Audi 'Urban Future' exhibit at Design Miami 2011Enlarge Photo
Regular readers might remember the solar-powered roadway proposed by a company called -- not so originally -- Solar Roadways. The gist was that LEDs embedded in the surface would allow for quick and easy updates to dividing lines, signage, and more. At the recent Design Miami showcase, Audi showed off a similar project as part of its "Urban Future" exhibition, and it came with the requisite Audi flair.
As you can see from the video below, the digital roadway envisioned by Audi and architects at Copenhagen's BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is much groovier than the Solar Roadways version. It offers moving arrows to direct traffic, and it clearly senses where pedestrians are, too, marking them with little halos of light.
Mr. Ingels foresees a future in which such technology is ubiquitous, allowing cities to transform spaces from roadways to pedestrian plazas in the flip of a switch. We could also imagine ways in which such a surface could be tied to vehicle-to-vehicle communications, alerting drivers of hazardous conditions, redirecting traffic in the event of an accident, and so on.
At the moment, however, this is little more than an updated version of the discotheque floor from Saturday Night Fever. But it sure is pretty. Have a look.