Skip to Content
Uncategorized

China is testing high-tech roads for the electric cars of the future

April 12, 2018

A new section of smart highway will show how streets could supply data and energy to cars as they zip along it.

How it works: Bloomberg explains that solar panels are embedded beneath a tough, transparent upper surface to generate electricity in a stretch of test road in the city of Jinan, China. The section is 1,080 meters long and can generate enough electricity to power its highway lights and 800 homes.

What’s next: The top layer of the road has space for sensors that monitor things like temperature, traffic flow, and load, which in the future will allow vehicles to receive updates about, say, traffic conditions and local weather. That could help autonomous vehicles make decisions. The road should also provide wireless car charging, though the test section is too short for that to be useful.

Why it matters: China is already the world’s biggest market for electric cars, and the government has laid out a goal of having 10 percent of all cars be fully autonomous by 2030. Smart infrastructure like this will encourage adoption of these new vehicles.

But: At $1,100 per square meter of road, it’s not cheap. The price is expected to fall when the material is made at commercial volume. It will need to.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

It’s time to retire the term “user”

The proliferation of AI means we need a new word.

Sam Altman says helpful agents are poised to become AI’s killer function

Open AI’s CEO says we won’t need new hardware or lots more training data to get there.

An AI startup made a hyperrealistic deepfake of me that’s so good it’s scary

Synthesia's new technology is impressive but raises big questions about a world where we increasingly can’t tell what’s real.

Taking AI to the next level in manufacturing

Reducing data, talent, and organizational barriers to achieve scale.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.