A basket of sensors buried in the pavement will measure the speed, weight, and trajectory of vehicles that pass over it
On 30 August, a startup plans to add its “smart pavement” to an intersection in an industrial corner of Denver, Colorado. The company has encased assorted electronics within four slabs of concrete and will wedge those slabs into the road between a Pepsi Co. bottling plant and two parking lots.
Integrated Roadways says its product, which can deduce the speed, weight, and direction of a vehicle from the basket of sensors buried in the pavement, will face its first real-world test at that discreet Denver junction.
The company can then use that data to alert authorities to accidents, or prompt officials to reconfigure lanes to relieve congestion. It’s one approach to so-called “smart roads” that aim to combine sensing and intelligence in ways that reduce the hazards and hassles of vehicular travel.
If all goes well in that first test, Integrated Roadways will replace 500 meters of pavement along a dangerous curve in Highway 285, just south of Denver, with its product in early 2019. The goal is for the pavement to detect when a driver careens off the road’s edge—the kind of accident that happens dozens of times every year on Colorado’s mountainous highways.