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Solar Road Technology Will Keep Roads Safer

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Solar Road Technology Will Keep Roads Safer

Using an amazing technology launched by an innovative start-up, roads will eventually become as smart as the self-driving cars that travel on them. Solar Roadways has invented road tiles that are solar, with an aim to eventually generating enough power from the sun to feed the electrical grid. But solar power isn’t the only mission of Solar Roadways’ road tiles. Each tile has LED lighting in it which will light the way for drivers at night to make the roads safer. A heating element that will melt the snow is also included in the solar tile, which will melt the snow and make it easier and less slippery to drive on. That’s three different inventions within one solar road tile, solving three different problems with ingenuity and practicality.

Essentially a solar road is a way to transform all of the highways into solar farms that we drive on. The interlocking hexagonal tiles are covered with textured, toughened glass that has enough strength to handle a semi-trailer truck’s weight, or about 113,398 kg (250,000 lb). Solar Roadways maintains that the tiles will be easier to repair than asphalt because small cracks and tiles can be fixed without a whole area of road being taken out. The lights in the solar tiles are meant to replace regular traffic lights, as well as offer updated guide lines and safety warnings that change and adapt to traffic conditions.

Scott and Julie Brusaw, the inventors of Solar Roadways, went to Indiegogo to fund the next phase of the project with crowdsourcing after partial funding was initially obtained from the US government. Now in a real test of reality, Missouri’s Department of Transportation is planning to install a version of the solar road tiles in a sidewalk to test it out. The segment will be built at the Historic Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway, Missouri. The purpose of the sidewalk installation is to measure the viability of the technology itself, before it becomes used on roads.

Everyone who follows Solar Roadways is anxiously awaiting to see how successful the test is. The solar road tiles will subsequently be tested on actual highways, with thousands of vehicles driving on them. The State of Missouri is currently promoting the use of self-driving cars through its Road to Tomorrow program, and Solar Roadways’ solar road tiles are the perfect complement. The upcoming test could not only power the region, but also help to keep the highways clearer and safer.

 

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