Fuso Truck and Bus has announced it plans to operate Level 4 highly autonomous commercial trucks on some public roads by around 2025, according to the comapany’s president and CEO Hartmut Schick told Nikkei.
A Level 4 vehicle is one that can drive itself without human assistance in specific environments, such as highways. The Japanese government is urging private companies to commercialise logistics services with system-controlled Level 4 trucks by 2025 a move expected to help ease a chronic shortage of truck drivers in Japan’s delivery sector.
Other Japanese truck makers, including Isuzu and Hino plan to introduce Level 4 models after 2025 and Schick stressed that this comes after Fuso’s launch of its highly autonomous trucks.
Fuso’s advantage is that it can share sensors and other key components with parent Daimler Trucks using technology already developed for its Mercedes Benz and Freightliner brands for use in its trucks in Japan.
Schick says 80 per cent of key components could be shared between commercial and passenger vehicles and there should be no significant gap in the timing of commercialisation between cars and trucks.
Daimler is conducting trial runs of self-driving commercial and passenger cars worldwide. In 2020, the automaker plans to roll out semi-autonomous trucks, which are capable of self-driving under certain conditions with driver assistance. The launch will be made through Freightliner in the U.S., which leads the way in formulating laws governing self-driving vehicles.
By the early 2020s, Daimler aims to develop trucks with Level 5 autonomy — fully autonomous performance under all road and driving conditions that a human driver can manage.