In early 2014, American supermarket giant Wal-Mart unveiled its new futuristic truck design, which looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. This new concept truck is known as the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE), and is designed to be incredibly energy efficient and aerodynamic.
The vehicle was designed with sustainability in mind, and features a radical design intended to increase air flow and reduce fuel usage. The body of the vehicle is also built from a lightweight carbon fibre, which renders this innovative truck 4,000 pounds lighter than traditional models.
Whilst formal testing on the vehicle has only recently begun, it’s predicted that this new vehicle will be at least 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company’s existing fleet.
The WAVE is also capable of running on a variety of fuels, including diesel, natural gas and bio-diesel, in addition to other fuels that have yet to be developed.
The centre piece of this new truck design, is its futuristic cab which includes highlights such as a central seating position, similar to that found in F1 cars; this affords the driver greater visibility. The cab also features an array of digital displays which are fully customisable, and it’s even equipped with a fold-out bed.
Mercedes Self-driving Truck
In recent years there has been a lot of talk about autonomous vehicles, and, in addition to companies such as Google, several leading car manufacturers are currently developing such technologies which could be making an appearance on our roads in the not so distant future.
Manufacturers such as Mercedes are also leading the way in the development of autonomous technologies for trucks too. Last year, Mercedes unveiled their prototype of a new self-driving truck, known as the Future Truck 2025, which is being hailed by some as having the ability to revolutionise the trucking industry.
From the outside, this new truck doesn’t look anything too out of the ordinary. However, what’s special about this new vehicle is its revolutionary self-driving abilities.
The Future Truck 2025 is equipped with a “highway pilot” automated system, similar to an aircraft’s auto-pilot function, which enables the truck to maintain its lane position and following distances. This is achieved with the assistance of a series of specially-designed cameras and radars which provide full coverage of the truck’s surroundings.
More specifically, the truck employs a radar sensor, located on the lower area of its front end, which scans the road ahead and has a range of up to 250 meters. The truck’s cameras are able to identify single and dual carriageways, in addition to pedestrians and both moving and stationary objects.
Unlike Google’s autonomous vehicles, the Future Truck is not capable of autonomously navigating on city streets. However, it’s certainly able to hold its own out on the open road.
Whilst a driver is still required to get the truck onto the motorway and merge with traffic, the vehicle has been designed so that once a speed of 50mph has been reached, the driver is prompted to engage the highway pilot system. At this point the truck would begin driving autonomously, leaving the driver free to sit back and relax.
The developers of the vehicle have claimed that these autonomous trucks could help to improve efficiency and safety, thereby making the transport of goods more sustainable.
Whilst the truck currently only exists as a prototype and there’s much to be done before the technology is ready to go into production, Mercedes estimates that if everything runs smoothly, then the Future Truck could be launched on the commercial market as early as 2025 (hence its rather unimaginative name).
These innovative truck designs provide a glimpse of what the future of trucking could look like. Here at FuelTek we like to keep up-to-date with all the latest innovations from the commercial transport industry, such as these fantastic futuristic trucks. We’re expert providers of fuel management systems and fuel storage tanks and can offer a range of products and services to meet your requirements.