Page 30 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - October 2021
P. 30

 POINTS OF VIEW
 IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL? THE QUEST FOR DRIVERLESS TRUCKING
The commercial vehicle sector is preparing for the adoption of autonomous trucking. Here, Roger Brereton from Pailton Engineering looks at why the commercial vehicle sector is in the automation race for the long haul and how high-quality conventional components can help smooth the journey.
 T heglobaltrucking industry is worth £500
billion, and trucking is the number one occupation in no less than 29 US states.
In addition, the sector has emerged as the key battleground in the development of automated driving.
The efforts of tech engineers had focused on the quest to build commercially viable driverless automobiles, but in the last year there has been a shift toward
the commercial vehicle sector. This shift can be seen in several key partnerships that have been signed between tech
start-upsandtheworld’slargesttruck manufacturers.
Waymo, often seen as the leader in driverless technology, has partnered with Daimler, the biggest truck manufacturer in the world. Meanwhile, TuSimple
is teaming up with Traton Group, a subsidiary of Volkswagen that includes the MAN and Scania truck brands, and Aurora — which is backed by Amazon and has recently acquired Uber’s self-driving tech — has joined forces with Volvo and PACCAR, which owns DAF.
In many ways, trucks are a more viable focal point for the development
oftheartificialintelligence(AI)forfully autonomous driving. Long-haul vehicles travel on long, monotonous highways, whereas the urban mobility navigated by automobiles and robotaxis is more complex.
The difficulty with developing the AI centres around what engineers refer to as ‘edge cases’, those unique scenarios that are rarely encountered in your average vehicle journey. Put simply, there are more edge cases for the AI to deal with in complex urban environments.
Could the trucking industry reap the benefits of autonomy ahead of other vehicle sectors?
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