Rural Areas are Left Behind

In the vehicle industry, technology has hit a period of rapid growth and expansion. Cars are able to do more than ever, and their capabilities are only growing. However, older vehicles remain popular and likely will for many years to come. Reluctance to adopt new technologies, lack of affordability, and more attribute to this segment’s slower adoption. But, in rural regions especially, the lack of service availability is always a key factor in adopting new technologies.

This lag of availability has always plagued rural regions. From something as essential as fast internet to something as taken for granted as pizza delivery, rural populations are chronically underserved when it comes to the advancement of technology. Many advanced vehicles rely on HD maps of the roads and, perhaps due to expenses or time, those maps are not as likely to cover rural areas. If they do, updates may come rarely, if ever.

Rural Roads: Underserved

According to the Federal Highway Commission, there are 3.9 million miles of roads within the US, with 3 million of those miles being rural roads. However, the interstate system, accounting for only 1.2% of that mileage, accommodates approximately 24.1% of the overall traffic. This imbalance of traffic has caused a heavy focus on the interstate system, leaving rural roads behind. HD maps require constant updates, and those updates are likely to come more quickly to more heavily traveled stretches of road.

“We don’t have those here.”

Growing up, I was always excited to learn about the latest technologies, but I rarely got to see many of them in person. The adults all gave the same explanation: we just don’t have those here. In regions where 5 MB per second download is still considered fast internet and cable TV has never once been available, it’s highly likely that tech companies will leave them out. Those rural areas’ roads, further away from busy interstates, are easy to overlook. The costs of adding them to HD maps and keeping them up-to-date might outweigh the potential gains, especially considering how much less of the nation’s traffic travels them.

Underserved, rural areas lag behind. Because of this, the adoption of smart vehicles will lag behind in rural regions. If those rural areas had service on par with interstates and large cities, more of the residents there would find it worthwhile to purchase a car equipped with modern perks of technology. One key component to this, for ADAS and navigational systems, is an up-to-date HD map of rural roads.

Updating HD maps can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor, one rendered obsolete the moment road work begins. However, V-Markings records road changes as they occur. This is possible using our patent-pending technology, enabling real-time change management of roads.

What does this mean for the roads of the future?

With the ability to log changes as they occur in real-time, all areas become equally served. Traditionally underserved regions will adopt vehicles equipped with modern navigational technologies faster and the connected roads of the future will become more than just the interstates and large cities. The digital infrastructure will be in place for advanced navigation and self-driving technologies to flourish outside of the places currently served. 

More service area means more regions where technology can realistically be sold, increasing the customer base exponentially.

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