A Leap Toward Autonomous Cargo Vehicles: A Detailed Overview
A Transformative Project in Progress
The future of transportation is evolving, and at its forefront is the development of autonomous vehicles. One such initiative is an ongoing project, which is divided into three phases, with the objective of preparing a Level 3 automated driving cargo vehicle capable of autonomous driving. The project is a collaborative effort between the Mobility Lab team from the Technical University of Ostrava and the company Valeo. The first phase, system validation, is already in progress, marking the initial steps towards this groundbreaking endeavor.
The prototype currently being tested features remote control, which is seen as a precursor to vehicles that could potentially be used by rescue services and within the industry. The first commercial application of these technologies could appear in the next few years, indicating that the future of autonomous transportation might be closer than we think.
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Phases of Development
The project is segmented into distinct phases, each focusing on a particular aspect of the vehicle’s development. The initial phase involves integrating sensors into the vehicle and setting up a turn assistant and a passive lane change assistant. These features aim to increase the vehicle’s safety and efficiency.
The second phase will further enhance the vehicle’s capabilities by equipping it with Lidar for informative obstacle detection. This technology will enable the vehicle to detect and avoid potential obstacles on its way, thereby significantly improving its autonomous driving capabilities.
The third and final phase will empower the vehicle to self-steer, control its speed, and manage the engine and transmission functions or braking system through the implemented software and hardware interface. This phase will also enable the operation of additional advanced assistance systems, further enhancing the vehicle’s autonomy and reliability.
Preparing for the Harshest Conditions
Radomír Smolka, the Director of Research and Development of the car manufacturer, emphasized that they are striving to develop a vehicle prepared for the harshest operating conditions. This vehicle should have robust sensors and a cybersecurity system to ensure its functionality and safety in challenging environments. According to Smolka, rescue and fire services are increasingly demanding vehicles with automated driving or remote control capabilities. These vehicles could be sent into dangerous zones without a crew, reducing the risk to human life and potentially improving the efficiency of rescue operations.
The development of autonomous vehicles is a monumental step towards a more efficient and safe future of transportation. With this ongoing project, the possibility of Level 3 automated driving cargo vehicles is moving closer to reality. As the project progresses through its phases, the potential applications of these vehicles in various industries, particularly in rescue services, become increasingly clear. This initiative is not just a step towards the future of transportation; it’s a leap.
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