MLive: New bills urge more talking-highway technology; Sen. Gary Peters hopes Michigan will be leader

DETROIT, MI - Several new cars are already equipped with early forms of automated driving, and projects are afoot in Michigan to speed potentially life-saving road-to-car communication technologies forward. 

U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have introduced legislation that will help states move more quickly in adapting vehicle-to-infrastructure, one key aspect in evolving technology that should lead to safer roads. 

The so-called "V2I" technology involves using sensors on parts of the road that communicate information to vehicles.

The sensors can monitor conditions, alerting vehicles to how much ice is on a bridge, and cars can respond accordingly. The V2I technology can communicate traffic signals to vehicles, letting them know when it's a red light. Vehicles can be privy to work zones and other conditions that call for reduced speeds even if motorists are not. And so on.

The bipartisan legislation introduced by Peters and Blunt would allow states to use existing federal transportation funding from several programs specifically for V2I infrastructure projects.

The bill is a companion to one introduced in the House by Rep. Candice Miller (R-Harrison Township) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield).

Implementing the technology alongside automakers will reduce accidents and help save thousands of lives, Peters told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

"Connected vehicles and infrastructure are the next frontier of the American auto industry and vehicle safety," Peters said.

Peters also said he wants Michigan to be "the engine" at forefront of this frontier.

By:  David Muller