NATIONALLY, OVER 700 deaths a year occur due to crashes in work zones, according to the Advanced Highway Maintenance and Construction Technology Research Center at the University of California, Davis. Making highways safer is the aim of the center, which is funded by the California Department of Transportation to develop and deploy machines to handle dangerous jobs on busy highways. Currently, prototypes of crack sealers, a cone placer, and debris and litter removal vehicles are undergoing field trials with Caltrans. One example, the “Cone Shooter,” is a modified pickup truck that can lay and retrieve traffic cones at up to 10 mph. One operator can quickly cone off a lane without having to get out of the cab.
Roadside litter removal is another hazardous, labor-intensive task that costs the nation half a billion dollars a year, the center reports. In response, engineers designed ARDVAC, a remotecontrolled vacuum cleaner that can be added onto a sweeper truck. Using a joystick control in the cab, the operator can vacuum under bushes, behind guardrails, and into ditches. Larger items such as tires and mufflers are handled by the Automated Litter Bag/Debris Collection Vehicle. It uses a robot arm to pick them up and drop them in a compacting truck.
Another device is not only safer, but much quicker. The Longitudinal Crack Sealing Machine can fill and seal cracks running along the road, for example between lanes and the shoulder. The process is remote- controlled by the driver, and the machine can fill cracks at up to 5 mph, compared to a manual sealing operation that would require a large crew all day to complete two miles. Engineers have also developed a crack-sealing machine with a robot arm that can reach across a full lane and seal random cracks in the pavement.
Yet another device under testing, the Road- View snowplow uses sensors and satellite technology to “see” the road ahead, even in a whiteout.
Motion System Design Show teams with Total Design Show
THE MOTION SYSTEM Design Show will be held in Cleveland this year in conjunction with Total Design Midwest.
This is the inaugural year for Penton Media Inc. and its Professional Trade Shows division’s three Total Design Shows: Northeast, Midwest, and West. The trade shows and conferences will provide a forum for design engineering professionals to explore the wide range of products and services available in today’s OEM market. The three regional events will be held in selected locations that offer exhibitors and attendees convenient, high quality amenities without the high costs associated with the traditional national venues.
For additional information, please contact Jim Cloonan, Show Manager, Professional Trade Shows, at (800) 668-3908 ext. 2, or [email protected].