Photovoltaic roads sound almost like science fiction, but they're becoming reality in the US. This week Missouri announced plans to pave a section of the historic Route 66 with energy-generating Solar Roadways tiles. In other futuristic transportation news, Russia wants to build a 44-mile-long hyperloop track that stretches along the coast to China. Driverless cars are expected to hit prime time within the next five years, and we explored whether the convenience they offer will fuel suburban sprawl. Volkswagen promised to pay a whopping $14.7 billion to owners of cars affected by the emissions cheating scandal. And if you hate parallel parking, check out these incredible omnidirectional wheels that allow any car to drive sideways.
In energy news, Mexico, Canada and the US just made a major commitment to source 50 percent of their electricity from clean sources by the year 2025. Meanwhile, Germany passed a groundbreaking measure that effectively bans fracking for all practical purposes. Sunpower set a new world record for rooftop solar efficiency, while a recent report projects that the average cost of solar and wind power will fall by 59 percent in the next decade. And two designers developed a spiraling building that sucks in carbon dioxide and produces clean, green biofuel.
A Chinese company just 3D-printed an entire mansion in 45 days -- and they say it's durable enough to withstand an 8.0-magnitude earthquake. In other technology and design news, researchers at Cambridge believe that they can grow buildings from natural materials like bone and eggshell, and Neste launched an awesome egg-shaped office pod that lets you work from almost anywhere. We also featured one of the most futuristic mobile homes we've ever seen. It's called the Doubleback, and it expands 6.5 feet with the push of a button. Finally, in NASA developed a new technology that could provide the entire solar system with internet, and an experiment deemed that plants grown in Martian soil would indeed be edible.