The Internet of Things role in the new US highway system will not just fuel new transportation innovation, but also power a number of other new essential initiatives as well.  With the development and rollout of self-driving vehicles, interconnected micro-sensors will provide connectivity between smart vehicles.  This will in turn create a virtual highway atop of the physical highway. The development of this web of connection will be vital to navigation and safety of tomorrow’s self-driving fleet of autonomous trucks and personal vehicles.  But with smart IoT communications, this is just the beginning of the cross-industry benefits we will see.

One such example of what the internet of transportation will provide is the opportunity to harness and distribute energy. Using piezoelectric crystals layered on the country’s new highways, energy could be generated from vehicles’ vibrations.  By then adding an expansive distribution of micro-sensors, this energy can be connected to existing power grids to create an entirely new source of power for US municipalities. The timing of this is fortuitous, as a number of municipalities have already begun integrating IoT technologies and the associated benefits into their basic infrastructure. Many of these include more intelligent traffic lights, street lamps and real time routing for public transit. All of these initiatives are being created to increase safety, alleviate congestion and provide a better standard of living for citizens.  Even better yet, many projects are being funded through the cost savings realized by the deployment of these IoT-based technologies themselves.

There is a crisis unfolding in the United States. Infrastructure has become dated, decayed, and vulnerable to attack. A problem which the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates says will cost the country up to $3.6 trillion to address. So where does technology fit in to the United States’ next great undertaking?

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