Smart Highways

The Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has recently gained a lot of media attention with his smart highway concept. In this concept he envisions the roads of the future. According to Roosegaarde, future roads should be interactive by using light, energy and road signs. 

The first experimental trajectories have already been realised in cooperation with Heijmans N.V. Near Nuenen a bicycle lane has been painted with a special paint that resembles Van Gogh’s painting ‘Starry night’. The paint is charged in the daylight and glows during the night. This same paint was also used to paint the lines on the N329 near Oss. In this trajectory the glowing lines are used to improve safety and visibility during the night.

A part of the concept that has not yet been realised by Roosegaarde is the ‘wireless priority lane’. Electric vehicles should be able to recharge while driving in this lane. The technique to wirelessly recharge a car is already available for static use. Companies like Plugless sell devices for consumer use. Experiments with dynamic charging are being conducted at this moment. A company that has made a lot of progress in this field is KAIST OLEV, a spinoff firm from the KAIST University in Seoul. This company has been able to realise a trajectory on the KAIST campus on which busses fitted with a dynamic wireless charging system are used. The charging strips are placed in sections were the busses need to accelerate or climb a hill. Using these strips enables the manufacturer to reduce the size of the batteries to one third of the size that otherwise would have been necessary. This enables a weight reduction that makes the busses more cost and power efficient.

When my group was assigned with the mobility sub-system this idea immediately came to mind. The few trajectories of the busses in Texel are relatively short and they do not leave the island. The adaption of the roads would require only little work. If the Dutch government would be interested in using the KAIST busses, Texel could be an ideal testing location in the Netherlands.

Stefan Olsthoorn

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