Remember Solar Roadways, the start-up that received a $100,000 contract from the Department of Transportation to develop road systems with embedded digital signage and dividing lines, all powered by the sun? As it turns out, the company's prototype performed well -- so well that Solar Roadways is now looking to go big-time, and it's asking for your help to do so.
At the heart of the Solar Roadways project sit a vast number of hexagonal tiles. The bottom of those tiles consist of solar panels and circuit boards, covered with a thick sheet of tempered glass. The panels contain LED lights, which can be configured to mark traffic lanes, send messages, or fulfill other functions. The panels also have heating elements to help melt snow and ice during colder months.
Like the Dutch firm Studio Roosegaarde that we wrote about last month, Solar Roadways' goal is to create a system of "smart roads". In the short term, the company believes that its tiles can reduce accidents and diminish traffic congestion by improving nighttime visibility and conveying traffic info. In the long term, Solar Roadways wants to configure those panels to charge electric car batteries inductively, as the cars drive past. (At the moment, however, charging panels seem as if they'll be limited to parking lots and other specific locations.)
After conducting extensive tests for durability and functionality, Solar Roadways is ready to ramp up production, boosting its capacity to turn out tiles for cities and businesses across the country. It's started an Indiegogo campaign to crowdsource start-up funds, and it's set a goal of $1,000,000. With 18 days left in the campaign, it's only received about $152,000 of that total, but unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo gives projects all funds collected, even if those projects don't reach their goals. In other words, Solar Roadways is about to get $150,000 richer -- and in the next couple of week, it may earn considerably more.
For additional details, check out the company's pitch video above, and be sure to read through the Solar Roadways FAQ.