Colorado Using IoT to Protect Workers

Colorado, as a state, has leaned heavily into the adoption of autonomous vehicles.  You might recall the first automated journey of a Budweiser delivery truck ending in Colorado.  Now, the state is looking to use this technology not only to deliver ice cold refreshments, but to decrease the number of work related deaths/injuries for road crews.

Colorado has commissioned its first automated “crash truck”.  Crash trucks are vehicles that trail a working road crew as they complete slow, progressive tasks such as repaving or repainting a road.  A crash truck will trail behind the crew, serving as a barrier between them and the traffic.  The idea is that the impact of a fast-moving vehicle would largely be absorbed by this truck, however that also means it would be absorbed by the person driving the truck.  Automating this dangerous task extends protection of the road crew to the would-be driver of the crash truck.

These automated crash trucks cost around $300,000.00 according to a statement executive director for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Shailen Bhatt gave to CNN.  While this is roughly twice the cost of a manual crash truck, its ability to significantly reduce injury and even death should be worth the price.  In 2014 (most recent statistics available), there were 1,607 crashes in Colorado construction zones resulting in 130 injuries and 9 deaths.  In the past four years alone, five workers from the Colorado Department of Highways/CDOT have been killed in work zones.

While the initial cost may cause other state governments to pause, the system itself is relatively cost effective. The truck operates by receiving and analyzing signals sent via radio waves by a lead vehicle.  This system, provided by Kratos Defense, can be retro-fitted to existing crash trucks, allowing Colorado’s current fleet to be repurposed thus saving the state significant capital.

Kratos’ approach to the autonomous vehicle development, specifically the creation of a system that can be retroactively applied to existing vehicles, outlines a major value add for IoT solution providers.

At ClearObject, we understand that the investment you make in initial infrastructure and assets is not a small one.  Rather than simply ripping and replacing your system, we work with your team to assess what you have in place and recommend solutions that incorporate existing systems and technologies.

Reach out to our team of solutions experts today to discover how the power of IoT can revolutionize your business.


Clare Maher

Clare Maher is the Product Marketing Manager at ClearObject. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College (#gobelles), Clare can usually be found yelling at the screen during a Notre Dame game, quoting any film ever made or touring the Indy restaurant scene.

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