NDDOT says new autonomous impact protection vehicle will improve road safety

They plan to officially expand the autonomous impact protection vehicle in the metro this spring.

HORACE, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Transportation unveils its first self-driving impact protection vehicle.

New vehicle technology is hoping to make roads safer in North Dakota.

It was developed by two companies and used to turn a NDDOT truck into a self-driving vehicle.

The director of the NDDOT Bill Panos says it will improve safety in work zones by removing the driver from the impact protection truck during normal operation.

“I think that we’re going to start seeing smart infrastructure. I think we’re going to start seeing smarter roads. You see electronic messaging signs to give you information about weather and accidents. All of these kinds of technologies are going to make the driving experience safer and more efficient,” the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation Bill Panos said.

To those who might be concerned about their safety, Panos says they shouldn’t be.

“The system is used in the defense industry and has for years to protect our war fighters and we’re basically taking this defense technology and bringing it home to North Dakota,” Panos said.

The pilot project was made possible through a more than $241,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

Senator John Hoeven says he sees it as the third wave of economic growth for the state.

“We’ve always been a leader in agriculture. We’re absolutely an energy powerhouse. A leader in energy. Same thing with technology and we’re really driving that out of the Red River Valley and we’re applying it to all aspects of the things we do,” North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said.

That also includes creating more jobs and bringing more people to North Dakota.

“We innovate. We create more jobs and they tend to be higher paying jobs and the jobs of the future. So, some jobs go away, but we create far more,” Hoeven said.

The truck will be monitored and controlled by a human operated vehicle and will be following behind construction equipment.

NDDOT plans to officially expand the autonomous impact protection vehicle in the metro this spring.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News