Through snow and ice. How do autonomous Kamaz trucks cope in extreme conditions in Siberia?
The temperature on the Gydan Peninsula ranges from 4 degrees Celsius in July to -30 degrees Celsius in January. This is northern Siberia, a sparsely populated area known for its well-preserved mammoth remains. This is where the fuel company Gazprom and truck manufacturer Kamaz successfully tested unmanned trucks.
During the test, Kamaz trucks drove 2,500 kilometres autonomously and collision-free. Test results were very satisfactory. Vehicles have demonstrated the ability to move with great accuracy and to exchange information through communication systems. Moreover, they were able to detect an obstacle on the road in a fraction of a second and predict the traffic trajectory taking into account the current traffic situation.
Experts calculated that in extreme conditions (very low temperatures, snowstorms, poor visibility, icing) driving without human intervention was 50% safer and 10-15% cheaper. It is also worth noting the faster delivery, because an autonomous vehicle does not need any breaks that are needed by human drivers.
On the basis of these results, the companies decided to accelerate the introduction of unmanned vehicles into their logistics operations. Gazprom has announced that it will continue to work on developing a regulatory framework for the use of unmanned vehicles in oil fields.
GAZelle Next Electro van
After tests in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, where the Gydan Peninsula is located, Gazprom Neft conducted a similar test in Yurga, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District, in western Siberia. There, in cooperation with GAZ, the second-largest creator of Russian unmanned transport technology after Kamaz (the company produces passenger cars, trucks and off-road vehicles), GAZelle Next Electro, a 4.2-ton total weight van, was tested. The model was developed in 2016 and although the vehicle has not yet entered mass production, its price is known to be €80,000. In Yurga, the efficiency of the vehicle’s technology was tested under conditions that differ from ‘normal’. The results of the tests of this electric vehicle are also promising – the manufacturer has announced that in the future GAZelle Next Electro will increase safety in the supply chain, minimise transport costs and reduce environmental impact.
Photo: Gazprom, Gaz