The Gruzovikus self-driving freight tractor is almost too beautiful for words

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Art Lebedev Studio’s Gruzovikus concept truck: fully electric, fully autonomous, extremely beautiful

You don’t normally think of freight tractors in terms of visual appeal: they are enormous machines meant to haul stuff all across the world, so whether they’re pretty or not is of no consequence.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be pretty, though. When it comes to good looks, this concept from Art Lebedev Studio takes the crown: there is simply no prettier truck cab out there, real or only in concept stage. This is no coincidence, either: the design team specifically set out to show the world that you can have both brawn and beauty in a single truck cab. And brains, to boot.

Meet Gruzovikus (which literally means truck in Russian), the electric, self-driving truck cab that hauls merchandise from point A to point B, and looking fabulous while doing it. It’s the result of 43 days’ of work for the team at Art Lebedev Studio, and it remains the most startling and impressive concept to this day, a few good months after it was made public.

Clearly, the future of transport is electric and autonomous. This truck has them both, with a good dose of good looks to go. It’s incredibly slim, to the point where it forms an L shape when viewed from the side. It has no windows or doors, because it doesn’t need any. All it has is a giant computer screen that houses the computer, the sensors and the cameras, and everything else needed to make long-distance travels safe.

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A self-driving truck delivered butter from California to Pennsylvania in three days

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A Silicon Valley startup has completed what appears to be the first commercial freight cross-country trip by an autonomous truck, which finished a 2,800-mile-run from Tulare, California to Quakertown, Pennsylvania for Land O’Lakes in under three days. The trip was smooth like butter, 40,000 pounds of it.

Plus.ai, a 3-year-old company in Cupertino, announced the milestone, recently. A safety driver was aboard the autonomous semi, ready to take the wheel if needed, along with a safety engineer who observed how things were going.

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The truck platooning market experiences growing pains

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Volvo Trucks North America and FedEx Successfully Demonstrated a 3 Truck Platoon in North Carolina VOLVO

Truckload carriers and private fleet owners are paying increased attention to truck platooning. In platooning, trucks are connected using direct vehicle to vehicle communication. This allows the rear truck to react nearly simultaneously to the actions of the front truck. By electronically coupling the trucks in this way, the trucks can operate at closer distances. They do this in order to create drafting, which creates fuel savings analogous to what a race car gets when one race car follows another car closely. Peloton claims savings of 7% from platooning – 4.5% for the lead truck, and 10% for the following truck.

Peloton Technology is the leading proponent of the opportunistic model of platooning where trucks find each other on the interstate and initiate a platoon. Peloton is testing two truck platoons. In this system, two truckers affirm that they are ready to platoon via a radio connection. Inside the two trucks, each driver hits a button. A verbal cue indicates the system has authorized the trucks to platoon. Then the follower speeds up, pulling their truck up so it’s tailgating about 70 feet from the leader and the platoon is initiated. The feet of the driver of the trailing truck are not controlling the brakes or the accelerator. But this driver still maintains control of their steering wheel.

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New Volvo Trucks autonomous semi is a cables tractor pod

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Unlike any other autonomous semi trucks concepts out there – from Daimler Trucks, Tesla or California startup Thor – Volvo’s Vera has no driver’s cabin and looks like a flat Tesla S with space for just the powertrain and the battery pack.VOLVO

Volvo Trucks, the world’s second-biggest heavy-duty truck maker behind Daimler Trucks, unveiled Wednesday its first all-electric driverless freight truck, dubbed Vera.

Unlike any other semi trucks concepts out there – from Daimler Trucks, Tesla or California startup Thor – Volvo’s Vera has no driver’s cabin and looks like a semi-truck tractor pod or a flat Tesla S with space for just the drivetrain and the 300 kW lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a range of up to 187 miles (300 kilometers).

“It’s designed to be safe, it’s quiet and totally predictable, down to cost savings,” said Michael Karlsson, vice-president of Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks. “Nothing similar to what you’ve seen from us before. In fact, it’s impossible to drive.”

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Autonomous driving will support, not displace truckers, study says

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Autonomous trucks have been in the development stage for the last few years.

DETROIT — It’s been long speculated that autonomous driving technology will widely displace one of the most common jobs in the U.S., truck drivers.

Goldman Sachs, for instance, predicts that as autonomous vehicle technology peaks, as many as 25,000 trucker jobs could be eliminated per month or about 300,000 annually. But a new workforce study from the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township is saying: Hit the brakes.

The study, commissioned by ACM and led by Michigan State University and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, concludes that automated technology will “largely support truck drivers instead of replacing them” for the next decade.

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