Colas will commence developing and trialling the autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle (IPV) in the UK this year in collaboration with two US companies, Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems, which is a Kratos Defense Company.
The autonomous IPV, equipped with an electro-mechanical system and completely integrated sensor suite, has a leader / follower capability that allows it to follow a lead vehicle, unmanned.
GPS position data is first transmitted from the leader vehicle to the follower vehicle, which can use the data to follow the exact path and speed of the leader vehicle at each point along a route.
Initially, this drone technology was deployed for use in the US Military. It is now being customized by Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems for the highways industry.
Engineers from Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems will work with Colas engineers to install the new technology on a brand new IPV.
As part of a stringent testing and training regime, the new vehicle will be trialled on a live worksite under closely controlled conditions.
All data collected during this period will be analyzed and incorporated into the roll-out of future vehicles not just in the UK, but also across Europe.
Colas associate director Dennis Gregg said: “As a company that offers traffic management to clients across the UK, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the safety of both our operatives and the road using public.
“By collaborating with these two US companies, we strongly believe that we are on the brink of something which could have a huge positive impact on the industry at large.”
Royal Truck and Equipment president Robert Roy said: “Colas’ innovative approach to health and safety is precisely why we are delighted to be working with them on this cutting-edge project in Europe.
“There is no doubt that this technology has the potential to change the way the industry operates forever.”