Self-driv­ing truck hits the road as Ohio dis­cusses re­search

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

A self-driv­ing truck will be­gin trav­el­ing on two Ohio roads next week af­ter state of­fi­cials an­nounce de­tails of new in­vest­ments to sup­port in­no­va­tive trans­porta­tion tech­nol­ogy.

A ve­hi­cle from self-driv­ing truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of US Route 33 to­day in cen­tral Ohio be­tween Dublin and East Lib­erty, home to the Trans­porta­tion Re­search Cen­ter, an in­de­pen­dent test­ing fa­cil­ity. It will travel in reg­u­lar traf­fic, and a driver in the truck will be po­si­tioned to in­ter­vene should any­thing go awry, De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion spokesman Matt Brun­ing said Fri­day, adding that “safety is ob­vi­ously No 1.”

Of­fi­cials say that sec­tion of Route 33 - a four-lane, di­vided road - is an im­por­tant piece of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle re­search in the state and will be­come a cor­ri­dor where new tech­nolo­gies can be safely tested in real-life traf­fic, aided by a fiber-op­tic ca­ble net­work and sen­sor sys­tems slated for in­stal­la­tion next year. Gov. John Ka­sich is sched­uled to dis­cuss de­tails of that in­vest­ment and other ef­forts to sup­port au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle re­search on Mon­day be­fore the truck hits the road.

“Cer­tainly we think it’s go­ing to be one of the fore­most au­to­mo­tive re­search cor­ri­dors in the world,” Brun­ing said. The self­driv­ing truck is also ex­pected to travel next week on part of the Ohio Turn­pike, though Brun­ing said he couldn’t yet de­tail when or where.

The turn­pike’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor said in Au­gust that of­fi­cials were mov­ing to­ward al­low­ing test­ing of self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles on the 241-mile toll road, a heav­ily trav­eled con­nec­tor be­tween the East Coast and Chicago. Tests of self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles have been made in other ar­eas. An­heuser-Busch said last month that it had com­pleted the world’s first com­mer­cial ship­ment by self­driv­ing truck, send­ing a beer-filled trac­tor­trailer on a trip of more than 120 miles through Colorado. The com­pany said a pro­fes­sional truck driver was on board for the en­tire route. Sev­eral au­to­mo­bile com­pa­nies have tested self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles on pub­lic roads in Cal­i­for­nia and Ne­vada, and Uber is test­ing driver­less cars in Pitts­burgh.

Ka­sich has pushed for Ohio to be a leader in the fast-ad­vanc­ing test­ing and re­search of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles. State of­fi­cials say Ohio is well-po­si­tioned for such a role for many rea­sons, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence from the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in the state, part­ner­ships with univer­sity re­searchers, and the sea­sonal weather changes that en­able test­ing a va­ri­ety of driv­ing con­di­tions in one place. — AP

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Em­ploy­ees stand next to self-driv­ing, big-rig trucks dur­ing a demon­stra­tion at the Otto head­quar­ters, in San Fran­cisco. Uber’s self-driv­ing startup Otto de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy al­low­ing big rigs to drive them­selves. Af­ter tak­ing mil­lions of fac­tory jobs, ro­bots could be com­ing for a new class of worker: peo­ple who drive for a liv­ing. — AP

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