Researchers from Lancaster University’s Department of Engineering will design, fabricate and test smart roads that generate power using piezoelectricity and hydromechanical dynamics from passing cars, trucks and buses.
The electricity harvested by the ‘smart’ roads will be stored by roadside batteries to power street lamps, road signs, air pollution monitors, plus sensors that detect when potholes are forming.
In addition, the smart roads will generate data on vehicle speeds, the types of vehicle travelling along the roads, as well as other information on traffic flows.
The two-year research into smart road surfaces is led by Lancaster’s Prof Mohamed Saafi.
“This is a very exciting project where we will develop novel smart road surfaces that harvest energy to power sensors that can monitor both the structural integrity of road surfaces and traffic flows – providing valuable new data streams that will help to significantly improve the efficiency of highways management and maintenance,” he said in a statement. “We see these next-generation energy harvesting road surfaces as an important part of future smart cities.

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