Smart highway

Smart highway and smart road are terms for a number of different proposals to incorporate technologies into roads for generating solar energy, for improving the operation of autonomous cars, for lighting, and for monitoring the condition of the road.

Vehicle infrastructure integration
Grouping vehicles into platoons is a method of increasing the capacity of roads. An automated highway system is a proposed technology for doing this.

Platoons decrease the distances between cars or trucks using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. This capability would allow many cars or trucks to accelerate or brake simultaneously. This system also allows for a closer headway between vehicles by eliminating reacting distance needed for human reaction.

Platoon capability might require buying new vehicles, or it may be something that can be retrofitted. Drivers would probably need a special license endorsement on account of the new skills required and the added responsibility when driving in the lead.

Smart cars with artificial intelligence could automatically join and leave platoons. The automated highway system is a proposal for one such system, where cars organise themselves into platoons of 8 to 25.

Vehicle infrastructure integration
Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) is an initiative fostering research and applications development for a series of technologies directly linking road vehicles to their physical surroundings, first and foremost in order to improve road safety. The technology draws on several disciplines, including transport engineering, electrical engineering, automotive engineering, and computer science. VII specifically covers road transport although similar technologies are in place or under development for other modes of transport. Planes, for example, use ground-based beacons for automated guidance, allowing the autopilot to fly the plane without human intervention. In highway engineering, improving the safety of a roadway can enhance overall efficiency. VII targets improvements in both safety and efficiency.

Vehicle infrastructure integration is that branch of engineering, which deals with the study and application of a series of techniques directly linking road vehicles to their physical surroundings in order to improve road safety.

Structural health monitoring
Structural health monitoring (SHM) refers to the process of implementing a damage detection and characterization strategy for engineering structures. Here damage is defined as changes to the material and/or geometric properties of a structural system, including changes to the boundary conditions and system connectivity, which adversely affect the system’s performance. The SHM process involves the observation of a system over time using periodically sampled dynamic response measurements from an array of sensors, the extraction of damage-sensitive features from these measurements, and the statistical analysis of these features to determine the current state of system health. For long term SHM, the output of this process is periodically updated information regarding the ability of the structure to perform its intended function in light of the inevitable aging and degradation resulting from operational environments. After extreme events, such as earthquakes or blast loading, SHM is used for rapid condition screening and aims to provide, in near real time, reliable information regarding the integrity of the structure. Infrastructure inspection plays a key role in public safety in regards to both long-term damage accumulation and post extreme event scenarios. As part of the rapid developments in data-driven technologies that are transforming many fields in engineering and science, machine learning and computer vision techniques are increasingly capable of reliably diagnosing and classifying patterns in image data, which has clear applications in inspection contexts.

Intelligent transportation systems
An intelligent transportation system (ITS) is an advanced application which, without embodying intelligence as such, aims to provide innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management and enable users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated, and ‘smarter’ use of transport networks.

Although ITS may refer to all modes of transport, the directive of the European Union 2010/40/EU, made on the 7 July 2010, defined ITS as systems in which information and communication technologies are applied in the field of road transport, including infrastructure, vehicles and users, and in traffic management and mobility management, as well as for interfaces with other modes of transport. ITS may improve the efficiency of transport in a number of situations, i.e. road transport, traffic management, mobility, etc.

Intelligent transportation systems usually refers to the use of information and communication technologies (rather than innovations in the construction of the roadway) in the field of road transport, including infrastructure, vehicles and users, and in traffic management and mobility management, as well as for interfaces with other modes of transport.

Photovoltaic pavement
Photovoltaic pavement is a form of pavement that generates electricity by collecting solar power with photovoltaics. Parking lots, footpaths, driveways, streets and highways are all candidate locations where this material could be used.

In 2013 Students at the Solar Institute at George Washington University installed a solar panel walking path designed by Onyx Solar, something they call solar pavement.

SolaRoad is a system being developed by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Ooms Groep, Imtech and the Netherlands province of North Holland. They plan to install their panels on 100 m of cycle path in Krommenie, Netherlands in November 2014. A variant concept of a “solar road” installed in Avenhorn, by Ooms Avenhorn Holding AV, uses asphalt and tarmac to absorb the sun’s rays and heat water for use in domestic heating.

The Solar Roadways company of Idaho, USA, is developing a prototype system to replace current roads, parking lots, and driveways with photovoltaic solar road panels that generate electricity.

South Korea has built a freeway with the median covered by solar panels above a bikepath.

The first photovoltaic road in the world was constructed in Tourouvre, Orne, France in 2016. Called “Wattway”, it was built by Société Nouvelle Aeracem (SNA), and dedicated by the French Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal on October 25, 2016. The 1-km section of road opened to traffic on 22 December 2016. It is believed the road will provide enough power for the town’s streetlights.

The Jinan solar highway opened in China in December 2017 along a 1.2 mile stretch. It uses transparent concrete on the top layer with the solar panels underneath. It was the second solar roadway in the city, the first opened in September 2017 using a different technology.

