Autonomous trucks deployed on freeways as part of new trial - SUV VEHICLE

Autonomous trucks deployed on freeways as part of new trial

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Some of Melbourne’s busiest highways will soon have autonomous trucks travelling along them, as part of a new trial testing the latest driverless technology.

A new six-month trial testing the viability of autonomous heavy commercial vehicles will start today along Melbourne’s Citylink tollway and Monash Freeway.

Following on from a trial conducted in late 2022 – from the city to Warrigal Road and back – the new program will see two autonomous trucks driving from the Port of Melbourne to Dandenong, before turning around.

However, the latest trial will begin with one truck, starting with shorter routes initially before the route is gradually extended to Dandenong and another vehicle is added.

Silicon Valley-based company Plus has fitted out two Iveco trucks with Level Four autonomous technology, which can theoretically allow the vehicle to perform all driving tasks within certain environments – while still allowing human intervention if required.

The trucks have the ability to read traffic up to one kilometre away, “navigating motorway entries, changing lanes, driving inside tunnels, observing traffic lights and responding to any traffic condition they’re presented with along the way,” according to Transurban.

Both trucks in the trial will have a driver behind the wheel ready to take control, as well as an engineer monitoring its systems – with both receiving specialist training.

The trucks have spent months testing at an Anglesea proving track to ensure they were ready before testing on public roads.

“We are still in the early stages of the journey to a future with self-driving trucks everywhere, but it’s just a matter of when,” Plus COO Shawn Kerrigan said in a written statement.

“We have already started seeing the positive impacts of improved safety, more efficient freight, less traffic congestion, and the creation of new jobs through our autonomous driving technology deployments in the US and Europe.”

The trial will operate from 10pm to 5am on a dedicated lane along the Citylink tollway and the Monash Freeway, between the Port of Melbourne and Dandenong.

The post Autonomous trucks deployed on freeways as part of new trial appeared first on Drive.

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