Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer KAMAZ is proposing to create an artificial city as a testing ground for unmanned vehicles. The project will cost about 5 billion rubles (US$87 million). 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.
According to Sergey Nazarenko, chief designer of innovative products for KAMAZ’s R&D Center, 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 6x6 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 said it plans to develop about 20 prototypes of unmanned vehicles for different purposes by 2025.
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.
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.