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Road Marker Marks You

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the in-soviet-russia dept.

Privacy 731

If you could make a reflective road marker (a "road stud", in the jargon) that contained a small solar cell and battery, you would be able to: A) power a LED at night to provide lit lanes, not just reflection; B) monitor for fog or water on the road surface; C) monitor the temperature to detect ice; D) use infrared ranging and embedded cameras to detect and report the license number of anyone speeding on the road; E) All of the above. If the company can make them cheap enough, they'll be everywhere in a few years.

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Oh shit (5, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155700)

Here come the "Soviet Russia" jokes.

Re:Oh shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155740)

Oh yes. From Family Guy and Peter's car with GPS:

"In Soviet Russia, the road forks you"

Re:Oh shit (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155746)

Actually, the original post already noted this. It's from the 'in-soviet-russia dept.'

THE OBVIOUS JOKE HAS BEEN MADE! Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Oh shit (3, Funny)

Skevin (16048) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155935)

> Road Marker Marks You

In Soviet Russia, You mark Road Marker... ...because Soviet Russia didn't have enough bathrooms.


Re:Oh shit (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155976)

The story is the Soviet Russia joke. "In Soviet Russia, road markers mark you!" It doesn't get any more straightfoward. By reversing it you'd have something like: "In Soviet Russia, you mark the road... wait."

For once, it seems as if those damn Russians got it right.

Re:Oh shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9156033)

In Soviet Russia road studs pay you for your jeans!

Capitalist America (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155706)

In Capitalist America, Road Marker Marks YOU!

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155708)

....nah, couldn't bring myself to do it.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155861)

in soviet russia, YOU bring yourself to do it er..YOU!...ah crap

I can... (0, Troll)

Slurms (144553) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155904)

You'd need a candle truck full of these to be useful.

Re:I can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155954)

Yeah, but be sure to remove any speaker bracelets. You'll need the room.

Just make them cheap enough? (2, Insightful)

Exiler (589908) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155716)

How about, if the company can make them cheap enough then think up some ingenious distribution method to replace the reflectors on millions of miles of roadways they'd be everywhere?

Re:Just make them cheap enough? (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155955)

IIRC, states get Federal funding for road projects. As a result, even the poorest state tends to keep their road construction budget quite high.

Of course, this only applies to the US.

Re:Just make them cheap enough? (5, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155956)

sheesh, I'd accept a temporary increase in my vehicle registration for a couple of years to see these on the farm roads here in Texas.

You haven't lived until you've torn a chunk of the drivers seat out with your ass because of an unexpected turn.

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of driving on a farm road in Texas, here's a brief description.

1.5 lanes wide
No shoulder
Painted lines optional
Random livestock

Re:Just make them cheap enough? (-1, Offtopic)

Cromac (610264) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156041)

Whooo hooo, something for Kerry to raise taxs over if he gets elected in November.

Re:Just make them cheap enough? (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156048)

They'd have to be durable in northern climates because anything you put on the road has to be able to withstand getting scraped off of the road by a snowplow.

Aqua-planing ? (5, Funny)

zedmelon (583487) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155717)

A mere 5mm of water on the road surface can cause a vehicle travelling at 70mph to lose all grip

5mm? 70mph? What if I'm driving in a quarter inch of water at 115kph?

Re:Aqua-planing ? (1, Offtopic)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155802)

then surely your car would slide over more than a hundred meters, then hit an obstacle and be throw upward in the air, at least 10 feet up.

Re:Aqua-planing ? (1)

vbrtrmn (62760) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155929)

Nah, your car would only slide about 20 poles and would be thrown over 7,000 picas in the air!

Re:Aqua-planing ? (2, Funny)

LqqkOut (767022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155826)

Rub it in, you insensitive clod!

We Americans all feel stupid now bc we don't use the metric system (as already pointed out [slashdot.org] a little while ago)

At least we can all agree on a standard clock!

Re:Aqua-planing ? (3, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155865)

5mm? 70mph? What if I'm driving in a quarter inch of water at 115kph?

That depends on how many Newtons your car weighs.

