We all are witnessing a rising interest in self-driving cars that seems to be the talk of the day, however, we all have overlooked how this advancement will affect the freight distribution network. Today we will tell you about one such initiative that is aimed at improving trucks under the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 program. Say hello to Daimler Trucks who have showed off a new autonomous truck on the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany.
In words of Daimler, the truck was able to drive itself in ‘completely realistic driving situations’ while the spectators involved media, business representatives, market analysts, investors and even government officials. A study was carried out by Daimler which concluded that during 2008 and 2025, the EU will witness a 20% increase in freight traffic where trucks will be carrying about 70% of road freight. This time span will also witness increased fuel prices and road tolls, government regulations are bound to get strict and experienced drivers will be harder to hire.
According to Daimler, the key to future success is to reduce the cost by implementing autonomous systems such as Future Truck 2025 that aim at manufacturing robotic trucks which are not only attractive to potential drivers but also safer, greener and quite efficient. The spinal cord of Future Truck 2025 lies with the Daimler’s Highway Pilot system that is basically an autonomous driving system designed specifically for the production vehicles. The working is based on Mercedes Benz’s previous work dealing with driver assist and autonomous systems and allows trucks to operate autonomously on public roads with speeds up to 85 km/h.
The system employs 4 radar sensors and a 3D camera in order to assess the 200 feet area in front of the truck while employing a wireless connection to connect to other vehicles and road infrastructure to provide the truck with additional information. Combine this information to the traffic and topographic data and you have a vehicle that is capable of working autonomously when the driver relegates the control to the truck autonomous system.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses, says; ‘If the legislative framework for autonomous driving can be created quickly, the launch of the Highway Pilot is conceivable by the middle of the next decade. That’s why Daimler Trucks is committed to maintain a dialogue with government officials and authorities, and with all other parties affected by this development.