Can ‘Invisible Messages’ in Street Signs Steer Autonomous Cars?
The brainstorming never stops. Tech moguls and automakers are relatively looking for quick and easy solutions, like leveraging existing cameras in cars to map roads. And during one such session, came a relatively feasible solution from the brains behind at 3M Company.
3M, which invented the reflective signs that are common on roads across the country, are now inserting “invisible messages” into them to help guide autonomous vehicles. Bar codes like the ones on products scanned at supermarkets can be embedded into road signs and read by a self-driving car’s camera to convey information such GPS coordinates or warn of a traffic light ahead.
3M has already tested the technology on a three-mile stretch of an interstate in the Detroit area in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Bar codes were installed in work zone signs and even on construction workers’ fluorescent vests to signal to cars to slow down.