The RayAEM is pleased to announce it has once again joined forces with The Ray in support of the association’s efforts to develop and promote a cohesive equipment manufacturing industry strategy related to sustainability.

Through the work of its newly established Sustainability Council, AEM is committed to promoting the successes and positive global impacts of its members, including emissions reductions, productivity gains, safety improvements, and standards development.

“Through our continued partnership with The Ray, AEM will be able to further deliver on its mission to provide valuable resources and opportunities that spark ideas for establishing sustainability priorities for the equipment manufacturing industry and provide a framework that supports best practices for a more viable world,” said AEM Director of Construction Sara Feuling. 

According to The Ray, highways are one of the most environmentally damaging and dangerous infrastructure systems in the world, and roadside departures play a significant role in endangering roadside workers, including mowers. From 2016 through 2019, more than half of all traffic fatalities resulted from roadway departures. In response, The Ray has started a movement to build net-zero highways – Zero Deaths. Zero Waste. Zero Carbon. Zero Impact. An 18-mile stretch of I-85 in Trope Country, Georgia is The Ray’s proving grounds for innovative ideas and technologies.

Attendees of CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 may remember The Ray from the show’s Tech Experience, where they were immersed in a replica of The Ray’s sustainable highway, including a solar paved highway, Connected Roads® smart striping, pollinator gardens and bioswales, and right-of-way solar.

Future projects on The Ray Highway continue to transform infrastructure, highlighting sustainability and, most importantly, safety.

One of those future projects is the Robotic Mower Project, in which The Ray will experience and analyze the performance, safety attributes, and reliability of robotic mowers on the grassed areas of an interstate rest area. 

Through this project, The Ray will evaluate the equipment for possible deployment on the roadsides of state highways and interstates in Georgia, acting as a pilot project for other states nationwide, alongside Missouri DOT and Texas DOT. Ultimately, the project serves to highlight the benefits of investing in and deploying roadside robotic equipment, including:

  • Reducing fuel costs
  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Re-nutrienting soil

Robot MowerAEM recently partnered with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) to bring together manufacturers meeting the mower specifications for the project. In May 2021, Allie Kelly, executive director of The Ray, discussed the project in greater detail with several manufacturers who had expressed interest in the project. 

Removing the operator from the roadside removes the risk, not only for the operator but also for those traveling the roadway. In addition, removing the risk not only helps The Ray achieve their goal of ‘Zero Deaths,’ but also allows AEM to achieve its goal of promoting the successes of its members and the industries it serves.”

AEM and OPEI members have continued to collaborate with The Ray and discuss their participation in the project.

To learn more about this project, reach out to AEM Director of Construction Sara Feuling at or AEM Agricultural Services Manager Austin Gellings at

For more AEM news and updates, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.