smart road technologies

A range of smart road technologies are set to change the ways we build roads.

Increasingly, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing are being used to improve road construction methods.

This creates roads that are safer, less congested and more energy efficient.

Here are six technologies driving the concept of the smart road.

In-transit material management systems

The Internet of Things (IoT) is maximising quality control – and slashing job time – by managing the mix of materials while in-transit.

Sensors, mounted on the sides of trucks, automatically detect the consistency and properties of the aggregate, bitumen or ready-mix concrete.

These sensors enable the necessary adjustments as the material is transported from the plant to the job site.

Big data, collected from the sensors, is sent to the cloud where it’s analysed across vehicles and over time to further improve mix and logistics processes – and optimise cost savings.

The Durakerb: sustainable kerbs

In the United Kingdom, hundreds of kilometres of kerbs and drainage systems have been constructed from recycled polymers harvested from plastic bottles. 

To date, the company responsible for the Durakerb has used the plastic equivalent of more than 70 million plastic bottles destined for landfill sites.

When used in conjunction with plastic road surfaces, the Durakerb is the final piece in the puzzle. Sustainable roadways can now be made exclusively from plastic waste.

Integrated road construction 

Unveiled in Germany, the QSBW 4.0 road construction system relies on a combination of dynamic logistics, machine control, mobile networking and big data analysis.

There’s a constant flow of information between machines, operators and scheduling departments.

Processes are digitally mapped. The more sophisticated machines can respond to changing conditions to enhance performance and reduce carbon emissions. They can also moderate the consumption of tools, water and diesel.

Solar-powered roadways

Solar-powered roadways are energy-efficient road surfaces that harness the power of the sun to improve visibility and enhance safety. 

Heat is generated during the day to melt accumulated ice and snow. LED lights embedded in the surface are illuminated at night. Warning signs, built into the road surface, are activated to alert road users of potential hazards.

The roadway consists of three layers:

  • a top layer of strong, durable and highly textured glass to provide the necessary traction for vehicles
  • a layer of honeycomb-shaped photovoltaic solar cells that collect the sun’s energy
  • a base plate that distributes the energy to the integrated safety components.

Solar-powered roads are in the early stages of development but the benefits are ground breaking.

Interactive lights 

Interactive lights are solar-powered lights that automatically illuminate the roadway as vehicles pass by.

Each light is connected to a small windmill-like device that senses the movement of air. This activates the beam for a fraction of second. 

These lights save on energy and costs. They’re also invaluable for users of remote roads in places with no access to conventional power.

Smart pavement  

Smart pavement is the Holy Grail of roadworks.

A smart pavement has built-in sensors that monitor road and weather conditions. These automatically send data to a centralised point for dissemination.

The latest version of the smart road is fitted with Wi-Fi transmitters. These provide uninterrupted broadband services to vehicles and adjacent buildings.

Smart pavement may also power up electric cars as they drive. These types of pavement are currently in the pilot phase.

Quality grading machines

Smart road technologies and new road construction techniques haven’t changed one thing. Generally, the basic preparation of road surfaces has to occur the way it always has.

Key to the process are quality machines, including motor graders.

At KH Plant, we specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders and components to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

Contact us for more information