THE IN­TEL­LI­GENT HIGH­WAYS OF TO­MOR­ROW

Autocar - - NEWS -

By the time Tfn’s 30-year plan reaches ma­tu­rity, the roads we drive on could be rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. Here are three in­no­va­tions that are cur­rently be­ing as­sessed.

Self-re­pair­ing Tar­mac

Could in­crease the life of a road by up to 16 years. Works by in­cor­po­rat­ing cap­sules of oil in the Tar­mac layer. When a crack ap­pears, the cap­sules re­lease oil, stick­ing the crack back to­gether. Called Capheal, the sys­tem was in­vented by the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham.

Elec­tric roads

Elec­tric in­duc­tion coils are buried at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals un­der the road sur­face (pic­tured). An EV equipped with an in­duc­tion pad can gen­er­ate enough charge by an im­pulse of en­ergy as it passes over the coil to keep its bat­tery topped up. The tech will be ready for use in between five and seven years.

Smart roads

Fi­bre-op­tic ca­bles in the road sur­face op­er­ate as ‘lis­ten­ing’ sta­tions to de­tect pass­ing traf­fic by mon­i­tor­ing the vi­bra­tions as ve­hi­cles cross the ca­bles. Ve­hi­cles can be iden­ti­fied by the unique vi­bra­tions they cre­ate ac­cord­ing to speed and weight. The sys­tem could pro­vide warn­ings of ob­struc­tions in re­mote ar­eas, where other tech­nolo­gies might not work.

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