The machine vision that is key to the autonomous vehicle future requires clearly marked and highly legible road markings as developed by 3M.This image of a future transportation ecosystem depicts V2V, V2I, vehicle-to-cloud and infrastructure-to-cloud communication.

WCX17: 3M enabling machine vision for self-driving vehicles

3M is leveraging its 78-year history in lane markings and retroreflective traffic sign material to develop products for the automated driving environment.

Many of the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure R&D projects involving 3M are concentrated in the U.S. with additional programs in Europe and Asia.

“In the U.S., we’re mainly engaged on projects with automakers, suppliers, transportation authorities and others that are aimed at improving machine vision on automated vehicles,” Tammy Meehan Russell, Global Portfolio Manager for Intelligent Transportation at 3M, told Automotive Engineering at the supplier’s WCX17 booth (4307).

3M scientists are developing lane marking solutions that are more durable and easier for vehicle sensors to read than current solutions. They’re also working on advanced traffic signs. “We are developing products that will improve both the readability and the data relevance to automated vehicles while still preserving enhanced visibility to humans,” Meehan Russell said.

The materials portfolio at 3M encompasses 46 technology platforms, ranging from adhesives and abrasives to ceramics and nanotechnology. “We’re deploying technology used in existing products in concert with new technical elements, which will help enable enhanced mobility, improved safety, connectivity and data transmission,” explained Meehan Russell.

Industry-government participation is vital to arriving at universal solutions for the smart roadways of the future.

“Our view is that success in connected roads will require coordination between the sensor companies, the automakers, regulatory bodies and the innovation leaders in infrastructure,” she said, adding, “The challenge for us is engaging widely enough in the industry to understand the needs of all the stakeholders.”

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