Urban technologists Umbrellium from England were tasked by insurer Direct Line to build a prototype road that has embedded LEDs and is capable of detecting pedestrians and warning road users of perils – the first prototype has already made its debut in London earlier this week during a private event. The technologically advanced road makes use of high resolution cameras and LED technology embedded into the actual road, with the company hoping it can create a road surface that helps mitigating a number of accidents when it’s deployed in the near future.
“We’ve created a road that’s capable of detecting and responding to pedestrians,” said Usman Haque, founding partner of Umbrellium. “Two cameras capable of recording hundreds of different variables monitor the 22-meter crossing and once they detect pedestrians or other road users will feed the information to the computer system in less than a hundredth of a second.” The tech also includes a new computer program developed by Umbrellium that will actively learn and then predict pedestrian movements. The road surface is made of a high-impact plastic that has good durability – and inside there are more than 660 LED lights that can color or create patterns and messages, depending on the situation.