Published on January 7th, 2017 | by Guest0
High Tech Travel – What Our Roads Will Look Like in 10 Years
Take a look at the state of the art in technology, and compare it to two decades ago. The obvious conclusion is that the roads of the future are probably going to look (and act) quite different than they do today. We already have smart phones, appliances, and houses. Are you ready for what the smart highway will look like? Or the very real possibility that, if we peek far enough ahead, there may be no roadways at all. While the one certainty about the future is that no one knows what it will look like, that won’t stop us from taking a stab at it.
The Smart Highway
What are we talking about when we say “smart highway?” A few things are already on the near-term horizon. One will be the growing presence of electric charging stations. There are already a few dotting the landscape in California, Arizona, and a few other outposts, but we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If hydrogen ever takes off as a vehicle power source, you might start to see those stations as well. Can you visualize it? You pull into your favorite convenience store and see rows of gas, electric, and hydrogen “pumps.”
By the time technology that already exists is incorporated into our roadways, defensive driving El Paso TX (or anywhere else) will be a thing of the past. You won’t have to pay attention at all! Here’s what will happen. We’ve already got Uber, Google, Tesla, and others developing driverless cars. As more of these buggies hit the road, it becomes increasingly necessary to pump up the factors that make it easier for these first generation vehicles to keep it between the lines. Here are a few expectations:
- Anti-icing roads: already being tested in Wisconsin, these roads will come pre-equipped with a solution that naturally melts the ice.
- Dynamic Paint: Paint is paint, right? It is until they incorporate a sensitive paint that shows symbols on the road surface itself warning of hot or cold temperature conditions that could affect driving conditions.
- Interactive Road Lights: There’s no point in keeping those millions of miles of road lights on all the time. Expect the future to see wind-powered versions that only come on when a car is detected.
- Pump Up the Power: In the future, roads will likely incorporate various ways of harnessing energy generated by a vehicle’s forward motion.
- Wireless Electric Charging: Did we mention electric charging stations previously? Strike that. It’s outdated before it even gets here. The REAL future of electric charging involves powering a car up while it’s driving via charged contact points installed in the road that brush the car’s undercarriage as it drives past.
The future of our world’s roadways will be shaped by the future of our cars. We’ve already seen a glimpse of where we’re headed with driverless cars. Vehicles may soon resemble closed pods more than anything else, like a rolling living room with windows you can look out or darken. A driverless car has no need for a windshield. All the information it needs to navigate at hundreds of miles per hour in a nose-to-tail line that stretches from coast-to-coast may eventually be sent wirelessly through instantaneous GPS technology. We’ll be able to get rid of road signs and markings completely. Do you trust a driverless car that much? Maybe not now but here’s betting we will eventually.
It’s a good bet we eventually won’t require roads at all. Watch movies like Star Wars, Blade Runner, or The 5th Dimension. It won’t be long before the idea of taking a land-based vehicle between geographic locations will seem quaint. Tesla and Space-X wunderkind, Elon Musk, already has plans underway he calls a Hyperloop. Essentially it’s a pod that travels at very high speed thanks to the miracle of magnetism to transport people from New York to Los Angeles in – say – half an hour. And the obvious extension of that is the transporter device used in the Star Trek universe which doesn’t require a vehicle at all. It breaks a human down to the molecular level, transmits the information to a distant location, and reassembles them.
The bottom line is that things are about to change quickly when it comes to the appearance and function of our roads. Don’t blink or you might miss all the fun.