We have previously written about the autonomous, remotely driven trucks being used in the mines in Australia and the Google cars that have driven over 700,000 miles without a driver as a true test of the viability and safety of the next generation of cars and trucks.
In the US, truck manufacturers are delivering autonomous trucks to the military, but now the Florida Department of Transportation is about to launch its first venture into the public arena by using autonomous trucks in rolling construction zones on Florida highways. These construction zones for overlaying, repairs and striping are among the most dangerous conditions on our highways. Construction workers and transportation experts will welcome any technology that will avoid major rear end crashes and human injury and deaths.
“Developed by Royal Truck & Equipment, a specialty vehicle manufacturer based near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the trucks will be fitted with special devices, called attenuators, designed to protect workers as well as motorists trying to navigate through temporary work zones.”
“Attenuators are designed to provide a rolling crash barrier, but while that can save construction workers, as well as motorists, they put at risk the people that drive the trucks. So, Royal Truck has developed a system that can be operated autonomously.”
This is a first move by the Florida Department of Transportation and the manufacturer of the trucks. If successful, you can expect to see other states adopt this new technology designed to reduce injuries in temporary construction zones on our major highways.