Autonomous truck company TuSimple announced today the development of a new vision system that will allow vehicles to operate at night and in low light environments. The system will go into production in the second quarter of 2019 and will be installed on TuSimple’s self-driving customer fleet by the third quarter of the year.
The proprietary camera system features a Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation’s automotive-grade image sensor that runs on TuSimple’s software.
“Like human drivers, autonomous trucks’ perception systems are challenged by a wide variety of light conditions which are experienced every day while driving. We weren’t able to find a camera system on the market that fit our needs so we created one,” said Dr. Xiaodi Hou, Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of TuSimple, in a press release. “The combined expertise of Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation and TuSimple has created a perception system that sees better than the human eye – night and day, rain or shine – in the most challenging driving conditions.”
Adding the camera to TuSimple’s existing 1,000-meter perception system is a significant development, as it will boost the number of hours the truck is in operation. TuSimple trucks currently operate about 50 percent of the time or 12 hours per day. With the new system, the trucks can be on the road over 80 percent of the time.
The camera addresses imaging challenges such as instant light changes when entering and exiting tunnels, flaring during sunrise and sunset and headlight glare. It also handles the LED flicker created by digital signage and traffic lights.
The hardware marks another stage in TuSimple’s race to be the first company to put the first fully autonomous trucks on the road. As FreightWaves reported here, TuSimple recently landed $95 million in funding, with some of the money slated for new projects in partnership with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).