Ask the Ray

"What’s the most unique project you currently have on The Ray?"

Beth Bond
Southeast Green
05.07.2018

The Ray has had the opportunity to demonstrate several technologies that are “firsts,” that really make The Ray unique. Our PV4EV (solar fast charge station for electric vehicles) was the first of its kind to be located at a rest stop in the south east. Our Wattway solar road is the first drivable solar road demonstration in the United States, and the second in the world. Our WheelRight tire safety station, which checks both tire pressure and tread depth without the driver leaving the vehicle, is the first in the world. Finally, our pollinator garden located at the Visitor Information Center was the first planted on Georgia Department of Transportation land.

More on PV4EV: The State of Georgia ranks second in the nation for registered electric vehicles — but outside metro Atlanta, the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is lacking. I-85 is a major travel corridor that runs from Alabama to Virginia, connecting major metro areas throughout the Southeast, offering a prime opportunity to reduce carbon emissions by providing accessible solar-powered charging stations.The innovative charging station is powered by the SpotlightTM Solar LIFT. The electric vehicle (EV) charger is a level 3 “quick charge” station, capable of providing 80 percent or more battery charge in less than 45 minutes for most EVs.

More on Wattway: The Ray, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and international infrastructure innovator Colas have partnered to bring the world’s first trafficable solar roadway to the United States. Wattway, which debuted in France in 2015, selected The Ray as its first partner outside of France to beta test the company’s groundbreaking drive-over solar panel technology. Located in the highway access lane leaving the Georgia Visitor Information Center, the pilot is fifty square meters of solar paving. A novel technology, Wattway is a system of solar panels installed on the road’s surface that is not only safe and durable, but also generates energy from the sun when not obscured by cars or trucks. The thin, heavy-duty, skidresistant photovoltaic pavers can be applied directly over existing paving, eliminating the need to remodel or build new road infrastructure. The clean energy generated by the Wattway beta site in West Point helps to power the Georgia Visitor Information Center. Drive-over solar panels like Wattway have the potential to feed electricity into the grid to power public lighting and road signals in cities and towns, as well as in remote areas where low population density increases the costs of connecting to the grid. The technology can also provide an alternative energy solution for bike paths, shopping centers, airports, electric vehicle charging stations and other infrastructure.

More on WheelRight: More than 40,000 drivers die in accidents on United States’ roads and highways each year, and U.S. DOT data points to underinflated tires as a cause of crashes that can result in fatalities and injuries. The International Tire and Rubber Association cites tire underinflation as the “single most common” factor in tire failure. WheelRight, located in the UK on an Oxford University technology park, was established with a vision to research, develop and commercialize technologies to automate the inspection of tires on any vehicle whilst the vehicle is in motion. Ease of use, accuracy and simplicity are key design criteria for the web-based cloud system. The integrated, cloud technology is working 24/7 in bus and HGV depots across the UK for a range of customers and tested extensively by Highways England.

More on pollinator gardens: Bees, butterflies, birds and bats are among the pollinator species we have to thank for one out of every three bites of food we eat. More than two-thirds of our crops are dependent on these pollinators, which are experiencing population decline all across the world. Pollinator-friendly roadside gardens of flowering plants and trees can provide nectar and pollen sources and give these busy, beautiful creatures the boost they need to thrive – and to help us thrive, too.