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Solar Roadways: Crowd-Funded Future Tech?

by Kenny Hoeschen

Technology continues to advance in the areas of solar power, smart roadways, autonomous vehicles, and electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. One ambitious couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, are hoping to bring many of those technologies together in the form of Solar Roadways, with the help of an Indiegogo campaign. The concept is to have a roadway surface made up of interlocking solar panels protected with safety glass and the embedded technology would not only generate electricity, but provide a technology platform for use by autonomous vehicles, recharging electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and also communicate to drivers about road and traffic conditions.

It’s certainly a formidable challenge, but the couple does have early prototypes of the roadway already being tested, albeit in a very small installation. They are looking to raise $1 million to hire more people to continue to develop the technology and move towards production. Although this particular system may not see widespread adoption, we think some of the ideas behind the Solar Roadways project could be successful on a smaller scale. If the system proves to be economically feasible, reasonable to maintain, and durable, it could be used in parking lots not only to generate power but the lighting could be used to indicate space availability and direct cars to open spots.

The Indiegogo campaign ends on May 31, 2014. If you’d like to contribute, you could be part of building the roadways of the future.

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