Automated Truck Mounted Attenuator

Truck-Mounted Attenuators (TMAs) are energy-absorbing devices added to heavy shadow vehicles to provide a mobile barrier that protects work crews from errant vehicles entering active work zones. In mobile and short-duration operations, drivers manually operate the TMA – keeping pace with the work zone as needed to function as a mobile barrier protecting work crews. While the TMA is designed to absorb and/or redirect the energy from a colliding vehicle, there is still significant risk of injury to the TMA driver when struck. TMA crashes are a serious problem in Virginia where they have increased each year from 2011 (17 crashes) to 2014 (45 crashes), despite a decrease in the number of active construction sites between 2013 and 2014. Although various efforts have been made to improve TMA driver crashworthiness (e.g., by adding interior padding, harnesses, and supplemental head restraints), the most effective way to protect TMA drivers may be to remove them from the vehicle altogether. Recent advances in automated vehicle technologies—including advanced sensing, high-precision differential global positioning system (GPS), inertial sensing, advanced control algorithms, and machine leaning—have enabled the development of automated systems capable of controlling TMA vehicles. Furthermore, the relatively low operating speeds and platoon-like operating movements of leader-follower TMA systems make an automated control concept feasible for a variety of mobile and short-duration TMA use cases. This project seeks to develop an automated control system for TMA vehicles using a short following distance, leader-follower control concept which will remove the driver from the at-risk TMA vehicle.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $670833
  • Contract Numbers:

    69A3551747115

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24060
  • Project Managers:

    Harwood, Leslie

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

    3500 Transportation Research Plaza
    Blacksburg, Virginia  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Mollenhauer, Michael

  • Start Date: 20190225
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200824
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698760
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747115
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2019 1:34PM