Re:Aqua-planing ? (1)

stephenisu (580105) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155943)

and the width and hieght of your tires (actually given in millimeters and inches resectively in the US) actually the hieght is calculated by taking the width (in MM) devided the multiplier value given to determine sidewall hieght on the tire plus the rim diameter given in inches. then you have to take into account treadpattern and tread wear,

Re:Aqua-planing ? (-1, Offtopic)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155959)

A newton is a measure of force, the gram is weight.

Re:Aqua-planing ? (2, Informative)

sparcnut (775902) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156012)

No, a gram is a measure of mass. A newton is a measure of weight, which is a force.

Re:Aqua-planing ? (3, Informative)

printman (54032) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156042)

Actually, gram is mass, newton is mass * acceleration which is equivalent to weight when referring to the acceleration due to gravity...

Re:Aqua-planing ? (1)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156001)

what's kph? klicks per hour? in SI it's km/h if that's what you were after [*] :-)

[*] as the american military slang (klick) is not really used outside US.

"Road Marker" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155718)

FWIW, the correct term for these items is RPM, or "Raised Pavement Marker".

Re:"Road Marker" (5, Funny)

SRain315 (322069) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155926)

The theft of multiple road markers is therefore referred to as "compiling RPMs"

Bott's Dots (Re:"Road Marker") (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9156028)

Actually, the original name for them is "Bott's Dots" after a guy named Mr. Bott who worked for CalTrans (California State Road Agency) way back in the day. I read awhile back that the state of California was actually fazing them out for state maintained roads and highways in favor of divots and shoulder grating (so it makes that nasty sound when you drift over at high speeds).

In deference to Mr. Bott, their inventor, we should refer to these things as "Bott's Dots". Isn't credit what we belive in in the open source community?

-Mr. Bott's heir

Or F (5, Funny)

SheldonYoung (25077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155723)

F) Drive along with a truck and a shovel, collecting enough solar panels and batteries to power your house.

Re:Or F (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155770)

Imagine a Beowulf cluset of those things!

Re:Or F (2, Funny)

centauri (217890) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155835)

Yeah, I bet any decent wedge could pop those things right off. I'm thinking of a motorcycle stunt ramp. Just let those stinking Cavefish try to follow me!

Money everywhere... (2, Funny)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155733)

then we could start a company that tore the markers off the road then sold them back to the Company. We will be rich! Or maybe we will make Marks to Mark where the road markers end up... there is an Idea for you.

Too little, too late (1)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155747)

We all know that by the time this catches on, we'll all have those flying cars that Avery Brooks is so fond of. Some of those features might assist with the landings though.

Not for us! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155756)

Except for those of us who live in an area which requires snow plowing. I don't care how cheap you can build them... they still won't be cheap enough to replace them all every year!

One problem: (3, Insightful)

EMDischarge (589758) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155765)

Snow plows. Granted, you can embed them in a track in between lanes but that gets expensive over large sections of roadway. Cool idea, though, will probably be most useful in areas that don't get enough snow to warrant plowing.

Re:One problem: (5, Informative)

karmatic (776420) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155894)

Blah, Blah, Blah - RTFA.

"The original Astucia markers were glued onto the road surface. That left them vulnerable to snowplow blades and to constant pounding from car and truck tires.

Mr. Dicks wanted to put the markers into holes drilled into the road surface. The key, he said, was finding self-healing resins for the top lenses that would be flush with the surface and subjected to much wear and tear."

Obligatory posts all in one... (0, Offtopic)

moehoward (668736) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155768)

I, for one, welcome our [Free Registration Required].

In Soviet Russia, online newspaper registers YOU!

Step 1) Nip Soviet Russia joke in bud by including joke in story title
Step 2) ??
Step 3) [Free Registration Required]

Imagine a Beowolf cluster of [Free Registration Required].

Re:Obligatory posts all in one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155938)

In soviet russia, the online paper does this to YOU:
(1) [free registration required]
(2) ???
(3) Imagines a beowulf cluster

Endless possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155777)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these..

Sounds a lot like . . . (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155789)

this [slashdot.org]

Article Text (5, Informative)

zoloto (586738) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155791)

In a Road That's All Eyes, the Driver Finds an Ally

ABOUT 12 years ago, Martin Dicks was trapped in dense fog during a harrowing four-hour commute to his job as a firefighter in central London.

