China’s Built a Road So Smart It Will Be Able to Charge Your Car

James Alexander Michie

The road of the future is likely to become the brain and nerve center of an autonomous-driving revolution.

The road to China’s autonomous-driving future is paved with solar panels, mapping sensors and electric-battery rechargers as the nation tests an “intelligent highway” that could speed the transformation of the global transportation industry.

The technologies will be embedded underneath transparent concrete used to build a 1,080-meter-long (3,540-foot-long) stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan. About 45,000 vehicles barrel over the section every day, and the solar panels inside generate enough electricity to power highway lights and 800 homes, according to builder Qilu Transportation Development Group Co.

Cars drive adjacent to the photovoltaic lanes on Qilu Transportation’s highway in Jinan, China.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Yet Qilu Transportation wants to do more than supply juice to the grid: it wants the road to be just as smart as the vehicles of…

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