4 smart road technologies shaping the future of transportation

4 smart road technologies shaping the future of transportation

By PreScouter Editorial Team

Roadways are constantly in flux, either through repairs and construction or continual improvements. With recent developments in smart technologies, companies have been hard at work devising ways to make the roads safer and more driver-friendly, enabling the use of developments coming from the automotive sector. This article highlights four smart road technologies that are shaping the future of transportation.

Electric charging lanes:

With the growing push toward electrification across the automotive sector, smart roads are striving to accommodate and enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles. In previous years, this has been primarily the addition of more and more charging stations. However, technologies such as electric charging lanes are revolutionizing the way electric vehicles operate.

ElectReon (previously ElectRoad) was founded in 2013 aiming to enable the large-scale adoption of pure electric buses, with the ultimate goal of eliminating oil dependence. Using specialized electromagnetic induction technology, ElectReon powers electric buses with renewable energy while in motion. 

The system is called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT), and one of its advantages, in addition to direct wireless transmission, is the ability to exchange energy between all the vеhicles that movе along the rоad. Additionally, once the system is installed in the roads, it will be using existing real estate without the need for added EV battery charging stations.

ElectReon’s DWPT technology is based on an induction coil infrastructure installed below the surface of road lanes. The operating mode of thesе dеvices is optimizеd so their magnеtic field does not extеnd into the cab of vеhicles, which makes this solution safe for humans. 

Energy for operating these systems is supplied by a network of smart inverters, which are converters that exchange information with each other in real time. The energy is transmitted to electric vehicles traveling in the lane, thereby extending the vehicles’ travel range while also saving time spent on charging the vehicles. Vehicles will additionally be equipped with a small battery that can be charged while traveling on roads that do not have the coil infrastructure installed.

ElectReon announced in March 2021 the successful start of a pilot program in Tel Aviv operating an electric bus that is charged via the company’s electric road infrastructure while traveling. As reported in May 2021, the company will begin a trial charging road project in Italy that will be the first in the world to involve a highway.

Smart Pavement technology:

Integrated Roadways has developed systems that communicate information about weather, traffic, accidents, and other roadway conditions both to vehicles and to central processing hubs or emergency response teams. 

Integrated Roadways is a Kansas City technology startup that is developing a technology called Smart Pavement that will not only help increase roadway safety but also serve as the Wi-Fi platform for cars and other future mobility services.  

The Smart Pavement road system uses high-resolution fiber optic sensors and other technologies inside the pavement to detect vehicle positions and roadway conditions in real time as well as roadway conditions. These embedded sensor systems can also detect accidents and notify emergency responders automatically.

Integrated Roadways launched a pilot test of its Smart Pavement technology in Colorado in the spring of 2018; and in the spring of 2021, the company was reported to be moving forward with plans to install the technology in Lenexa, Kansas.

Solar road paint:

The Smart Highway project is a system of interactive and sustainable roads. Using new designs and technologies, designer Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure are working to develop roads that are both sustainable and smart using light, energy, and signage that interact with traffic. The project’s first installment, Glowing Lines, was realized after a 3-month trial period in the Netherlands. These lines consist of solar paint that collects energy during the day and can glow for up to 8 hours at night to increase visibility and safety.

Other components of this innovative project include Dynamic Paint, Interactive Light, Induction Priority Lane, and Road Printer. Another component is the Van Gogh Bicycle Path, which is a 600-meter-long light-emitting bike path made of thousands of twinkling stones and that inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

The Roads That Honk system:

In a quest to improve safety on highways, HP Lubricants and Leo Burnett India came together to develop the Roads That Honk system. The first prototype of the system was installed on India’s NH1, the highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar, which is known for being one of the most dangerous roads in the world. 

The Roads That Honk system locates SmartLife poles at sharp curves and hairpin bends that employ advanced networked devices combining wireless technology, radar systems, and an anti-collision warning system, all powered by solar PV modules. SmartLife poles are placed on each side of key hairpin bends. The poles detect speeds of oncoming vehicles, then communicate with each other to caution approaching vehicles on either side by sounding a horn. 

The functionality is achieved by transmitting an electromagnetic wave in the 24 GHz frequency range (K band), and measuring the frequency shift of the reflected electromagnetic wave. The frequency shift is caused by the Doppler effect of the moving target on the electromagnetic wave. As the relative speed between the radar sensor and the target increases, the detected frequency shift also increases, thus enabling the radar sensor to precisely determine the target speed. The combination of communications infrastructure and technology provides a strong foundation and a way forward toward smarter and safer mobility.


The four technologies highlighted here encapsulate a vision for long-term growth and the evolution of a host of capabilities and possibilities that will enable smarter and safer driving experiences.

This article was excerpted from our Intelligence Brief titled, “Smart Road Technologies Shaping the Future of Transportation.” The full report can be viewed here.

If you have any questions or would like to know if we can help your business with its innovation challenges, please contact us here or email us at solutions@prescouter.com.

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