5G Technology And Photovoltaic Roofs Proposals To Create The Road Of The Future

5G Technology And Photovoltaic Roofs Proposals To Create The Road Of The Future

Since the 1980s, when the concept of intelligent mobility was born, research and new technologies have focused on improving vehicles. Currently, the expansion of 5G and the development of artificial intelligence seek to achieve the futuristic dream of cars circulating autonomously. But will it be enough to sustain traffic in the coming years? The truth is that, despite its name, the autonomous vehicle does not work alone. 

The future of mobility depends on the connectivity between all the cars and the rest of the agents present on the road. For this reason, it is also necessary to digitize infrastructures. In the coming decades, the concept of “road,” as we understand it today, is doomed to disappear. The more than 35 million kilometers of pavement spread throughout the world will cease to be completely passive elements to become roads that help increase driving efficiency, improve safety and reduce environmental pollution.

A sample button. from 2022, all cars must incorporate intelligent speed assistants and involuntary lane change. A high level of autonomy will require an adaptation of the road infrastructure. Because, according to experts, the problem is not that there are excess carbs, but inefficient roads.

Consequently, in digitizing mobility, applications are also being found on asphalt, and it is increasingly common to speak of intelligent roads. Roads that incorporate advanced technology in terms of safety, connectivity, or even charging of electric vehicles. A series of solutions that:

  • They will enable dynamic traffic management,
  • Have the potential to reduce congestion and
  • They will contribute to the decrease in the number of accidents, since 90%, according to the DGT, come from the human factor. 

Previously, advances were limited to physical components, such as signs or new materials derived from bitumen. Now, in addition, the potential of wireless networks and artificial intelligence is being investigated. What’s more, cross-border 5G-connected road trials are already underway across Europe. Tests that will collect key data for the development of autonomous driving.

Roads that generate energy Intelligent roads began between 2016 and 2017 when solar roads with photosensitive paint that collected sunlight were designed in France and China. And, at night, they illuminated the roads with it. Even though these projects were not successful, the highways are still the subject of study to double the space they occupy by generating electricity. And solar energy, whose future lies in cost reduction and greater architectural integration, continues to be the main focus.

This is demonstrated by the PV SUD project, a new concept for a rooftop photovoltaic system for motorways developed by the Austrian Institute of Technology.

  • Energy production,
  • The flexible use of the road network,
  • Increasing the useful life of the pavement – protecting it from overheating and precipitation – and
  • Additional protection against noise.

The idea is to scientifically study all these factors and analyze the economic viability of this formula. But, although it is not its objective, the PV SUD project is also presented as a solution to one of the problems preventing the absolute explosion of the electric vehicle: autonomy. Because, what if it were the road itself that powered the batteries of the vehicles? It seems like science fiction, but in Sweden, they are already developing a prototype of a wireless router that will allow the trucks and buses that travel it to be recharged inductively while traveling.

According to various studies, around a third of cars will be autonomous by 2030. The next ten years will be crucial in determining the future of roads. The development of the autonomous vehicle industry and the electrification of the fleet seem unstoppable trends. Efforts are now focused on developing active and digital infrastructures that could reduce road travel by allowing cars to travel faster than today in a safe, efficient and sustainable way.

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