Smart Road Technology

June 24, 2020 Avanish Jaiswal No Comments

Smart road Technology

The road is an often-missed factor of the modern transport infrastructure. We’ve all listened to self-driving cars, navigation apps, and ride-hailing services. But as appears the road itself can be a platform for an amazing pattern of innovations. Roads can be enhanced with communication, lighting and power transmission technologies. Smart Road Technology can support sustainability, improve safety, and transform the driving experience.


What Is Smart Road Technology?

Smart roads use Internet of Things (IoT) devices to form driving safer, more efficient, and greener. Smart Road Technology blend physical infrastructures such as sensors and solar panels with software infrastructure like AI and big data. 


These Technologies are installed in roads and can improve visibility, generate energy, communicate with independent vehicles and monitor road conditions. Here are a few examples:


IoT connectivity 

  • Cities can connect roads to IoT devices, and collect traffic and weather data. This type of connectivity can upgrade safety, traffic management, and energy efficiency. 
  • Traffic management networks: For upgradiy safety and eliminating congestion. The network adopts speed cameras to provide warning signs for dangerous conditions, and sends automated traffic diversion signals that control traffic. 

Traffic lights optimization

  •  Systems that utilizes data from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras or smart vehicles to improve traffic lights and update commuters on jams or bottlenecks. 
  • Most transport-related smart tech aims on individual vehicles. Although there have been larger scale advances in technological solutions for smart infrastructure at scale. Worldwide experiments in Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) technologies are believed to make urban transport smarter. 

Smart road Technology

  1.  Solar powered roadways


Photovoltaic cells are fixed within hexagonal panels made of tempered glass, which are used to pave roads. These panels consist of LEDs, microprocessors, snow-melting heating devices and inductive charging capability for electric vehicles when driving. Glass is renewable and can be engineered to be stronger than steel. It also allows cars to stop safely even when traveling at high speeds. While this concept has gained widespread support, attracting over $2 million in crowdfunding, scalability is a challenge as it remains expensive.


  1. Smart pavement


Specially engineered roadways fitted with smart characteristics, including sensors that monitor and report changing road conditions. WiFi transmitters  provide broadband services to vehicles, homes and businesses. The smart pavement can also charge electric cars as they drive.


  •  Glow in the dark roads 


Glowing markers painted onto current roadway surfaces use a photo-luminescent powder that absorbs and stores daylight. The 500m long strips glow for 8 hours after dark. This technology is yet in the testing phase.    The glow is not yet steady, but it can be more cost-effective than traditional road lighting.


  • Interactive lights


Road lights activated by motion sensors to illuminate a certain section of the road as a car approaches. The lights dim once the car passes. Favourable for roads with less traffic, interactive lights give night visibility as needed . It also reduces energy wastage when there are no cars. One design, developed by the Dutch Studio Roosegaarde, makes use of wind generated by passing vehicles to power lights.


  •  Electric priority lane for charging electric vehicles 


Embedded cables develop magnetic fields that charge electric vehicles while driving. A receiver coil in the vehicle gathers electromagnetic oscillations from a transmitter coil installed in the road and converts them to AC. It can then power the car. Inductive charging technology already resides for static cars, but future wireless technology could charge batteries while in movement.


  •  Weather detection


Networks of AI-integrated sensors recognise weather conditions that affect road safety. Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) in  today’s use are limited because they only gather data from a small set of weather stations. A larger future network could use independent weather stations to collect atmospheric and weather data and instantly upload it to the cloud. Dynamic temperature-sensitive paint could be used to focus invisible roadway conditions like black ice.


  • Traffic detection 


Data that supports travelers plan their routes. Sensors lining highways monitor traffic flow and weight load, warn drivers of traffic jams, and automatically alert the authorities regarding accidents. Fiber-optic cables fixed  in the road detect wear and tear, and communication between vehicles and roads can upgrade traffic management. For example, Rapid Flow Technologies uses artificial intelligence (AI) to control traffic lights, which respond to each other and to cars.


Encouraging The Adoption Of Smart Road Technology

  • Many governments and transport authorities recognise the value of smart road technology. However, developing smart city infrastructure at scale can be expensive and complex. 
  • Leaders can break down Smart Road Technology projects into chunks, initiating with low-investment, narrow-scale initiatives. It can grant initial value, setting the stage for high-investment, large-scale efforts. 
  • In the initial days of motor-powered mobility, cars were present, but there was no proper road infrastructure.
  •  The first private cars were hardly more effective than horse-driven wagons. Slowly, authorities recognized that only a major investment in road infrastructure would help the population reap the benefits of new transport technology. 
  • Today’s municipal governments and inter-city transport authorities should wake up to the importance of smart roads.  
  • As an important platform for mobility innovation. Smart Road Technology will power smarter cars, empower drivers, and provide governments with unprecedented visibility. It will also give control over the living fabric of motor-based traffic.

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