Florida to invest in new driverless construction vehicles

If you could avoid getting hurt at work, you would, right? That could be a distinct possibility in the future thanks to the design of vehicles that need no drivers. Imagine being able to control your work vehicle from a remote location that’s out of harm’s way. That’s the future of road maintenance, and it’s starting soon in Florida.

If there’s any surefire way to prevent injuries in a multi-vehicle crash, it’s by making sure no humans are involved in at least one of the vehicles. Is that really possible, though? According to a story from Aug. 26, autonomous trucks could soon be used on Florida’s highways as a construction team without humans needed. That means that no construction workers will be on site in these vehicles at all.

These vehicles won’t need anyone behind the wheel, which draws some concerns. First, how will it be controlled? What happens if the vehicle breaks down or suddenly loses its brakes?

The news reports that the vehicle is controlled via GPS or remote control. There is a leader and follower program that allows the vehicle to know where to go, too. The vehicle itself also has attenuators on its body, which prevents motorists from colliding with the truck fully; instead, they hit a barrier around the vehicle.

The special crash barriers are ideal for protecting motorists and workers, but the driver’s life is still in danger in a crash. That’s why the company, Royal Truck & Equipment, has aimed for a completely driverless vehicle that simply needs to be controlled from a point somewhere nearby.

Source: Engadget, “Self-driving trucks to be used for highway construction in Florida,” Mariella Moon, Aug. 26, 2015