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46 A utonomous technology for ground vehicles is moving quickly into almost all walks of life. Behind the headline driverless cars, it is being adopted in applications from agriculture to firefighting. While ride-sharing services without a driver are rolling out in the USA, driverless trucks are also travelling coast- to-coast for the first time, and car makers are showing new designs based on the idea that their cars will be autonomous. Freight A number of driverless trucks are already making deliveries using control technologies retrofitted to existing platforms US start-up Embark has completed the first coast-to-cost journey of an automated truck. This uses laser, radar and camera sensors fitted to a truck from Peterbilt with Embark’s neural network control software. It took five days to cover the 2400 miles across the southern USA, as the safety driver had to abide by rules for driving. Although the journey was mostly on highways, the driver still had to take over at times, working at Level 2 automation. The goal is to have Level 4 automation where the vehicle can travel on limited, specific highway routes with no driver at all. That would enable the truck to complete the same trip in two days by operating around the clock. The company currently has five self- driving trucks, but plans to have 40 by the end of 2018. The march of unmanned ground vehicles into hitherto unexplored application areas continues unabated, as Nick Flaherty reports Breaking new ground April/May 2018 | Unmanned Systems Technology Automated trucks are now making coast-to-coast journeys across the USA (Courtesy of Embark)