Self-Driving Truck Convoys Undergoing Tests
USA- Mediapost.com writes that self-driving truck convoys are already transporting goods over long distances. Land O’Lakes transported butter from coast to coast last year in a partnership with the tech company Plus.ai. UPS is now testing autonomous trucks designed by TuSimple in Arizona. UPS was one of the investors in TuSimple’s trucking project, which raised about $95 million.*
In Florida, the advanced platooning technique is being used. Under that approach, the first truck in the convoy has a driver, and the autonomous vehicles follow the lead truck. The technique is referred to as “Automated Following.”
Wilson Logistics is starting a new partnership with Locomotion. The large trucking company and the tech company are planning to use Autonomous Relay Convoy systems to ship goods on several of Wilson Logistics’ routes. The system also has a pilot driver leading the convoy, and then Locomotion’s autonomous trucks will follow. A spokesperson for Wilson Logistics stated that the plan would improve the utilization of assets and increase efficiency. The autonomous vehicles will also reduce energy use and increase road safety.
The autonomous systems are intended to improve the experience of drivers and to increase the company’s profitability by making use of modern and innovative technology. The initial plan will involve two-truck convoys, and safety staff from Locomotion will be working closely to monitor the vehicles.
According to estimates, the autonomous trucks are expected to lower operating costs by about 33 percent per mile while reducing fuel consumption by about eight percent. The company intends to have 1,000 two-truck convoys on the road once the project reaches its full potential.
These autonomous trucks are controversial. Many are not comfortable sharing the roadway with large trucks with human drivers, so the idea of driving next to an autonomous, driverless truck may be terrifying. Some people believe that the solution to the pedestrian and crash fatality problem plaguing our country is not just safer vehicles less prone to human error, but also less dependency on vehicles as a way of traveling.
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Sources:https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/348290/self-driving-truck-convoys-hitting-the-road.html and https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/02/12/why-we-should-be-even-more-nervous-about-avs/