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Solar Roadways

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By sploshman
Words 2387
Pages 10
Hilario Ramos
Ms.Kemp
Eng 009
Are Solar Roadways the future?
In the beginning Scott and Julie Brusaw became open on the subject for creating solar-powered LED roadways, they have encountered an endless amount of doubt and even outright aggression. The reaction was obviously expected given how new this sort of technology is. Not only is it new, but it would quite difficult to execute the dream of electrifying roads and highways with reinforced solar panels. Some questioned question if whether or not solar roadways are even necessary. However, the most important company that governs American roads -- was willing to at least give the idea a shot. Although the idea of solar roadways does sound amazing has many obvious potholes, but its benefits are vastly in numbers.
The major advantages of the solar roadway is that it uses its utilities as a refurbishing like source of to create electricity. It has the possibility to diminish dependence on sources of energy like coal and other fuels. Also, the durability of a solar panel last about 20 years, so much better than your common asphalt roads, which last about 12 years. If the time ever occurred of an environmental disaster or military problem occurred, like an emergency, solar roadways are there to lend their power which will most likely be needed. Solar power can be easily renewed, it does not need any outside connection to any sort of power source. Another great perk is that they do not need the development of possibly sensitive lands. This probably one the most controversial issues when comes down to US road installations. However, since the roads are already put in place the issue does not really effect the idea.
Yes the roads are dark, but we still use them since we have no other choice, the Solar Roadway will have LEDs which will illuminate the roads lanes, and can also freely customize when needed. So many people complain that it is very difficult to see at night time, especially when other oncoming car lights are constantly disorientating your vision. Since the roads will be lit during these dangerous times, accidents will decrease to a minimum and nighttime driving will be more like a walk to the park.
While now we may be keeping up the cost of maintaining roads soon it will start to become impossible. The cost the materials needed is incredibly expensive. A Solar Roadway is an intelligent road that produces reliable, clean, and safe renewable energy, along with a energy and information for future use. Eventually the roadways would start to pay off whatever debts it produced. No longer will we have to use coal fired and nuclear power plants. Power poles, relay stations etc. are added costs of power distribution systems. The need to expend energy will not be happening, the roads will sense when no cars are traveling, so in short the LEDs lights up only when the sensors are activated by a car driving on the surface.

Another advantage of solar roadways is that they do not require the development of unused and potentially environmentally sensitive lands. This is currently a very controversial issue with large photovoltaic installations in the Southwestern US and other places. But since the roads are already there, this is not an issue. Also, unlike large photovoltaic installations, new transmission corridors – perhaps across environmentally sensitive land – would not be required to bring power to consumers in urban areas. Transmission lines could simply be run along already established roadways. If cars do not drive at the speed limit the LEDs will turn into a specific color and warn the driver instantly when they are driving too fast. Words will be able to be illuminated into roads, warning of wildlife ahead, a detour a couple of miles in the distance, a recent accident blocking the road, or construction will now be much easier to avoid than waiting to encountering it as it comes.

The LEDs can also be programmed to move along with cars at the speed limit, warning drivers instantly when they are driving too fast. The LEDs will also be used to paint words right into the road, warning drivers of an animal on the road, a detour ahead, an accident, or construction work. Central control stations will be able to instantly customize the lines and words in real time, alleviating traffic congestion and making the roads more efficient as well as safer. Cities and towns will be able to customize the lines for roads and parking spaces to meet their own unique needs. For example, here in Sandpoint, Idaho, we have Lost in the 50's Weekend each May. Currently, the city puts out orange cones to remark the parking places and block off streets for the parade, car show, and street dance. With Solar Roadways, they would push the "Lost in the 50's" button which would repaint the road lines instantly. After the celebration, they would equally quickly return to the default setting.

Everyone who has driven the dark roads during night time, but with Solar Roadways there will be LED lights which will illuminate lines to create lanes, and can also changed if needed.
A serious problem while travelling which leads in major delay in time and leads to effecting the economy is the unholy of holys.....traffic jams. So is their a solution? Each Solar Road Panel contains a microprocessor that keeps watch and maintains the panel, it also communicates with other nearby panels and motor vehicles traveling above it. So what this means is that you your driving on device that communicates every few feet on the road: every road, pretty much everywhere
Crosswalk panels can warn a driver when there are pedestrians on crossing on a crosswalk. Once the panels detects a the person, the LEDs would get to work and begin to flash a warning sigh displaying in front of any oncoming cars.
Here is a good example, If a vehicle crosses over a center line too often, a ring of the LEDs would circles around the car, which will travel with if it continues. This will not only warn others but it will save police the trouble of having to look for the culprit. It might be someone reaching for something, tuning the radio, or eating, but it may also be a drunk driver on his/her way to taking out family going on a vacation. Deaths/injuries caused by drunk driver can be drastically reduced.
The cost of building these roads would be about the same amount spent making asphalt roads and fossil fuel burning plants, the Solar Roadways can be implemented. The idea of Global Warming will be tossed out the window. Power outages will be read about in archived newspapers. Safer driving condition for all. An incredible decrease in pollution. A highway that securely receives revenue that will eventually pay for itself. A dissolution, self-repairing, safe power grid. I'm sure there are much more benefits, but the only way to find out is by finally test it on the road.
For roughly the same cost of the current systems (asphalt roads and fossil fuel burning electricity generation plants), the Solar Roadways™ can be implemented. No more Global Warming. No more power outages (roaming or otherwise). Safer driving conditions. Far less pollution. A new secure highway infrastructure that pays for itself. A decentralized, self-healing, secure power grid. No more dependency on foreign oil.
If a vehicle crosses the center line too many times within a given distance, a ring of LEDs can be drawn around the vehicle, which will travel with it indefinitely. This will warn other drivers of a potential danger and will alert law enforcement officials of a potential problem. It may just be someone tuning their radio, eating a Big Mac, reading a map, or applying makeup (we've seen all of these), but it may also be an impaired driver on his/her way to taking out a family of four. The Solar Roadways could drastically reduce the number of deaths/injuries caused by impaired driving. This too, ought to result in lowered insurance rates for all of us.

