Locomation to equip 1,120 trucks with self-driving technology with a caravan

Locomation to equip 1,120 trucks with self-driving technology with a caravan

September 29, 2020 0 By autotimesnews

US-based trucking company Wilson Logistics has agreed to equip its 1,120 tractors with self-driving caravan technology, which is being developed by startup Locomation. Columns of 11 trucks driven by 1 driver will be able to start delivering commercial orders as early as 2022.

Locomation, a Pittsburgh company, helped to reach an agreement with Wilson Logistics, which the startup successfully carried out in August, writes VentureBeat. Over the course of eight days, trucks equipped with caravan technology and an insurance driver behind the wheel traveled 676 kilometers between Portland, Oregon, and Nampa, Idaho, on I-84 several times, covering approximately 5,470 kilometers. Half the time the convoy moved autonomously and delivered 14 commercial cargo.

Locomation is not completely self-contained. Unlike the truly unmanned solutions that Waymo, TuSimple or Einride are developing, it requires at least one driver to remain vigilant at all times. This leading driver, like the driver of the caravan, leads the rest of the vehicles, following at a distance of 15 – 20 meters one after another. This allows other drivers to recuperate on long journeys across the country. And after some time, the need for them will disappear altogether.

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Similar technologies have attracted a number of major vehicle manufacturers – Daimler, Volvo, MAN Truck and Bus, Scania – in part due to the lack of serious legal obstacles to implementation. Commercial autonomous truck convoys are already legal in 27 states.

Locomation plans to expand its partnership with Wilson to 124 trucks, leading convoys of 11 vehicles. And in the future, their number should increase by orders of magnitude. The technology commercialization of the startup should, according to the plan of management, begin in 2022.

About a year ago, Hyundai tested an autonomous convoy of trucks. An experiment on a South Korean highway confirmed that a pair of trucks following each other are able to maintain a distance between them and respond to changes in the road situation.