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Autonomous Trucking 142

An anonymous reader writes We've heard about all the effort going into self-driving cars, but what about the massive fleet of trucks we use to deliver goods around the country? Well, Mercedes is trying to tackle that problem. They have just demonstrated an autonomous 18-wheeler on the German Autobahn. It's clearly a long-term project; they named it "Future Truck 2025," as an unsubtle reminder that this tech needs a lot of development before it's ready for common use. "Special cameras and multiple radar systems watch the road, the sides of the road, and cars and trucks behind the vehicle. Future Truck is also envisioned to communicate with other vehicles and connect to growing sources of online information as Big Data balloons on the road. ... Many of the component parts to put a vehicle like this into production are already available in trucks on the market: Systems that help drivers keep their distance from other drivers, active braking assistance, guidance and mapping systems, and fine-tuned cruise control and tons of other hi-tech tchotchke."
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Autonomous Trucking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:15AM (#47388307)

    Trucks represent a more logical application of autonomous driving. Three reasons that come to mind right off the bat - 1- Big trucks represent a significant capital investment, therefore incorporating self driving tech represents a lower percentage cost increase. 2- Big potential to actually save money for the trucking fleet. Payback time frame may be fairly short. 3 - Potential to reduce or eliminate driver fatigue issues. About a half dozen other good reasons are popping into my head.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:50AM (#47388463)

    A trucker who experienced an incidence every 100,000 miles or so would be out of trucking in less than 6 months... or about 300,000 miles.

    Most truckers have driven -millions- of miles incident free.

    Lets see .. what did I experience in less than 1 hour of driving down an interstate last week?

    1. Multiple trucks rapidly changing lanes, in traffic, without indicating because the truck ahead of them was doing maybe 5 mph slower than they wanted to be, and they was "just" enough room between cars in the next lane over. (And I have experienced this in heavy rain just as I was about to pass truck)

    2. Multiple trucks attempting to pass other trucks, but totally underestimating the power they have and causing rolling roadblocks along the interstate at speeds well under the speed limit.

    3. Multiple trucks weaving almost off the road at alarming rates for no obvious reason (I can only assume the driver was reaching for something in his/her cab - alternatively they were not 100% awake)

    4. Multiple trucks tailgating cars.

    Yeah .. none of these were actual "incidents", but they are indicative of truck drivers not having an understanding/respect for the rigs that they are driving, and foretell possible future incidents. Things would be a lot nicer on the interstates if all of the above were eliminated.

    Hmm maybe we could sync multiple trucks together, and put them on a special road all of their own. That would eliminate all of the above issues. We could give them some snazzy name .. maybe "Trains" of trucks!

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.