FARGO — A self-driving vehicle is expected to hit the road in the Fargo area later this year.
The Federal Highway Administration has awarded the North Dakota Department of Transportation a $241,687 grant to improve work zone safety with a self-driving vehicle.
The pilot project will involve buying autonomous vehicle technology to convert a truck into a self-driving vehicle, or autonomous impact protection vehicle.
“In 2019, there were 234 work zone related crashes on North Dakota highways. This will be one tool to enhance safety in work zones,” said Brad Darr, NDDOT state maintenance engineer.
Impact protection vehicles have typically been human operated and are designed to protect road construction crews from distracted motorists in work zones.
With the pilot project, the autonomous vehicle will be controlled by a human-operated, lead vehicle and will automatically follow behind construction equipment without putting a driver in danger. However, a driver will still be required to move the vehicle to and from the work site.