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Hyundai ramps up autonomous tech testing with truck platooning trials

Hyundai has started testing truck platooning technology on a motorway proving ground that replicates real-world driving conditions.

The tests took place on the 7.7km Yeoju Smart Highway in Korea which has been developed by the Korean government for autonomous driving research.

Hyundai conducted the trial using two trailer-connected Xcient trucks.

Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy, using connectivity technology and automated driving support systems.

Hyundai’s testing displayed vehicle platooning, cut-in/out by other vehicles, simultaneous emergency braking, and V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication tech. The speed limit was set at 60kph for safety reasons.

Jihan Ryu, head of Hyundai Motor’s Commercial Vehicle Electronics Control Engineering Group, said the demonstration of the technology would lead to a “paradigm shift” in the freight and logistics industry.

Ryu said Hyundai will be sharing its learnings on autonomous driving development between commercial vehicle and passenger car sectors to expedite level 5 self-driving technology.

Level 5 autonomous driving is where there is no involvement from a human driver in any situation in a vehicle.

How Hyundai’s platooning system works

The platooning maneuver begins when the driver of the following truck approaches the leading vehicle and activates platooning mode. 

Upon activation of platooning mode, the following truck maintains a 16.7m distance, with real-time fine tuning based on the leading vehicle’s acceleration and deceleration. The driver does not need to put his/her foot on the accelerator or brakes. 

The mode also activates lane keeping technology which means drivers following the lead truck can take their hands off the steering wheel.

With platooning, other vehicles cutting in and out between trucks can also be managed. If a vehicle cuts between the platooning trucks, the following truck automatically extends the gap to minimum of 25m. 

When a leading truck makes a sudden emergency stop due to an unexpected situation, the newly technology responds by enabling the following truck to decelerate and stop. 

The V2V system applied to both trucks in Hyundai’s demonstration showcased how real time information sharing between platooning vehicles can improve control over acceleration and deceleration, and also incorporate ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) information from various sensors like cameras and radar.

Hyundai’s platooning system also uses real-time frontal video sharing. This displays videos from the lead vehicle so the following driver can see the road ahead, solving limitations of forward vision for trailing drivers.

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