Royal's Driverless Trucks to Save Lives on Construction Work Zones

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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 BETHLEHEM, PA: Royal Truck and Equipment to rebuild the face of construction sites near Florida with its driverless trucks. These trucks are laced with unique devices called attenuators, which serve the purpose of protecting workers and motorists passing through temporary work zones. These attenuators will provide a rolling crash barrier which can protect the vulnerable workers and motorists, however on the contrary it makes the truck drivers at a more susceptible point. Hence, Royal Truck developed a system that can be operated autonomously.

Robert Roy, President of Royal Truck explains the mechanism, "Any time a driver can be removed from these vehicles in a very dangerous situation and, if the vehicle's struck there's nobody inside of it to receive the damage or the injuries, that's measuring success."

Usually trucks have been deploying warning lights to make the passing motorists aware of the rolling work zone like a pothole patching crew. However, the aversion procedure isn’t quite efficient and eventually cases are seen where the reaction window provided to these motorists is quite short and they slam into the truck. Hence, attenuators can be real life savers by deploying these portable crash barriers that can reduce such work zone injuries and fatalities from rear end crashes.

Royal jointly developed this system with Micro Systems which supplies unmanned vehicles for the military. This autonomous attenuator truck uses a lead-and-follow system. Here, the truck is supposed to trace and follow the movements made by another truck which will be operating as the lead for a given truck convoy.  Unlike Google’s driverless cars, which were tested with a driver in the car to take control, these trucks will be the first to be tested without any driver in the cabin.

The initial line of these autonomous attenuator trucks is expected to go operational in Florida by the year end as part of a pilot program run by the state's transportation department.