The idea of a road is relatively simple – a durable path from point A to point B. Development of roadways usable for wheeled carriages has been perfected over the centuries. The Romans, for instance, used a base layer of crushed limestone that would let water flow out, preventing clay soil from turning into mud. Some Roman roads were topped with six sided capstones, also known as pavers, many of which still exist today.
The invention of the horseless carriage necessitated roadways that could be used at high speeds. Tarmac, asphalt and concrete roads followed, and thus ends our short venture into the history of roads. Roadways simply haven’t changed much since then. Sure, we’ve painted some lines on them, even etched grooves in some to prevent accidents, but the core technology of the road is the same as it was a hundred years ago. Until now. Consider the Intelligent Roadway.
[Scott] is an electrical engineer, and had dreamed of solar powered roadways as a child. But it wasn’t until the realization of global warming did [Scott] and his wife, [Julie] start to take the concept seriously. Stick around after the break to find out just how smart [Scott's] roadway of the future is.
[Scott's] intelligent roadway consists of a six-sided modular design. Each module is topped with a heavy duty textured, tempered glass that can support up to 250,000 pounds. There are solar cells in them of course, and provide the mechanism for these expensive devices to pay for themselves. They have already caught the attention of the Federal Highway Administration, General Electric, and even Google. If their Indiegogo campaign is successful, they will be able to test their concept in a few parking lots.
The modular smart panels have a lot more than solar cells and glass. There’s integrated heaters to melt away snow and ice, pictured above. 128 LEDs allow for the panels to paint lines and words on the intelligent roadway, providing near countless uses and benefits. On a large scale, the smart road will create enough electricity to become a decentralized power grid, and provide a means of getting WiFi and fiber optic lines to rural places.
It’s difficult to find a reason why we should not employ this technology. Let us know in the comments what you think about this future of roadways.