Royal Truck and Equipment, a specialty vehicle manufacturer based in Pennsylvania, has designed self-driving road maintenance trucks that will be used on Florida roads later this year.
These trucks will be equipped with crash bars and strobe lights, and are designed to serve as a barrier between highway construction workers and traffic. The crash trucks are being used by Floridas Department of Transportation as part of a 2015 pilot program.
Royal Truck and Equipments crash trucks are capable of following a lead car on their own, without the need for a human driver. The technology utilized in these vehicles is comparable to unmanned vehicles used by the U.S. military. Manned crash trucks have been used to protect road workers, but there is no protection for the crash trucks driver.
According to Samantha Schwartz, Royal Truck and Equipments marketing and business development manager, the goal is saving lives. By removing the driver, these vehicles are creating a safer means of protection by eliminating the risk of an automobile accident crash injury or death.
At GWC Injury Lawyers, our Chicago truck accident lawyers have been helping injured truck accident victims file lawsuits for decades.
Once the pilot program is completed, Royal Truck and Equipment plans to use the collected data to pursue more work for their crash trucks.
The company plans to seek out other state transportation departments who may be interested in utilizing their driverless technology. The cost of a manned crash truck can range between $60,000 and $100,000, depending on its age and its accessories; Royal Truck and Equipment is attempting to offer unmanned crash trucks at a similar price point.
Other vehicle manufacturers are exploring autonomous vehicle technology as well. Apple Inc. and Tesla Motors are two companies who have been reported to be working on such vehicles. Experts believe that the development of true driverless vehicles is still a few decades away.
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