A new section of smart highway will show how streets could supply data and energy to cars as they zip along it.
Bloomberg explains that solar panels are embedded beneath a tough, transparent upper surface. To generate electricity in a stretch of test road in the city of Jinan, China.
The section is 1,080 meters long, and can also generate enough electricity to power its highway lights and 800 homes.
The top layer of the road has space for sensors that monitor things like temperature, traffic flow, and load. Which in the future will allow vehicles to receive updates about, say, traffic conditions and local weather. Which however could help autonomous vehicles make decisions.
The road should also provide wireless car charging, though the test section is too short for that to be useful.
China is already the world’s biggest market for electric cars, and the government has laid out a goal of having 10 percent of all cars be fully autonomous by 2030.
Smart infrastructure like this will help bring about adoption of these new vehicles.