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New self-driving construction trucks provides live-saving barrier

Reporter: Justin Kase
Published: Updated:

In September 2019, a car hit Anthony Joseph while he worked in a construction zone. He survived, but not without serious injuries. A self-driving truck that acts as a barrier for construction crews could prevent future horrific crashes.

“From what I see with the accident scene,” said Linda Joseph, the victim’s mother, “had that truck been there, I don’t think he would have gotten hit.”

The victim’s mother is referring to TMA trucks that are either parked behind construction crews or following closely behind crews. Although these trucks are designed to absorb the impact of a crash, the danger of keeping someone inside has been felt by the people who have worked to make the technology driverless. The vehicle uses GPS technology to guide them along the route.

Maynard Factor, the director of business development for Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, said the purpose of the vehicle is to provide a level of protection for workers.

“And if you can imagine an 80,000-pound tanker truck smashing into the back of this vehicle at 60 miles per hour,” Factor said. “It doesn’t end well for the driver.”

That motivation became reality as these driverless trucks are now used in places like Colorado and the United Kingdom. Southwest Floridians could soon see these vehicles along parts of Interstate 75.

For Joseph, she said her son is still recovering from a brain injury.

“If a worker gets hit, it’ll probably cost you more with, especially with Anthony’s case, with paying for medical bills,” Joseph said. “And we don’t know for how long.”