Intelligent cars and roads

I have written on car electronics trends on my Car Electronics 2012 posting, and followed on the later news on the topic on the comments. It is well known that cars have become and are becoming as big moving intelligent always connected mobile devices.

There are also plans to make the roads intelligent. Intelligent Roadways Pave Way To The Future article presents an interesting intelligent road concept idea. The idea is to build solar powered roadways with intelligence built into them. The road is built from six-sided modules that have solar panel, intelligence and LEDs built into package that can well withstand cars running over it. There are even  integrated heaters to melt away snow and ice.

The technology will be expensive to start with, but there are plans that 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. It was estimated in the article that 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.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

    “Back in 2009 the Department of Transportation awarded Solar Roadways $100,000 to prototype road systems with embedded digital signage and dividing lines, all powered by the sun. As it turns out, the company’s prototype performed well”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solar Roadways would be great, but won’t happen
    You may have heard the idea of replacing many of America’s roads with durable solar panels that could generate electricity. It’s a great idea, but here’s why it probably won’t work.
    - See more at:

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea

    Against all odds, the crowd-funded solar road project was a remarkable money-acquiring success. It’s clear there are some pretty significant technical hurdles

    A company called Solar Roadways has been making the news lately. They are working on putting solar power generation into our streets, highways parking lots and sidewalks.

    An IndieGogo campaign is wrapping up for bringing this concept to production.

    First, some background: Roads are built with asphalt, which is made of the leftovers from gasoline refining, mixed with a bunch of dirt and pebbles. They cost a lot to make, but the raw materials are not the cost driver. Labor and equipment is.

    The Solar Roadway plan is to replace the repaving of a road with some sort of processing that will leave it in a condition to accept hexagonal solar panels and their associated wiring and networking needs. The current state of the design appears to depend on the placement of a one-foot-square grid of large bolts in the roadway. I’ve installed bolts into concrete, and it takes me several minutes to mark the hole, drill it, clean it out and pound the anchor into place. A mile of 30 foot wide roadway would have 150,000 bolts to install. Whee!

    Then there may be some work required to make the panels talk to each other. There is mention of cutting a raceway for cables.

    The idea of having LED signage built into the panels is intriguing. Do you know the only electronic thing that’s more expensive per square foot than solar cells? Yup, you guessed it – LED signage.

    Those solar-panel-covered shade structures that are popping up in church parking lots all over Tucson are looking smarter by the minute. The solar panels are mass-produced in China for a couple dollars a watt, and the structures are simple cantilevered steel I-beam ramadas.

    How Solar Panel Highways Work

    Sure, roads made of solar panels sounds like a great idea and one that could possibly get this country truly running on solar power; however, just how feasible is this plan?

    For one, it would be quite costly. Each panel costs about $7,000 to build, and the plan calls for billions of them to cover the roadways

    Installation would take huge amounts of time and money

    Most likely, it would take several years before the electricity generated by the panels would recoup their own cost. For this reason, the company suggests smaller-scale projects are the best place to start.

    Then there’s the question of durability. Our roads take lots of punishment from cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractor trailers, not to mention the fact that they could be damaged in traffic accidents. How would these glass panels hold up against that kind of punishment?

    This video explains why solar roadways won’t work anytime soon

    These people claim their solar roadways technology is the future. They have raised over $1.8 million from people who are too gullible and decide to ignore simple physics and economics in favor of nice dreams of green energy. This video shows why their invention doesn’t make any sense.

    ill-considered and enormous supporting infrastructure requirements

    Thunderf00t explains the problems of Solar Roadways and why it’s vaporware.


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