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Solar Road Technology to Complement Self-Driving Cars

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Solar Road Technology to Complement Self-Driving Cars

In a brilliant and innovative response to our times, a start-up has invented a method to turn our roads into solar farms. What better way to produce electricity and keep us safer on roads at the same time? This is all part of the plan of Solar Roadways, a solution that solves different problems involving transport and energy with solar technology.


Solar Roadways’ technology will make our streets and highways as smart as our future self-driving cars that drive along them will be. The solar road tiles are meant to generate adequate power from the sun to feed the electrical grid. Each interlocking hexagonal tile is covered with tough, textured glass that can bear 113,398 kilograms or the weight of a semi-trailer truck. Each solar tile contains a heating element that will melt ice, snow and sleet, which will keep the roads clearer and much safer. LED lighting is also contained in each solar road tile, to light the way at night as well as provide safety messages on the road. That’s a lot of solutions to a lot of different problems with one single technology.


The inventors of Solar Roadways, Scott and Julie Brusaw, looked to both Indiegogo and the US government to fund different phases of the project. Another benefit of the solar tiles is ease of repair. Rather that a whole section of asphalt road being taken out to fix it, the tiles and cracks can be repaired more easily. The LED lights in the solar tiles will replace regular traffic lights, offer safety warnings and updated information in response to changes in traffic conditions minute-by-minute.


The first test of the solar road tiles will be later this year in the State of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Transportation will install a section of solar road tiles in a sidewalk as a test, to be built at the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway. The sidewalk installation will measure how well the technology works, before it is fully installed on roads.


The success of the technology is widely anticipated by everyone who follows Solar Roadways. After the sidewalk test, it is expected that solar road tiles will be installed on actual highways for further testing. The biggest test will be how the road tiles hold up and perform with a constant flow of vehicles driving on them. The State of Missouri is driving the use of self-driving cars through its current Road to Tomorrow program, and Solar Roadways’ technology through solar road tiles will dovetail with the self-driving car program. This upcoming test could not only make the highways much safer and clearer, it could also power the entire region.



Categories: News, Automotive Technology

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