A huge step happened this week for the Moving & Trucking industry as Freightliner introduced the first road-legal self-driving truck!
Freightliner, which is part of the Daimler Trucks group, has taken advantage of that conglomerate’s access to self-driving tech to create its new “Inspiration” Truck. As you’d expect, the Inspiration comes with a front radar sensor, as well as stereoscopic cameras and other sensors that help the truck situate itself on the road. Freightliner borrows Active Cruise Control+ from the Euro Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, and it bundles all of this tech under the “Highway Pilot Technology” banner.
Similar to the various makers of road cars that are exploring self-driving tech, Freightliner cites safety, driver-fatigue mitigation, and fuel economy as reasons to pursue autonomous features in trucks. According to Freightliner’s parent company, “Measurements of brain currents (EEG) demonstrated that driver drowsiness decreases by about 25 percent when the truck is being operated in autonomous mode, and the driver all the while pursuing other meaningful operations.”
So far, the Inspiration has covered more than 10,000 miles on a test circuit in Germany, but with its Nevada autonomous-vehicle license (similar to those handed out to Google, Audi, and others), Freightliner can now begin testing its self-driving big rig on public roads for real. And don’t worry, it seems unlikely that the Freightliner Inspiration will go on a Trucks-style rampage. At least, we’re pretty sure it won’t.