Japanese equipment manufacturer Komatsu Ltd. has declared that it has now built an automated dump truck that could haul and deposit materials without any human help.
In a way, the Komatsu automated vehicle technology is different and seems more advanced than current technologies adopted by the likes of Tesla and Google or the Truck Platooning technology previously reported by Tech Times.
This can primarily be attributed to the fact that the truck, which is called the Komatsu Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle, has no cab reserved for a driver or any steering wheel to guide the possibility of human control.
Komatsu said that its automated technology tries to do away with the three-point turn orientation of existing vehicles today. As a result, it was able to develop a self-driving truck that does not need to see where it is going. This is achieved by building a truck that has no front and back ends, allowing the automated truck to reverse course without turning around.
"By distributing equal load to the four wheels both when the vehicle is loaded and unloaded, and adopting four-wheel drive, retarder and steering, Komatsu is aiming for high-performance shuttling of this vehicle in both forward and reverse travel directions, thereby totally eliminating the need for K-turns at loading and unloading sites," the company said in a press statement.
The development of Komatsu's self-driving truck is primarily aimed to increase productivity at mines or similar environs. Aside from the technology that allows for unmanned operation, it is outfitted with features that enable the vehicle to traverse challenging terrain such as a slippery ground due to rain or snow.
Komatsu has pointed out that its proprietary Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) has been commercially available since 2008. The company underscored that, since then, vehicles running with the technology has hauled more than 1 billion tons of cumulative load.
Innovations specific to the Komatsu Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle, aside from its fully automated technology, include the achievement of remarkable balance in comparison to the normal truck since it is constructed to evenly distribute the weight of its load through its four-wheel drive chassis. This is why Komatsu is particularly confident about its performance in uneven or slippery terrain.
The vehicle can purportedly drive the exact same speeds and maneuver exactly the same regardless of the direction it is taking.
The Komatsu Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle was on display this week during the MINExpo INTERNATIONAL 2016 in Las Vegas. The company plans to introduce the cabless self-driving car to the market soon.