The transport industry seems to be quite conservative and focused on earning money. Labor can not cost too much, trucks are used for income. Just a few million uses for innovation hardly happens. Some money goes to platooning , trucks drive a short distance in a train, and the development of the eHighway , a highway with an overhead line to electrify freight traffic, is used. Long-term projects that have not yet found a broad application.
The autonomous truck is something that is reserved for America, parties such as Waymo and transport company Embark are working on this. Is that because the average road in America is more simple than in Europe?
Nevertheless, autonomous driving can also be applied effectively in freight transport. Fool proof and useful. The areas of logistics centers often have a considerable surface area and there is a coming and going of trucks that have to be loaded and unloaded. For the driver, the activities are limited to finding the right loading dock and waiting. It is easier to drive the trucks themselves, where the correct loading dock is searched and is parked again afterwards. Autonomous on the premises. All work can be done by the employees in the shed and the driver can start his working day in the early morning, after coffee, with a fully loaded truck. It seems that the likelihood of damage is also reduced.
That is the near future according to the AutoTruck project, which the Institute is responsible for. An electrified 18-ton truck from Mercedes is used, which is equipped with laser scanners. By positioning via GPS and an advanced map it is clear how the truck needs to maneuver. That sounds like relatively simple technology. Ultimately, the transport companies must be able to follow the movements of the autonomous trucks via the computer, and there will also be a program that determines the most efficient way of loading the different trucks.
Although this is initially only applied to trucks without a trailer, the self-propelled trailer seems to follow quickly. Supplier Bosch has shown such a trailer. It has an electric motor on the rear axle and its own battery pack. As a result, efficient gained braking energy can be stored and when accelerating the electric motor can provide support. The tractor-trailer combination can also be made self-propelled.