China’s built a road so smart it will be able to charge your car

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The road of the future is likely to become the brain and nerve center of an autonomous-driving revolution.

The road to China’s autonomous-driving future is paved with solar panels, mapping sensors and electric-battery rechargers as the nation tests an “intelligent highway” that could speed the transformation of the global transportation industry.

The technologies will be embedded underneath transparent concrete used to build a 1,080-meter-long (3,540-foot-long) stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan. About 45,000 vehicles barrel over the section every day, and the solar panels inside generate enough electricity to power highway lights and 800 homes, according to builder Qilu Transportation Development Group Co.

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Sweden is building a road that recharges electric buses that drive over it

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One of the biggest hassles for electric car owners is having to charge them. To get around the problem of needing to provide myriad electric charging stations, the Swedish transport administration is exploring the idea of having special roads which charge vehicles’ batteries as they drive over them.

To showcase the concept, the Smart Road Gotland consortium will be building an initial 1 mile stretch of road between the town of Visby and the airport on Gotland Island in Sweden. The road will be used to charge an electric truck and bus, using technology developed by the company Electreon, which will be carrying out construction. The majority of the $12.5 million project is funded by the Swedish government.

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