The Autonomous Advantage

In an era of where solar advancements can allow virtually anyone to live “off the grid”, it seems only natural that the message sign industry should keep up with advancing solar technology and save hundreds of hours in maintaining and operating PCMS boards. American Signal Company’s new Autonomous Advantage line of PCMS realize this potential with integrated cloud technology, enhanced energy capture, and environmentally conscious design.

Whereas previously a PCMS was managed locally and could not react to changing project conditions, American Signal now offers a reality where PCMS integrate seamlessly into nearly any messaging situation, including smart work zones, with no limit on runtime or dependency on in-person management. All of this is achieved while simultaneously realizing our mission to be stewards to not just our clients but to the environment that we all share.

Autonomy Explained

An Autonomous PCMS is a sign that captures more energy than it expends on a daily basis during a 12-month timespan, including the darkest month of the year. This technology capability marks a shift away from the old standard 30-day life signs, where batteries define the useful lifespan of the sign. No amount of spin can cover the fact that to be built to fail slowly enough to be useful…. is still ultimately built to fail.

With already standard maintenance checks, American Signal Autonomous signs are built to work for an indefinite period of time. Thanks to the reinforced solar panel capacity, batteries are relegated to ensuring a robust system during inclement weather. This is achieved thanks to the additional solar capacity ensuring that the batteries are recharged to full capacity daily. This change in approach results in signs with quantifiable resistance to inclement weather. Further, the overall reliability improves as the batteries are kept within their ideal state of charge.

Upgrading the PCMS power system

Switching to an Autonomous built unit carries a number of advantages for our end users. Perhaps the most important is that these systems require fewer interactions and therefore low operating cost. Unlike the “built to fail” models that require the sign to be brought in from the field and recharged, Autonomous signs operate continuously and require only field servicing via standard monthly product checks and a yearly scheduled maintenance event.
Autonomous PCMS units are less taxing on their smaller battery banks providing both a reduction in replacement cost and an extended theoretical replacement interval of up to 10yrs, representing a significant potential cost savings for the operator. Furthermore, the reduction in the total number of discreet components in the power system means that Autonomous PCMS display greater general reliability.

The “advantage” of Autonomous Advantage

American Signal Company Autonomous Advantage PCMS work seamlessly with cutting edge smart work zone technology, using either Que Detection or Cloud Based Traffic Management. These signs can take the continual information gleaned from virtual or field-based sensors and automatically update the message displayed as road conditions change, in accordance with the needs of the project. Combined with our Cloud Manager system, your entire work zone can be managed remotely from a laptop. For more information, please visit our webpages for Virtual Journey Time and Que Detection or contact us at: 770-448-6650.

Corporate stewardship – To the environment and those who live in it

With the shift to Autonomous built technology, the team at American Signal Company is excited to showcase how these new features that further our mission to provide a product that is not only excellent but environmentally conscious. To this end as we move toward an autonomous architecture, where a greater portion of the sign’s energy is gathered from the sun, which allows battery capacity to be reduced, the lifetime environmental load posed by our signs is similarly reduced.

In particular, lead acid batteries are difficult to dispose of properly. Improper disposal can result in contamination of both land and ground water, as the lead contained within is linked to health effects in humans with increased prevalence in children (1). At American Signal, we pledge to do all we can to reduce the content of these chemicals in our product.

For more information, please contact us at 770-448-6650.

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lead Acid Batteries Environmental Fact Sheet