The Long Road to Driverless Trucks
A long road lies ahead for driverless trucks. The technology will dramatically increase truck utilization by eliminating the need for an 11-hour rest break. For example, a recent US Express round-trip from Dallas to Atlanta included 24 hours of commercial delivery. US Express’s fleet of driverless trucks will be able to keep working on commercial loads around the clock, enabling them to reach their destination quicker and more efficiently.
After more than a year of development, the first fully autonomous semi truck has been tested on public roads by the TuSimple team. The truck started its journey from a large railyard in Tucson, Arizona, traveled 80 miles at night and safely arrived at a high-volume distribution center in Phoenix. The test was part of TuSimple’s “Driver Out” pilot program. The company released video footage of the test drive on YouTube.
Still, TuSimple is still years away from generating meaningful revenue from driverless trucks, despite its promising technology. Its stock price is just $36, up 12% from Dec. 27. But, the company is aiming high: it wants to reach full autonomous big rig status by 2024. The company has made a significant investment in its technology and is hoping to capitalize on the growing need for trucking services.
NVIDIA DRIVE is a software platform for autonomous trucks. Its capabilities are scalable from level 2 AI-assisted driving to fully autonomous operation. It is built to handle the long-haul wear and tear of trucking. With these capabilities, it promises to revolutionize the transportation industry.
NVIDIA has announced a new partnership with TuSimple, a global leader in autonomous driving technology. The partnership will see the integration of the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin AI-based system-on-chip into TuSimple’s advanced autonomous domain controller. The companies said the collaboration will allow them to develop production-ready computing systems for autonomous trucks.
Daimler Trucks is one of the leading OEMs in developing driverless trucks. Its autonomous vehicle development center, Torc Robotics, is the longest running partnership in the industry. It is currently testing fleets of autonomous trucks on public roads in the U.S. Daimler Trucks plans to begin commercializing driverless trucks within a decade.
It has been a long road, but Daimler has made significant progress. The company recently announced its first level two long-haul truck. The vehicle will enter production in July, and could be on the road by the end of the year.
Torc Robotics is one of the companies that are on the long road to driverless trucks. Its technology combines human driving behavior with automated driving technology. It has analyzed data from manually driven fleets and continuously collects new data. It also gathers feedback from test drivers and safety conductors. Mission control, which oversees the development of the system, retains qualitative and quantitative information from these sources.
Since partnering with Daimler Truck, Torc has grown rapidly. The company has nearly doubled its workforce and has added a handful of power players to its leadership team. These include NASA safety expert John Marinaro as director of operational safety, veteran tech strategist Eddie Amos as chief transformation officer and technology marketer Jane Bailey as vice president of marketing.
Ford has been selling its Transit full-size van in Europe and around the world for decades. It is a different breed of full-size van for the United States market. The Transit is the replacement for the Ford E-Series, which was designed as a work van and was popular with custom builders in the 1970s. The Transit’s EcoBoost V6 engine makes it a great vehicle to customize. For example, a limousine company could turn it into a wedding wagon or prom playpen.
The Ford Transit is equipped with sensors that mimic the look of a self-driving vehicle. At the same time, it has a “Human Car Seat” that allows an experienced driver to take control. The company is aiming to test new autonomous vehicle models and operations by studying how existing processes work and how human interactions affect vehicle operation. Ford’s Transit is an excellent test vehicle for automated vehicles, as it is smaller than a large SUV.