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Ford Otosan Tests Platooning Autonomous Trucks In Turkey

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Ford Otosan has worked with one of its partners called AVL to test autonomous vehicles in the form of big rigs that use autonomous platooning technology. The idea is to allow a convoy of autonomous big rigs of the future to follow each other closely to deliver goods. The testing is part of a research collaboration between Ford Otosan and AVL research and engineering centered in Turkey and Regensburg, Germany.

The collaboration between the two firms is aimed at re-defining the operation of trucks in the freight haulage industry. A demonstration was performed on a test track at the Ford Otoisan Eskisehir plant in Turkey. The trucks used were the new Ford F-MAX tractor units equipped with AVL platooning technology.

In the test, the trucks ran in wirelessly-connected convoy formation. The test marks the completion of the first phase of their joint R&D cooperation project. Ford and AVL say the testing of platooning autonomous trucks will form the basis for making fully autonomous transportation a reality around the globe. Ford Otosan’s assistant GM, Burak Gökçelik, says that the project will enable the company to advance smart mobility, reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, and improve road safety.

In the next phase of the project and long term, the company will focus on developing SAE-Level 4 autonomous driving features and realize hub-to-hub autonomous highway transportation. AVL’s Rolf Dreisbach says that there are multiple benefits to platooning, including reduction of total ownership costs and increased fuel savings along with an increase in safety. When platooning, vehicles follow a lead vehicle and can cut fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent with a similar reduction in vehicle emissions. The ultimate goal is to increase the autonomous tech in the trucks until no human driver is needed. Ford is set to spend more than $4 billion on autonomous tech.

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Source: Traffic Technology Today

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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  1. As a 45 year veteran of the American trucking industry I am both fascinated and horrified by the rapid push for driverless trucks on American highways. The ability to put a robotic car such as a Tesla on the road is one thing but computerizing something that weighs as much as #80,000 and sending it down America’s highways is an entirely different challenge. The complications that arise on the highway and must be dealt with instantly are far more detailed and dangerous with commercial trucks than they are with an automobile.

  2. At this point in innovation I would say yes they are. However, as with the advent of combustion engines over horsepower, they are the next level in human transportation. Just as with the rapid creation of AI and robotics across the globe the threat of devastating results to humankind is quite real and should be monitored and regulated heavily by all governments in all cultures and societies. Unfortunately the folks we sometimes place in our governments don’t always measure up to the necessary standards of ‘doing the right thing’. The philosophical debate currently hindering engineers at Mercedes Benz over how a fully autonomous vehicle should decide between the life of its occupant or the life/lives of others is hampering the development of their autonomous car development. Should there even be a debate?

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