The Autonomous Trucking Caravan

Martijn Graat
Martijn Graat

The concept of self-driving cars is not new. Various companies have been testing and perfecting the concept in the past years. While the concepts are getting better, there has not yet been one fully approved for use in any country. Yet.

Now it seems Audi is taking it to a new level. This weekend, it has let an Audi RS 7 race on the Hockenheim circuit, not piloted by a professional racing driver, but by a computer, driving at the vehicle’s physical limit. I’ve found up a video on YouTube with the highlights:

An Audi RS7 Won’t Fit Any Pallets

While it is very cool to see an Audi RS 7 race around the track autonomously, the logistician in me got more excited by a project on which Volvo published a video in 2012. In it, one truck successfully leads a convoy of trucks and regular vehicles on a highway. The following cars all mimic the movement of the lead truck. This would create the possibility for drivers in the following trucks to either rest or perform other duties normally performed by staff in offices. You can see the concept in the video below. It would increase the range of a set of trucks and increase the productivity of the drivers at the same time:

Obviously Volvo is not he only company experimenting with autonomous trucks. The video below is from a fully autonomous concept truck developed by Mercedes.

A Caravan of Self-Driving Trucks

Now imagine combining these technologies to create high-speed caravans of trucks. Faster, safer, and highly flexible. 5 years? Looking at the current speed of innovation, that should be a walk in the park. Or an autonomous drive around the track…

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