If you read the news it would seem there are autonomous trucks all over the world being trialled ready to take over. A number of projects are coming to a head, to the point where real operations on real roads are going to become more normal.
US technology company based in California, Starsky Robotics, says it has successfully finished a test run of 7 miles (11 km) with a fully unmanned autonomous truck. In a first for this kind of trechnology, these runs were without a safety driver behind the wheel or an engineer on the sideline.
“Ours was a truly driverless vehicle, and to our knowledge, we are the only people who have done a test like that,” said Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, CEO, and co-founder of Starsky Robotics. “The first thing we built was a robust robot that would be able to remote control drive, first a rental car and eventually a truck, around the parking lot.
“In August 2016, we drove a truck around the truck yard, moved trailers for money with no person sitting behind the wheel.
“By April 2017, our autonomous system was stable enough for regularly using it to haul freight on the highway. We worked from April until September to integrate everything together.”
Meanwhile in Finland, Scania has announced a partnership agreement with Finnish company Ahola Transport for the first customer agreement in Europe for semi-autonomous truck platooning on public roads.
Ahola Transport Oyj will run Scania trucks and technology on Finnish motorways to test semi-autonomous platooning formations with three or more connected trucks. During these tests, drivers will man all trucks. However, the driver in the first truck will control the entire platoon and the following trucks are driven autonomously.
“For us it is important to enhance our drivers’ work situation with help of new technology,” said Hans Ahola, CEO of Ahola Transport. “The planned solutions also help us to meet customer expectations for faster deliveries and environmental targets. Our association with Scania started with the first truck back in 1959 and we are pleased to extend cooperation to new solutions.”