Very soon roads in China will be able to charge cars. A section of highway in a Chinese city is undergoing a transformation unlike any seen in the world, which may offer a window into the future of transportation itself, Bloomberg reported.
“The road of the future is likely to become the brain and nerve center of an autonomous-driving revolution,” Bloomberg said. The report reveals that the technologies will be entrenched underneath transparent concrete used to build a 1,080-meter-long (3,540-foot-long) stretch of road in the Jinan city of Shandong province of Eastern China.
Qilu Transportation Development Group (QTDG) that has taken over the project, has converted about two-thirds of a mile of the three vertical layered road, that has over 45,000 vehicles pounding it daily, to generate solar electricity — enough to power the highway lights and 800 homes.
“The highways we have been using can only carry vehicles passing by, and they are like the 1.0-generation product,” the company’s general manager, said Zhou Yong told Bloomberg. “We’re working on the 2.0 and 3.0 generations by transplanting brains and a nervous system."
The development of the smart road which has comes in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s “Made in China 2025” initiative to help the nation become an advanced manufacturing power and a leader in technology and transportation.
According to Bloomberg's calculations based on the details provided by Yong, the build-up cost for the stretch of road in Jinan cost about 7,000 yuan per square meter, making the total cost nearly $6.5 million (about 41 million yuan). For those unaware, Jinan, is home to state-owned truck manufacturer China National Heavy Duty Truck Group and includes the German auto-maker Volkswagen AG’s MAN SE.