If you’re going down the highway and notice a sleek, new semi-truck with a license place of “AU 010,” you are driving next to the world’s first self-driving semi-truck! This high tech 18-wheeler is titled the Freightliner Inspiration, and how inspiring it is. Daimler owns this fascinating truck as well as Mercedes-Benz and states that the truck will allow for long haul road transportation to be safer, cheaper, and better for the planet.
We have seen in other articles that there are trucks being developed that will be fully automated and can travel in any area. These types of trucks will be able to see if there is a pedestrian in the way and be able to stop the truck. The Freightliner Inspiration is just a tad different, in that it offers a limited version of autonomy. What this means is that it will only take control on the highways, it will stay a safe distance away from other vehicles, and it will stay in the same lane. The truck won’t pass slower vehicles when it is in its auto mode and if the truck encounters a situation it can’t handle, the driver will be alerted to take over. If the driver does not respond to the alerts, the truck will slow down and begin to stop. As for right now, we will not see these trucks without drivers.
The Freightliner Inspiration can still be considered a test vehicle, and will be as millions of miles are driven for testing. Daimler is confident that this truck is safe for public roads and will continue to work until everyone feels that they are safe as well. The company never promises more than they can deliver, or more than regulators are ready to allow, so at this time, if the driver has to stay in the truck to use the automation, then they will continue to improve the system and include a person in the truck.