Highways experts are developing automated vehicles to lay cones on the country’s motorways and major A roads to eliminate one of the biggest risks facing England’s roadworkers.

Cones are needed to protect road users and road workers while essential improvements or maintenance is carried out on the busy routes.

But Highways England has released footage showing how terrifying it can be for the workers who traditionally put the cones out. As the workers manually lift and place each of the cones, the footage shows vans and trucks rushing by, often beeping their horns.

Now, Highways England is working with a group of industry experts to develop pioneering machines that will take away the need for cones to be manually placed.

“By taking out the human element in the laborious task of putting out cones, we will be taking out an element of potential risk,” said Martin Bolt, Highways England Group Leader.

“As well as taking away this physical labour, these automated machines could also save valuable person hours and allow us to redeploy the workforce to other traffic management duties.”

Two automated cone laying vehicles are being developed with testing due to get underway next month at a centre in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. It is hoped the machines will be implemented in late 2020.