Wireless Technologies

InfoShot: Self-driving everything

Self-driving cars are the ones that grab all the headlines. But there’s more to autonomous than your standard four-seater from the likes of Waymo and Tesla.

Every mode of transportation – from buses to trains and submarines to tractors – are becoming autonomous. About the only vehicles where autonomous features aren’t being introduced are ambulances, fire trucks, and hovercrafts. Even jet skis can now be controlled remotely by the person water-skiiing.


Here’s a list of vehicles that now have autonomous versions being developed, tested, or sold:

Cars: Technology and car companies across the world – from and Tesla and Waymo to Ford and Honda –   are working on driverless cars.

Buses: Self-driving shuttles and buses have been trialled in Japan, Germany, the US, UK, China, and more.

Police cars: The OTSAW O-R3 is a combination of autonomous police vehicle and drone.

Trains: Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul system is looking to automate long-distance haulage by rail.

Motorcycles: BMW, Honda, and Yamaha have all developed autonomous motorcycles which can balance and drive themselves. 

Planes: Autopilot has existed on planes for many years, but companies such as Boeing are looking towards pilot-less jetliners in the near future.

Helicopters: Lockheed Martin last year demonstrated an autonomous chopper being used to fight fires and conduct rescue operations.

Airships: Amazon has filed a patent for self-driving airships which house delivery drones.

Boats: Rolls-Royce and a number of other companies are looking to develop autonomous container ships, tug boats, and more.

Submarines: Boeing has a line of Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) that can stay at sea for months at a time. A number of other companies offer similar undersea drones.

Lorries: Companies such as uber-owned Otto, Tesla, GM, Daimler, and a range of startups are all looking to bring self-driving haulage trucks to public roads.

Mining trucks: Komatsu and Volvo are both working on autonomous vehicles for the mining industry.

Snowploughs: Daimler is testing autonomous snowploughs at German airfields.

Bulldozers: US startup Built Robotics is offering an autonomous bulldozer to help excavate construction sites.

Delivery trucks: The likes of DHL and the US Postal Service are testing self-driving vehicles to help deliver post and parcels more efficiently.

Refuse trucks: Volvo and Renova have been testing autonomous waste collection vehicles in Sweden.

Tractors: CNH Industrial debuted its autonomous tractor concept vehicle in 2016.

Tanks: The US Army has tested autonomous systems on some of its vehicles, and BAE has debuted a robotank prototype.

Space rockets & shuttles: NASA has been testing autonomous space shuttles, while the likes of Space-X and Blue Origin have developed self-landing space rockets.



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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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