NZ Truck & Driver News

 
UD goes auto

UD goes auto

NZ Truck & Driver News

 October 2019   
UD Trucks has joined the autonomous truck revolution – demonstrating a heavy-duty Quon on a short run on public and private roads around a sugar factory in Hokkaido, Japan.

A driver was behind the wheel – but was only there to intervene in case of an emergency and maintained a hands-off role.

UD says it is Japan's first Level 4 autonomous heavy truck trial – L4 being one step below totally driverless operation. 

The trial is a partnership with Nippon Express, one of Japan's biggest logistics firms, and a Hokkaido agricultural co-operative….both of whom see autonomous trucks in controlled environments helping ease the country's severe driver shortage.

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UD Trucks has joined the autonomous truck revolution – demonstrating a heavy-duty Quon on a short run on public and private roads around a sugar factory in Hokkaido, Japan.
A driver was behind the wheel – but was only there to intervene in case of an emergency and maintained a hands-off role.
UD says it is Japan's first Level 4 autonomous heavy truck trial – L4 being one step below totally driverless operation. 
The trial is a partnership with Nippon Express, one of Japan's biggest logistics firms, and a Hokkaido agricultural co-operative….both of whom see autonomous trucks in controlled environments helping ease the country's severe driver shortage.
UD Trucks president Takamitsu Sakamaki says: "We'd like to launch commercial operations (of Level 4 vehicles) in a confined area as early as next year.
"Japan's growing labour shortage is a serious issue that must be addressed. By combining the expertise of commercial vehicle manufacturers, logistics companies and the agricultural sector, we believe that autonomous driving technology can play an essential role in finding the solutions we need," says Sakamaki.
UD Trucks' innovation roadmap aims to deliver solutions including fully-electric and autonomous trucks by 2030 and the truckmaker's senior VP of technology Douglas Nakano says it is confident that L4 technology for heavy-duty trucks "will make logistics smarter when it comes to repetitive work in confined areas, including large-scale farming, in-plant and port operations. 
"Utilising data collected from this trial, we will perfect our trucks to meet the most stringent demands for different types of operations, helping support more sustainable food production and the Japanese agricultural industry as a whole. We also aim to apply what we learn here today to larger-scale applications."
Widespread implementation of autonomous operation is also a key focus for Nippon Express, which is already active in truck platooning, unmanned logistics centres that reduce labour costs and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), drones and advanced tracking systems.  


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