A new report from Guidehouse Insights examines the competitive landscape for companies developing automated driving system (ADS) technology for medium and heavy-duty trucks.
ADS technology is continuing a slow march toward becoming sufficiently mature to enable broad commercial deployments. As the work progresses, there are enormous capital requirements for development of the core technologies and the supporting services and platforms to enable that deployment. Those companies that had a reasonably strong capital base have been trying to reduce spending where they can and focus on market segments that are seen as having the best near term commercial potential. Among those segments are medium- and heavy-duty trucking. According to a Leaderboard report from Guidehouse Insights, Waymo, Aurora Innovation, and TuSimple are the leading vendors developing ADS technology for trucks.
“Many see goods delivery as a more viable early ADS application because of lower unit costs associated with more predictable operations and the ability to select routes that can be reliably and safely operated,” says Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “The operational design domain for trucks that carry freight rather than passengers is simpler than that for urban robotaxis. For long-haul trucking, the absence of intersections and vulnerable road users also simplifies the driving task, although the higher speeds and heavier weights require longer distance sensing capability.”
The impetus for developing ADS for trucks stems from several factors. Among the many lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is a shortage of labor in many fields. Prior to the pandemic, new regulations that limited the number of hours long-haul drivers could work in a day combined with the job’s difficulty to make driver recruiting challenging. A second factor is that drivers represent a significant portion of the cost of operating trucks. An additional goal is improving safety and reducing the number of crashes and fatalities, according to the report.
The report, Guidehouse Insights Leaderboard Report: Automated Trucking, assesses which companies are best equipped to be the Leaders in the development of ADS for medium and heavy duty trucks. The Leaderboard quantifies the current relative position of each of the major players as the latest features are being developed and commercialized to help drivers and improve safety. An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the Guidehouse Insights website.