In June of 2022, a 31-year-old driver was headed down I-80 near Vacaville, California. But what initially seemed like a totally normal day quickly turned to tragedy. That driver struck and killed a Caltrans employee who was dutifully working on the side of the highway. Worse yet, the driver fled the scene. After he was eventually apprehended, he was sentenced to eight years in jail in July.

Sadly, this is hardly a new phenomenon. In 2000, a 27-year-old general laborer was killed when he was hit by a speeding vehicle as he was picking up traffic cones on the side of the highway. The worker was in a man-bucket attached to a traffic control truck. The driver knocked down more than 300 feet worth of traffic cones before eventually slamming into that truck at well over the speed limit of 70 miles per hour. 

These are just two of the many, many examples that showcase just how dangerous highway construction and general road work can be. They’re also examples of exactly the types of situations that Robotic Maintenance Vehicles was designed to help avoid.

The RMV®: Using Technology to Keep Employees Safe

The Robotic Maintenance Vehicle developed by the team at Pioneer is made up of a few core components:

  1. A 6-axis R2000iC/165 FANUC robot, complete with line tracking capabilities.
  2. A blow-off system consisting of a 15HP turbine with an 11-foot air nozzle blow-off.
  3. A custom-designed Crack Pro 260 crack sealer.
  4. An innovative Vista AI vision system that uses cameras and lasers to help the RMV “understand” and navigate the environment it is operating in.

In terms of crack sealing, in particular, the RMV will use those cameras and sensors (coupled with artificial intelligence) to scan the road, identifying any cracks that need to be repaired. Rather than having employees get out of the vehicle to make the repairs manually, potentially putting them in dangerous situations like those mentioned above, the RMV can dispense the sealant automatically.

From that perspective, road workers aren’t exposed to traffic at all because they never need to leave the cab. They can monitor progress and make adjustments on the fly, all while staying totally out of harm’s way. Not only that, but they’re also free to focus their attention on other more important matters as well. Plus, only one worker is required for the operation which cuts down on labor needs and again helps to keep as many people as possible out of potentially dangerous situations.

So not only will technology like the RMV save lives, but it also improve both the speed and quality of the work being performed.

If you’re interested in learning even more information about how the RMV keeps workers safe regardless of the environment that they find themselves in, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to go over with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today!

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