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Dutch artist teams up with engineering company to create first intelligent highway

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Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has joined forces with engineering company Heijmans Infrastructure to create the first ‘smart highway.’
Dutch artist teams up with engineering company to create first intelligent highway

Dutch engineering company Heijmans Infrastructure have employed artist Daan Roosegaarde to help them create the world’s first intelligent highway.

The so-called ‘smart highway’ will feature lane markers that glow in the dark, react to atmospheric conditions and a special lane which will allow electric car drivers to recharge their vehicles as they drive.

The company has revealed that the lane markers are treated with a luminescent powder that that stores light during the day, allowing it to glow at when night falls. The introduction of such markers will allow drivers to see in difficult weather conditions and nullifies the need for extra lighting.

Heijmans also noted that they have created a paint which reacts to temperature changes, providing a helpful warning to drivers. For example, when the air temperature drops below freezing, the paint will show up on the road in the form of ice crystals or snow flakes, thus alerting drivers that the road may be slippery.

‘The goal is to make roads which are more sustainable and interactive by using light, energy and road signs that automatically adapt to the traffic situation,’ a press release for the project reads.


The first prototypes of the ‘smart highway’ were presented during Dutch Design Week, where they were selected as ‘Best Future Concept’ by the Dutch Design Awards.

The highway will be tested for the first time later this year on a 300 metre stretch of road in North Brabant. The electric charging lane is expected to be ready by 2018 in the form of a working model, while it is hoped that the highways themselves will be realised by the second half of 2013 in the Netherlands.

Daan Roosegaarde is a renowned Dutch artist and innovator who has created several internationally acclaimed interactive artworks over the course of his career. One of his most famous works is Dune, which presented an interactive dune landscape with the use of hundreds of LEDs. Most recently, Roosegaarde’s social design lab Studio Roosegaarde created a line of dresses that turn transparent when the wearer’s heart rate is elevated, aptly named ‘Intimacy.’

His work has been exhibited all over the world including at the Venice Biennale, Tate Modern London and the Tokyo National Museum.

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