Road surfaces haven’t changed much since the days of horse and cart, but new ideas to be shown at the Dutch Design Week may signal the arrival of next-generation tarmac that makes it easier and safer for drivers to get around.
A number of clever ideas from the show aim to make life for drivers a lot easier and roads safer. One idea involves glow in the dark lane markings that spend all day charging and use that power to remain illuminated throughout the night. This particular idea is so good, it’ll apparently be introduced on real roads in the Netherlands in mid-2013.
Dynamic paint, which adapts to temperature, will also be tested by the Dutch. One use of it will be to reveal snowflake graphics on the surface of the road when the temperature is low enough to present the risk of ice forming on the ground.
Also mooted is the use of inductive charging on roads. Yes, as you drive along in your eco-friendly battery-powered car, you could pull into a designated lane that wirelessly charges your vehicle, reducing the need to stop and find a charging point.
As if that wasn’t enough, the idea of interactive lights is also being toyed with. These clever roadside illuminators get brighter as you get closer and dimmer as you travel past, saving electricity that could be fed into the aforementioned inductive lane. Presumably, these lights will rely on light-sensitive pods similar to what’s being used on the DeerDeter system we reported on yesterday.
We’re very much of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but give us the money you were going to use anyway” mantra but these ideas, assuming they actually work in practice, could make roads a safer place.
Whether the technologies make it to the UK remains to be seen.