Smarter Roads Lead to Smarter Technology
When it comes to advanced technology, roads aren’t the first thing people thing about. They are made out of asphalt or concrete and have lines painted on them to portray driving information and routes – not very advanced.
However, times are changing and so are our roads. Roads are now more animated, with sensors, data capture capabilities, and the ability to change. In essence, roads will become alive and be able to talk to people, cars, bicycles, and the city.
Although we aren’t there yet, here are some technologies that have brought our roads to life.
Intelligent Traffic Systems: Traffic systems are now connecting people, cars, pedestrians, and traffic management systems. These intelligent systems use sensors on roads to help survey and monitor traffic to collect information that is distributed to users of the road. This information includes traffic monitoring and reporting, electronic road tolling, fuel costs, and wear and tear of roads. Some apps that already use reporting technology like this are Google Maps and HWY Pro by Bill Busbice Jr.
Electric Charging Roads: In 2013, South Korea was one of the first nations to implement electric-charging roads to fuel electric vehicles. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology installed a bus route in the Korean city of Gumi that charged electric buses while they drove on the road. Other countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel have also tested similar roads to create cheaper and more energy efficient resources.
Lights in the Dark: Many areas are inventing different ways to see on the roads in the dark, without spending a lot of money on electricity. One interesting alternative is glow-in-the-dark road markings. Already adopted in Oss, Netherland, road lines are painted using photo-luminizing powder that charges during the day and glows for up to eight hours during the night for a cheap way to light up the roads. Other places are using Interactive Light that work via motion sensors so that street lights are triggered by the motion of passing car.
Solar Roadways: There is a project called Solar Roadways that is working to install solar panels on glass roads. Glass is a renewable and environmentally friendly option that cuts down greenhouse gases by 75 percent. The surface is also engineered for cars to be able to stop safely, despite traveling on glass. However, the most important feature of the solar roadways is that it can melt snow during the winter. This provides safer road conditions during all seasons.
In the future, we can expect our roads to come to life. These technologies are just the start and soon our roads will do things we never thought were possible.