New autonomous Kamaz Chelnok – no cab, no driver and… no shapes

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Artur Lysionok

Artur Lysionok

New autonomous Kamaz Chelnok – no cab, no driver and… no shapes

The well-known Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz presented an autonomous truck, which in a way is an ordinary platform without a cab. The rather unusual model has a very specific purpose.

On December 11th, the plant from Naberezhnye Chelny presented the most unusual truck model in its history. According to many drivers, the vehicle should be considered more like an ordinary robot platform, because it does not have a cab at all, only a cargo space. 

The design of the new model is due to the fact that the truck is not intended to be driven on the road, as can be seen from its not very streamlined shape, which is so important because of the aerodynamics. Kamaz Chelnok is designed to work on the plant premises – it will transport cabins between production buildings and halls. The important thing is that the vehicle will drive with no human involvement on the designated routes.

Autonomous Kamaz Chelnok

The vehicle is 8 metres long and weighs 8 tons, a large part of which are lithium-ion batteries, providing a range of 50-60 km. The vehicle with a capacity of 10 tons and electric drive is controlled by an autopilot, sensors, radars and cameras. It can reach a speed of 90 km/h, but for safety reasons, manufacturers have used a speed limiter up to 40 km/h.

The new Kamaz has 340 hp. The total weight of the truck (18 tons) is evenly distributed over two axles with the increased manoeuvrability that is necessary when moving in tight industrial areas. If the truck increases its speed, it will not lose stability when cornering as the wheels of the rear axle lock in a straight position.

The design of the new Kamaz makes manoeuvres easy – the truck does not have to turn around to drive in the opposite direction. The design also facilitates loading and unloading.

Autonomous Kamaz trucks

Chelnok is not the first autonomous vehicle of the Russian company. Kamaz is developing new models not only for domestic transport but also on the request of the Russian Ministry of Defence and other departments and companies. 

In 2015, the company presented the 5350 model, which recognizes road conditions, signs and other road users. The truck was used for testing and has not been put on the market yet.

At the end of last year, the company started testing the 4308 model. The vehicle is equipped with four types of sensors: cameras, radars, Lidar scanners and sonars. The Odysseus, as the autonomous model Kamaz-4308 is called, is equipped with several communication systems: industrial Wi-Fi, 4G and special VHF band in case of interferences in other communication channels.

Kamaz invests not only in trucks but also in autonomous micro-buses. In 2018, the manufacturer presented the 1221 SzATŁ (Russian acronym for ‘Widely Adapted Transport Logistics’) model, designed for passenger transport. 

The base of the bus is made of aluminium alloys and the body is made of composite materials (consisting of two or more components with different properties). The vehicle is designed to carry 12 passengers and can reach a speed of up to 120 km/h (without load and with the air conditioning off). The vehicle is electric. The maximum charging time is 50 minutes and the battery life is 7 years.

Photo: VestiKamaza, Carakoom

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