Self-Driving Truck Convoys

The United States Army is experimenting with self-driving trucks, and in a kind of cool way.

They are testing out whether trucks in a convoy can follow a human driver. The Army owns hundreds of thousands of vehicles, and sends big convoys to transport munitions and materials across the country and the world.

The interesting part of this is that maybe the Army can simplify the autonomous vehicle problem by simply having the trucks in the convoy follow a lead human driver.

Chewing on this in my mind, it’s not obvious to me whether this simplifies the autonomous vehicle problem or just morphs it. After all, there are going to be weird corner cases where trucks in the middle of the convoy shouldn’t really follow the truck ahead of them. Does designing for those corner cases simply amount to building a real self-driving car?

Originally published at on February 8, 2016.

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