No one is immune to change. Just consider your cell phone and the number of times it needs to update, or the rate at which new phone models are designed, or the proliferation of applications that you can download on it to make your life easier and simpler. It’s not stopping, and it’s actually getting faster. Industries are responding, and those in and around Columbus are no exception.

Cresttek, Dublin’s own design company specializing in the automotive, manufacturing and assembly, and general engineering industries, is currently adapting to the smart initiatives taking over the Central Ohio region’s roadways. Specifically, they’re the project leader for the Route 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) that was awarded to the City of Marysville and the City of Dublin.

The corridor, which runs from the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty and down Route 33 to Dublin, will soon see the passage of 1,200 vehicles with onboard units (OBUs). Those OBUs will transmit data to roadside units (RSUs) to promote safer driving along that road connecting Columbus’ suburbs.

For the next 18 months, Cresttek will be installing Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRCs) and putting OBUs on various city vehicles, like snow plows and school buses, and collecting the data that’s transmitted.

“Marysville will have intersections that will have these RSUs as well as Dublin at all their intersections,” said Patrick Soller, General Manager at Cresttek. “We’ll have vehicles transmitting data up and down the corridor, and we’ll be able to create applications that improve the safety and congestion of the corridor.”

What those applications would look like to drivers would be warnings about road conditions and traffic. RSUs collect data such as the GPS location or speed of the vehicle and the direction it’s heading. It can combine that data with other information, like weather and accident reports, and let drivers make better informed decisions while they drive. Soller describes this adaptation as being as natural as the implementation of the seatbelt.

“In the future, all vehicles will probably have some type of telematics unit on their car that would transmit data, and that data could be used to warn the driver that the car in front of them is stopping quickly and they need to brake,” Soller said. “It can help you know to stop if there’s a closed lane or an accident ahead, or if they’ve drifted to sleep and are driving into the median.”

This use of information has raised questions around cyber security as well as data ownership. Who gets to access, benefit and profit from the creation of data if not the data creators AKA drivers? Soller said the possibility of individuals gaining control over their own data is very likely in the future.

“There are a lot of futurists trying to figure out if you would have to pay for your vehicle or how the ownership of the vehicle would operate,” he said. “Maybe the data that your vehicle is creating can pay for the vehicle itself, or you may be willing to spend more on a vehicle because it may generate money for you.”

The pace of progress has outrun these conversations, and even legislation and regulation itself. With smart technology implementation in vehicles being such a brand new concept, no national standard exists for autonomous vehicles or connected vehicles. In many cases, the Society of Automotive Engineers is the entity to create guidelines and regulations around how new technology should be tested or certified, “so some of those are still being developed,” Soller said.

Those regulations don’t have much time to catch up: “When you look at all the technological developments that have happened in the last 100 years, there’s been more that’s happened in that short time than anything our ancestors have experienced,” Soller said, “and the pace of change is happening much faster as well.”

For more information, visit cresttek.com

Our new technology series is presented by our partners in the City of Dublin.

Dublin is a city of more than 47,000 residents located just northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The City of Dublin Economic Development team has a vision to make Dublin a Midwest IT Magnet through business leadership and sustainable workforce development. This commitment goes beyond short-term skills training to include long-term strategic and cultural support for the entire Dublin business community. Dublin is one of America’s Top 20 Creative Class Cities and is home to more than 20 corporate headquarters, an entrepreneurial center, 3,000+ businesses, world-class events and the urban, walkable Bridge Street District.