When everything is getting smarter, roads can’t be ignored, whatsoever.
What would be the benefit of a smart car like Google driverless car if it has no smart road to drive on?
Without them, all smart vehicles are just a piece of an advance technology with creativity. Hence, it’s vital to have smart roads to compliment those smart vehicles. Also, when today everything is getting smarter, how we could ignore roads!
And engineers around the globe have already started working on this. Now on roads, other than asphalt and concrete, they have started using many other things that convert them into a smart road. Many projects have been running to build roads of the future across the world. So, tighten your seat belt as I’ll betaking you to the future where smart roads exist!
1. Solar Roads
Green energy is something that is common among all the smart roads. And when comes green energy in question, Solar is something that we try to explore first. And why not, it, after all, is most reliable and cheapest source of electricity production. So it’s obvious to not ignore solar cells in smart roads.
Julie and Scott Brusaw have been working on this fascinating project called Solar Roadways. It proposes using solar cells with LEDs and microprocessors on a specially engineered solar panel that can be walked and driven upon. The popularity of the concept could be gauged from the fact that the couple collected US$2,275,333 by crowd funding.
The solar panels will cover a road that will generate electricity roughly three times more than what the US consumes! Not only this, the electricity produced will be used for other important functions like melting ice from the road, glowing LEDs in the night, glowing road signs, and the like.
An automobile drives on a solar panel road during its inauguration in Tourouvre, Normandy, northwestern France, December 22, 2016.
2. Roads that Re-Charge Moving Vehicles
In the future, there are going to be roads with green vehicle running on. Vehicles that will run on whatever green fuel we will invent but fossil fuels.
I’m sure that majority of these greener vehicle will be running on electricity. Elon Musk will be a gazillionaire.
As every one of us will want to keep the batteries topped-up, there couldn’t be anything awesome than a road recharging these electric vehicles.
One fact that seems like moving the needle in favor is investment of the UK govt. It has invested $200,000 on the concept that gives a hope that this concept might see the light of a day.
“Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England’s motorways,” Mike Wilson, UK’s chief highways engineer
What I think is that the Solar Roadways could be made recharging highways. The Solar Roadway concept compliments this as it will be generating greener electricity. And a lot of new breakthrough in solar cells is happening which could make this a reality.
3. The Self-Healing Roads
Self-diagnosis is one of the prominent features of Google Driverless car which I adore from the core of my heart. As I was discussing at the beginning that we need roads that compliment these smart machine, this road plays the game straight away right!
The roads of future will be bestowed with the ability to self-heal. Asphalt with bitumen and the induction heat will fill the cracks of a road. Professor Erik Schlangen of Delft University of Technology stated that bitumen can fill the cracks of roads by adding steel wool in it. Induction heating will melt the bitumen and fillthose cracks.
A successful test has already been conducted in Netherlands. And the bonus is that the steel wool process will cost a lot less than current repairing cost spent on roads. The road will need a repair after 4 years just by driving a car having an induction heating device.
The same ability can be achieved in concrete as well. Microbiologist Hendrik Jonkers has also created self-healing concrete with help of a bacteria.
Bacteria like Bacillus pseudofirmus and Sporosarcinapasteurii, which can live up to 200 years without food or oxygen, are the backbone of this concept. These bacteria get active when in contact with water, after consuming calcium lactate, they produce limestone that can be used to fill cracks and small holes of the whole structure.
4. Greener Highways with Harvesting Wind Energy
This highway is smart in the way it harnesses wind energy to glow street lights. There will be small wind mills installed along the roadside. As a vehicle passes through them, the wind it generates will get used in rotating turbine blades.
One problem with this concept is that it glows a light in real time. That is to say that it doesn’t store electricity for future use. The lights will glow only when a vehicle passes through a windmill.
5. Glowing Roads with Interactive Lights
On another highway in Netherlands, you will find glowing marking alongside the highway. It uses photo-luminising paint. It’s an awesome concept for areas where it’s not possible to maintain and install street lights.
The paint gets charged during the daytime and slowly releases a green glow at night. Thus, eliminates the need for streetlights.
A lot has been improved since the first pilot project got unveiled in April, 2014. Reduction of energy consumption, fixing rain issues, better energy absorbing, for example, are among the things.
Besides future roads, robots are going to be effect our lives more than anythings. Here are the top five areas where robots are dominating now.