Highway to Hi-Tech: Smart Roads and Smart Vehicles

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Every day, it seems that we as a society are becoming further connected to the devices and the technologies that are available to us. It began with our phones that turned from handy little tools for communication on-the-go to fully fledged computers capable of astounding tricks that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. Following this, we adopted smart technology into our homes to make life so much easier in our day-to-day activities.


And now, our transport is on the verge of stepping over that smart line into a future where our vehicles are as connected to the world around them as we are. With road traffic accidents being one of the primary causes of death around the world, as well as the ever-present issue of exhaust emissions causing damage to the planet, the prospect of finding a safer, greener solution to getting from A to B is becoming ever more attractive and perhaps essential.


How they will benefit us


Like most technological advances, the idea is to make life easier for us and the same can be said with the implementation of smart roads and smart vehicles. One of the solutions to problems such as traffic and adverse or dangerous weather conditions is to receive live updates directly to your dashboard to alert you to potential problems just around the corner.


Furthermore, this type of infrastructure will help to benefit the environment. Moving from diesel and petrol fuelled cars to electric vehicles goes hand in hand with smart roads and would even charge the car during the journey. Other solutions include solar energy, which would help to expedite pledges to reduce carbon emissions and start on the road to a cleaner, greener earth.  


Current challenges


While plans to introduce smart roads to the average road are certainly noble, they do come with some challenges that make it easier said than done. One of the primary issues facing an adoption of smart road technology is that there are not enough people who own the right type of vehicle to justify spending money on adapting highways.


While there has been a surge in ownership and it is predicted that consumers will embrace them sooner rather than later, at the minute, it would be financially irresponsible for governments to install smart roads when most drivers would not get the full benefit.




The technology that has been proposed for smart roads ranges from fibre-optic technology that records information of passing traffic to transmit back to oncoming drivers, connected cars, which communicate with each other as well as a central system and using solar energy on street lights and markings to ease pressure on the central grid.


Some countries that have already committed to smart road technology include China and Sweden. While these are merely pilot schemes for now, their reception and success could pave the way for greater adoption across the world and a more eager embrace of smart road technology.


Highway to Hi-Tech


Smart roads and smart vehicles will not become the norm overnight, but with some nations and companies striving to demonstrate just how effective they could be, the future of roads could very easily be just around the corner.

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