Scott Brusaw is a former electrical engineer. He decided to found a startup with the aim to reach full production of a special tile made for paving roadways, parking lot, and public flooring in general. Solar Roadways produces connected blocks loaded with LED lights and solar panels. The blocks would replace the top layer of tarmac roads and would also create lane markings and traffic instruction with a real time connection to a central hub. It aims to be a revolutionary product that would eventually replace a common commodity in our everyday life and create a green-oriented, hi-tech road paving system.
The Solar Roadway is even designed to stay above freezing, making it difficult for winter weather to accumulate and is also able to stand at least 250K pounds of pressure, handling vans, large vehicles and common traffic, as many civil engineering tests have demonstrated.
Solar Roadways has already completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in June 2014, raising more than 2 millions of dollars with 50.000 supporters from all around the world. Solar Roadways also have the potential to power charging stations for electric cars and could even pave the way for future driverless vehicle technologies. While the system could be really expensive compared to a traditional technology, it would pay itself off by producing three times the electricity the US needs and through lower maintenance expenses compared to traditional roads.
The US Federal Highway institution has already supported the project and the startup has been installing demo parking lots and other prototypes all over the country. While thinking about smart cities, smart grids (remember Ohmconnect?), and driverless vehicles, it could be the right time to rethink also our infrastructures.
[Header photo by Thomas Kelley via Unsplash.com]