Hyundai Semi Takes Autonomous Trip Down South Korean Highway
A Hyundai vehicle recently went on the first autonomous truck journey ever to take place in South Korea. The Hyundai Xcient drove about 25 miles down a highway between the cities of Uiwang and Incheon while pulling a semitrailer.
“This successful demonstration proves that innovative autonomous driving technology can be used to transform the trade logistics industry,” said Maik Ziegler, director of Hyundai’s Commercial Vehicle R&D Strategy Group.
A Level 3 autonomous driving system controlled the truck, allowing it to independently accelerate, decelerate, steer, and maneuver through traffic. A driver rode along, ready to take control if necessary.
“At this stage, a human driver is still used to control the vehicle manually in certain situations, but I think we will achieve Level 4 automation soon as we are constantly upgrading our technological capability,” Ziegler said. At Level 4, no human would need to be aboard the vehicle for emergencies.
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Heavy traffic is common on the highway used for the journey. That means the self-driving truck had to be able to safely adapt to a wide range of situations. It was equipped with 10 special sensors optimized for a larger vehicle. These included three cameras, two radar sensors, three Lidar sensors, and a hitch angle sensor to keep the trailer stable on sharp turns.
Data from these sensors went through an HD mapping system to the truck’s electronic controller. The controller used the information to make decisions on speed, steering, and braking. Hyundai’s Motor Assist Hydraulic Steering system took input from the controller to maintain precise lane positioning.
As Hyundai continues to invest in autonomous vehicles, one of its next goals is developing autonomous truck platooning technology. This would allow multiple trucks to travel in a convoy while efficiently following a lead truck.
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