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POWER ELECTRONICS


Delivery time


The USPS and TuSimple have joined forces to evaluate autonomous trucks for mail delivery. A successful two-week


trial took place in April around the Texas and Arizona distribution hubs. Onboard were a driver and


an engineer to evaluate the performance of the system on the 22-hour trips. Meanwhile Ford is


looking into the fi nal step of delivering goods – up to the front door. It’s partnered with Agility Robotics to develop Digit – an industrial delivery robot to complement


Ford is hoping this robot will make the fi nal few steps of a delivery


autonomous vehicle technology. Although equipped with lidar and some cameras, the bulk of the thinking power comes from the vehicle. Digit is able to to be folded


up tightly in the back of the van and on arrival at the delivery address unfolds itself and collects the package before strolling up the path to hand over the goods.


(PTW). Complicated traffi c scenarios can be accommodated with a guided vehicle target (GVT).


ON ROUTE Meanwhile in Paris, the next stage is being tackled: on-highway testing. Groupe Renault, Groupe Transdev, IRT SystemX, Institut Vedecom and the University of Paris-Saclay have all teamed up to devise and test diff erent autonomous services to supplement the existing transportation systems in the Paris-Saclay area. Several operations are underway


here. The electric autonomous Renault Zoe Cab prototypes are equipped with GPS-type sensors, lidar, cameras, inertial units and self-driving software. Passengers use a custom-built Marcel app to book the vehicle. In addition to testing the vehicles,


there is the interconnected roadside infrastructure, consisting of sensors, thermal cameras and lidar devices located at 25 strategic points. An augmented vision system is designed to handle unexpected events, while the traffi c lights communicate with the cars to warn of a change.


As time goes on, the plan is to


introduce wearables to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. As a fi nal thought, one group of


GM’s Electrical Integration Lab in Warren, Michigan


motorists that could really benefi t from advances in autonomy are the disabled. Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) has launched the Inclusive Mobility initiative, and in May hosted a meeting to gather information from the disabled about how best to take advantage of the opportunities that advances in autonomy will bring. Carol Tyson, government aff airs liaison for the Disability Rights Education & Defence Fund (DREDF),


says, “There’s been a lot of talk about what autonomous vehicles will provide, but for that potential to be realised, automakers will need to involve the disability community directly in the design and functionality of these vehicles. For the fi rst time, an automaker has brought people together to begin to address the myriad of design, technical, safety and equity challenges that will need to be overcome.” ■


www.engineerlive.com 41


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