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Peterbilt Unveils Autonomous Concept Truck


This week at the ITS World Congress in Detroit, Peterbilt unveiled its latest vehicle– an autonomous Peterbilt Model 579.

“The autonomous truck of the future is an extension of existing, individual systems already available for today’s commercial vehicles,” said Bill Kahn, Peterbilt Principal Engineer and Manager of Advanced Concepts. “The vehicle we demonstrated during the ITS World Congress showcases how these technologies can integrate to provide the next generation of advanced cruise control and automation features. Heavy-duty trucks are an ideal platform for automated operation because, compared to motorists, commercial vehicles travel a majority of their miles on modern highways, at constant speeds and for extended periods of time.”

Kahn reassured the audience that the truck’s automatons technology in no way replaces the driver or the driver tools, rather they “compliment the truck operator.”

“Improving safety, efficiency and performance are top priorities for the entire transportation industry. These are common goals we are collectively working toward,” Kahn said.

The autonomous Peterbilt 579 features:

• Radar-based adaptive cruise control (ACC) that automatically accelerates and decelerates to maintain safe following distances.

• Lane departure warning systems (LDWS) which use cameras to detect lane edges and striping and alerts the driver if the vehicle is drifting outside of its lane.

“Combined, these technologies – while still evolving – increase safety through continuous situational awareness, reduced driver fatigue and improved driving accuracy for superior fuel economy,” said Kahn.

The LDWS gives the truck the ability to “self-correct the vehicle” through an electronically controlled steering system.  The ACC system uses cameras to bring the vehicle to a stop,  if necessary.

In addition to the ACC and LDWS, the truck is equipped with a GPS system that features last-minute routing, parking assist and new driver proficiency.

The truck was made available for demonstrations at the ITS World Congress.


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