Crosswalk panels can alert drivers when pedestrians are on the crosswalk. Once the crosswalk panels detect a pedestrian, the LEDs within the crosswalk begin flashing and a warning is displayed in front of oncoming vehicles. Watch the following demonstration
Serious problem while travelling which results in delay in time and thus in economy is experienced by everyone is traffic jam. So what's the solution? Each Solar Road Panel contains a microprocessor that monitors and controls the panel, while communicating with neighboring panels and the vehicles traveling overhead. This means that you have a communications device every few feet in the road: every road, everywhere. That year, Solar Roadways won a $50,000 community award through GE's Ecomagination challenge, giving it another pool of money to keep experimenting. Then, in 2011, the DOT followed up its initial support with a $750,000 grant to assist Solar Roadways in developing a second "parking lot" demonstration array with solar cells, LED lights, and a heating system built in.
The DOT's role wasn't just to hand out money. The department also helped test the arrays to figure out if they were actually safe, functional and able to withstand punishing road conditions.Eric Weaver, a research engineer at the Federal Highway Administration's research and technology arm, took the lead on the testing. When asked what he thought of the plan to blanket America's roads with solar panels and LED lights after years of evaluating the concept, Weaver was blunt: "I'd say it's not very realistic to cover the entire highway system with these panels." But Weaver was also quick to qualify his statement. "If you don't reach for something, you'll never get there. Just the effort of doing something new creates byproducts," he said.
Earlier this year, Scott Brusaw, himself an electrical engineer, decided he needed more financial resources beyond government grants in order to hire full-time materials experts and civil engineers to prove the concept. So Solar Roadways started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and created a hyped-up video to woo potential donors. The campaign was wildly successful, bringing in $2.2 million for Solar Roadways. The reaction to the fundraiser ranged from incredulity to loathing. Some were convinced it was an outright scam. In an interview with Greentech Media, the DOT has opened up about the Solar Roadways testing process for the first time. Although the company made radical claims about the technology's potential in its Indiegogo video, Solar Roadways is not a "scam." The Brusaws continue to work on the technology with engineers from universities, and the product has gone through real-world testing with actual early-stage products to show for it.
"I believe the application can be used for smaller scale purposes -- potentially, pedestrian walkways and sidewalks that get lower load and have fewer safety considerations," he said. "For roads, there are so many unknowns." Even if the DOT fully backed the technical possibility of swapping out pavement for solar panels and LEDs, the business case is still undeveloped. "We haven't done the cost analysis just yet," admitted Brusaw, directly contradicting the claim in the company's promotional video that the panels "pay for themselves" by producing their own electricity.
He did say that Solar Roadways would not permit, install or service the paneling. The company would simply be a manufacturer and let service providers or governments figure out how to finance and build projects. Forget the current technical limitations; navigating the complicated network of private, state and federal rules for transportation planning would also be a major headache. Brusaw has a couple short-term applications he's working on to get beyond the prototype phase.
The first is a project in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho, near where the inventors reside. The goal is to develop five pilot projects on non-critical applications such as downtown sidewalks, a train station and part of an airport tarmac. All the year-round data about performance will be streamed to the public for monitoring. The second application could be on tribal lands, which have their own rules governing roads. Brusaw envisions installing a parking-lot scale project at a casino, or outfitting a small residential road on a reservation. At this point, the only solar "roadway" is a 12-foot by 36-foot grouping of panels in a barn in Idaho that is being driven over by tractors on a regular basis. It is not anywhere close to being suitable for real driving applications -- not now, and perhaps not ever. Brusaw said the next step will be to hire more engineers full time with the new crowdsourced funds, supplanting the part-time graduate students that have been helping him and Julie. "I need some more people under my roof. I want to put them in a room and figure out how to make it work." But Eric Weaver, who witnessed firsthand the limitations of the technology over years of testing, can't bring himself to side with the hardcore skeptics. He's open to the possibility that something will come of it. "In terms of the long-term vision, I don’t consider it to be realistic. But I enjoy the vision and appreciate it, and will try to support them to see what other benefits may present themselves," said Weaver.
In the meantime, a lot of eager armchair investors who donated to the company will have a long time to wait before knowing if anything will ever come of their investment. Yes, it may seem that this project is no where near to being financially backed, but it's a start. A plan of this scale would take time and effort to gain the support needed.The priority now should be to get rid of most of potholes with the idea of solar roadways so when it makes its debut its billions will agree to its unfolding.

Works Cited
Brusaw, Julie, and Scott Brusaw
"Solar Roadway" Solar Roadways.N.P.,
n.d.Web.22 May 2015.
Biello, David."Hard Road Ahead for Solar
Freakin Roadway." Scientific American
Global RSS.Scientific American, 10 July
214.web.22 May 2015.
Al-Khatib, Talal. " How Solar Roadways work?":DNews."Dnews.Discovery News.28 Nov.2011.Web.22 May
201…...

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