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Prime Mover Magazine

Hyundai tests first driverless truck

Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Company, has confirmed its Xcient truck completed a 40-kilometre road trip while in autonomous mode on a highway.

The journey undertaken late last month was the first of its kind in South Korea.

With a maximum load capacity of 40 tonnes, the Xcient semi-trailer features a Level 3 autonomous driving system that enables the vehicle to steer, accelerate and decelerate and move through traffic without human guidance.

According to Maik Ziegler, Hyundai Motor Company Director of Commercial Vehicle R&D Strategy Group, the successful demonstration of autonomous driving technology proved that it can help transform the trade logistics industry.

“At this stage, a human driver is still used to control the vehicle manually in certain situations, but I think we will achieve level 4 automation soon as we constantly upgrading our technological capability.”

Conducted in partnership with Hyundai Glovis, the commercial vehicle manufacturer’s trade subsidiary, the one hour evaluation took place between Uiwang and Incheon on one of the busiest expressways in South Korea.

Even though the vehicle had technology to perform and detect lane changes made by vehicles in front of it, come to a stop or accelerate depending on the traffic, a human driver was present to take over manual control when required.

Sensors similar to those used for autonomous sedans were employed by Hyundai Motor and included additional sensors optimised for heavy-duty trucks such as a hitch angle sensor and trailer rear radar.

Data was collected by each sensor and then synchronised with the HD map to convey information to the electronic control module for localisation.

The truck also featured a Motor Assist Hydraulic Steering, a new steering control system developed by Hyundai Mobis, which controls the steering angle based on decisions made by the electronic control unit. It serves to reduce driver fatigue by decreasing the effort required to steer the vehicle.

“Hyundai Glovis’ success in utilising self-driving trucks as part of its delivery service proves that the self-driving technology is being utilised in actual logistics transport and can lead to mutual development,” said Sang-Sok Suh, Hyundai Glovis Head of Strategy & Planning Group.

“The company will be a leader in adopting future mobility technology such as autonomous driving for the trade logistics industry.”

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