Systems of overhead electric cables are a common sight on trams and trains—but a new system designed to power road-going trucks is landing in the US. Developed by Siemens, the overhead lines will soon be rolled out for testing in California.

The system, called eHighway, is just like that uses by trains. Overhead electric cables are used by specially designed hybrid trucks to power them as they move, in order to reduce fuel and noise emissions on heavily traveled stretches of highway.

Because the trucks are hybrids, though, they're free to disconnect from the cables in order to leave the highway and reach their final destination. In fact, as the video shows, the trucks can automatically connect and disconnect from the cables while on the move. The pantograph—which is the thing connecting the truck to the cables—is specially designed so the vehicle can naturally move around within its lane without disconnecting.

The system is to be rolled out in parts of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, soon according to an announcement made at the Electric Vehicle Symposium 2012. Highways will gain a single lane of overhead cabling for testing purposes. [Design Boom]