Autonomous Volvo Truck for Japan

The site of the trailer pulled behind a tractor with no wind shield or cab can be unnerving to a lot of people. However, this may soon become realty in labour starved countries like Japan. The country is facing a severe shortage of truck drivers. In order to overcome the issue, the Japanese subsidiary of Volvo demonstrated a Level 4 autonomous truck on the Hokkaido island. A Level 4 autonomous vehicle is one which can perform all driving tasks without a driver. This includes driving in designated areas and routes and responding in an emergency. However, a Level 4 vehicle still needs to be geo-fenced and has an option for a manual override.

Volvo along with Hokuren Federation of Agriculture and Nippon Express demonstrated an autonomous truck by driving it on a designated route which included 200 yards of the public road around a food processing factory. This was the first experiment in Japan involving a large autonomous vehicle. The experiment involved the truck entering the factory premises from a public road and driving to the storage site for sugar beet. After collecting the beet, it drove to the next station where the beet is processed for unloading.  The truck drove at a maximum speed of 20 km/h.

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