For the first time an unmanned wagon crossed the USA on its ownDecember 12, 2019
A selfdriving truck with 18 tons of oil, equipped with cameras, lasers and a radar, traveled 4,500 km, from the city of Tular in California to Quartown in Pennsylvania. The trip lasted three days. The driver insuring autopilot did not intervene even once.
Robo-truck of California startup Plus.ai independently crossed the USA – from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, from California Tular to Quartown in Pennsylvania. The wagon set off on Federal Highway 15 before Thanksgiving. She moved day and night, in rain and snow, recognizing road signs and other cars, going around obstacles and sections with road works.
The driver was constantly in the cockpit, ready to take control if necessary, and the safety engineer watched the autopilot cope with the task. They never had to intervene.
The truck moved completely autonomously, making stops prescribed by law.
Unlike a number of other trials of robotic trucks in the United States, the Plus.ai was not empty – 18 tons of butter were in the back. This allows startup founders to say that they are the first of their kind, ZME Science reports.
Automation of cargo transportation will significantly increase the profitability of this business. The unmanned tractor itself will cost more because of cameras, lidars and radars, but in the long run the costs will pay off. About 30-40% of the cost of long-distance transportation is the driver’s salary and related expenses (motels, meals, etc.). The autopilot does not need to pay, it can move without stops, which speeds up delivery and saves fuel.
According to forecasts, regular unmanned cargo transportation can begin as early as 2022. This is good news for the industry and bad news for truckers. Analysts have estimated that automation will affect about 300 thousand truck drivers in America alone.
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