We have come a long way since the 2008 DARPA Grand Challenge ignited intense public and corporate interest in autonomous trucking and cars. The decade after has seen significant investments and technological progress in autonomous vehicle technology, the underlying sensing technologies like LiDAR, cameras, radar, and GNSS that make it possible, and exponential advances in computing power and artificial intelligence.
From an article in Forbes by Sabbir Rangwala.
The original focus of the Grand Challenge was for the autonomy of cars (the underlying objective was autonomous military vehicles). Later efforts by Google GOOG +2.2% (and Waymo), Zoox, GM-Cruise, Uber UBER +5.1%, Aurora, and others continued the focus on autonomous cars for personal transportation. However, many in the trucking business realized the potential of autonomous trucking for solving issues like fuel efficiency, safety, driver health, capital efficiency, and cost savings.
Ever since Otto (later acquired by Uber) made the first autonomous trucking run on a Colorado highway to transport cans of beer, significant financial investments have been made in the trucking autonomy space. In general, autonomous trucking seeks to operate on the highway with well-mapped routes, without the complexity of urban traffic, pedestrians, and dense traffic. LiDAR is a critical part of the perception and mapping sensing suite and has location, mounting, performance, and reliability requirements that are unique to large Class 8 trucks.
Plus, a leading autonomous trucking company recently announced an initial LiDAR order (2000 units) with Ouster. Higher volumes are planned as it equips thousands of trucks with its ADS (Autonomous Driving System) for deployments across the United States, China, and Europe over the next 5 years. Ouster’s LiDAR is an important part of the ADS. To date, this is the largest public announcement of a LiDAR purchase in the trucking space and signals the maturity of autonomous trucking and LiDAR technology.
For the complete article CLICK HERE.
Editor’s Note: Most L4 vehicles are operating at very low speeds in a geofenced region. It will be interesting to follow the progress of this effort.
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