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Missouri May Soon Have Solar Panels on Roadways

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Instead of simple asphalt you could soon find yourself driving on solar panels in Missouri.

During this week's Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission meeting, MoDOT District Engineer and Road to Tomorrow team leader Tom Blair provided an update on their progress.

"What we learned is that technology is changing very rapidly and it is going to disrupt the traditional transportation system and services that MoDOT is used to providing," Blair says. "So, technology is going to change that."

MoDOT's getting ready to launch several pilot projects including one for so-called "Smart Pavement" that would embed sensors in roadways to enable autonomous driving. Another project is for solar roadways in which cars would drive on solar panels that would generate electricity and help highways pay for themselves.

"Truck platooning" -- two semis traveling in tandem down the highway -- could become a thing in Missouri.

"This decreases the fuel consumption of the trucks by up to 10 percent, which is really big dollars to truck operators and that also improves safety," Blair says.

He once again pointed out that even though the two trucks are linked through wireless technology, it does not mean that one of the truck cabs will be empty -- both drivers remain in place.

This past session Missouri lawmakers gave permission to launch the practice on a trial basis.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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