NDDOT demonstrates its first autonomous impact protection vehicle
HORACE, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The North Dakota Department of Transportation showed off its first autonomous impact protection vehicle Thursday at the Grand Farm Test Site near Horace, ND.
The autonomous vehicle will improve safety in work zones by removing the driver from the impact protection vehicle during normal operation. Impact protection vehicles are typically human-operated and are designed to protect road construction crews from distracted motorists in work zones.
Last year, there were 261 work zone related crashes on North Dakota highways. These crashes resulted in 64 injuries and two fatalities.
The upgrade was made possible by a $241,687 grant from the Federal Highway Administration through its Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) program this past January.
The autonomous vehicle will be monitored and controlled by a human-operated lead vehicle and will automatically follow behind construction equipment without putting a driver in danger.
NDDOT plans to officially deploy the autonomous impact protection vehicle in the Fargo area this spring.
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