April's top stories: China's $46bn CPEC project, Virginia cancels $1.4bn deal

China plans a $46bn investment to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan, the US state of Virginia has cancelled its $1.4bn highway contract with Ferrovial Agroman and American Infrastructure for the delivery of the Route 460 project. Roadtraffic-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from April 2015.


Test Bed

Audi to develop new device to power self-driving cars

Audi

Audi collaborated with various technology partners to develop a new device that will supply the computing power needed for a self-driving car to operate safely.

The central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which is under development for piloted driving, uses high-performance processors and will work its way into the model range step-by-step in future.

Audi awarded the contract for series productions to technologies specialist Delphi, which will also supply the future system for the zFAS electronics board the size of a tablet PC.

US scientists to develop computational framework to optimise road traffic

UDI

Scientists with the Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI) at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US announced plans to develop a computational framework for connected vehicle technologies in a bid to cut down travel time and fuel consumption for drivers.

The new framework is expected to aid vehicle-to-vehicle communication, as well as communication between vehicles and traffic controls such as traffic lights.

UDI deputy director and principal investigator of the project Andreas Malikopoulos said: "By telling drivers the optimal speed, the best lane to drive in, or the best route to take, we can eliminate stop-and-go driving and improve safety.

Nissan Motor to build self-driving car

Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan Motor Company is to build a self-driving car, which will hit the country's highways by 2016.

The company also plans to launch a self-driving vehicle for urban areas by 2020, which can negotiate the roads on its own.

AFP cited Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn saying that a Nissan product will be available in Japan, which will carry autonomous drive.

Ontario awards $1.2bn contract to Blackbird Infrastructure for Highway 407 East project

Highway 407

The Canadian province of Ontario awarded a $1.2bn contract to Blackbird Infrastructure to build a provincially owned stretch of Highway 407 East.

Upon completion, the highway will relieve congestion and provides emergency detour routes for travellers in Durham Region, making the area roads safer.

Under the terms of the contract, Blackbird Infrastructure will design, build, finance and maintain the project on which construction is expected to begin later this year from Harmony Road to Taunton Road/Highway 418.

New interactive traffic light technology to be introduced in UK

A new communication system that will allow traffic lights to 'talk' to motorists directly to guide the drivers, while giving certain vehicles priority at junctions, is to be introduced across Newcastle, UK.

The €10m Compass4D project, which is led by Newcastle University in collaboration with Newcastle City Council, Siemens and North East Ambulance Service, aims to improve safety.

Warning drivers about obstacles on the road, the new technology minimises congestion and pollution by helping motorists to drive properly and gives key road users such as NHS vehicles priority at lights, and helps drivers adjust their speed.

Qatar to invest $2.7bn to improve transport infrastructure in Al Wakra and Mesaieed

Qatar's public works authority Ashghal announced plans to invest QR10bn ($2.7bn) over the next three years in Al Wakra and Mesaieed to improve transport infrastructure.

In coordination with the ministry of municipality and urban planning (MMUP), Ashghal held an 'Integrated Community Outreach Programme' community event to showcase various infrastructure and building projects in the south of Qatar.

As part of the new developments, the Expressway project includes East West Corridor, which comprises the construction of 22km-long dual carriageway with five lanes in each direction, in addition to eight multi-level interchanges.

Nanyang Technological University and NXP to build living test bed for smart traffic systems

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and NXP Semiconductors are in the process of building a living test bed for smart cars and traffic systems at the NTU campus.

The new S$22m ($16m) NTU-NXP Smart Mobility Test Bed will be supported by Singapore Economic Development Board and will test and develop new technologies for vehicles to communicate with each other and with designated roadside infrastructures.

The vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology can collect and analyse data from other vehicles and the surrounding smart infrastructure wirelessly over a distance of up to 2km.

It gives drivers advanced warning of upcoming hazards and is also expected to improve road safety and traffic flow.

BMW develops new augmented reality glasses for drivers

BMW

German automobile company BMW developed 'Mini Augmented Vision', which are new augmented reality glasses with head-up display for drivers to give an unobstructed view around the vehicle.

BMW said that the new glasses, which have been developed in collaboration with several Qualcomm companies, offer a 'revolutionary' display concept that provides improved comfort and safety.

BMW Group research and technology MINI Augmented Vision project-manager Dr Jörg Preißinger said: "MINI Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a MINI car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future.

Victorian government to pay $263m to Lend Lease consortium for cancelled £5.5bn East West Link project

Australia's Victoria Government finalised an agreement with a consortium with regards to reimbursing costs incurred on the cancelled A$10.7bn (£5.5bn) East West Link project.

According to the deal, Victoria will pay A$339m ($263m) to the consortium, which was selected to build Melbourne's East West Link motorway.

According to Lend Lease, the agreement is expected to result in a reduction in the company's construction backlog revenue of approximately $1.4bn.

The East West Connect consortium included Capella Capital, Bouygues and Acciona.

Virginia cancels $1.4bn highway contract with Ferrovial Agroman and American Infrastructure

The US state of Virginia issued a notice regarding the cancellation of its $1.4bn highway contract with Ferrovial Agroman and American Infrastructure for the delivery of the Route 460 project.

Virginia transportation secretary Layne said: "The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with the support of the McAuliffe administration, has provided a notice of termination to US 460 Mobility Partners for Route 460 construction.

"The commonwealth has determined it is in the taxpayers' best interest to terminate the contract. VDOT tried to work with the contractor to deliver the revised project in a cost-effective manner."

China to unveil plans for $46bn corridor link in Pakistan

Gaddar Port

China was set to unveil a $46bn investment plan called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan, which is expected to include a network of roads, railway and pipelines between the two countries.

To be established between the southern Gwadar port of Pakistan on the Arabian Sea and the western Xinjiang region in China, the new corridor is set to run through Pakistan's poor Baluchistan province.

The Guardian reported that the latest development is part of Beijing's efforts to boost investments in Pakistan in line with its expansion plans across the Central and South Asian regions.