Keeping mountain roads open in winter is a risky business.Snowplow and snowblower drivers frequently must work inconditions where they can't see what lies ahead or the edgeof the road -- and that edge may be a cliff. Researchers atUC Davis' Advanced Highway Maintenance and ConstructionTechnology Research Center are working on automatedsolutions.
One solution, the Advanced Snowplow, is equipped with asystem of sensors that tell the driver where the lane is,when the plow has left the lane and when the plow is about tocollide with an object ahead, such as a snow-covered car.The Advanced Snowplow was road-tested in California onInterstate 80 near Donner Summit, and near Flagstaff, Arizonalast winter. This year, an improved plow will return to theroadways.
Now UC Davis engineers are beginning work on a new machine --a snowblower called the Advanced Rotary Plow. Thesnowblower, which typically follows behind snowplows, willfeature more automation, including automated steering,possibly an automated throttle and brakes, and a collision-warning system. All will be integrated into a Caltransfront-discharge blower that can throw 3,500 tons of snow perhour.
Development of the advanced snowplow and snowblower islargely supported by the California Department ofTransportation. Other partners in the snow project includethe University of California's Partners for Advanced Transitand Highways (PATH), the Western Transportation Institute ofMontana State University and the Arizona Department ofTransportation.
CalTrans recently renewed its support for the AHMCT Centerwith a $7.8 million, three year grant. The center is part ofthe UC Davis Department of Mechanical and AeronauticalEngineering.
Editors' note: A color photograph is available upon request,contact Sylvia Wright, [email protected].
The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Cite This Page: