San Diego

Coming Soon: Traffic Signs That Project Onto Your Car Dashboard

The technology is being developed to keep drivers safe

For those that drive in southern California, it's not unusual to see electronic signs along the highway that update drivers on road conditions. 

From 'accident ahead' to 'don't drink and drive,' there are many messages that can be displayed. 

But although these signs are helpful, they can also cause a distraction for drivers that have to look around to read them, diverting their eyes from the road: Add in searching for your exit sign and navigating your GPS and suddenly you are multitasking more than safety experts would recommend. 

That's why one company is making signs that will project right into your dashboard. Wanco Inc., is developing technology that will be compatible with smart cars. 

Wanco displayed the technology this week at Cisco Live at the Convention Center in downtown San Diego. 

"Our trailer creates a subnetwork on the side of the road that can talk to cars or people on their cell phones," said Frank Zucco of Wanco Inc. "It can also talk to 1,000 other trailers." 

According to Caltrans, looking around for freeway updates on signs can lead to distracted and dangerous driving. That's why they recently painted freeway markers on the lanes of certain highways so that drivers could focus on the road. 

"People make the last minute lane changes and sometimes they get in accidents," said Gerard Chadergian, division chief of traffic operations for Caltrans, District 11. 

Wanco hopes to change that through projections onto your dashboard that give drivers a better idea of what is happening on the road. 

"When you're driving now, you may get a message right inside your car to put on the brakes if the car in front of you is braking," added Zucco. "It can prevent accidents." 

Qualcomm and other major tech companies are already developing models of smart cars that allow projections on your dashboard. Zucco said if your car is configured, Wanco technology will be compatible with it. 

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