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Transportation

Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future? 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-drive-on dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "We were just talking about glow-in-the-dark roads and how they were having issues already. Now there's a company called Solar Roadways that's looking to make glowing, solar, smart roads. 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 — so well that Solar Roadways is now looking to go big-time, and it's asking for your help to do so. At the heart of the Solar Roadways project sit a vast number of hexagonal tiles. The bottom of those tiles consist of solar panels and circuit boards, covered with a thick sheet of tempered glass. The panels contain LED lights, which can be configured to mark traffic lanes, send messages, or fulfill other functions. The panels also have heating elements to help melt snow and ice during colder months. Are these smart roads the future, or just another pipe dream?"
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Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?

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  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:02AM (#47006453)
    "Our roads need to be repaired almost constantly. How does this improve the situation? How about a dumb road that does it's job for 80 years straight?"

    What the fuck?

    Can't you see from the video that these roads are made from hexagons?

    And they glow in the dark?

    And if these roads get damaged, it can electrocute common nuisances like earthworms, birds, little kids and the like?

    And all of these features are solar powered, so you know it is green (except for the toxic chemicals in the solar panels these things deposit in the water supply when it rains).

    People like you are why we don't have progress and why some little kids in Asia are choking on smog and you don't care, which makes you a jerk!
  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:52AM (#47006907)

    What is going to prevent these plates from getting scratched and rendered useless shortly by studded tires, gravel, snow plows, etc.

    Flying cars, of course.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @06:32AM (#47007599)

    I feel sorry for Smart Roads. They're so smart, deep down they must realize how many miles of Dumb Roads could have been built for the same money.

    I feel sorry for those embedded hexagonal tiles too. They must have known as the grout hardened around them that it was a one way trip into a soul-less, sorry-ass world. At the semiconductor plant there was so much optimism and excitement, everyone was buzzing about becoming an integral part of the ongoing man-machine synergy. Of course when everyone graduates from silicon college they all think they'll be the ones to stretch Shannon's limits and change information states in an intricate dance party of information-sharing, everyone connected. But what happens is, so many are diverted to become these simple blinky-light drone units on a lonely road as countless strangers fly over them. Heartless strangers. And through the cruel geometry of the hexagon, only six adjacent units to keep them company. For ETERNITY.

    Covered with tempered glass for Pete's sake. Even the glass is pissed off by this idea, it has already lost its temper as it is being cemented into place. I'm glass goddammit, roads are like playgrounds where all the kids are mean and gravel and skidding tires are everywhere. Gravel hurts. The glass knows its glorious transparency and reflectivity will soon be gouged and cratered, the pane dissolves into a translucent pain of dwindling light.

    The solar cells under the doomed glass are perhaps the saddest of all. To lose their photon stream bit by bit until a mere trickle of current escapes them is purgatory without end. Soon all of them will be barely functional, trapped under road, when they could have been some where out in the sunshine.

    It is merciful when a load of dirt just covers them up on the shoulder and just hardens there, they can settle in for a nap.

    During the first frost of Winter everyone in the hexagonal array is overjoyed when the heating wires kicked in and electrons begin to jump out of their shells once more. But soon it was obvious that something was very wrong. "Hey, ease off! There's delicate electronics in here!" But trapped within their isolated pockets of trapped heat they realize that no one can hear their cries. The heat element, though it can deliver a continuous torment to the components inside, would never melt a thick layer of ice. "Someone duid not do the math. Help us!"

    But no help comes, and soon the project hits cost overruns is abandoned. One day the control signals go silent, and once again a wave of dismay sweeps across the trapped colony of orphaned electronics. There is no more purpose in life, but thanks to the cruel embedding of solar cells, life will go on.

    It's all just so damned horrible.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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