The roads and highways of the future

May 26, 2022 - 18:52
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The roads and highways of the future

According to Dr. Luna Lu, director of the Center for Intelligent Infrastructure (CII) at Purdue University, our future roadways and bridges must be "smart enough" to avert their own harm.

CII is working on sensors that will alert engineers when fresh concrete has fully hardened and is ready for heavy traffic, minimizing the possibility of cracks and the need for repair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS0zXtIa2PA

Self-healing materials are another part of the smart infrastructure that may heal minor cracks on their own, decreasing the impact of corrosion and other durability issues.

According to Dr. Lu, better integration of autonomous vehicles and people-driven vehicles with fundamental infrastructure is also vital for the future of roads.

Our current infrastructure was not designed to handle new technologies, such as self-driving cars, which pose a new challenge to existing infrastructure while simultaneously providing a chance to expand the benefits of smart roads.

Dr. Lu largely agrees with Intel, which stated in his White Paper on Intelligent Road Technology that traffic jams cost the average American almost a hundred hours of life and around $1,377 per year.

Intelligent road technology can track vehicles and change traffic lights when there are few or no automobiles approaching, hence reducing congestion. This has the potential to save drivers and passengers 9.4 hours per year.

To that aim, Fraunhofer Institute researchers in Germany are working on the KI4LSA project, which employs artificial intelligence to enable intelligent, predictive light switching.

Smart roads will assist boost energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving traffic flow and lowering congestion, making them more ecologically friendly.