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If you’re of a particular age, you may remember watching a Saturday morning cartoon in which drivers blasted through space in levitating vehicles. And if you’re a curious type, you may have wondered when that day would become a reality. While we’re not quite there yet, technology is bringing the future to our highways and byways.

Tim Sylvester, CEO & Chief Technology Officer of Integrated Roadways takes us on an amazing journey to the crux of technology-based, next-generation roads. With growing demands for smart cities, 5G cellular, and applications to connect electric-powered and autonomous vehicles, the need for powerful networks based in and around roadways is tremendous.

The tech CEO provides an insider look into his company’s strategies to turn physical roads into active digital networks. An obvious and immediate benefit of these digital networks would be in the area of driver safety. Auto accidents could be instantly identified and pinpointed and first responders such as police and EMT would be immediately notified, cutting down on time lag and possibly saving lives. And real time traffic data could modify signal timing and increase traffic flow during periods of congestion.

Additionally, analytical data regarding traffic could enable small businesses to get a sense of how much traffic their potential business location might see on average, which could bolster rates of success.

The digital network expert also helps to allay some of the misconceptions about the application of this technology. While some may think that building new roads to implement a digital strategy could be an excessive, unnecessary task, Sylvester explains that 50% of American roads are in desperate need of replacement right now. Integrated Roadways has patented a Smart Pavement system, which is created from precast concrete sections that can be embedded with digital technology and fiber optic connectivity that will transform everyday roads into smart roads. By targeting the commercial demands for data and wireless service, Sylvester expects to reinvigorate highway and road funding and step away from the traditional method of funding solely with tax dollars.

Sylvester discusses the incredible advances that digital network roads will bring to the autonomous driving industry. The CEO explains that as smartphones go, so should the autonomous vehicle. In that he clarifies that just as the network technology that drives smartphones exists outside of the actual physical phone, autonomous vehicles should follow suit.

Autonomous vehicles of the near future should begin to rely on digital network information in the actual roadways, not in the vehicle itself. And with a peek into the near future, the technology expert reveals his company’s current plans for activating this digital system in multiple areas of the country. The future has arrived.

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