"Virtually all I could see on the road was a cat's-eye reflector every now and then," Mr. Dicks said, recalling his trip down one of Britain's major highways. "I figured that if I could make the cat's-eyes more visible, I could probably save more lives than I could in the fire service."

A back injury forced Mr. Dicks out of the fire department shortly afterward, giving him the time to pursue that goal. His training as an electrical engineer provided the necessary skills.

Now, after perfecting illuminated markers that are embedded in the road surface to guide motorists through bad weather or warn of dangerous conditions, Mr. Dicks's company, Astucia Traffic Management Systems, is going a step further. Its latest creation is an embedded stud equipped with a camera that catches speeders, monitors traffic for criminals or stolen cars and even checks for bald tires on the fly.

"Nobody knows it's a camera or a speed trap," Mr. Dicks said of his latest creation.

Mr. Dicks's original idea was quite simple in concept. He wanted to create an illuminated road marker containing its own power source, a solar cell. At night or in bad weather, light from approaching vehicles would generate enough power to light up the marker, which consisted of light-emitting diodes. An illuminated marker would be more visible than a plain reflector, and the idea was that a car passing over the markers would cause them to stay illuminated long enough so that they would provide a warning trail of lights for any vehicles close behind.

The trouble, at first, was the technology available in the early 1990's. Photovoltaic cells were not as efficient as they are today. And at the time, Mr. Dicks recalled, "the concept of a white L.E.D. was nowhere."

Working mostly with family members at first, Mr. Dicks produced a prototype marker within two years. He dodged the white L.E.D. problem by combining the glow from red, green and blue arrays. The group not only overcame the limitations of solar cells, but also managed to engineer markers that turned red to warn when the gap between two cars was dangerously small.

Mr. Dicks said the technology both impressed and alarmed British government highway officials.

"They were frightened about everyone using the product on roads from one end of the country to the other," he said. "They thought it would make their budgets disappear."

The first markers cost roughly twice the price of conventional embedded road studs. As a result, their use was restricted at first to especially fog-prone or dangerous sections of roads as well as crosswalks, including some in the United States.

Mr. Dicks was not the only person with a desire to illuminate to road markers. After a friend struck and killed a pedestrian in 1991 at a crosswalk in Santa Rosa, Calif., Michael Harrison developed a system that uses flashing L.E.D.'s in the road surface to make crosswalks more visible. The company he founded in 1994, LightGuard Systems, now has about 700 installations in the United States.

A study of 100 illuminated crosswalks by Katz, Okitsu & Associates, a traffic engineering firm based in Southern California, estimates that adding the blinking L.E.D.'s to crosswalks can reduce pedestrian accidents by 80 percent.

The original Astucia markers were glued onto the road surface. That left them vulnerable to snowplow blades and to constant pounding from car and truck tires.

Mr. Dicks wanted to put the markers into holes drilled into the road surface. The key, he said, was finding self-healing resins for the top lenses that would be flush with the surface and subjected to much wear and tear.

"It's like running your fingernail on a rubber sheet," he said of the plastics' behavior. "The mark it leaves goes away."

Advances in solar-panel technology also allowed Astucia to develop markers that could store electricity all day and then constantly illuminate particularly dangerous sections of roads at night.

Other features followed. Optical systems inside the casing are able to monitor the atmosphere for fog. Electrical resistance detectors can check for standing water. The addition of a thermometer allows the marker to predict ice.

But getting high-resolution digital cameras into the flush-mounted housings was a more difficult task. It ultimately required the development of a special series of lenses that in effect allowed the camera to look upward and forward from its subsurface location.

The cameras (the system can use either normal or infrared sensors) provide remarkably detailed images, according to Mr. Dicks. "You can clearly see everything underneath a vehicle, although I'm not sure why you'd want to do that," he said.

The police, however, are likely to be interested in seeing the license plates of vehicles traveling above the speed limit or through red lights. To that end, Astucia has developed a system that is operating on a highway in Scotland. It employs three embedded cameras to give front, rear and side views of passing vehicles. Other embedded sensors project two infrared beams over the road that are used to time traffic and determine its speed. The images and the speed data travel under the road by cable to a computer. It in turn relays the data by satellite to Astucia's offices.