Solar Road Panels
The main purpose of solar roadways is to replace asphalt roads with Solar Panels which generate energy through the sun that can be used by local houses or businesses that are connected to the system from either the house’s driveway or the businesses parking lot. The panels will also increase the number of charging stations for electric cars if that station is connected to the solar roadway. Each panel is roughly 12’ by 12’ of interlocking panels that have their own LED lights that will be used as the road lines, and can also be used to spell out words like “Reduce Speed” or “Traffic Ahead” to help the flow of traffic.

There are 3 layers that make up the solar panels:

1. The Road Surface Layer – The Road Layer is the High Strength layer that has the photovoltaic cells which attracts the sun’s rays, it has traction so vehicles don’t slide off the road, and it’s waterproof to protect the layers below.

2. The Electronic Layer – The Electronic Layers contain a mini microprocessor board that helps control the heating element of the panels, this technology can help melt the snow that lands on the panels so that hazardous road conditions will no longer be an issue in the more northern regions. This layer can sense how much weight is on the panels and can control the heating element to melt the snow.

3. The Base Plate Layer – The Base Plate Layer is the layer that collects the energy from the sun and distributes the power to the homes or businesses that are connected to the solar roadways. This will also be used to transfer the energy to cars as they drive over the strip to recharge the battery.

Slate Magazine stated that solar roadways would produce less electricity than solar cells that are placed at an angle, and that less light would touch them because of shade, dirt covering the road, and cars blocking the sun from touching the panels.

Critics have pointed out that solar roadways would be both more expensive, and less productive than more conventional ways of combining solar power with infrastructure, such as building shelters over roads and parking areas and putting traditional solar panels on the roofs; Elon Musk demonstrated that there is ample space in the US, apart from roads, to fulfill the power requirements of the country. .

Smart pavement
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) began testing out “smart pavement” at a rest stop outside of Conway, Missouri along historic Route 66 late in 2016. The pilot program currently covers about 200 square feet of sidewalk at the visitor center and cost $100,000 (Landers), largely subsidized by the Federal Highway Administration. It’s all part of Missouri’s Road to Tomorrow initiative to find new innovations in their transportation infrastructure. Missouri wants to take advantage of these roadways to implement other, related technologies. The panels will heat the road and keep snow and ice from accumulating. They will also feature LED diodes that will increase the visibility of road lines. The LEDs would also double in helping prevent paint from inhibiting solar power generation. The panels have not had enough time to determine durability, energy efficiency, or cost effectiveness in a real world sense yet, so MoDOT has not reach any conclusions about feasibility and future application yet.

Wireless vehicle charging
The Online Electric Vehicle being developed by KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) has electrical circuits built into the road which will power suitably adapted vehicles via contactless electromagnetic induction. A pilot system powering electric buses is under development. Germany’s IAV is another company that is developing induction chargers.

Electromechanical batteries
Roadway-powered electric vehicle system is the patent held by Howard R. Ross. It has several components. The first of which is an all electric vehicle that would be fit with electromechanical batteries that accept a charge from the road. The road is the second component and would have strategically placed charging coils as to only charge the car when needed. These cars and roads would not require gas or solar power.

Nowhere in the world is an invention like this currently implemented, and this is due to the cost of the infrastructure overhaul that would be needed to bring this patent into reality.

Road markings
The Smart Highway concept developed by Studio Roosegaarde and the infrastructure management group Heijmans in the Netherlands incorporated photo-luminescent paint for road markings, which absorb light during the day then glow for up to 10 hours. The technology was demonstrated on a stretch of highway in Brabant, Netherlands.

Frost protection and melting snow, ice
Snowmelt systems using electricity or hot water to heat roads and pavements have been installed in various locations.

Solar Roadways has proposed including a snowmelt system with their photovoltaic road panels since the panels already have electrical power connections for harvesting photovoltaic power. Skeptics point to the cost.

ICAX Limited of London’s “Interseasonal Heat Capture” technology captures solar energy in thermal banks and releases it back under a roadway, heating it and keeping asphalt free of ice.

In the U.S., a study found that between 1996-2011, over 12,000 deaths were caused by winter-related precipitation. Annually over 500,000 accidents occur because of winter-related weather. In 2014, federal, state, and local governments spent $73 billion on operation and maintenance of highways, including for resurfacing needed because of current snow removal techniques. Between October 2014-April 2015, 23 state DOTs reported spending $1.131 billion on snow and ice removal, including 8 million working hours, not including local expenditures. For instance, between 2003-2015, the city of New York estimated the cost of snow and ice removal at $1.8 million per inch. Annually, auto drivers lose $23.4 billion in corrosion-related repair costs and depreciation linked to chemicals used to treat roadways during winter. In 2014, economists estimated that snow and ice that winter had cost the country $47 billion in GDP and 76,000 jobs.

With snow and ice melt systems deployed to obstruct winter weather, deaths, accidents, governmental and insurance costs, economic losses, and personal auto expenditures are reduced.

Source from Wikipedia