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43 “We add the CAD functionality and options onto our tablet, because often, before or after the land surveyors execute the demarcations the survey team have set out for them, they might need to account for a slight offset they’ve identified. “Or, similarly, if they’ve just completed 20 km of lines and they want to add a similar test line just 2 m to the left, they can use the inbuilt CAD software on the tablet to rapidly input that requirement. It will plot out that path for the UGV, and it’s ready to go again.” The TinyPreMarker weighs 18 kg, not including a 4 kg lithium-polymer battery that gives eight hours of endurance (or more, depending on use), at a top operating speed of 4 kph. It comes with RTK GNSS receivers to aid in accurate pre-marking, before heavy-wheeled trucks are brought in to apply the hot thermoplastic permanent lines. Meanwhile, a collaboration between the UK universities of Bristol, Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds aims to develop a series of centimetre-sized insect- like robots with a view to reducing (or eliminating) the need for road excavations to repair water, gas and sewage lines. As road excavations in the UK account for more than £5 billion in traffic and business costs, the UK government has invested more than £26.6 m in the project, with the first of the vehicles due to be operational by about 2024. These micro-UGVs will be designed to crawl into subterranean pipes, to inspect and identify issues or to conduct maintenance or repair work. For inspection duties, echo sounders will probably be used to allow autonomous navigation in the pitch- black conditions, while maintenance and repair are likely to be carried out remotely by roadworks crews, using precisely applied cement mixes to pipe fractures for example. Alternate payloads might include a small jet to clear sediment build-ups, with other technologies and design aspects to be created over the next five years. Transportation The UK’s first road trial of autonomous buses is set to begin following the award of £4.35 million of funding by the UK government towards a joint project between self-driving tech company Fusion Processing, bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis (ADL), bus operator Stagecoach, and Transport Scotland (the Scottish national transport agency). The trial will involve five autonomous buses, on a test route of 22.5 km between Edinburgh and the region of Fife. Initially, fully unmanned operations will be limited to within the bus depot, with the buses driving themselves between their parking spaces, the fuelling stations and the washing stations. The buses will be manned (but acting autonomously) as they begin their daily routes across the Forth Road Bridge. At the time of writing, an advance trial of an ADL Enviro200 bus fitted with Fusion Processing’s CAVstar sensor fusion and processing architecture had begun at Sharston bus depot in Manchester, UK, to mature the technology ahead of the planned road trials. “Initially we’ll be integrating our sensor and control systems onto diesel-powered versions of the Enviro200, but we UGVs | Insight The line-marking teams don’t need to shut entire highways when they’re working – they can close just one or two lanes Unmanned Systems Technology | April/May 2019 Fusion Processing has installed its CAVstar sensor and autonomy technology in the UK’s first autonomous bus, which at the time of writing was being trialled in Manchester, UK