Heavy equipment uses satellites and sensors to build roads
Each direction will have two AV-only lanes
China is quickly becoming the country with the most traffic in the world, and while they continue to build more massive roads, and more mass transit, they’re working on some real solutions too. One of the latest is a 100 km highway that boasts not just lanes for autonomous vehicles but was built by autonomous construction equipment.
The Jingxiong highway runs from Beijing to Xiong’an New Area, an area 147 km south of Beijing, and it’s set to be open to traffic by June of next year. But it’s how it is being built and how it will be used that are fascinating.
We’ll start with the unmanned road construction equipment. It uses the BeiDou positioning system, China’s own GPS-like system. Using not just satellite positioning sensors, but local sensors that read the environment around the construction equipment, the system plans an optimal route, compacting, grading, and paving the highway with 50 percent higher accuracy than a person running the machine, Xinhua says.
When the highway is complete, the two inner lanes will be dedicated to driverless cars, and the report says it’s the first time driverless lanes have been built by driverless construction equipment. Now we’re not sure what driverless cars will be able to use the roads since there aren’t any yet, but it’s better to try to build the lanes now and advance the technology than to fall behind and catch up.