Traffic Control

Next-gen chipset tech from Autotalks, Applied Information delivers V2X traffic solutions

The City of Alpharetta is utilizing the chipset to improve response times by their fire department.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

The dawn of smart cities is upon us, using the internet of things (IoT) to solve big and little problems. In Georgia, Texas, and Hawaii, the world's first Dual-Mode /Dual-Active vehicle-to-everything (V2X) deployment is easing traffic woes that effect public safety vehicles.

The technology uses dual mode chipsets by Autotalks that are installed in roadside units, such as traffic control boxes. Autotalks has teamed up with Applied Information Inc., an Alpharetta, Georgia-based provider of intelligent transportation infrastructure solutions, to provide traffic signal preemption technology that helps emergency vehicles reach their destination safely and quickly.

Traditionally, emergency vehicles travel through traffic with their lights or siren, or a combination of both, activated when on the way to a call. When they near an intersection, drivers must navigate the traffic signals, pedestrians, vehicles, and any road hazards, often times while at speed, all while receiving evolving information about the situation they are approaching.

In 1914, American Traffic Signal Company installed the first traffic light that could be used by police and fire personnel to control the signals in the event of an emergency. Over the last century, the traffic signal preemption technology has evolved, offering acoustic, line of sight, localized radio signal, and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

Generations of drivers grew up seeing Rad-O-Lites by the now-defunct Relco Emergency Light Company out of Erie, Pennsylvania, flashing white signals on the same line next to traffic lights alerting them to the presence of a nearby emergency vehicle that was responding to a call.

The Dual-Mode/Dual-Active Roadside Unit (RSU) that was developed allows emergency vehicles equipped with Autolinks/Applied Information V2X On Board Units to initiate traffic signal control measures. While the technology's main use case is in emergency vehicle's traffic signal preemption, it can also be used by transit buses for traffic signal priority and vehicles involved in roadside work zones.

The City of Alpharetta, Georgia was the first locality in the U.S. to deploy the company's technology. According to a spokesperson for the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety, the RSUs are featured on all traffic signals controlled by the city - approximately 150 units.

The decision to implement the IoT solution came as the previous generation of traffic preemption technology reached the end of its lifespan. A request for purchase order process was initiated and Temple Inc. won the contract. Temple installed the Glance Smart City Supervisory System for the town, which uses the technology developed by Autotalks and Applied Information Inc.

The system is installed on all fire service vehicles and lower in the town's Department of Public Safety hierarchy. The cost of the five-year contract was $300,000, all-in. The city is currently midway through its contract and the technology has been proven to “provide safer travel and shorter response time" for its first responders said Scott McCullers, Fire Operations Chief, City of Alpharetta Department of Public Safety.

At this time, the town has no plans to install the technology in police vehicles.

In Harris County, Texas, the chips are used in over 500 School Beacon Flasher Timers.

"The AI/Autotalks solution enables roadway operators to confidently deploy V2X technology today so the infrastructure is ready for the auto industry deployment, while providing 'Day One' benefits such as safer, faster emergency vehicle response times now," said Bryan Mulligan, President, Applied Information.

Autotalks' deployment-ready, second-generation V2X chipset is the world's first available solution which supports both DSRC based on 802.11p/ITS-G5 standards and C-V2X based on 3GPP release 14 and 15 specifications with embedded V2X cyber-security functionality. The chipset allows customers to easily toggle between DSRC and C-V2X communications.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Twisted NAS-E California Series is a new all-electric 4x4.

Photo courtesy of Twisted

Earlier this year, a luxury 4x4 retailer in Austin, Texas showed off the Twisted NA-V8, a vehicle based on a classic Defender that comes in five different body styles. Now a limited run of 30 Twisted NAS-E all-electric 4x4 is bowing.

The NAS-E is born of the classic Land Rover Defender 90 body with a soft top and features an electric powertrain, a luxurious interior, and impressive off-roading capability. Each model is compliant with all North American EV Regulations and California CARB regulations.

