How can a person drive two trucks at the same time?


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In 2018, a Volvo truck began to drive through the streets of Norway, where there is no driver – the computer was completely entrusted with the control of the huge machine. He successfully transported the mined limestone to the port with a cargo ship, but if the company used two autonomous trucks at once, transportation would be much faster. Unfortunately, due to the high accident risk, the company has not yet decided to launch several unmanned vehicles simultaneously on the road. But why should not she and other companies give a driver the opportunity to drive multiple trucks at the same time? After all, this technology already exists.

The technology is called Automated Follow and the developer is the American company Peloton. We wrote about her back in 2014 – then she introduced a system that allows autonomous trucks to follow a human-powered truck, keeping a distance of 10 meters between them. At that time, the technology was not perfect, as it only regulated the speed and the drivers behind the wheel were responsible for the turns. Now, after 5 years, the system has learned to become self-employed.

Autonomous truck

Thanks to the Automated Follow system, a single truck driver can handle a whole convoy of huge cars. The essence of the technology lies in the fact that the vehicles following the main truck use their sensors to completely repeat their guide's maneuvers. While driving, they keep their distance and turn around, and when the master car driver presses the brake pedal, they obediently stop. That sounds interesting, but there is one question: how does the autopilot behave when a car pushes between trucks? And how do the other participants of the movement know that all the cars in the column first repeat the moves strictly?

Thanks to Automated Follow, trucks can keep their distance

At the moment, the company is experiencing technology only on two trucks, but in the future it will be possible to manage entire columns. In addition to the fact that you can transport goods quickly by using multiple trucks, this approach saves a lot of fuel. The fact is that when driving with wind resistance only the main truck collides and the cars behind are practically not affected by oncoming traffic. The lower load can save 7 to 10% fuel.

That's also interesting: what's up with the autonomous truck from Studio Lebedev?

Tesla truck

I wonder if you've heard about this technology Ilon Musk? His electric truck Tesla Semi is still under development, but should come in 2020 in the trade. However, this approach is hardly interesting for Tesla, as it is the development of an autonomous driving system. It seems so reliable that it will be the main feature of the taxi service of Ilona Mask. Imagine, you ordered a taxi and a car came to you without a driver. It sounds interesting, but is it safe?

Would you entrust your life to a computer-controlled car? Share your opinion in the comments or in our telegram chat.