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    Ohio Smart Corridor

    U.S. Route 33 will likely host truck platooning exercises in the future as research at Ohio’s Smart Mobility Corridor continues, according to James Barna, chief engineer and assistant director of transportation policy for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

    U.S. 33 runs diagonally southeast-northwest through the center of Ohio, passing through downtown Columbus; the Smart Mobility Corridor is a 35-mile stretch of the road that ODOT uses for testing connected vehicle technology.

    Ohio Smart CorridorOhio Department of Transportation

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    Velodyne Lidar Systems

    To drive a car, you need to see the world around you. But computers are blind, so autonomous cars must rely on other ways to perceive their surroundings. Lidar sensors, a laser form of radar, have emerged as a powerful way for robot cars to navigate.

    Velodyne Lidar SystemsMichael Short/ Bloomberg News

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    Audi A8

    The passenger car market serves as an example of the kinds of automated steering systems truck makers will likely offer in the future.

    Already, Nissan, Honda, General Motors, Audi AG and other carmakers offer forms of assisted steering. Among the most advanced features available in cars, Cadillac’s Super Cruise lets drivers take their hands off the steering wheel as the car pilots itself during limited stretches of highways in the United States.

    Audi A8Audi

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    WASHINGTON— Long stretches of interstate will be important proving grounds as autonomous truck technology develops, according to industry experts.

    Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said that early deployment of connected trucks probably will occur on geofenced spans of interstate, as these flat, relatively straight areas will provide a safer alternative than more arterial routes that frequently have more stop-and-go traffic.

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    tuSimple Truck

    An autonomous-driving technology firm plans this year to begin commercial-hauling operations in Arizona using Class 8 trucks that will require nearly no driver control of the vehicle.

    Beijing- and San Diego-based tuSimple has a supplier committed to the project, which will run trucks the 120 miles from Tucson to Phoenix, Partner and Vice President of Product Chuck Price told Transport Topics. He declined to identify the supplier.

    tuSimple TrucktuSimple

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    Udelv autonomous delivery vehicle

    Two entrepreneurs are introducing an autonomous vehicle and electric cargo bike designed to reduce the costs arising from the last-mile delivery and returns of e-commerce merchandise in urban areas.

    Burlingame, Calif.-based Udelv is launching this month an autonomous, electric-powered cargo vehicle designed for short deliveries and pickups.

    Udelv autonomous delivery vehicleUdelv

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    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

    WASHINGTON — The adoption of advanced autonomous and connected vehicle applications will not disrupt the employment landscape for commercial drivers in the next few years, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) told automotive executives Jan. 25.

    Commercial and passenger vehicle manufacturers are testing technology aimed at improving safety and efficiency and are enhancing vehicles’ capabilities to operate autonomously. Lawmakers and freight executives insist employment disruptions will not occur anytime soon.

    Michigan Gov. Rick SnyderMichigan Gov. Rick Snyder by Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics

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    Uber blog post

    Self-driving truck developer Uber Technologies Inc. predicts that transfer hubs for longhaul autonomous trucks will increase demand for local drivers, countering perceptions that automation will lead to widespread job losses in trucking.

    Uber blog postUber blog post

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    TMC 2017 exhibit floor

    Future advancements in the trucking industry will be at the forefront of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition set for early next month.

    This year’s meeting, scheduled for March 5-8, will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

    TMC 2017 exhibit floorA view of the exhibit floor during TMC 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. This year's annual meeting will be in Atlanta. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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    NATSO Panel

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two fleet executives doubt fully autonomous or electric trucks will revolutionize the longhaul truckload industry in the near future, foreseeing instead a gradual evolution for these technologies.

    NATSO PanelNewell (left), Manning and Mullings (Ari Ashe/Transport Topics)

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    Easy Ride Vehicle

    YOKOHAMA, Japan — In the future Nissan envisions, driverless cars will pick up children from school and recommend restaurants to tourists in various languages.

    Nissan Motor Co. says feedback from people who try it will be used to fine-tune its “robo-vehicle mobility service.”

    The automaker said Friday that 300 people have already signed up to try out Easy Ride in March. The Japanese automaker hopes to roll it out as a commercial service in the early 2020s. Details, including pricing, are undecided.

    Easy Ride VehicleShizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press

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    Chris Spear

    ATLANTA — New federal guidance on automated cars and trucks to be unveiled this year will include the input from the trucking industry, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear said at the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting March 5.

    Chris SpearSpear by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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    ATLANTA — Industry experts explored a variety of approaches for developing and deploying autonomous trucks and examined the evolving regulatory framework for this technology here at the annual meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council.

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    Waymo Trucks

    It’s getting to be a traffic jam.

    Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous vehicle division Waymo began this month operating an autonomous freight truck in the Atlanta area, carrying server equipment, racks and related material to Google data centers.

    Waymo’s project joins competitors Uber Freight, TuSimple and Embark in developing autonomous technology for the freight hauling industry.

    Waymo said it will be operating Class 8 Peterbilt trucks on Atlanta-area freeways and local roads with a test driver in the cab at all times.

    Waymo TrucksWaymo

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    Projects aimed at building dedicated lanes for self-driving trucks would qualify for funds under President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal unveiled last month, a top federal transportation official said March 16.

    U.S. Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Policy Derek Kan emphasized that states could finance freight infrastructure designed to facilitate the movement of self-driving trucks under the proposal’s “transformative” and “incentives” titles.


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