easily and efficiently in large urban settings, and we are excited to expand its use in Georgia across the metro-Atlanta deployment. Cirrus can enable immediate notification of incidents or issues that impact safety on the roadway, and offers tools like freight signal priority to increase efficiency on urban corridors. By expanding our technology into new and existing GDOT infrastructure, we will provide heightened visibility on Georgia roadways for the first time.”
About The Ray
The Ray is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity and living highway test bed, located on Georgia's I-85 between LaGrange and the Alabama state line. It begins with an 18-mile stretch of interstate named in memory of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native recognized as a leader in green business when he challenged his company, Interface, Inc., to pursue a zero environmental footprint. The Ray Highway test bed is paving the way for a zero carbon, zero waste, zero death highway system to build a safer and more prosperous future for all. Learn more at www.TheRay.org.
About the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT)
Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Our transportation network connects our interstates, state highways, county roads and city streets. Georgia DOT is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to its citizens and its environment. Learn more at www.dot.ga.gov
About Panasonic Corporation of North America
Newark, NJ-based Panasonic Corporation of North America is committed to creating a better life and a better world by enabling its business-to-business customers through innovations in Sustainable Energy, Immersive Entertainment, Integrated Supply Chains and Mobility Solutions. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation. One of Interbrand’s Top 100 Best Global Brands of 2020, Panasonic is a leading technology partner and integrator to businesses, government agencies and consumers across the region. Learn more about Panasonic’s ideas and innovations at www.na.panasonic.com
About Hyundai Kia America Technical Center, Inc. ("HATCI")
As one of Hyundai Motor Group's (HMG) seven global centers focused on research and development (R&D), HATCI was established in 1986 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. HATCI is HMG's design, technology and engineering division for North America. As HMG solidified its position as one of the top five global OEMs, HATCI has grown to include a strong network of engineering disciplines and increased business-focused activities to support North America's Voice of the Customer.
HATCI supports new model development for HMG's North American operations and global programs from our dedicated engineering facilities and support staff at affiliate sites located throughout the United States (Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan, and Washington D.C.). HATCI's success in satisfying the demands of increasingly sophisticated consumers is a direct result of HMG's commitment to the future of American automotive engineering. HATCI upholds a strong R&D philosophy hinged on the creative and passionate input of all team members. This philosophy is paramount to HMG's North American operational strategy and serves as the foundation for engineering excellence and technological advancement.
About Kia Georgia Inc.
Kia Georgia, Inc. is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. With an annual capacity of 340,000 units, Kia Georgia is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and began mass production on Nov. 16, 2009. Kia Georgia is home to the Telluride CUV, Sorento CUV and the K5 mid-size sedan, three of the brand’s top selling models in the U.S.