Robot traffic cones could shrink size of roadworks

Prototype ‘robo-cones‘ move out from the side of the road at the touch of a button, closing off lanes only when needed

Robot traffic cones could shrink size of roadworks

A new generation of traffic cone that could ease congestion and improve worker safety has been developed by construction giant Costain.

The prototype ‘robo-cones’ sit by the side of the road when not in use, and can be ‘driven’ onto the carriageway to close lanes when required.

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Closing lanes with traditional traffic cones is a notoriously dangerous job, so workers often shut off large sections of road at a time to avoid making treacherous sorties more often than is essential.

But the new robo-cones can sit by the side of the road when not in use, moving into position at speeds up to 4mph when needed. By risking traffic cones rather than highways staff, workers could close off small sections of a road, potentially saving motorists from driving past vast swathes of coned-off carriageway.

The most dangerous part of setting up a row of traffic cones is the ‘taper’ – the angled start of the line that begins at the edge of a lane and moves out to close it completely.

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