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Autonomous solution launched to protect road workers

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Autonomous vehicle technology is being used in an impact protection vehicle to help keep road workers safe. The innovative solution – thought to be the first of its kind – launched recently with a live demonstration in Colorado, USA.

The Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle removes the requirement for a driver in the vehicle, which is effectively designed to be used as a mobile crash barrier.

Developed by Colas and US companies Royal Truck & Equipment and Micro Systems Inc, the vehicle features an array of sensors and is capable of automatically following a driver operated ‘leader vehicle’.

Navigation data that includes vehicle speed and direction is transmitted from the leader vehicle to the autonomous IPV, enabling it to follow the exact path and speed of the leader.

Initially deployed for use in the US Military, this drone technology has been tailored for use in the highways industry. To date over 200 hours of testing and training has been completed prior to the vehicle being declared ready for use on live work sites.

Commenting on the technology Highways England’s executive director for safety, engineering and standards Mike Wilson said: “We welcome this innovative work which, through the use of connected and autonomous vehicle technology, has the potential to help the sector address the risks road workers face on a daily basis.”

Colas chief executive Lee Rushbrooke said: “We are extremely excited about this new technology and are looking forward to giving this a global reach to save lives of road workers, across the world.”