The road to China’s autonomous-driving future is paved with solar panels, mapping sensors and electric-battery rechargers, according to Bloomberg.
China is testing an “intelligent highway” system that could speed the transformation of the global transportation industry. The technology involved will be embedded underneath transparent concrete used to build a 3,500 foot-long stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan.
According to builder Qilu Transportation, about 45,000 vehicles travel the section every day, and the solar panels inside generate enough electricity to power highway lights and 800 homes. But the company wants to do more than supply juice to the grid: it wants the road to be just as smart as the vehicles of the future.
“The highways we have been using can only carry vehicles passing by, and they are like the 1.0-generation product,” said Zhou Yong, Qilu’s general manager. “We’re working on the 2.0 and 3.0 generations by transplanting brains and a nervous system.”
The company plans to deliver better traffic updates, more accurate mapping and on-the-go recharging of electric-vehicle batteries, all from the ground up. (Source: Bloomberg)
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