Firm client Covenant Transportation has recently added Level 2 autonomous trucks. The Freightliner Cascadia has electronic steering, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, pedestrian warning, collision avoidance, intelligent high beams and active brake assist. The “Detroit Assurance” system in the truck collects, shares and validates safety-related information by tracking up to 40 objects simultaneously up to 660 feet away and reporting information about six vehicles in the truck’s path – their distance, velocity, width, lateral offset, type and confidence level – while the Video Radar Decision Unit (VRDU) refreshes the speed, distance, and time calculations 200 times per second.
The Detroit Assurance system was real-world tested with more than 10.5 million actual miles in Europe and the U.S., including two winter cycles. In addition to the ADAS systems on the truck, the cab has also received airplane-like systems, including a digital dashboard, touchscreen functionality, and built-in apps for pre- and post-trip inspection recording, hours-of-service logging, and dispatch communication – no need for third-party systems like Qualcomm or PeopleNet on this truck! In addition, roadside traffic signs and speed limits are displayed on the digital dashboard, providing the driver with more information without having to take his/her eyes off the road.
It’s clear that these trucks will make the job of a truck driver easier, and hopefully, safer. Further, none of these ADAS upgrades required any FMVSS/FMCSR exemption from the Department of Transportation.