My immediate thought is that it would be a practical means of powering in-road devices. Eg this plus the huge improvement in LED's over recent years would make it relatively simple to install lights into the road itself to indicate the centre line, edge or anything else - potentially a useful thing for road safety in areas with heavy fog.
Whilst it could be done using mains power or a solar panel on a pole beside the road and cables, having the power source in the road itself ought to make it a lot cheaper and easier to do. Eg installation of modules by the road works crew, just sit it in place and that's it, rather than having an electrician running cables etc.
I feel really bad about this project. The promotional video is one huge, American BS spiel. Comes complete with Pa and Mum business shooting for the world. That alone raises a host of red flags.
I had a think about the complexity of the systems they were developing and thought this is just over the top. Turns out that the practical people in the world (road builders, engineers ) think this is a complete doozy of an idea.
I'll accept that the couple designing and building this are genuine.. (hopefully) But I'm desperately sad that it has pulled $2m plus from Indieagogo for a project that will never, ever be a practical use of resources.
Covering the whole road with it as a means of energy production isn't a sensible idea in lots of ways. I mean, if you're going to have solar panels then why put them somewhere that has vehicles driving over it causing shading and a buildup of oil, rubber etc when there are plenty of other places to put solar that doesn't have these problems?
But I can certainly see a use for solar panels able to withstand being driven over. A very different scenario there - a couple of panels here and there to power traffic monitoring sensors, in-road lights or whatever that would otherwise be more difficult to install (or not done at all due to cost). That's a very different scenario from trying to use the road as a bulk power source.
I had the idea many years ago of using asphalt as a solar thermal collector. It's cheap, black and there's heaps of it sitting in the sun all day. So my thought was to simply embed a copper pipe and run water through it to capture the heat, with the heat used to heat buildings, hot water etc. I went as far as measuring road temperatures etc but soon realised there's a problem - asphalt isn't solid! It's a very stiff liquid, but it's a liquid mixed with loose solids nonetheless and it does move around to some extent and also it's not a good conductor. So whilst it could work as such, it would be high maintenance (realistic lifespan seemed to be around 7 years) and so isn't really viable commercially given that there are plenty of other ways of obtaining low grade heat.