The system is currently being used to monitor traffic slowdowns. When it detects them, it turns on illuminated markers farther up the road as a warning. Mr. Dicks said that its speed measurements were accurate within 0.5 percent, well within the tolerances demanded for traffic enforcement.

Similarly, he said, the systems can be combined with optical character recognition software to automatically track stolen vehicles or cars believed to be used by suspected criminals or terrorists.

The United States branch of Astucia began demonstrating the camera system - which costs about $50,000 for a package of three cameras, sensors and supporting electronics - to police and highway officials less than a month ago. John Kerridge, the subsidiary's president, reported considerable interest in the system for both traffic and broader law enforcement. But he added that public resistance could be one obstacle to its adoption.

"We all break the law regarding speeding," Mr. Kerridge said. "The system may leave a bad taste in motorists' mouths at the beginning. But when their insurance starts going down and stolen vehicles start getting recovered, the benefits will overcome that."

Re:Article Text (3, Insightful)

elmegil (12001) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156040)

But when their insurance starts going down

Fat frickin' chance. Price went down for CD manufacturing. Did the price at Best Buy drop any? No. Are the Insurance companies any more ethical than the RIAA? Hell no.

Thrilling, kinda like adding millions of cops... (1)

Honest Man (539717) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155792)

As long as my car can auto sense the speed limit and auto-adjust its speed to avoid tickets I'll be fine - otherwise I'm going to get tickets every day..

The thought of the road markers being lit by led though sounds great - too many foggy nights when its hard to see them and this could help a bit.

Re:Thrilling, kinda like adding millions of cops.. (1)

Honest Man (539717) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155966)

The more I think about it though - it might be a good thing..... then cops could worry about real crimes.. hehe

If you could (1)

valkenar (307241) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155816)

If you could create solar powered monkeys to fly around you could monitor the same things plus benefit from the other simian effects.

Is the question whether these things are a good idea, or is the question whether it's practical? What advancements in solar cell durability and price have occured that mark the change from this sort of thing being a good idea to having serious potential?

With the sensors in them, ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155817)

they'll be able to track the RFIDs that we all got implanted when we went to Barcelona [slashdot.org] (and of course, the ones that the government has implanted just at the nape of the neck, where we are also marked with our dioceses).

Privacy? That just inconveniences those who are trying to protect us. Volunteer for the next step now: Take off those annoying doors. What, you got something to hide?

RFID tags in tires (2, Insightful)

mec (14700) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156021)

Also, I expect these sensors to read the RFID tags embedded in tires.

I hope they are sturdy.. (1)

SCSi (17797) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155818)

I dont know of any solar panel/battery/led/camera/etc that withstand being hit by a few ton semi going 65 mph...
Seems like a waste of time/money to me, or just maybe what we need to start making wireless transmitter jammers...

Road studs (2, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155822)

Those little studs are great. There's some newly paves roads in our area that have long curves with steep dropoffs and the painted lines really don't show up well on rainy nights.

They placed the road studs on one of these roads and they practically glow compared to the paint. If the self-illuminating kind become readily available and easily placed it would be great for areas that see a lot of inclement weather.

Might cut down on the number of oncoming cars that drift into my lane on during the commute home as well. Now if we could just jam cell phone use in cars.

What would be very cool (5, Interesting)

obfuscated (258084) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155831)

is if the government started putting leds embedded into the pavement and they could send you messages (eg. accident up ahead, work zone, speed limit changed to XXmph, etc) to you while you're driving having the message pace with your car.

Also, you could make lanes that are dynamic during the day and night. (They already have those with changing street signs).

Real time stopping distance approxomations (are you following too close?). Lane change "handoffs" (the road infront of you goes orange because someone is turning into that lane.)

It's would be the same technology used for those rotating led clocks.

Of course, it'll all be moot when people finally let computers do the driving for them.

Not SOVIET RUSSIA, Michael! (-1, Flamebait)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155858)

SOVIET UNION! Yakov Smirnoff is from The Ukraine. He would say, "In Soviet Union, something somethings you." C'mon, after fuckall years of this lameness on /., we've got to get it right!

