Home Colorado to deploy self-driving crash truck to shadow road crews

Colorado to deploy self-driving crash truck to shadow road crews

The Colorado Department of Transportation has said it will deploy a self-driving truck to protect road crews from speeding vehicles by the end of this fall, potentially extending the program to cover all road maintenance if the trial is a success.

The self-driving truck will act as a “crash truck”, which moves slowly behind road crews. The trucks are currently manned by a single driver, who faces the brunt of the damage if an accident happens.

See Also: Forrester: self-driving to make global economy “unrecognizable” by 2035

In Colorado, 21,898 crashes and 171 fatalities were reported on work zones between 2000 and 2014, according to CNN Money, highlighting the need for crash trucks and other buffers.

The self-driving truck will follow a lead vehicle further ahead via radio waves, taking notice of worker movements and other factors. The self-driving technology is developed by Kratos Defense, a supplier of autonomous vehicles for the U.S. army.

“People talk about automation and will this displace workers. Here’s a case where I think everyone will agree we want to get workers out of these trucks,” said Shailen Bhatt, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

One truck so far

Colorado has purchased one truck for the trial and will buy more if the trial is successful. Officials said that former drivers of crash trucks will be given other roles in the road crew.

Trucks are expected to make up a significant amount of the self-driving industry’s value, according to a report by Strategy Analytics and Intel. The business-as-a-mobility sector could be worth $3 trillion by 2050, most of the value coming from long-haul shipping, another job with a high turnover rate.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.