Obayashi and Hino Motors spent about a month and a half conducting tests of large dump truck autonomous driving (Level 4 equivalent).*1 The tests took place at the site of construction of the main body of the Kawakami Dam.

Hoping to solve a number of challenges facing the construction industry, such as the declining working population and need for to increase productivity, Obayashi aims to automate construction machines and build a platform that can centrally manage groups of autonomous construction machines. To that end, it is pursuing robotics-based construction*2 at construction sites.

For the recent tests, Obayashi and Hino introduced one autonomous hauling dump truck to the fleet of such trucks operating at night at the site. The truck was made to cover a distance of about 1.3 km at speeds of up to 30 km/h.

GNSS data,*3 cameras, SPAD LiDAR,*4 and other technologies were used to find the vehicle’s cruising position and route. If there is another vehicle in front, full-speed-range ACC*5 maintains a safe distance and brings the vehicle to a stop if persons or obstacles are detected. The route includes narrow curves, steep slopes, and places with low GNSS
sensitivity.

The researchers will continue to study the technology, examining how autonomous dump trucks affect operations when used together with human-driven ones, as well as studying operations with the entire fleet made up of autonomous vehicles. At the same time, they will aim to develop end-to-end operations that span loading, transport, and unloading.

The truck’s route

A road test at the site

*1 Autonomous driving (Level 4 equivalent)
Autonomous driving wherein vehicles drive without a human operator within a limited domain

*2 Robotics-based construction
A concept in which technologies like BIM and CIM are used to connect a virtual space to a real one and enhance construction processes. The aim is to use remote control and automation during construction, with no humans at the work site.

*3 GNSS
A Global Navigation Satellite System, such as GPS

*4 SPAD LiDAR
Single Photon Avalanche Diode Light Detection And Ranging, technology and equipment that detects the surrounding environment in 3-D

*Full-speed-range ACC
A form of Adaptive Cruise Control with a function that uses the vehicle’s own equipment to measure and calculate the distance to the vehicle in front and maintains a certain distance.