Ohio Turnpike plans alerts system for tech-connected cars

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2011, file photo, vehicles drive along the Ohio Turnpike in Strongsville, Ohio. Ohio Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole tells The Associated Press that testing of self-driving vehicles could begin on the toll road in late 2016 or in 2017. Cole says the route that takes Interstate 80 from Pennsylvania to Indiana is set up well for testing autonomous vehicles because it already has a fiber network along the entire roadway.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Officials are planning a new system of travel alert information for part of the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland with an eye toward a day when autonomous vehicles might regularly cruise that roadway.

The Plain Dealer reports the Turnpike Commission will use roadside sensors and other technology to produce traffic and weather alerts that could serve self-driving vehicles. For now, the data about factors such as foggy conditions and snowplow angles could serve newer vehicles equipped to receive digital short-range radio signals and display the results for drivers.

The commission approved a $1.46 million contract for the equipment and software.

The technology should be in use by early next year between Amherst and Streetsboro. Turnpike officials say if the results are good, they might expand it along the 241-mile toll road.