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Highly Automated Commercial Vehicles

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Tags: Connectivity, SeeThinkAct, AutonomousDriving
Ananda Pandy, June 11, 2019
Ananda Pandy is a technical specialist in the field of ADAS & Autonomy at ZF.
Automated vehicle technologies are moving beyond passenger vehicles and SUVs to play a major role in commercial vehicles.

With the meteoric rise of online commerce and shopping, tractor-trailer rigs have become ubiquitous. However, with the commercial vehicle driver shortage, and strict work rules governing the number of consecutive hours a driver can spend behind the wheel, commercial trucking companies are looking for solutions to continue moving at the speed of business.
Highly automated commercial vehicles (HACVs) utilizing various technologies enabling automation to offer a practical approach to managing the increased demand for commercial vehicles that keeps industry and commerce moving. Developments of HACVs face both technical and regulatory challenges to see final deployment. While NHTSA and state regulators are working diligently to enable higher automation in public roads in safe and systematic way, we at ZF are developing both vehicle and system level solutions to enable higher automation in commercial vehicles.
HACVs function at Level 4 autonomy – this means that the vehicle has a high level of automation making it capable of performing driving functions under certain defined conditions without driver intervention. Operational design domains define the functional parameters for HACVs including, but not limited to, geographic, roadway, environmental and speed limitations.
We at ZF are developing both vehicle and system level solutions to enable higher automation in commercial vehicles.

We see both revolutionary and evolutionary approaches trending in the development of a highly/fully automated vehicle. A revolutionary approach is where the developers use high resolution cameras, lidars, map data to enable vehicles to operate in the defined ODD. The evolutionary approach is the traditional building block approach to stack on the advanced driver assistance systems, integrate them all to build a safety cocoon around the vehicle, add redundancy and connectivity to enable higher automation.
Another practical approach to achieve higher automation in roads sooner is to automate the following vehicle in a platoon. Through automated following, they are paired with a lead truck operated by a human driver. The following truck is precisely aligned to the lead truck’s drag. The trucks communicate through a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications system – sending and receiving signals that report on various aspects of driving status. Additionally, the lead truck can communicate its maneuvers and speed with the follow truck to keep both vehicles aligned for maximum operational efficiency and safety. The deployment of automated following vehicles can start in restricted area use cases such as mining or pit to port operations and then can be expanded to highway applications as we build upon the experience.
We see both revolutionary and evolutionary approaches.

Critical to a standalone automated vehicle or the automated following truck as part of the platoon is a fail operation al steering system. ZF’s concept of redundant ReAX utilizes market-leading electronic steering technology based on production platform to build a failsafe redundant steering system for HACVs.
Redundant ReAX offers full redundancy to achieve rigorous ASIL D safety standards, which ensure a system functions correctly and demonstrates the ability to maintain safe operations at all times by detecting and managing faults.
HACVs have the potential to significantly reduce the impact of the commercial vehicle driver shortage, and keep commercial vehicles rolling down the highway safely. Automated Following and Redundant ReAX are just examples of how ZF is helping change the future of mobility.

Autonomous driving

What is the state of the art? How is testing carried out? What will the future bring? Everything there is to know about cars and other vehicles that operate on an automated or autonomous basis.