The market leader in autonomous driving is Waymo, which intends to focus on the truck segment.
The German manufacturer Daimler has recently announced that it is neglecting the automation efforts in the passenger car segment and is instead focusing on the automation of commercial vehicles. The industry is not alone in this.
There are several companies that specialize in the automation of trucks. First and foremost among them is the start-up TuSimple, which has already transported several loads over the highway in the USA. The company Uber has withdrawn from this segment, but Waymo is now intensifying this area.
Waymo does not want to become a manufacturer of vehicles itself, it only wants to supply the technology for autonomous driving. But that will only succeed if the technology in the vehicles is properly tested.
Experience gained in the field of cars is also being applied to this segment, although there are some differences. For example, a truck naturally weighs more, especially when it is still pulling a trailer behind it. This means that the braking distance is longer and this must also be reflected in the software stack.
Furthermore, an automated truck spends most of its time on the motorway where these vehicles are to be used. But on motorways you drive faster than in urban areas. Therefore, the sensor technology must also be adapted to the speeds. The faster you drive, the further you have to be able to cover the distance in order to react in time.
Tests for this are mainly carried out in the warm southwest of the USA. In concrete terms, the Google sister is testing above all in the US state of Arizona, where the robotic taxi service Waymo One was also initiated.