Re:Not SOVIET RUSSIA, Michael! (-1, Offtopic)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155978)

Totally OT here but...

The reason why it's now said, "In Soviet Russia..." is because after the fall of the Berlin Wall and promotion of semi-democracy, Mr. Smirnoff realized his act needed adjustment.

"Soviet Russia" was HIS solution.

Re:Not SOVIET RUSSIA, Michael! (-1, Offtopic)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156047)

When he was "popular" it was "Soviet Union." This was pre-fall of Communism and, IIRC, the Soviet Union broke up a couple of years after the Berln Wall fell. Anyhow, he was an unfunny dude, so fighting over the semantics of a lame joke about a lame comic by a lame /. posters is, well, lame. ;-)

A ./ first? (2, Insightful)

lpangelrob2 (721920) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155872)

Is this the first news story to be posed in the form of a multiple choice question? If so, can it also be the last? :-)

On another note, at least mention the fact the article is New York Times.

Now for on topic stuff... I like the idea of flashing lights for crosswalks, but not so much the cameras. It's sort of messed up to think that every single reflector in the road can be a camera.

Also, at what point does this start becoming a distraction? Can I see the lights from my front window? Being LEDs, I would hope not, but it'd be nice to know. I also would be interested in seeing whether these things stand up to the weight of a Chicago winter... regardless of what the article says. :-)

Re:A ./ first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155973)

It's also a dup [slashdot.org].

Don't ticket me - control my car's max speed (5, Insightful)

dara (119068) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155876)

As I say every time this subject comes up, I'd much rather have my car know the max speed on a given road for a given set of conditions and not be allowed to go over the max speed, than I want fancy electronics to check to see if I go over the max speed, and if I do, take my picture, and send me a ticket. I'd rather pay higher taxes than fund police through tickets (and we wouldn't need as much traffic police either if the cars were smarter).

I claim that if no one could go over the speed limit, traffic would flow much more smoothly, and if the limit is too low (because you are expected to speed 10 mph), we will all complain loudly enough to get it changed.

Other aspects of this project sound interesting though.

Dara Parsavand

Won't work in many parts of the North (4, Insightful)

tyrani (166937) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155879)

In the upper states (buffalo, etc) and many parts of Canada, they have a great deal of trouble with things like these. Snow plows simply pick anything not level with the road off. Even if they're dug down a bit into the pavement, they still get damaged and eventually get picked out. I don't think that it's going to work to well up here.

Now, figure out how to do all that in a paint and then you're a kabillionair!

Shades of Orwell (5, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155880)

"Nobody knows it's a camera or a speed trap," Mr. Dicks said of his latest creation.

While I'm willing to applaud better-lit roads, why incorporate speed traps? Increased revenue to pay for the little buggers? Do we really want (or need) tiny cameras posted all along our highways seeing to it that we behave? I mean, I guess it could be argued that if you obey the law you have nothing to fear, but this just makes me uneasy. What next? Crosswalks that take a picture of you when you jaywalk--even if it's midnight and there's no traffic? I thought this was 2004, not 1984...

Gee (0, Redundant)

SILIZIUMM (241333) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155884)

Remove all posts containing the word "Soviet" or "Russia" (including this very one) and the comment thread shrinks to 5 posts! Amazing...

sorry but... (4, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155887)

while people will really like these if they do only the 'safety' tasks (illuminated, warnings for fog, standing water, ...), there's no way they wouldn't be vandalized instantly if they were used for speed limit enforcement.

lit lanes ? (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155889)

I'm probably the only person here who is thinking this will suck, but the last thing I want driving at night is more light shining in my eyes.

It already sucks driving at night, in the rain,especially with glasses on.I don't think additional illumination is going to make it any easier.


Probably have a high repair rate (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155893)

1.) Sensor in car detects distinctive LED light
2.) Triggers High power magnetron, under car chasis
3.) Sensor fries

1.) First person busted with Sensor killer makes National news
2.) Overseas companies start producing them by the thousands (ala Cell phone jammers)
3.) Sensor killing problem becomes national and widespread.

