DENVER – Colorado is using a driverless truck to follow behind and protect highway work crews, a move that’s believed to be a global first.
The truck debuted Friday is officially known as an Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle but it’s not really autonomous like the self-driving cars currently being tested. Instead, it’s electronically controlled by another truck ahead of it. If the AIPV loses its electronic “tether” to the lead vehicle, it is programmed to pull over and stop.
Trucks with drivers typically follow road crews but they are often hit by drivers, making the job one of the most dangerous in road construction.
The driverless truck was developed by Pennsylvania-based Royal Truck & Equipment.
Colorado also consulted with another company, Colas UK, which is testing the same technology for use in the United Kingdom.