The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research will be piloting an autonomous truck-mounted attenuator (ATMA) truck to test and evaluate the potential for an autonomous system to improve work zone safety across the state.
The truck will be provided by Royal Truck & Equipment and developed by the company and Kratos Defense. It has been successfully used by other DOTs over the past two years. TMA trucks are typically positioned behind road construction crews to protect workers from distracted or impaired drivers in the event of an impact. The self-driving ATMA truck eliminates the need for a driver to sit behind the wheel of a truck that was literally designed to be hit.
The ATMA provides protection to the lead vehicle and avoiding the potential for a secondary impact to the lead vehicle by maintaining a proper buffer distance.