New Self-Driving Construction Trucks Aim to Save Lives

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Robison Wells
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Construction zones on roadways have always been dangerous, and many strategies have been tried to deal with them, including increasing fines for speeding in those areas, increasing patrols by law enforcement, and giving construction workers the power to tag and report reckless drivers.

But a new idea has come from Kratos Defense and Security Solutions.

The concept is nothing new: a truck positions itself on the road between the workers and the traffic. This has been a strategy long practiced, but not well-loved. For one thing, it puts a worker behind the wheel doing very little work—just crawling along behind crews as they work on the road—and also it leaves the truck vulnerable to the same reckless traffic problems that the on-the-ground workers face.

As Maynard Factor, the director of business development for Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, puts it: “And if you can imagine an 80,000-pound tanker truck smashing into the back of this vehicle at 60 miles per hour. It doesn’t end well for the driver.”

Instead, the company proposes and is testing a self-driving truck that will fulfill the same role but without the need for a driver who is doing no work. It would essentially act as a barrier in between workers and potential crashes.

It may cost a lot, but it’s far less than the cost of a death or serious injury. One mother, Linda Joseph, whose son was hit in a construction zone, said “If a worker gets hit, it’ll probably cost you more with, especially with Anthony’s case, with paying for medical bills. And we don’t know for how long.”

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