You've no doubt seen the video that's gone viral the past few weeks about solar freakin' roadways, hexagonal panels designed to replace pavement and harness sunlight to power both the LEDs within them and feed any excess power back to the local power grid. In addition to the awesomeness of giving roads the power of solar panels, the LEDs were something that caught my interest. Depending on the programming, the panels could light up their embedded LEDs to not just create illuminated lane dividers, but display speed limits, alerts of animals or obstructions on the road, or even custom ball courts in parking lots. This got me thinking: if the LEDs can be programmed to dynamically relay information to the driver, why couldn't they also be programmed to communicate with the car as well?
This is the scenario I envision: as solar LED roadways become more prevalent, cars start shipping with cameras embedded on the underside. As the car drives down the (pressure-sensitive) roadway, a grid of LEDs lights up directly beneath the car, following it as it drives. The pattern on the grid under the car would convey information directly to the car itself, which would then relay the information as necessary to the driver. It'd be like Li-Fi for the road.
For example, if the driver starts drifting too close to the center lane divider, the light pattern would indicate as such, the cameras under the car would interpret the info, and then display an alert on the central dashboard for the driver urging them to drift back to the right. Once self-driving cars become ubiquitous, this info would keep the cars appropriately spaced within their respective lanes without driver input.
For issues such as roadblocks - say a moose takes up residence in the slow lane - the info could be relayed to the car miles in advance, long before the driver would see it, who could then adjust their driving plan accordingly. Or, with the advent of self-driving cars, the car could adjust its own travel plan.
Speed traps would become a thing of the past as cars would know the speed limit and wouldn't allow the driver to break it. Similarly, maximum speeds could be universally reduced in inclement weather to limit accidents. As an added bonus, the light grid under the car would make neighboring cars much easier to see, even in the rain at night.
Though there would be reduced income from speeding tickets, law enforcement would benefit from saving on whatever costs are associated with highway chases - mostly Michael Bay consultation fees, I presume - as cars flagged by the police would simply refuse to drive. There's likely a whole slew of law enforcement-specific features that could flow from this that would save lives, time, and money.
Of course, this is speculation on an advanced feature of technology that's barely through the funding phase, so it would no doubt be several years before anyone saw something even a little like this come into practice, assuming its dependent technology ever even sees production. But still, it's fun to speculate on what could be.