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Intelligent roads: a step towards the future

Motorways have become scenarios where cars interact with technological advances that allow authorities to intervene quickly against any eventuality, improve traffic and support drivers with valuable and instant information.

The extensive roads that link countries have had to evolve to adapt to the technological innovations that the automotive sector and transportation systems demand. The possibility that a vehicle will operate without the intermediary of the driver or that the car will stop at the side of the road if the driver falls asleep while driving is just a few examples of how it is necessary to create ecosystems in which modern cars And freeways interact fluidly to achieve improvements such as increased travel speed and increased safety.

The goal is for these avenues to become advanced platforms that allow infrastructure (such as traffic signals and tolls) and vehicles to communicate and share essential information. In this way, a driver can know in advance if a traffic accident is recorded or if the weather conditions are making it difficult for cars to pass through a certain point so that, with the help of navigation systems, he receives recommendations for alternative routes and can Reduce the waiting times of people inside a vehicle, while reducing the consumption of gasoline and the consequent emissions derived from the use of fossil fuels.

In Europe, these collaborative models involving vehicles and road infrastructure have already begun to be implemented. Through these types of solutions, companies in the technology industry seek to make the journey more efficient from start to finish: starting from the moment the driver starts his vehicle and defines the most appropriate route, then passing toll booths with Automatic payment, to end in a parking lot that can be booked and paid for using software built into the vehicle.

Even in emergencies, the technology can ensure that response teams such as ambulances, police cars and fire brigades take priority on their journeys, causing the least trauma in the transit of other cars on the road. Through satellite technology, a traffic prioritization system can identify whether an emergency care vehicle is near a traffic light. If the traffic light is red, the system automatically changes it to green to allow the car to pass through. After crossing the intersection, the system resumes the normal operation of the traffic light.

To these advances is added the integration of technologies focused on the efficient use of resources, with traffic lights that can improve their energy consumption up to 85 percent. In fact, one of the most recent innovations of the multinational Siemens in this field achieves that, by using LED light at traffic lights, carbon emissions are drastically reduced. It is estimated that with the technology called ‘1-watt technology’, a city of extension Berlin (Germany) can avoid 2,000 tons of carbon emissions and save about 500,000 euros a year


Structural Improvements

Some of the infrastructure works of transport in which the technology can demonstrate its relevance are the tunnels. In these constructions, the advances are vital not only to guarantee an adequate traffic, but to alert to eventual problems that need to be solved immediately like damaged cars, accumulation of gases or fires.

Thanks to devices installed inside the tunnels, it is possible to automate measurements to determine when a congestion is occurring at a particular point or which are the ways to be cleared and used as an entry and exit route in case of an emergency.

To this is added a complete system that must be kept in continuous operation and which guarantees the normal operation of the space. This includes ventilation systems, indoor lighting, Closed Circuit Television (Cctv), fire extinguishing systems and internal signaling systems; All these elements that turn the tunnels into real intelligent infrastructures.

However, the roads of the future are not only intelligent because of their ability to communicate with other objects. They also achieve this thanks to the ability to supply energy to the vehicles passing through them.

Sweden was the country chosen by Siemens and the vehicle manufacturer Scania to test the world’s first public electric road. In a two-kilometer layout and over the next two years, hybrid trucks (powered by diesel fuel and electricity) will transit the avenue and take power from an electrical chain system.

Through this pilot scheme, the Swedish government wants to determine the commercial feasibility of electric roads, which would boost the government’s purposes of having a non-fossil fuel-dependent transport sector by 2030.

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Last Published


June 2019
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