Driverless Dumper Trialled on A14 as Gasbots Fix Londons Victorian Pipes
- Date: Wednesday 15th May 2019
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A self-driving earth-moving dumper truck that could help to reduce accidents and incidents is being tested for the first time on a Highways England project in the east of England.
The vehicle on trial was previously tested in Australia and has been deployed on the A14 upgrade between Cambridge and Huntingdon by earthworks and remediation contractor CA Blackwell.
The autonomous dump truck is being tested in a controlled environment, where it is programmed to follow a pre-determined route. It also has the capability to detect and avoid obstacles as it drives.
The dump truck can also work around the clock, reducing the length of time roadworks are on the ground. The project is being funded with a £150,000 grant from Highways England’s innovation fund.
Julian Lamb, deputy project director for Highways England for the A14 project, said that the government agency was looking to deploy technological advances to advance safety and bring improvements to drivers wherever possible.
“Road construction has changed massively over the years and the testing of trucks such as these promises to allow us to work efficiently, speeding up roadworks, giving more protection to road workers, and moving jobs to other skilled areas.
“The trial we are leading with our partner CA Blackwell will enable the construction industry as a whole to be in a more informed position to make key decisions about autonomy on UK construction sites.”
Once testing is complete, Highways England hopes to adopt the technology to modernise UK construction sites.
It is expected to be another two or three years before autonomous dump trucks are in full operation.