5 Things Standing in the Way of Autonomous Trucks

1 - 5 Things Standing in the Way of Autonomous Trucks
2 - Lane Departure Warning
3 - Autonomous Emergency Braking
4 - Electronic Steering
5 - Connected Infrastructure
6 - Platooning
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5 Things Standing in the Way of Autonomous Trucks

Despite technology advances that have increased safety and efficiency, don't expect to see driverless trucks rolling down the road any time soon.

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Lane Departure Warning

After a long day of driving, driver fatigue can lead to lane drifting. Lane departure warning technology combats this problem through the use of a digital camera. It detects the painted stripes on the road and alerts the driver if the truck is approaching another lane without the turn signal being activated. The ability to automatically maintain lanes will be key in the creation of the autonomous truck, combined with the use of electronic steering.

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Autonomous Emergency Braking

This technology also is based on a combination of radar and digital cameras. It can detect moving or stationary objects in the path of the truck, alert the driver when a possible collision is detected and automatically brake to reduce or eliminate the potential impact of a collision. While this capability is becoming familiar in the auto industry, it's also available today in the trucking industry.

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Electronic Steering

For a truck to successfully drive itself, it must be aware of its surroundings and react appropriately. Electronic steering is another tool manufacturers must perfect, allowing trucks to steer based on awareness of their surroundings, including other cars, objects and people.

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Connected Infrastructure

Innovations in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication will play a large role in trucks' ability to drive themselves. In addition to enabling the entire highway infrastructure to be used more efficiently, this will lead to immensely improved safety, greatly reduced fuel usage and significant benefits to the environment.

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Before we see a truck on the road without a driver, we'll see the advent of platooning—which is based on multiple technologies, including radar, digital cameras, GPS, V2V and electronic steering control. It will allow trucks to line up in a row and automatically brake and accelerate as a unit based on the actions of one lead driver. The potential benefits of this technology include improvements in both productivity and fuel economy.

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