Roads authority planning automatic cone vehicle trials


Highways England has announced that it is developing automated vehicles to lay cones on motorways and A roads.

Collaborators on the project include Kier, HW Martin Traffic Management, Highway Care and King Highway Products. Highways England is also funding the development of a minimum standard while the vehicles are being brought through, with a hoped-for roll-out sometime this year.

Two automated cone laying vehicles are currently being developed, with testing due to get under way next month in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

Speaking of the project, Highways England group leader Martin Bolt said: “Safety is always the priority for Highways England and we are constantly looking for ways to ensure everyone who works and travels on our road network is protected.

“By taking out the human element in the laborious task of putting out cones, we will also be taking out an element of potential risk. As well as removing this physical labour, these automated machines could also save valuable person hours and allow us to redeploy the workforce to other traffic management duties.”

According to the organisation, current arrangements mean that personnel have to lift around ten tonnes of equipment per shift, working in often adverse conditions.

An average one metre high cone weighs approximately ten kilograms. A typical four-kilometre road closure involves putting down – and later removing – approximately 260-300 cones.

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