Despite numerous headlines declaring driverless, self-driving, or robot vehicles, very little if any commercial usage is underway beyond closed-course operations in the United States. A recent example includes Alphabet’s Waymo that has been testing since 2016. Its latest vehicles, heading to Florida, are still manually operated by trained drivers, and were initially run on closed courses. Heavy-duty leader Daimler Trucks (DTNA) is expected to begin production in September on its 2020 Cascadia with Detroit Connect 5.0. This will offer Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Level 2 partial automation features, initially with automated braking, steering, and forward lateral control. DTNA just delivered two eCascadias for customer testing. In partnership with Gatik AI, Walmart has been testing “self-driving” Ford Transit vans that are planned for middle-mile deliveries. The vans will also be operated by drivers in the pilot.
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