One of the big truck brands in Europe is the Dutch brand DAF. Years ago the American company PACCAR purchased the DAF company. Paccar also owns famous USA truck brands like Kenworth and Peterbilt.
At CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Paccar showed some projects they are working on. Basically there are two main directions they go for now:
- 1. PRODUCING ZERO EMISSION TRUCKS
They work on solutions for the truck segments ‘medium duty’ and ‘heavy duty’. There are solutions already available or these will be available soon. At the convention they showed an electric garbage truck that had zero emission.
But also for the heavy duty trucks they are developing zero emission solutions. It is interesting to see the number of cables and their size that are used to bring the power from the batteries in large boxes to the electric motor. Paccar calls their system the ’Paccar integrated Power Train’.
- 2 RESEARCH TO AUTONOMIC DRIVING
Paccar does not yet believe in trucks without a driver. They do research in the State of Washington for full autonomous truck driving. They need to do this to get all the possible knowledge for driver supporting systems and potential autonomous driving for trucks.. Even if that will be used only on main roads and not in the cities or on company sites.
AUTONOMOUS DRIVING IN GENERAL
There is a lot of writing and talking about autonomous driving. But imagine a car or a truck in a city like Amsterdam with small streets and badly parked cars. But also the thousands of bikes and pedestrians. Many of these do not care too much about traffic lights. It is already difficult for a human to drive there without having an accident. For an autonomous car it is totally impossible.
So driver support systems are already available and will get better in the future. Driving a Tesla I personally experience that the systems gets better with each update. But full autonomous cars without a driver is a very long way to go.