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Autonomous truck to hit market next year

The reality of driverless trucks is edging closer, with Chinese company FAW Jiefang announcing plans for commercialisation of its automated truck as early as 2018.

The FAW Jiefang passed a navigation test last week for its ability to recognise obstacles, slow down, make detours and speed up, which analysts said would greatly improve the security level of heavy vehicles, Asia News Network reported.

“The company has built a whole industry chain to develop, manufacture and sell self-driving trucks,” said Hu Hanjie, FAW Jiefang General Manager.

“The participation of more firms will accelerate the technology’s use on heavy-duty vehicles.”

According to FAW Jiefang, the driverless technology will allow better security for truck driving, which enjoys a much higher accident rate on the road.

“China’s driverless truck is more of a trial and a means of catching up with overseas technology,” said John Zeng, managing director of LMC Automotive Consulting Shanghai.

“As one of the leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, it’s necessary for FAW Jiefang to have forward-looking technological research and development.”

Zeng said to Asia News Network that the technology could also enhance the security level of the truck industry, but the technology is still far from commercialisation despite the company’s decision to put it on the market next year.

“Considering China’s complicated traffic and road situation, including a mixed flow of passenger and freight and poor compliance with traffic rules, it will be a long time before the technology hits the road,” Zeng said.

FAW Jiefang is a subsidiary of China’s major automaker FAW Group, which has recorded total market sales of 3.147 million units last year, a growth of 10.9 per cent from the previous year.

FAW sold 29,000 of its own Jiefang vehicles in January, a growth of nearly 130 per cent from the same period last year.

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