Self driving cars have been in the news for a long time. Daimler AG’s concept of self-driving truck Mercedes-Benz doesn’t sound strange and will finally become a reality in the next few years. Its design is quite peculiar and it’s equipped with LEDs for headlights and cameras instead of mirrors.
The prototype truck was originally put through its paces on a section of the A14 autobahn near Magedburg, Germany. Though, the Future Truck 2025 can’t drive on the city streets autonomously like Google fleet of cars, they are highly functional on the highways where there are no cyclists or pedestrians to watch out for, speeds are steady, and turns are minimal and that’s where sleep-deprived truck drivers most often pose a threat to drivers in small passenger vehicles. The advanced dual cameras, radar sensors, and the blind-spot technology together feed information to the truck systems for adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, stability control and lane-keeping assistance.
A driver here becomes a transport manger. He initially gets the truck onto the highway and successfully merges into traffic. Once done, a driver can get back and relax in the vehicle and doesn’t even need to check Google Maps, since the truck has in-built navigation system that helps it find the best route. The technology is similar to how an autopilot on an aircraft works, and in the self-driving truck, the stereo cameras scans the road 328ft ahead; 45 degrees horizontally and 27 degrees vertically. If it’s time for the truck to get off the highway, it flashes a visual alert to inform the driver to get back to driving. If the driver doesn’t respond for some reason, the truck sounds an alarm, and finally brings itself to a controlled emergency stop.
Daimler claims that if government restrictions related to autonomous driving are softened, the launch of the Future Truck 2025 is conceivable by the middle of the next decade.