The makers of the Solar Roadway just got a little closer to their dream of making every road in the United States a high-tech thruway that carries more than just cars. They’ve completed their first prototype and unveiled the photographs of the revolutionary energy-generating road surface. If installed on a real thoroughfare the Solar Roadway would carry vehicles, generate electricity for messages to drivers, self-heat to melt snow and ice, and deliver high speed phone and internet cables to the front steps of every home.

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The makers of the Solar Roadway have high hopes for their product. In addition to creating a revolution in transportation infrastructure, they envision the installation of the Solar Roadway as a quick path to economic recovery. With some quick calculations they’ve estimated that installing the Solar Roadway on every road in the US will employ 2.5 million people full time for 10 years. That’s not to mention the manufacturing jobs that will be created to make the components in the road panels. It will take just over 5 billion panels to cover all the US roads and each panel requires 6192 LED lights, a special glass covering and a circuit board. That’s a lot of manufacturing.

The Solar Roadway promises to do a lot more than rebuild our economy through job creation. It will heat roadways to melt ice and snow, illuminate roads at night, carry cables for phone and internet service to homes, provide smart grid access for electric vehicles and deliver important messages to drivers through LED’s.

There seems to be one thing missing though — funding. The Solar Roadway website details the disarray that our current road system is in and notes that part of the reason we got to where we are is lack of funding. No doubt the Solar Roadway will be more expensive than the current inexpensive oil derived asphalt. So although it seems like a bright idea, it’s going to take a lot of cash money to bring this high-tech system to life.

Via Gizmodo