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Driverless trucks – back on the road?

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

After a tumultuous period in the world of driverless trucks, especially among startups as we reported last fall, the industry is now seeing some promising developments.

Bild på en Scanialastbild som kör i en kurva.

A new partnership has been announced, set to accelerate the development and eventual global deployment of SAE Level 4 autonomous driving solutions. is joining forces with the Traton Group, which includes the Scania, MAN, and Navistar truck brands. This strategic alliance follows a trend among the world's leading truck manufacturers, to align with separate AV stack providers to enhance their capabilities. The Volvo Group and Paccar have established partnerships with Aurora, and Daimler Trucks marks its fifth year collaborating with Torc Robotics. Aurora also just announced that its Aurora Driver system is now 'Feature Complete'.

Because of its regulations, Texas is often the go-to state for conducting live trials of driverless trucks in the U.S. Should the smart trucks need support from the road infrastructure, help is on the way. Cavnue has secured a contract with the Texas Department of Transportation to install roadside sensors along State Highway 130. These sensors will collect data on road conditions and communicate with autonomous vehicles.

The question of traffic safety oversight by U.S. authorities, with 'big rigs' soon to navigate highways autonomously, is also being addressed. After several years of research, the two key federal agencies seems to be nearing the completion of minimum safety standards for autonomous trucks.

Once fully qualified to operate on the road, the next challenge for trucks lies in managing the logistics at the start and end of these trips. According to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, there is significant potential to extend automation into port environments.

Finally, on a much smaller scale, Nuro demonstrates versatility with its fully driverless delivery robots, showcasing their ability to transform into mobile snack bars or kiosks.