Autonomous trucks require a unique set of skills

Bigger, heavier vehicles are harder to control. What impact does this have on ADAS and AD development? Freddie Holmes investigates

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are being built for situations where drivers are at risk of distraction, fatigue or other instances of human error. In many cases, the challenge of safely removing the driver has led AV developers to focus on environments with relatively low levels of complexity and few unexpected events.

Special report: ADAS and automate driving development

Because of this, long-haul trucks and large shuttle buses have both become focal points for autonomous driving and are already being tested on public roads today. While the operational design domain (ODD)—where they drive—may be less complex, these larger vehicles bring unique challenges to the table. They are naturally harder to stop and manoeuvre, meaning autonomous driving systems made for passenger cars cannot simply be transplanted onto a heavy-duty commercial vehicle.

Designing for an autonomous truck

Many of the basic systems and approaches to automation do carry over from passenger cars. Sensors such as camera, radar and LiDAR are rarely developed separately for commercial vehicle applications, for example. However, there are some obvious differences when it comes to integration. Cameras typically need to be mounted higher to provide a better view of the road ahead, and in doing so may need to be adapted, perhaps fitted with different lenses to cope with different lighting conditions.

Megatrends Q3 - Embark truck
The bigger and heavier the vehicle, the more challenging it becomes to control

Unlike a passenger car, autonomous

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