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  • [ January 31, 2013 ]
  • “Smart highways” offer a way to the future

Imagine driving on a road that alerts you of dangerous, icy conditions and even lights up when you drive forward. Over time we have seen the evolution of the ways in which we drive, though now it’s time we think about what our electric cars and hybrids are driving on.

Photo courtesy of fastcoexist.com

Studio Roosegaarde, a design studio in the Netherlands, has designed the road to the future. These smart highways offer safer transportation and features that promise no harm to the environment. We’ve adapted our cars to be safe for the environment, now it’s time for the roads to adapt too.

The smart highways will possess glow-in-the-dark road strips made with photo-luminescent paint that charges during the day. Temperature-responsive paint will lights up revealing ice crystals to alert drivers that it is below freezing outside, leaving it likely for icy road conditions. The interactive lighting feature is it’s best energy-saving feature yet. Road side lights illuminate only as cars pass and dims off as the cars speed forward, leaving the highway dark when no one is on the road. One feature that will leave electric car owners excited is the lane equipped with induction coils designed to recharge electric cars while they drive.

Photo courtesy of fastcoexist.com

The idea and even photos illustrate something from science-fiction films, however this isn’t the first smart highway idea that has emerged. Dr. Richard Sassoon of Stanford University has his lab working on roadways that recharge electric cars as they’re driving. Engineers in his lab researching and developing a wireless charge from magnetic coils embedded into the road. The car would pick up the power  from the embedded coils and effortlessly recharge, thus eliminating “range anxiety”, the idea that electric car drivers fear their vehicle will not have enough charge to reach their end destination. The smart highway won Best Future Concept by the Dutch Design Awards 2012, and the sustainable roadway will be implemented mid 2013 in the Netherlands.

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