The Daleks meet the Coneheads? (robotic traffic cones)
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8th May 2004 at 7:27 pm #39900AnonymousInactive
The following quoted from Outpost Gallifrey
Says April 29’s Daily Star, the Daleks are on the march… to exterminate motoring hassle. The article “We Are Traffic Daleks” discusses a new series of mobile cones that will help traffic experts cut the risks involved in closing off roads by rolling in the markers. “Each ‘Dalek’ – on a robotic three-wheeled base – is deployed from a control truck by an operator with a laptop. The leading Dalek, equipped with a Global Positioning System satellite navigation receiver, leads a herd of less sophisticated units into place. All the operator has to do is mark the positions of the cones on the computer screen. Dalek No 1 then trundles off to its location guided by the GPS system, and tells the other units where to go by radio. ‘Deploying and retrieving highway markers on open roads is hazardous so the robots will reduce risks for workmen,’ said Nebraska engineer Shane Farritor, who created the cones. ‘Our tests proved these robots can work in teams to provide traffic control.’ The challenge now is to cut the cost of the markers so that road authorities can afford them.” The Guardian also picked up the story on April 30, saying “the Dalek parallels are spooky. Think about it. Both conical. Both automata. Both incapable of climbing stairs. Both hell-bent on world domination at all costs, and/or making a useful and possibly life-saving contribution in a traffic-management setting. And both controlled by an evil, shrivel-faced mastermind with a screechy voice. Well, the cones are controlled by GPS, actually. A road worker releases them from a truck, then passes instructions from a laptop computer to a lead robot, or “shepherd”, which is then followed slavishly by all the other robots, or “sheep”, until they’re all in position across the highway (or “grassy meadow”). And all for $200 each.”
“Beldar, I am with cone” (Prymaat Conehead).
Link to the aforementioned The Guardian article here and a New Scientist article on this topic for those coneheads, erm eggheads, who are really fascinated by the cutting-edge world of robotic traffic cone technology here.
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