Twisted NAS-E and NAS-E Plus

Photo courtesy of Twisted

"As the world moves steadily toward mass electrification, the Californian market has been missing a uniquely stylish electric 4x4 option that can stand out at the beach, off-road and at stoplights with a level of exclusivity and prestige that can only come from the timeless British Defender form," said Bruce Riggs, COO, Twisted North America. "With color schemes reflecting the natural beauty of California, a removable soft top shape to fully live the elements, advanced electric powertrain engineering exclusive to Twisted, zero-emission power, practical battery range and luxuriously modern interior touches, the Twisted NAS-E is the ultimate expression of the American coastal lifestyle."

The model is the first hero vehicle of the Twisted Legacy collection. It will be sold in two trim levels: NAS-E and NAS-E Plus. The difference mainly comes down to the power allocation. The NAS-E will be powered by a Remy Borg-Warner motor delivering more than 280 pound-feet of torque and 214 brake horsepower. The NAS-E Plus sees its output upped to 309 pound-feet of torque and 320 brake horsepower.

Twisted NAS-E Malibu Photo courtesy of Twisted

Twisted says that the model has a 200-mile range from its 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The SUVs have custom-valved dampers, six-piston front brakes, four-piston rear brakes, hard-use RS29 brake pads, and a traction control system. Four-wheel drive is standard. There are Sport, Eco, and Off-Road drive modes.

The model will be offered in three color options: Malibu, Yosemite, and Tahoe. They will make up the California Series of the models, a limited time 30-vehicle offering.

Twisted NAS-E Tahoe Photo courtesy of Twisted

The NAS-E comes with a good list of features: cream leather seats featuring Alston Alcantara inserts, a three-seat bench across the front row with detachable headrests, 4x tip ups located in the load area, Twisted Sport Wheels finished in silver, a Twisted Stage One front end, NAS roll cage, Bimini hood, an infotainment system, EV management system touch screen, raptored 'spray down' unique flooring, eight-channel audio system, rearview camera with wideview angle, GPS tracker, immobilizer, and air conditioning.

The NAS-E Plus builds on that to include a NAS brush bar, NAS side steps, roll-bar spotlights, NAS-E body stripe decal, and black side sills.

Twisted offers the model with a comprehensive 24-month/20,000-mile warranty. Extensions are available.

Twisted NAS-E Malibu Photo courtesy of Twisted

The Twisted NAS-E starts at $185,000 while the NAS-E Plus comes in at $210,000. Each has a lead time of approximately nine months and requires a fully refundable deposit to reserve. Limited test drives will be available early October 2020.

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Speedway gas stations will be added to the Seven & i Holdings company portfolio.

Photo courtesy of 7-Eleven

Does this mean slurpies in more places? The owner of 7-Eleven, Seven & i Holdings, has purchased the Speedway chain of gas stations from Marathon Petroleum for $21 billion. The sale is one of the biggest deals that has gone down since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the economic fortunes of businesses worldwide.

The all-cash deal joins the two convenience store brands with other Seven & i Holdings properties, primarily based in the grocery sector. The company is the largest convenience store chain in Japan, owning 21,000 stores in the Asian country. They also own 9,800 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Speedway gas station The acquisition adds 4,000 Speedway stores fo the company’s portfolio.Photo courtesy of Speedway

By picking up the Speedway chain of stores, Seven & i Holdings expands their footprint to include an additional 4,000 stores, giving the company a presence in 47 of the top 50 most populated areas in the U.S., the company said in a press release announcing the deal.

7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto explained that the deal will allow the company to diversify its holdings in key regions of the country, "particularly in the Midwest and East Coast."

In Japan, convenience stores are located apart from gas stations. This is also true of many communities in the Eastern U.S. However, in the Midwest and beyond, convenience stores are most often associated with a gas station.

As part of the deal, Marathon will provide 7.7 billion gallons of petroleum a year for 15 years to Seven & i Holdings. Marathon has been struggling in the wake of low gas prices, announcing last week that it will not restart production at refineries in New Mexico and California that had been idled since April.

The two companies had been negotiating the sale for months, struggling to come to an agreement over the price.

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