Highways England has revealed its latest gadget to help speed up roadworks – an autonomous robot that helps cut the time it takes to paint white lines.
Developed by contractor WJ, the robotic pre-marker uses precise positioning technology to mark out where white lines need to be painted.
It recently marked up an eight-mile section of the M6 motorway in Staffordshire in four hours. Two engineers would normally take more than a week to do the same job.
Pre-marking roads for white lines is a tiresome job; humans have to calculate where the markings need to be, then walk miles to bend down and spray or chalk them onto the road.
This is both dangerous and arduous, increasing the risk of back injuries.
The robot is proving increasingly popular with Highways England contractors: it has worked on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement, plus the M4, the M1 and the M60.
“We’re always looking at innovative new ways of working,” said Julian Lamb, A14 construction director. “With safety our top priority, the time savings the robot can provide, coupled with removing our operatives from a potentially hazardous situation, make it a great solution”
Lamb added Highways England has also been working with the manufacturers of a self-driving dumper truck on the A14 project.