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Road worker safety may be enhanced by autonomous technology

Highway workers often perform repairs on dangerous active roads. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, moving vehicles were the cause of death for 49 road workers in 2014. Pennsylvania drivers may soon notice the presence of a new safety measure on roads and highways that is designed provide these road workers with some extra protection.

An autonomous truck-mounted attenuator created by Royal Truck & Equipment may help keep road workers safe. Current safety practices in a road work zone have the road machinery and workers in front of a truck-mounted attenuator driven by a human. The addition of the autonomous truck behind the manned truck will provide an extra degree of safety. It could eliminate the necessity of having a manned vehicle as a protection against fast-moving vehicles.

The attenuator is attached to the back of the automated truck and will function as a barrier and a crash cushion. Its honey comb construction made of aluminum and filled with sand or air can stop or redirect a moving vehicle.

The technology behind the attenuator was created by Micro Systems Inc. The automation consists of a computer that regulates motors so that the vehicle can accelerate, decelerate, turn or stop at the speed and direction of the lead vehicle. Mechanical actuators can also be added to make to an older vehicle autonomous.

Highway workers have a high risk of receiving work-related injuries. If a worker has sustained injuries while performing his or her job duties, an attorney may be able to help the victim obtain compensation for damages.

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