Road Wars! (1)

kingsack (779872) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155900)

I suggest an infrared source detecter coupled to a directional EMP Generator. That should be capable of taking out every single marker on a stretch of road in notime flat!

sweet! free camera gadget (1)

spazoid12 (525450) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155905)

let's see... apply one screwdriver or chisel with a bit of force and *pop*... something new to play with since the CueCat has gotten old.

residential or highway speeding (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155907)

yeah, good for residential, highways, and school zones, but what's wrong with a little saturday afternoon, back-country, open road speeding? then again, when is the last time i saw a road reflector on a country road?

and what about scenarios of quick acceleration, causing you to go over the speed limit, but necesary to avoid a collision? flaws, flaws, everywhere are flaws. just put more cops on the streets, it would solve a lot of problems and create some jobs. they're more expensive, but they can do a lot more than make you slow down.

now that i've ranted, i'll go RTFA.

All I Want From These Things... (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155908)

...Is for them to flash in sequence, so you see little ribbons of light flowing down the freeway.

Trouble is, for it to look interesting, the lights would have to appear to be moving at about three to four times the speed limit. Which would encourage a certain class of Stupid Person to try and keep up with them.


Smart Road (2, Informative)

AgtSmith (738147) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155909)

This all ties into the "Smart Road" which has been in development at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA for several years. Including monitoring of road and weather conditions along with sending advisories to drivers.

I've thought about this... (4, Interesting)

FlyingOrca (747207) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155934)

...ever since I saw embedded reflectors in the UK. Problem is, where I live, we get large amounts of snow and ice building up on the roads. Sometimes when I'm driving on the highway, my mind will turn to the notion of holographic lane markers... or some equivalent system that would interact with the windshield of the car to visibly plot lanes etc... How about it, physicists of /.? Any brilliant ideas?

similar idea (2, Interesting)

for_usenet (550217) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155937)

In a pretty recent issue of Spectrum (the IEEE "trade" mag), there was a piece on a sensor network being used on an island off Massachusetts to study birds that lived on an island in that region.

The sensor were about the size of golf balls, and had sensors for info like temperature, humidity, etc., were battery powered, and capable of creating their own network along which they could relay info.

Here, sounds like they're trading size for range of functions - but that's to be expected. Sensors, sensors, everywhere, and where does all that info go ...

Oh Great. (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155940)

This would start an entire market for products designed to foil these things. Let's see: james bond style license plate rotators. Those defraction grating thinies that mean you can only view the plate from head on, not from an angle. You could speed as long as you don't change lanes. I'm sure someone can come up with an electronic device that can burn out the dots. I bet all of these products would be sold by the company that sells the dots. It would be another arms race just like the radar detector detector detectors.

My reaction (2, Insightful)

chrispl (189217) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155963)

My first reaction is:

LED lit roads - good
Roads that track you everywhere you go - Bad

So why does such a good idea have to become "real-world bloatware"?

self-fulfilling (1)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155965)

The system is currently being used to monitor traffic slowdowns.

And if you want an abundance of those slowdowns to monitor, just also use the device's ubiquitous radar/camera feature to rigorously enforce posted highway speed-limits during peak travel. (...at least on those highways where traffic still currently flows.)

Fun with toxic waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9155971)

So they'll be densely scattering batteries all over our roads? Batteries have such pleasant chemicals inside.

For universal speed-limit enforcement! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155974)

I am all for it. Once everybody starts getting tickets for speeding, the limits will rise to sensible levels (or are abandoned entirely).

Speed enforcement (5, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 9 years ago | (#9155980)

The markers will probably be useful for detecting fog and leaving a light trail after cars. Speed cameras are best placed on vertical structures where the lens is less likely to get covered with ice/snow/road grime/spray paint and where the lens is also best positioned to view license plates. Besides, we'll probably all go to RFIDs in cars within a few years :) Automated enforcement of speed laws is actually illlegal in many jurisdictions like NJ and PA (in PA local cops aren't even allowed to use RADAR or laser). Something about the right to face your accuser...


Interesting technology with flaws (-1, Flamebait)

Proxy Dude (779825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9156015)

This is definitely fascinating stuff. Medium-sized town Veerhoeszjen in The Netherlands has actually been trying these devices out for the last few months, and a href="
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