There are over 4.18 million miles of roads in the United States, carrying over 280 million cars and trucks. So it's time for improvement and science will transform them.
FUTURE ROADS WILL BE ABLE TO DE-ICE THEMSELVES
Researchers at the University of Nebraska have designed a road that clears its own particular ice and snow. The mystery? Including steel shavings and carbon particles to conventional concrete, then delivering electric power through the road surface and additionally the pavement. The shavings and particles make up around 20 percent of the blend sufficient enough to lead electric power and subsequently to generate heat, yet insufficient to raise the hair of people on foot.
FUTURE ROADS COULD CREATE THEIR OWN POWER FROM SOLAR RAYS...
What if the future roads could actually power the Electric Vehicles? This is the idea being pioneered by a Dutch company, Sola Road. Think about it: our roads have a large surface area directly exposed to the sun. Snap-in solar panels have the ability to catch sun-rays and power the cars they serve, as well as give back to the power grid. We could also harness solar energy to heat the water stored beneath the road, creating hydroelectricity. If you power by road it opens up electrification to trucks and buses as well, says Martin Lamb from the Transport Research Laboratory. The technical requirements and development costs are expensive. But if vehicles especially freight could travel through train-like long form, we could control their speed, and therefore the provision of power, because energy use would become more predictable. People are used to roads that have no function, other than being a flat place to drive. Its quite a jump from that to multi functional, intelligent, modern, modular panels. Existing safety materials on roadways today in the form of lane markings and traffic signs help safely guide drivers through visual cues such as shape, color and retro reflective properties for nighttime driving, but these same materials can be optimized for machine navigation, as well Pavement markings are being designed to help enable machine vision systems to better see the roadway, including features such wet retro-reflectivity, enhanced contrast (white or yellow material with black edges), and durability for longer- lasting presence on the roads. These new features help lane assistance systems perform in rainy conditions at night and provide better detection of lane markings at further distances. Today's vehicles are being designed for urban mobility and are built to work on the types of roads that exist today. Optimizing the current infrastructure with advanced pavement marking and traffic signs can help enable these vehicles to operate safely and efficiently.Resolving all of these new challenges will require a collaborative approach across industries, including the automotive, sensor technology, electronics, solar, software and roadway infrastructure.