NewScientist published an article
Wednesday on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln project to develop
highway safety markers. Developed by the UNL Robotics and
Mechatronics Lab, the robots are designed to improve safety by assuring
correct work zone shapes. The robots can quickly deploy and reconfigure
when needed to adjust the shape and size of the work zone. The work was
done as part of the National
Cooperative Highway Research Program's IDEA project. The story has
been picked up by Slashdot,
(includes photos), and from
there has been turning up in local
Robot traffic cones are all great and such, but considering the huge
numbers that are struck by vehicles, it is going to be expensive.
I can visualize a bunch of traffic cones moving out to block a lane,
and some idiot in a automobile, goes through about 10 of those $2,000
This is/would be a neat application of self healing networks. One cone
goes offline, gets whacked, etc. and the others move in to fill the gap
as they can. I'd also think they could "report in" the loss or damage
to a cone if one did get hit.
It would be cool to use this idea for crowd control - like barricades
that shift a bit. Perhaps you've got a lot of people all jambed up
entering a space with multiple doors. There's room for more people on
the right, so the barricades on the right open up a bit, or shift a bit
to make people "go right" a bit more.