China is preparing itself for a future where electric cars (EVs) and autonomous vehicles are the standard means of getting around. It’s a big gamble, but if everything goes according to plan, then things could change for the better.
According to a new report, the Chinese government is planning to build smart roads all over the country. These roads will have solar panels under the paved tar, which means, they’ll be able to charge your electric or autonomous vehicle.
To make sure the roads can charge cars, the government is adding electric battery chargers and mapping sensors. When it is done, the roads will be dubbed as the “Intelligent Highway,” and we can see why this is.
For now, the technology will be distributed first in the city of Jinan, a place where over 45,000 cars drive on the roads on a daily basis. Interestingly enough, the solar tech underneath the road and the batteries will have the ability to power 800 homes along with streetlights.
The company behind this project is called Qilu Transportation Development, from what we have gathered, their plan is not only to provide energy via roads but to make the streets just as smart as cars of the future. We’re guessing that isn’t too far off since the Government wants up to 10 percent of vehicles to be autonomously driven by 2030.
“The highways we have been using can only carry vehicles passing by, and they are like the 1.0-generation product,” said general manager of the company, Zhou Yong. “We’re working on the 2.0 and 3.0 generations by transplanting brains and a nervous system.”
Essentially, this means the smart road could one day deliver traffic information and accurate mapping to drivers among other things. It’s a future we’ve only seen in movies, but with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’re quite confident of the possibilities.
When should Chinese citizens expect to take advantage of smart roads?
President Xi Jinping is moving ahead with his Made in China 2025 plan, and also as stated above, to have electric cars being 10 percent of the vehicles on Chinese streets by the year 2030. What this means is that the Government will likely incorporate all the major cities under its smart roads idea before 2030.
That might sound impossible, but if we look at how quickly China has risen in the past 40-years, and how the country’s technology is now rivaling that of the West, you’ll be foolish not to think it’s possible.