By May of this year, the automaker will have prepared the details of its unmanned vehicles program, which is estimated to cost 18.5 billion rubles, 5 billion of which will be designated for the creation of an artificial city as a testing ground. In it, trucks without drivers will test out moving through traffic and navigating complex intersections and pedestrian crossings. Models of cars, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians will be placed on the testing ground.
“We petitioned the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, which in principle supported the proposal,” said Sergey Nazarenko, chief designer of innovative products for KAMAZ’s R&D Center, in an interview with TASS.
According to the KAMAZ chief designer, similar artificial cities as testing grounds can be found at Volvo in Switzerland, with another under construction for Daimler in Germany. Russia has no such an area, although there is a need.
The unmanned truck is based on the KAMAZ-5350 model with 6×6 all-wheel drive. It is being developed in cooperation with the Russian software developer Cognitive Technologies.
In order to launch an unmanned KAMAZ into commercial operation, it is necessary to change the law. Amendments to the law are planned for 2017, the same time when the pilot program should be launched on the roads of Tatarstan.
The automaker plans to develop about 20 prototypes of unmanned vehicles for different purposes by 2025.
Sergey Nazarenko is confident that KAMAZ’s developments in unmanned vehicles can also be used by other domestic car manufacturers, as well as by enterprises that produce agricultural machinery. “Unmanned vehicles are controlled by artificial intelligence using technical vision and a system we created so the vehicle could operate not only on wheels, but also on tracks,” said the designer.
Unmanned vehicles can be used to mine minerals or fight fires at military depots.
Each of the different vehicles will have its own purpose, said Nazarenko. Some, such as dump trucks, will help cut costs, and some will help with the safety of people, for example in fighting fires at military depots.
According to director of Alexey Mikheev, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade’s director of the Department of Metallurgy, Machine Tools, and Heavy Machinery, a safe system of autonomous driving will for the most part prevent numerous accidents and fatalities. Every year in Russia, truck drivers are responsible for accidents that kill more than 2,000 people.
KAMAZ is the largest Russian manufacturer of commercial vehicles. It includes more than 150 organizations located in Russia, the CIS and abroad, including 12 major automotive manufacturing plants. It has assemblers in Vietnam, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. Its total number of employees exceeds 59,000.
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