Drivers could soon have speed limits and traffic jam information from roadside signs sent directly to their cars.
A trial scheme being planned by Highways England will seen the live information from overhead gantries send to specially-equipped vehicles over the 5G mobile network.
According to The Times, the trial, due to start on the A2 and M2 between London and Dover later this year, is part of the government body’s attempts to declutter the roads.
A report by Highways England said the trial would use the superfast mobile signal to send information including variable speed limits, roadworks and traffic jam warnings to in-car screens.
The screens will be added specifically for the purpose but the trial opens up the prospect of future vehicles being able to access information direct from the roads network.
Communication between vehicles and infrastructure such as road signs and traffic lights is seen as important in the development of autonomous vehicles. It will allow self-driving cars to negotiate the roads without relying solely on external sensors and cameras.
The £20 million trial will run until December 2020 and if successful could influence the future of road signage across the whole of the UK.
Earlier this year the Department for Transport said the number of road signs in the UK had reached “unsustainable levels”. Its Road Signs Taskforce found that the number of signs had grown from 2.16 million in 1993 to 4.57m in 2013 and said their proliferation was “verging on national humiliation”.
The DfT is now looking at ways to cut the number of signs including removing “superfluous” ones such as those warning of traffic lights, roundabouts, junctions and speed cameras.