First self-driving semi-automatic truck from Daimler driven on a public road in the US
The State of Nevada (US) granted a road licence for the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, making it the first road legal autonomous heavy duty truck for the purpose of transport. The inaugural trip on US Highway 15 in Las Vegas was made by Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada, and Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG board member responsible for Trucks and Buses. Two such trucks have been commissioned by the State of Nevada for regular operation.
Dr Wolfgang Bernhard said, "Our Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the world's first autonomous commercial vehicle to be licensed for road use. Our achievement here underlines yet again our role as a technological pioneer and demonstrates our consistent dedication to developing the technology for autonomous long-distance driving to series production standard."
Daimler say that they have tested this technology over many thousands of kilometres and configured it for use in US highway traffic, emphasising on their commitment to safer, more efficient and connected transportation in the future. They claim that the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will tick all those boxes.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is based on the US Freightliner Cascadia Evolution model. The new addition here is the Highway Pilot technology which comprises a front radar and a stereo camera plus tried-and-tested assistance systems such as the Adaptive Cruise Control, as seen in the Mercedes-Benz Actros.
The Freightliner Inspiration may sound like a truck from the future, but in reality it offers only a limited version of autonomy and definitely requires human assistance. It will take control only on the highway, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles and staying in its lane. It won't overtake slower vehicles on its own. If the truck encounters a situation which cannot be handled by its autonomous systems, for instance, lane lines covered by heavy snow, it will alert the driver that it's time for him to take over, via beeps and icons in the dashboard. If the driver doesn't respond within about five seconds, the truck will slow down gradually, then come to a stop.
World premiere on US highway: Daimler Trucks drives first autonomous truck on public roads
| Freightliner Inspiration Truck with Highway Pilot becomes world´s first autonomous truck to be granted a license for road use in the State of Nevada Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Daimler AG board responsible for Trucks and Buses, take first autonomous drive on a US highway near Las Vegas Initial research findings of Daimler Trucks show autonomous driving relieves the strain of truck drivers Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard: "The license for road use in the USA marks an important milestone in the story of the autonomous truck." Stuttgart / Las Vegas, Nevada Today Daimler Trucks became the world´s first manufacturer to be granted a road license for an autonomous heavy-duty truck. The first journey in the so-called Freightliner Inspiration Truck, which took place on US highway 15 in Las Vegas, was made by Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard. The truck is equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system for autonomous driving. The state of Nevada licensed two Freightliner Inspiration Trucks for regular operation on public roads. Daimler Trucks is the global leading truck manufacturer and, with the Freightliner brand, also the biggest producer in the U.S. "Our Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the world´s first autonomous commercial vehicle to be licensed for road use. Our achievement here underlines yet again our role as a technological pioneer and demonstrates our consistent dedication to develop the technology for autonomous long-distance driving to series production standard. I am proud of this extra-ordinary achievement by the Daimler Trucks team," stated Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG board member responsible for Trucks and Buses. Highway Pilot system to be developed to series production standard Transport in the future must be even safer, more efficient and more networked this is the aspiration that Daimler Trucks has expressed in the new Freightliner Inspiration Truck. In July of last year, Daimler Trucks provided the world´s first demonstration of an autonomous truck in action when the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 drove along a cordoned-off section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg. Now, the first appearance of the Inspiration Truck on a public road in the U.S. marks the logical next step on the journey to series production. In the last few months the technology has been tested over many thousands of kilometers and configured for use in U.S. highway traffic. "We are in a unique position among manufacturers that we are able to implement technologies across all business units and brands. We have transferred our Highway Pilot system to our U.S. Freightliner brand within a very short time frame and developed it for the world´s first autonomous truck to be licensed for road use," reports Dr. Bernhard. Spectacular world premiere near Las Vegas The world premiere of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck took place near Las Vegas, in front of representatives of the media, government as well as business and finance. Trucks are by far the most important means of transport in the U.S. In 2012, trucks transported around 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the United States. This way, a total of 9.4 billion tons of freight were moved by trucks. Globally, the road freight transport is expected to even triple between now and 2050. Autonomous trucks provide the opportunity to cope with this growth in a manner that harmonizes economic and environmental needs. "Nevada is proud to be making transportation history today by hosting the first U.S. public highway drive for a licensed autonomous commercial truck. The application of this innovative technology to one of America's most important industries will have a lasting impact on our state and help shape the New Nevada economy," said Gov. Sandoval. "The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been closely monitoring the advancements being made in autonomous vehicle development and reviewed DTNA's safety, testing and training plans before granting permission for this demonstration of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck." Freightliner Inspiration Truck: Revolutionary technology will be tested on public roads The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is based on the series-produced US Freightliner Cascadia Evolution model, but with the addition of the Highway Pilot technology. The latter comprises a front radar and a stereo camera plus tried-and-tested assistance systems such as the Adaptive Cruise Control+, as seen in the Mercedes-Benz Actros. For licensing on public roads in Nevada, the technology was further developed and the excellent interaction of components extensively tested. As part of the truck´s so-called Marathon Run, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck covered over 10,000 miles (over 16,000 kilometers) on a test circuit in Germany. "The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is all about more sustainable transport, for the benefit of the economy, society and consumers alike. It remains our goal to be in a position to offer the Highway Pilot in series-produced vehicles from the middle of the coming decade. With licensing for road use in the USA we have reached an important milestone in autonomous truck driving," emphasizes Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). "Daimler Trucks is actively urging dialogue with politicians, authorities and all other parties involved. Our next goal is to test the Highway Pilot technology on public roads in Germany too. Preparations are already under way", Dr. Bernhard adds. Initial research findings of Daimler Trucks clearly show autonomous driving relieves the strain of truck drivers The Highway Pilot technology from Daimler Trucks demonstrably leads to more concentrated and thus more efficient long-haul truck drivers. This is a result of studies conducted on a cordoned-off test route during the pilot stage of the technology. Measurements of the probands´ brain currents (EEG) demonstrated that driver drowsiness decreases by about 25% when the truck is being operated in autonomous mode, and the driver all the while pursuing other meaningful operations. The studies also prove a high acceptance of the Highway Pilot technology and a rapid adaption phase of the probands. Relieving strains of the driver through autonomous truck driving leads to more road safety.|