Hyundai successfully completed the first test with an autonomous truck, Hyundai Xcient, which has a maximum load capacity of 40 tons. Xcient has traveled approximately 40 kilometers on South Korea’s roads, with a semi-trailer attached. The vehicle was equipped with a self-contained, level 3 (according to the Society of Automotive Engineers) standard, which allows direction control, acceleration and deceleration, various maneuvers in traffic, without human intervention. A driver was also on board to take control if necessary.

“This action demonstrates that innovative driving technologies can be used to transform the transport and logistics sector,” said Maik Ziegler, Ph.D., director of Commercial Vehicle R & D Strategy Group at Hyundai Motor Company. “At this stage, the driver is required to manually control the vehicle in various situations, but I think we will soon achieve Level 4 automation.”

Hyundai’s objective is to continuously invest in infrastructure and to continue testing, to develop and market this technology in the shortest possible time. For this demonstration, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea (MOLIT) issued for the first time a temporary autonomous transport license for a heavy truck. The test was carried out on a 40-km route on the public road (the transport section that Hyundai Glovis – a logistics company part of the Hyundai group – Kia Automotive – was carrying the Incheon port components) , strictly adhering to the speed limit of 90 km / h imposed on this route.

The unladen semi-trailer is equipped with an advanced self-navigating system, considering it is approximately 3.5 times longer, 1.4 times wider and 9.2 times heavier than a sedan. Hyundai Xcient has similar sensors to those used for autonomous sedans as well as 10 sensors optimized for heavy trucks (including three front, side and rear cams, two front and rear radars and one for the steering angle of the semi-trailer) which analyzes in real time the change of angle between the truck and the semi-trailer, for stability in very tight turns. The information accumulated by each sensor is closely related to the HD map and is transmitted to the on-board computer for localization. Depending on the situation, it accurately controls the speed, direction and braking. In addition, a new MAHS (Motor Assist Hydraulic Steering) was developed, developed by Hyundai Mobis. The MAHS has a precise steering that controls the steering angle according to the decision taken by the electronic control unit, minimizing the effort required to drive the vehicle. Features such as the Front Collision Assistance System (FCA), Intelligent Automatic Pilot (SCC), and LDW are optionally available for Hyundai Xcient.

Hyundai is focusing on developing the technologies needed to drive vehicles in the convoy, with plans to market these systems from 2020.

The number of casualties accidents involving trucks increases each year. According to statistics provided by the National Police Agency in Korea, trucks are involved in 10.8 percent of the annual fatalities, with a 3.7 percent mortality rate, compared with 1.9 percent for other accidents. Truck drivers frequently travel long distances during the night, their fatigue being the cause of numerous accidents. Self-managed technology implemented on commercial vehicles will also help reduce them.

In 2017, Hyundai Ioniq has successfully completed the 4th level self-driving tests, while this year, at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Nexo and Genesis G80 have traveled 190 km all at Level 4 of led autonomously.

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