Japan group tests fuel-saving driverless trucks

Mar 04, 2013 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) —Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has tested a caravan of self driving trucks. They put four trucks on the road, with the first truck driven by a human, followed by three autonomous trucks. The caravan successfully used technologies for steering, for maintaining speed, and for staying in formation, at a speed of 80km/h with a four-meter distance between each truck.

The February 2013 test run is part of a project that was started in 2008 by NEDO. The key goal of NEDO's truck exercise has been to see what can be accomplished in . They reported that drag decreased by keeping the trucks in a straight line and four meters apart. They said that running convoys of trucks in this manner could contribute to lower , helping to reduce by 15 percent or more.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

As for technologies involved in the run, the self-driving vehicles had to be able to detect obstacles in front of them, "see" white lines, and carry out inter-vehicle communications; also included was the unit that controlled the vehicles running in formation. According to reports, a milliwave radar and radars were used to detect obstacles. Cameras and infrared laser radars helped the trucks recognize white lines. A wireless communication module and infrared communications module enabled inter-vehicle communication. Two printed-circuit boards were used for the control unit to maintain formation.

The NEDO self-driving trucks will not be part of Japan's transportation system any time soon. NEDO hopes to have a practical version of this automated driving system ready around 2020. More tests are scheduled for later this year.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

NEDO was established as a semi-governmental organization in 1980 to promote . The group is described on its website as Japan's largest public research and development management organization. The NEDO project has a number of participants that include Hino Motors, Mitsubishi Electric, Oki Electric Industry, NEC, Denso, the University of Tokyo and Nihon University.

Explore further: The ethics of driverless cars

More information: e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20130225D25JSN01.htm
www.houseofjapan.com/electroni… -trucks-in-formation

Related Stories

Autonomous-driving Volvo convoy takes road in Spain

May 29, 2012

(Phys.org) -- In the annals of “whatever happened to that big idea” is the 2009 announcement of road trains linking cars in a convoy, a scheme planned for Europe’s motorways. The lead vehic ...

Road trains may be coming soon to Europe (w/ Video)

Nov 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Road trains linking vehicles together in a traveling convoy are planned for Europe. With only the lead vehicle being actively driven, the road trains would allow commuters to sleep, read a ...

Introducing the i-Cool Solar air conditioning for trucks

Oct 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A solar-powered air conditioning system has been developed for use in trucks, and should be available commercially by early 2012. The "i-Cool Solar" system was the brainchild of companies ...

US sets new standards for truck, bus emissions

Oct 26, 2010

The United States on Monday unveiled new standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans, buses and delivery vehicles, aimed at improving their fuel efficiency and reducing emissions by up to 20 percent.

Recommended for you

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

3 hours ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

3 hours ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 US workers

3 hours ago

The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

Oregon sues Oracle over failed health care website

14 hours ago

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she's filed a lawsuit against Oracle Corp. and several of its executives over the technology company's role in the state's troubled health insurance exchange.

Google buys product design firm Gecko

14 hours ago

Google on Friday confirmed that it bought Gecko Design to bolster its lab devoted to technology-advancing projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-linked Glass eyewear.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hemitite
4 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2013
Will they be liable to pick up computer viruses at truck stops?
dschlink
not rated yet Mar 04, 2013
The interval is much more than 4 meters. It's hard to imagine how they would deal with lane changes in heavy traffic.
hemitite
4 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2013
dschlink,

Just like many other trucks it will merge through intimidation.