Intelligent transportation

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Forum focused on smart technology

Could Greenville County have electric, driverless vehicles zipping along its streets – or be a demonstration hot spot for smart transportation technology?

Some attendees at the recent Exploring Innovative Transportation and Technology Opportunities event sponsored by Ten at the Top say the Upstate is poised to showcase these technologies.

Attendees from companies like Club Car, IBM, GE, Schneider Electric and AT&T talked about everything from communities using golf cars for transportation to how disparate transportation systems can connect for traffic and freight efficiency.

Dr. Joachim Taiber of CU-ICAR said the Palmetto State should support testing of transportation technology, citing developments in the driving range of electric cars. The area could be a leader in research and development, not just in the education sector, but also in private industry, he said. “The technology transition is happening.”

Laying the groundwork for transportation technology needs to take place on the county and local government level, said Bill Josko of IBM. Josko said transportation is just one facet of a smart city, along with infrastructure like water and communication.

Using connectivity to collect data and move beyond real-time information into predicting traffic patterns or issues is also a focus, said Lew Gaskell of IBM.

Spinx Corporation owner Stuart Spinks said though his interest has been primarily fuels, future generations need better planning for transportation. Spinx stations will be installing nine high-speed electric charging stations in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, he said.

Bringing the Internet of Things into transportation are new LED streetlights that are connected to the Internet and feature cameras, sensors, control features and transmitters, said Chris McKissick of GE’s startup Intelligent Cities. Municipalities can use them for traffic monitoring, gunshot detection, pedestrian safety and illegal dumping detection, he said. 

Fred Payne, Greenville County Council member and advocate for Green Villages transit-linked, multi-use developments, said moving forward local planners are investigating identifying a network of public roads that could be used by low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) and connect attractor locations. In addition to attending companies connecting with local transportation entities, Greenville County applied for a Federal Highway Administration Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) through the SC Department of Transportation and an Envision America grant to deploy smart technology in cities to address energy, waste, water and air challenges.

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