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World’s Largest Unmanned Road Construction Fleet Operates on Busy Highway in China

China could be considered one of the most important players in the field of self-driving technology. The main focus is on robotaxis, but autonomous trucks are also making their way on highways across the world. A Chinese machine and special vehicle manufacturer has premiered the largest autonomous construction fleet in the world.
XMGC's fleet of unmanned road construction fleet is the largest in the world, at this moment 8 photos
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Recently, a California-based autonomous technology developer, called Plus, claimed to be the first one to obtain a special permit that enabled it to conduct a driverless demonstration on a highway in China. A driverless semi-truck with a Level 4 autonomy, which is the highest, conducted a demonstration along the Wufengshan highway, without a safety driver, a remote operator or any other type of human intervention.

FAW, a Chinese heavy-duty truck manufacturer, will produce the J7L3 truck, equipped with the PlusDrive technology.

Before fully-autonomous heavy-duty trucks start hitting the road in the near future, other types of unmanned vehicles are taking over the highways in China. Not to travel to certain destinations, but to actually build the roads themselves. XCMG, a company with a long history in machine manufacturing, has successfully deployed an unmanned road construction fleet, in order to complete the National Highway Maintenance Project.

Located in the Yangtze River Delta, the Nanjing-Shanghai Expressway is considered one of the most “high-class” roads in China, according to XCMG. The company’s unmanned fleet included ten tandem road rollers and two large pavers. The vehicles were controlled by a satellite positioning reference station.

With the help of this satellite-based positioning system, plus technologies such as inertial navigation and obstacle recognition, the vehicles were successful in the maintenance process for the Suzhou Road segment of this busy highway. The XCMG radar technology for the continuous measurement of asphalt thickness allowed the unmanned vehicles to drastically reduce possible errors. The result was a high level of accuracy and efficiency in road maintenance operations.

After the success of this highway maintenance project, XCMG intends to continue to develop autonomous special vehicles, for the most difficult and complex construction tasks. It looks like unmanned engineering could revolutionize road construction.

press release

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