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~8,000 Level 4 Autonomous Trucks are Expected by 2025 Globally, Yet Regulations and Liability Framework Remain a Major Challenge
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Frost & Sullivan's research service on the regulatory framework towards autonomous driving in heavy-duty truck provides detailed market and technology trends, challenges, and forecasts from 2017 to 2025 at a global level. The study identifies and analyzes the key goals and progression needed to realize autonomous semi-trucks by 2025. It outlines the cost and competitive ecosystem over the forecast period, and examines the current testing environment for automated vehicles globally. It also estimates the adoption of different levels of automated trucks in 2025 and beyond. Autonomous driving in heavy duty trucks will rely on four key pillars for its potential introduction into the market; regulations, innovation (technology), infrastructure, and societal acceptance. Global regions who thrive in these four categories will become early adopters and market drivers of autonomous driving. Currently, there has been strong development in the advancement of technological capabilities towards autonomous trucks. All major OEMs and some Tier I suppliers have already demonstrated the ability to operate a level 3 autonomous truck on public roads. Although the technology components to enable a level 3 autonomous truck are available today, there are still many challenges ahead to prove its reliability and safety in any operation condition. SAE level 4 autonomous trucks are the target solution of many leading OEMs and are expected to be the first commercialized autonomous level seen for on-road usage. On the other hand, level-5-enabled trucks for on road applications are not expected until after 2030. Moreover, autonomous regulations remain in their infancy compared to autonomous driving technologies. Regulations have continued to move slowly to adapt to the ever-changing needs for autonomous truck testing effectively hindering its progression. Regardless of technological advancement, regulations and liability will remain the most pressing issue towards realizing level 3 autonomous trucks by 2025. Each global region is expected to have its own legislative framework supporting autonomous trucks. However, these polices must be harmonized throughout the entire region and cannot remain disparate between bordering countries or states. The areas of need surrounding autonomous truck regulations, include driver HOS, safety, liability, cyber security, and communication network (e.g., V2V, V2X, DSRC, LTE, and 5G). The current regulations do not cover the unique operating conditions that are present with autonomous truck driving. As a result, a new set of autonomous specific policies will need to be developed in the short term to handle any of these critical issues. All major stakeholders (governments, insurance companies, OEMs, Tier I suppliers, and IT companies) will need to jointly collaborate in developing the proper autonomous legislative standards.Author: Wallace Lau
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