As Futura has already had the opportunity to say, autonomous trucks have a future at least as large, if not more at first, than cars without drivers. It is a very attractive prospect for transport companies to travel long distances by freeing themselves from the rest time requirements of drivers. A market that is so attractive that actors outside the sector are very interested. This is the case of Uber, the service of transport car with driver (vtc) which made this summer the acquisition of Otto.
This innovative, US-based company is developing kit equipment to equip existing trucks with autonomous driving functions. Otto announced that a truck without driver equipped with its technology had made a delivery of goods, in this case beer. A world first.
Wired magazine, which devotes a report on this subject, recounts that the system used by Otto is not yet able to manage the entire course alone. If he is able to operate on motorways without the help of anyone, he still needs the help of a driver to negotiate the most delicate parts of the journey, whether it is insertion on a Fast track or city driving.
The autonomous truck, in which a human driver was present to intervene in the event of a problem, traveled 200 kilometers between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the highway. The autonomous driving kit, which includes cameras, lidar and ultrasonic radars, costs $ 30,000 and can be installed on any truck equipped with an automatic transmission.
Uber, which is working in parallel with the development of an autonomous car in partnership with Volvo, has already created a freight transport service called UberFreight which invites interested companies to participate in its experiments. But the vtc company is not the only high-tech actor to be interested in trucks. Tesla Motors recently announced its intention to develop a self-propelled truck, the Tesla Semi. Constructors and designers are also working on this concept, which you can see in our article on trucks of the future.