10 Futuristic Construction Technologies

Smart Roads
No need for a solar-paneled car if we come up with roads that can wirelessly provide power to an electric car. © Chris Rogers/Corbis

Google is hogging all of the limelight with its self-driving car, but what good are smart cars if they still have to drive on "dumb" roads?

One of the most exciting new ideas is a roadway that acts as a charger for electric vehicles. A New Zealand company has already built a large "power pad" that can wirelessly charge a parked electric car [source: Barry]. The next step is to embed the wireless charging technology into actual road surfacing so electric vehicles can recharge on the move. No more refueling stations!

Other intriguing ideas that may come true one day include road surfaces that absorb sunlight to generate electricity, or — even cooler — embedding the road with piezoelectric crystals that capture the vibrations of passing cars and convert them into usable energy [source: Zero to 60 Times].

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