The Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) will be experimenting on driverless trucks to look into the possibilities of their industrial, practical, and safe use on the road.

The Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI) recently announced this week that they will be experimenting with autonomous trucks to see whether they can practically put a fleet of such vehicles on the high road. The experiment will be conducted on a test course in Tsukuba City, at the Ibaraki Prefecture. They will build a test course where the driverless vehicles would run the entire course and cover about 3 to 2 kilometers in a single lap.

The project was started by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), along with the cooperation of a few universities and car manufacturers within the country.  Each of the trucks will be using standard "auto road sensing" technology, such as laser/light sensors and cameras, to aid the onboard computers in keeping the trucks' course straight, protecting it from possible obstacles, as well as preventing damage and accidents from occurring. All data would of course be collected by JARI for further analysis.

Typical driverless vehicle projects often involve the use of smaller or more standard-sized vehicles, with a few examples such as DARPA's Grand Challenge, Google's Driverless Car project, and the Driverless Mercedez Benz 2013 S-Cars. Application of autonomous systems on larger vehicles like trucks usually aim or concentrate on rough industrial areas like mines, or on any other area that may be perilous for human workers. This makes JARI's experiment on driverless trucks considerably different, though fundamentally the goal of improved safety still stays the same.

Some of the experiments that would be conducted in the project include deftly running the autonomous vehicles at a speed of 80 km/h, and making them coordinately run together within the course at 4 meters apart each other.

Source: Yomiuri News (JP)