It’s 100 AD and you’re driving your chariot down a dirt track. By the way, you’re a Roman. You come to a cross roads, look to your left and noting the sign that tells you to stop to wait for passing traffic, you wait.
You see, even in the Roman times, traffic signs were useful and very much a part of the culture of the time. It’s essential that in the 21st century signs are appropriately clear, visible and well-distributed, and companies such as SignARama can provide you with more information regarding signage.
Just as signs have changed to fit the times since the Roman period, in the future, road signs will need to change again to ensure they are relevant to the society they are required by.
In the very near-future, it’s likely we’ll begin to see more digital road signs. The advantage of these is that through a wireless connection, the information provided on the sign could be updated automatically and instantly from a central location. This will provide the sign’s readers with a more relevant service because they could be undated to show recent accidents, whether reports and other traffic-related information, and will also be more cost-effective from a business perspective.
Augmented reality displays are a little further off, and rely on the success and proliferation of technologies such as Google Glass, which augments the world of the wearer with helpful information such as maps, time and messages from others. The road signs of the future could quite simply not exist in the real world, only coming to fruition through an augmented display. This could have a variety of benefits, for example cost—there would be no need to physically produce signs, and this would also have a positive repercussion on the environment, because no materials would need to be produced to create signs.
In the future, signs may not simply be passive information providers which their readers could choose to ignore. Instead, signs could be active enforcers of the rules using a technology known as V2I: “vehicle-to-infrastructure” technology. Imagine a road sign providing information about a crash that had just happened on the road up ahead. The augmented sign could actually intervene with the driver, and force the driver to slow down, remotely controlling the car’s break. These are technologies which are closer to existing than you may think.