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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 tlambert (566799) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:33AM (#47006725)

    Long-lived roads are too labor and time intensive to build.

    Germany seems to manage. But then again, they put their road work out to bid, and generally award the contract to whoever offers the longest warranty. If the state itself is doing the work, they don't have to compete on price or labor efficiency, and it's in the best interests of the people doing the work to consider their future employment options by doing a crappy job, similar to Wally's "I'm going to write myself a minivan!" reaction to the announcement of a "bug bounty" in the Dilbert comic strip.

    There's a reason why the joke "The shortest distance between any two points is under construction" is not really that funny in California.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:20AM (#47007787) Homepage

    Why do scratches need to be prevented?

    Scratched glass is still glass. There are century-old glass sidewalks that still let plenty of light into the tunnels below. As long as the tile only needs a sufficiently-small percentage of the energy it receives, it will continue to function. Display visibility from vehicles would be the biggest problem, but that would function much like the paint under a hockey arena. Even though the lines may not have perfect edges and appear beautiful, they'll still be functional to show where the edge of a lane is.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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