Road marking robot cuts costs, improves worker safety

A robot which uses precision positioning technology to place road markings has been deployed on roads around England.

The Robotic PreMarker, which calculates the position of new markings needed on newly constructed and resurfaced roads, has already saved hundreds of hours of working time, according to Highways England, which operates and maintains the country’s road infrastructure. The time saved by implementing automated road marking technology is expected to reduce congestion levels and improve journey times; while cutting the costs of infrastructure upkeep and improving safety for highway maintenance workers. The robot has been successfully deployed on sections of the M1, M4, M6 and M60 motorways, as well as the £1.5bn (€1.76bn) A14 improvement between Cambridge and Huntingdon, which is the UK’s largest road upgrade.

The robot is operated by specialist contracting firm WJ, which has invested in the production of a second road marking robot to further support its work. WJ Group Managing Director Wayne Johnston said: “I am passionate about changing the way we work in this industry and the WJ Robotic PreMarker represents a real step change. However, it is just a starting point, we will continue to invest in research and development to find better, more efficient and safer ways of working.”

Julian Lamb, construction director on the A14, said: “We’re always looking at innovative new ways of working, which can help road users and make our projects more efficient while supporting improved engineering. 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. We’ve also been working with a self-driving dumper truck on the project, completing trials of these new technologies to help Highways England more deliver its ambitious programme of roads improvement quickly, safely and efficiently. These technologies are also supporting new jobs, with the engineers of tomorrow needing to learn new skills such as programming this autonomous equipment.”

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