"KAMAZ" estimates unmanned car production at 18 bln rubles

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By 2027, the company expects to launch an unmanned vehicle that will be safer than cars driven by a man

The total development and production costs of an unmanned KAMAZ" are estimated at 17-18 bln rubles, reports the corporate newspaper "Vesti KAMAZa". At present, "KAMAZ" is working on a project to develop an unmanned vehicle with the working title "Avtorobot."

The projects includes three dimensions: SmartPilot, AirPilot and RoboPilot.

SmartPilot involves the creation of a "smart helper" that can, for example, put the brakes on in an emergency.

Moreover, the system will have an adaptive cruise control maintaining the speed depending on vehicles ahead.

AirPilot involves the creation of remote control vehicles: the driver will be able to run the vehicle from a distance. It can be helpful for Rescue Service in emergency situations at industrial facilities, particularly in the mining industry.

RoboPilot system will work without a driver at all: the vehicle will be able to find a route by the given coordinates or move along the specified route. Defense and law enforcement agencies are likely to be interested in such a system.

The prototype model which "KAMAZ" is beginning to produce at the moment will be tested at the testing area in Moscow in July. It is planned to test some scenarios: remote control and autonomous movement.

"SmartPilot helpers can be launched in 2-4 years, AirPilot remote control in 5 years, independent RoboPilot in 10 years. For now, such vehicles are against legislation. It prohibits unmanned cars on the roads now, therefore the law needs to be amended. Anyway, the car robots will appear on the roads only after many years of tests. By 2025-2027, I think, we will have developed an unmanned vehicle that will be safer than cars run by a man," says chief innovative products engineer, KAMAZ Research & Technology, Sergey Nazarenko.

According to him, world experience shows that prototypes can cost 10 times more than production models, as everything is produced on request in a single copy. The company`s goal is to make production car robots cost twice the price of an ordinary vehicle at most, noted Nazarenko.

The first unmanned commercial vehicle is being developed together with the two Russian partners - Cognitive Technologies (software) and JSC "VIST Group" (hardware). The first is to create video recognition algorithms, the second is to create artificial intelligence, choose the equipment to be installed in the vehicle: radars, video cameras, controllers, speed sensors, high-precision satellite and inertial navigation, and to ensure their integration with the car systems.

"KAMAZ" is responsible for providing interaction of observing, communication and controlling systems. Research & Technology experts should integrate an electronic braking system, a steering wheel, an accelerator pedal, lighting control and automatic transmission into the vehicle.

The main difficulty in developing an unmanned vehicle, according to Nazarenko, is that the car will have to learn how to behavior in different driving situations. And due to the fact that the planned speed will be 80-90 km/h, the speed of decision-making should be ultrafast, less than 0.1 seconds, said the chief designer.

According to him, the vehicle will initially have a standard cab with a high-performance computer.

Later the car can be further developed to do without a cab.

"KAMAZ" is the largest Russian manufacturer of commercial vehicles. In 2014 "KAMAZ" sold 32.6 thousand cars in Russia (fall by 14.4% against 2013), the total sales including export amount to 38.9 thousand (fall by 11.2%). The share of "KAMAZ" on the Russian market of 14-40-tonne commercial vehicles equals to 45.9% against 44.7% in 2013.

Text and pictures by INTERFAX.RU