Level 3 autonomous vehicles enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain conditions

The Gallery: Self-driving truck

Look, no hands! The first self-driving truck to be licensed for highway use has hit the roads in the USA. Autonomous vehicles are meant to improve safety and efficiency and cut congestion. There's still a driver in the cab, just in case.

Autonomous cars are often in the news these days but now a truck has been launched that can drive itself. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck, from Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States, with two vehicles licensed in Nevada. Daimler says its aim is “unlocking autonomous vehicle advancements that reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment”.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is based on a standard vehicle but equipped with Highway Pilot sensors and computer hardware, fully certified to meet all US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The Highway Pilot links together a sophisticated set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems. This combination creates an autonomous vehicle operating system that can perform safely under a range of highway driving conditions. A fully qualified truck driver with a valid commercial driver’s licence is still required to be in the cab and at the controls at all times.

Daimler now wants to test the Highway Pilot echnology on public roads in Germany, using a European-standard Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

Freightliner Inspiration Truck infographic

Self-driving truck infographic  

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