BOULDER — Ever wonder why snowplows are never where you're convinced they're most needed at the time they're needed most?
Snowplow operators say they can't be everywhere at once, but they are getting some high-tech help this winter in three states using a new digital intelligence system built in Boulder.
Michigan, Minnesota and Nevada are deploying hundreds of plows with custom-designed sensors that continually measure road and weather conditions. The digital system, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is designed to reduce accidents and save states potentially millions of dollars in maintenance. The system is being built at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
Although Colorado is not one of the three states participating in the national pilot program, it is not for lack of interest. The Colorado Department of Transportation joined a 16-state study in 2004, with South Dakota as the lead state.
If it proves successful in the test phase, it will be transferred to private vendors and made available to more states by the 2014-15 winter season.