Power to the pavement
projects to integrate solar power and Wi-Fi into roads are bringing new meaning to connectivity
Today's roads are useful but lazy. Sure, they're the backbone of the world's land transportation system, but roads also spend most of their time idle. One thing they could be doing is generating energy. A flurry of projects is now putting pavement to work. But next-gen roads aren't yet ready to be scaled up. "These projects are expensive to install, and they raise real questions about repair and maintenance," says Peter Harrop, PhD, chairman of the technology market research firm IDTechEx, London, England. Despite the cost and performance questions, though, they hold potential for long-term viability and could complement other efforts to create smart, connected cities, he says. "The projects are opening up a world where electricity and Wi-Fi could be available wherever you need it."