Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

S.C.H. van der Burg Development of automated trucks (NL. Ontwikkeling van geautomatiseerde vrachtwagens)
Literature survey, Report 2007.TEL.7190, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

Increasing number of vehicles causes several problems concerning safety, efficiency and environment. Developments of intelligent driver assistance systems for vehicles and fully automated transport systems have to increase safety and efficiency and reduce the environmental impact.
Developments have two classifications, namely evolutionary and revolutionary. Evolutionary developments consist of small adjustments or control devices to improve the controllability of the vehicle, while revolutionary developments discussed in this report consist of fully automated systems.
Objective of the report is to present an overview of the evolutionary and revolutionary developments in automated trucks, evaluate and compare the developments and discuss possible future developments. Other fully automated systems are also included to compare those systems with the developments of automated trucks.

Around the 1990's several research projects in Europe, the USA and Japan started to make traffic safer and more efficient. These researches contained driver assistance systems to assist the driver with controlling the vehicle. The development of driver assistance systems resulted in application in the car and truck industry. The evolutionary developments started with systems to control the handling of the vehicle. The Anti-locking Brake System, Traction Control and Stability Control prevent the driver from losing control of the vehicle. Systems to detect other vehicles and avoid collisions succeeded the vehicle control systems. This type of safety systems consisted of Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning Assistance, Brake Assistant and Side Assist. Route guidance systems assist the driver to reach the destination, but those systems do not fall in one of the foregoing categories. Further evolutionary developments of driver assistance systems are systems warning the driver when the speed limit is exceeded or intervene when the driver is fatigued. A recent development of a driver assistance system in cars is the Parking Assist. The system takes over the steering of the vehicle during parking.

In addition to the intelligent driver assistance systems, several revolutionary systems are developed to fully automate cargo transport by trucks. Most developments concerning fully automated truck systems, like the following examples, are developed and tested but not implemented until now.
A group of industrial Partners in Europe started the CHAUFFEUR project to develop an 'electronic towbar'. With the help of an infrared system trucks were able to automatically follow a leading truck with a driver. This results in a platoon of vehicles controlled by the driver in the leading truck. Consequently the CHAUFFEUR system is not a fully automated system. California PATH also developed a system for platooning truck operation, but in contrast with the CHAUFFEUR project all trucks were fully automated. The trucks are committed to a separated track and follow the track with the help of a magnetic system.
Combi-Road and a fully automated highway between Calais and Bayonne were also designed to use a separated track. The fully automated highway should use truck platooning to decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Combi-Road had to transport containers between the Port of Rotterdam and an inland terminal with fully automated vehicles towing the trailers to avoid the congestions on the conventional road.
Japan developed the Dual Mode Truck to prevent safety, productivity and congestion problems. The Dual Mode Truck is able to operate automatically on a separated track and manually, with a driver, on the conventional road.
Finally the California Department of Transportation developed fully automated maintenance trucks for inspection of the infrastructure and removing obstacles on a fully automated highway.

Revolutionary fully automated systems are regularly used for passenger transit. Mostly these systems consist of small vehicles for passenger transit on a separated track. A couple of exceptions use larger vehicles based on bus or tram design.
Several passenger transit systems were used at expositions to test the system and evaluate people's responses. Examples are the Floriade CyberCab and the Toyota IMTS bus. Similar systems are regularly used to move passengers on airports or to business parks. The Véhicule Automatique Léger (VAL) and the Phileas bus are more extensive passenger transit systems. The VAL replaces part of the subway and is the world's largest fully automated network with a total length of 45 kilometer.

Fully or partly automated road networks are designs to replace the conventional road network. The Global Automated Transport System is designed to replace the complete conventional road network. The Automated Transport System and the Dualmode Transportation System leave parts of the built-up areas conventional and replaces the highways with fully automated roads. These revolutionary designs are difficult to implement and certainly have to be further developed.

The intelligent driver assistance systems and fully automated vehicle systems can be evaluated on the basis of the overview of evolutionary and revolutionary developments of automated systems. Criteria for the evaluation are safety and efficiency improvements and implementation issues. In general the evolutionary developments are based on the improvement of safety, while the revolutionary developments contain safety and efficiency improvements.
Evolutionary and revolutionary systems require technical developments. Technical developments also contain testing and simulation to ensure operation without failure. In addition mainly revolutionary developments contain economic and policy and cooperation challenges. Conventional systems are serious competitors due to large development and construction costs of revolutionary systems. Fully automated vehicles are forbidden on the conventional road and separated tracks need approval from government. Main cause of these challenges is the radical change of most revolutionary systems compared to conventional systems.

The future of the development of evolutionary and revolutionary systems can be discussed based on the foregoing evaluation. The future developments for evolutionary and revolutionary developments are different. Caused by the implementation issues, the revolutionary, fully automated vehicle systems continue to exist of pilot projects.
The evolutionary intelligent driver assistance systems on the other hand continue evolving. Due to the continuing developments the intelligent driver assistance systems will be able to control the vehicle's operation. In this phase the driver still has the responsibility.
Eventually the implementation of fully automated vehicle systems will evolve from the evolutionary developments. Gradually implementation of fully automated vehicles will start when sufficient vehicles are capable to drive automatically. Nevertheless these developments will take a lot of time.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2008.01.09; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.