New ‘robo-cones’ are reportedly set to revolutionise road work, along with stopping all those unnecessary cues.
Invented by British engineers, these cones drift off once their work is complete. They were developed with the idea of shortening roadworks for drivers on the road. Typically, areas of the road can be coned off way past what it is necessary due to how dangerous it is to go back out and retrieve the cones.
Therefore, companies tend to cone off large areas as they don’t need to go back and move the cones again. And, consequently, motorists are continually having to deal with long queues of traffic that just aren’t necessary.
The new prototype has been developed by company Costain. The cones have been constructed to move off the motorway when repairs are finished, travelling at around 4mph. This reduces the risk road workers have to take to go and collect these cones, and, hopefully, will mean road works will get cleared quicker.
Not only will these cones help reduce the road work queues but will also help improve safety for road workers on the job. In fact, one traffic management firm was fined £100,000 back in 2010 after a worker was killed whilst moving cones on the M4.
William Clifford, the inventor and engineer of the cones described: “You cone off much more than you need.”
“You see it when you drive past for miles, the workers have done the work.”
Therefore, these robotic cones could allow for “smaller roadworks.”
Senior software engineer Richard Golledge added, “They are not autonomous.”
“It’ll be defined by someone who says where they want the cones.”
“To have them completely autonomous and come out on the motorway and detect when there’s an accident, that would be perfect, although we are far from that.”
The cones have only currently been used in test conditions at the moment. And, to get them rolled out on the roads, they will first need to be approved by the Highways Agency.
Compared to regular cones though, these are, of course, much more expensive. On average, they will cost around £100, compared to the £5 for traditional cones. Fitted with GPS trackers though, there’ll be no running off with one of these bad boys.
It’s looking positive for these robo-cones though with Meridan’s Al Clarke (a Government launched company to promote autonomous driving technology) stating that he could “envisage a future of ‘robo-cones.'”
He continued, “Vehicles will be communicating with robo-cones.”
“A few years down the line when robo-cones are swarming on the M25, they will communicate with vehicles still, say, on the M6 saying, ‘Robocones are on the move at the M25, you are going to be delayed. Why not reroute?'”
So what do you lot think of these? A good i dea? Or not? Let us know what you think in the comments below.