Smart Highway: A Visual Re-Design for European Roads

November 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s always been a personal dream of mine to design a motorway junction (I know…) so I was pretty excited to see concept art for an award-winning smart highway by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde. Cars change year after year yet the roads they drive on havn’t changed since 1870. This new concept proposes smart roads that can visually communicate when the roads are wet or icy; can charge your car battery as you drive; contain interactive lights to save electricity; and adapt to suit changing visibilities.

‘Dynamic paint’ will visually communicate travel intelligence such as traffic build-ups or weather conditions. When the roads become icy, the paint changes to blue. When the light fades, the paint glows in the dark to illuminate the contours and turns of the road. More challenging is the conception of a priority lane that uses induction technology to charge the batteries of electric cars as they drive via a series of induction coils beneath the asphalt. What are the chances of this happening? According to Dutch civil engineers Heijmans Infrastructure, the dynamic paint would be simple to implement but the induction tech would require heavy costs in expensive metals such as lithium. Despite the complications, it’s interesting to imagine the future of our road networks.

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