A pair of Daimler’s Freightliner eCascadia battery-powered trucks are headed to customers at their research and development center in Portland. (Image credit: Daimler)

 

Electric auto manufacturer Daimler have been hyping their electric trucks for some time now, and the company is set to deliver a pair of their heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadia battery-powered semis to Penske and NFI later this month. In a recent press release, Daimler states the trucks will undergo trials at their research and development center in Portland designed to test the integration of battery-powered trucks in large-scale fleet operations.

 

The eCascaidia line is Class-8 heavy-duty semi that weighs in at 33,001 pounds and is designed to transport large amounts of cargo. Chances are you won’t see these trucks hauling freight across country, as the battery they use provides a range of about 250-miles, so they’ll likely run intercity operations. The eCascadia vehicles delivered to Pensky and NFI are not final production models, meaning the battery technology could improve before they enter production in 2021.

 

TuSimple garnered investment from UPS and have been using the autonomous trucks to ferry freight in Arizona. (Image credit: TuSimple)

 

While staying on the big truck technology trend, UPS recently announced that its investment arm of the company had made a minority investment with autonomous vehicle startup TuSimple, for their line of autonomous trucks. What’s more, UPS has been testing the autonomous trucks by ferrying packages between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, for several months without anyone noticing.

 

According to UPS, “Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The company initiated self-driving service in May 2019, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data, and transport time.”

 

TuSimple develops autonomous technology that’s equipped in Navistar trucks, which is currently looking to obtain level 4 (mind-off) status in the independent spectrum, meaning there is no human input while driving. The company’s autonomous platform uses a ‘1000-meter perception system’ that provides 35-seconds of time to react if something goes wrong or there is an unavoidable obstacle in the road. The system relies on nine cameras, a pair of LIDAR sensors, and AI to drive the trucks, but still relies on a driver and engineer to ride along until that level 4 is achieved. 

 

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