Hyundai Motor Company has conducted the company’s first platooning of trailer trucks on the Yeoju Smart Highway in South Korea replicating real-world traffic conditions.
Hyundai conducted the trial using two trailer-connected 40-tonne Xcient trucks fitting with the following technology: vehicle platooning, cut-in/out by other vehicles, simultaneous emergency braking, and V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication tech. The speed limit was set at 60km/h to ensure safety.
Yeoju Smart Highway is a 7.7km testbed within the central region expressway established by the Korean government for the development of autonomous driving technology. The highway is constantly populated by vehicles for autonomous driving research, making it similar to actual highway conditions.
“We are confident that our industry leading autonomous driving technology in commercial vehicles showcased in this platooning truck demonstration will lead into a revolutionary paradigm shift in the freight and logistics industry,” said Jihan Ryu, head of Hyundai’s Commercial Vehicle Electronics Control Engineering Group. “We will strive to create constructive synergy by sharing our knowhow and experiences of developing autonomous driving technology between commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle sectors to expedite level-5 autonomous driving technology.”
This demonstration is part of a project initiated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT). Since 2018, MOLIT has been working to support pioneering efforts for autonomous technology. Along with Hyundai, this project involves government, corporations and academia.
The platooning manoeuvre begins when the driver of the following truck approaches the leading vehicle and activates platooning mode.
Upon activation of this, the following truck maintains a 16.7m distance, with real-time fine tuning based on the leading vehicle’s acceleration and deceleration. The driver does not need to put his/her foot on the accelerator nor brakes. The mode also activates lane keeping technology, which means the driver of the following truck can take their hands off the steering wheel.
With platooning, other vehicles cutting in and out between trucks can also be seamlessly managed. If a vehicle cuts between the platooning trucks, the following truck automatically extends the gap to minimum of 25m.
When a leading truck makes a sudden emergency stop due to an unexpected situation, the technology responds by enabling the following truck to decelerate and stop.
The V2V system applied to both trucks showcased how real-time information sharing between platooning vehicles can improve control over acceleration and deceleration and incorporate ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) information from various sensors like cameras and radar.
Furthermore, the Real-time Frontal Video Sharing feature was enabled by V2V technology. By displaying videos from the leading vehicle, the following driver can see the road ahead, solving limitations of forward vision for trailing drivers.
Hyundai plans to conduct more trials of high-level platooning technology that will have a tighter following distance between vehicles and also implement traffic information for optimised travel.