Automating Big Rigs

There’s a lot of weight being hauled by one of those things. And a whole lot of processing for autonomy

Here’s something to think about the next time you’re rolling down the highway in your compact crossover:

One of those big rigs that is on the road with you can weigh 80,000 with a full trailer.

It doesn’t take a physicist to calculate that consequently stopping and maneuvering is going to require more time than the vehicle you’re in.

Plus system (look at the top of the cab) uses lidar, radar and cameras. (Image: Plus)

As drivers of those trucks tend to be on long-distance routes, developing autonomous driving capability for them is a growing area of interest.

One such company in this space is Plus, which is developing self-driving truck tech. According to Hao Zheng, CTO and co-founder of the company, they have more than 10,000 pre-orders for its system.

Here is a number from him that is even more astonishing than the aforementioned 80,000 and 10,000—even more than 80,000 times 10,000: “Enormous computing power is needed to process the trillions of operations that our autonomous driving system runs every fraction of a second.”

Trillions of operations every fraction of a second?

Plus has opted to develop its system using the NVIDIA Orin, which, according to NVIDIA, can deliver 254 trillion operations per second.

Evidently enough.

Still, driver or no, you’ve got to show those vehicles some respect.–gsv

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