TECH | China set to launch self-driving trucks in 2018

A Chinese-made self-driving truck has passed a navigation test, heralding the era of intelligent, automated heavy vehicles that will be rolled out in 2018.

FAW Jiefang, the leading truck manufacturer, debuted the self-driving truck at FAW Tech Centre in Changchun City, Jilin Province. The truck was able to recognise obstacles, slow down, make a detour, and speed up.

The truck also reacted correctly to traffic lights, adaptive cruise control, remote commands and successfully overtook, company sources said.

FAW Jiefang now plans to commercialise the intelligent driving vehicle as early as 2018.

Hu Hanjie, FAW Jiefang general manager, said the company has built a whole industry chain partnership to develop, manufacture, sell, and service self-driving trucks. The participation of more firms across the sector will accelerate the technology’s use on heavy-duty vehicles, Hu said.

Leading Chinese tech firms, including Baidu and Tencent, have invested in self-driving entities. Baidu, for example, has tested driverless mini cars at the annual World Internet Conference for the last two years.

Industry insiders, however, said the technology may prove more practical when it is used on trucks than private cars as truck drivers are more likely to drive tired. The new systems could cut operational costs by replacing drivers.

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