One of the largest obstacles to self-driving trucks was the problem we at TruckinNews called “Dynamic Adaptation”: how current autonomous trucks work fine in open, well-maintained highways, but start to struggle when dealing with less optimal scenarios such as road hazards and city streets. Netadryne, a technology company headquartered both in California and India, is taking steps to overcome this problem.
Netadryne’s normal business operations involve tech solutions to maximize vehicular safety. These include promoting good driving habits and capturing camera footage that can be played to better understand the cause of an accident and possibly clear the driver of any wrongdoing. Netadryne calls this safety service Driveri.
Another project that Netadryne has been working on in the background of Driveri is collecting the data for its own database. They tracked what drivers did in different scenarios and what the results were. These include school zones, road closures, and more.
Through Driveri, Netadryne has collected over one billion miles of driving data on US roads. This is enough to travel from Earth to the sun and back at least five times. The data still leaves a lot to be desired, however: the one billion miles occurred over the same 1.8 million miles of road. This is but a fraction of the approximately 4.2 million miles of road the United States has according to the Federal Highway Administration.
On the plus side, driving over the same asphalt many times allows for the greater chance of capturing dynamic scenarios, such as a school zone during the dead of night, during school hours, and when school is getting out for the day. All of these would entail different levels of precautions, and a self-driving vehicle would need to be aptly prepared for such cases.
Netadryne hopes to either be able to sell or use this data to help better train autonomous vehicles in becoming more aware of its immediate surroundings.
It will still be a long time before self-driving semi-trucks become the norm. With over four million miles of road in the United States and an endless combination of factors that impact driving, current truckers do not need to worry about their job security for at least a decade.
After all, it took 3.5 billion years of natural selection and other evolutionary forces to get humans to be able to drive as they are now, and it only takes one lousy driver to make the case that all that time was still not enough!