Smart pavement powers data collection, EV charging, wireless access, edge computing
With the installation of smart pavement at five downtown intersections, a Kansas town is driving smart infrastructure adoption.
Lenexa, Kansas, will be installing smart pavement that charges electric, enables wireless communications and monitors traffic.
At five intersections in central downtown, precast concrete blocks from smart infrastructure company Integrated Roadways will be installed as part of a 10-year, $250 million pilot. The blocks come with load transfer devices for wireless EV charging, in-road traffic sensors and expansion ports for ultra wideband antennas to enable Wi-Fi and 5G capabilities as well as future enhancements.
A nearby roadside control center, outfitted with server racks, power control systems and specialized hardware, provides edge services for the pavement. The roadside units store and mange intelligent traffic systems data and can control traffic-responsive lighting systems, intersection cameras, gunshot detectors, pollution monitors, digital twins and more, according to the company website.
A built-in, open-access distributed antenna system hidden in the smart pavement expansion ports will allow multiple tenants to operate various wireless protocols at the same time. Access points in the middle of the intersection will provide high-speed, high-bandwidth, ultra-low latency coverage for a 100-meter radius, and a second group of antennas placed in each lane feeding the intersection will provide up to 200 meters of coverage. This approach will aim to reduce delivery costs for wireless networks.
To support smart city initiatives, the roadways will also automate traffic data collection. Sensing fibers in the pavement will provide a real-time feed to the cloud, delivering structured data to city officials accessing dashboards, analytics, data queries and reports. Integrated Roadways CEO Tim Sylvester told KSHB Kansas City the technology will not collect any personal vehicle or driver information.
With wireless charging already built-in, roadways users will also be able to charge their electric vehicles as they drive over the pavement blocks, reducing the need for plug-in chargers and additional EV charging infrastructure.
Integrated Roadways ran a smaller pilot in Colorado in 2018. Working with the state Department of Transportation, the company installed smart pavement in the highway to notify first responders whenever a car runs off the road.
In July 2021, the Indiana DOT and Purdue University announced a project that tests magnetizable concrete to charge EVs. In February, the Michigan Department of Transportation also announced a similar initiative to wirelessly power EVs, using inductive charging technology in under-road units built of copper coils.
A Lenexa city spokeswoman told KSHB Kansas City the next step will be to create specific licensing agreements for each location prior to installation. The first phase of the project is slated to begin in Fall 2022.