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Road

— Environment

Hold the salt: New sensor detects excess salt on roads

Just as a good meal can be ruined by too much table salt, too much sodium chloride applied to road surfaces to prevent icing can have a detrimental effect on vehicles, infrastructure and the environment. Engineers at Spain's Carlos III University (UC3M) have developed an optical sensor intended to prevent excessive salt treatment by detecting the amount of salt already on the road in real time. Read More
— Environment

Low-cost system uses passing vehicles to generate electricity

Over the years, various researchers have developed systems in which the weight transferred through cars' wheels onto the road – or through pedestrians' feet onto the sidewalk – is used to generate electricity. These systems utilize piezoelectric materials, which convert mechanical stress into an electrical current. Such materials may be effective, but they're also too expensive for use in many parts of the world. That's why Mexican entrepreneur Héctor Ricardo Macías Hernández created his own rather ingenious alternative. Read More
— Automotive

Compact laser system scans road surfaces at 100 km/h

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have come up with a car-mounted laser scanner the size of a shoe box, that can survey the contours of road surfaces at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The system detects potholes and other road damage in need of repair. According to the Institute, the Pavement Profile Scanner (or PPS) has surveyed 15,000 km of road since mid-2012, in which time it has proven cheaper, faster and more accurate than existing systems which require hefty attachments to the carrier vehicle. Read More
— Environment

The streets of Vancouver are paved with ... recycled plastic

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Global Liveability Report, the beautiful city of Vancouver in Canada is a pretty decent place to live, ranking third in the world. Its environmental footprint is currently unsustainable, though, prompting officials to hatch an ambitious plan to have Vancouver crowned the greenest city in the world by 2020. Helping things along nicely is a new warm mix paving process that makes use of the kind of waste plastic placed in blue household recycling boxes by conscientious citizens, reducing greenhouse gases and improving air quality along the way. Read More
— Automotive

Automated system detects and fills cracks in asphalt roads

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when it comes to road maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth several tons of tarmac. A tiny crack in the asphalt may not seem like much, but once it lets in rain and frost, it’s a ticket to potholes and a very expensive resurfacing. The problem is that crack repair is time consuming and labor intensive, so the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has come up with an automatic pavement crack detection and repair system that operates at comparable speeds to conventional methods, but with fewer people and less exposure to hazardous fumes. Read More
— Mobile Technology

iPavement embeds WiFi hotspots in the street

It seems that a lot of people have been talking about putting things in the road lately. Just within the past few years, we’ve heard about asphalt-embedded parking spot locators, power strips and coils, piezoelectric generators, and heat-harvesting water pipes. Now, a Spanish tech company has developed yet another piece of “street technology,” known as iPavement – sidewalk paving stones that double as WiFi hotspots. Read More
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