Peterbilt introduced the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, a cruise control system combined with automatic steering, which the company says is a “stepping stone to autonomous driving.”
The GPS autopilot is accurate to within five centimetres. It uses a camera system to detect lane markers, but it can also learn a route in order to be used when lane markers are not available. Like predictive cruise control units, it can automatically adjust the truck speed and detect objects in its path.
The test unit, built on a Model 579, is classified as Level 3 autonomous vehicle. At the Texas Motor Speedway, where Peterbilt introduced it, an engineer rode along but did not operate the truck; however, it is not a fully driverless vehicle.
“The driver is the decision maker in the truck,” said Bill Kahn, Peterbilt principal engineer. “At this point, we want the driver to keep his hands on the wheel and stay alert, not necessarily be actively driving the truck but being alert.”
In order to override the steering system, the driver only needs to manually move the steering wheel.