He said experimental stretches of DSRC are already employed around the Detroit area and in parts of California. Toyota announced last fall that it would soon be unveiling its latest DSRC system on a still-unnamed vehicle in its home market.
Further buildout will come down to that familiar chicken and egg, which is why Njord doubts much will happen until there have been tangible commitments by the public sector. Because of how closely automakers review their costs for each car, they don't want to deploy something only to find out it's never going to happen, Njord said. "That's why none of them has pulled that trigger yet."
Once highway departments around the country begin installing the DSRC infrastructure, the auto industry has pledged to include compatible hardware, including GPS at a cost of about $100 per unit, in its vehicles.
Money drives this thing, money from congestion fees and money from lower insurance bills. Njord is projecting a $10,000 installation fee per intersection for vehicle to system communications. I think that is a little high and should be cut in half. Consumer demand in highly congested cities results from energy efficiency, lowering city gas usage by 20%, at least.
He talks about the system being installed in Utah.
UDOT is tiptoeing into the future by installing a $14 million electronic tolling system to charge drivers who want to use I-15's high-occupancy vehicle lanes as a convenience, rather than for carpooling or riding a motorcycle.
The new system, scheduled to be operational later this fall, utilizes electronic RFID. Antenna boxes placed about 20 feet above the lanes will send radio signals to credit card-sized transponders mounted on vehicle windshields, said David Kinnecom, UDOT traffic management engineer, when announcing the project last September.
Before a driver enters an HOV lane, signs will alert the driver to rates currently being charged. The cost of each zone will depend on traffic, Kinnecom said. There will be four HOV zones: from American Fork to 14600 South, from 14600 South to 7200 South, from 7200 South to Beck Street and from Farmington to Layton.
"It would be set dynamically, meaning it would be sensitive to the actual speed in the express lane and the volume of traffic," Kinnecom said. "The idea is to preserve an acceptable speed in the express lane. But as traffic becomes more dense, the rate would go up to discourage excessive use."
Stanford computer and robotics scientist Sebastian Thrun has been in the vanguard of pioneering and promoting self-driving vehicles. He estimates that within the next two decades, about half of new cars sold will offer the option of turning over basic driving duties to a computer. The question is whether humans will be willing to surrender the wheel.Certainly drivers will surrender the wheel.