Mercedes-Benz Self-Driving Trucks to Hit the Road

Mercedes-Benz today premiered the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2012.  “The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.

The truck is equipped with “the extremely intelligent Highway Pilot assistance system, which enables it to drive completely autonomously at speeds of up” to 55 mph.

“The Future Truck 2025 is our response to the major challenges and opportunities associated with road freight transport in the future,” said Wolfgang Bernhard. “With the Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks is once again highlighting its pioneering role in innovative technologies and is opening up a new era in truck transport. We aim to be the number one manufacturer in this market of the future, which we believe will offer solid revenue and earnings potential.”

Daimler says the truck offers many advantages, such as safety and connectivity.

Daimler says autonomous trucks will play a major role in the future.

“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,” Bernhard explained. “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. We believe the chances of success are good, because autonomous driving combines the ability to achieve business and technology objectives with the creation of benefits for society and the environment.”

According to the “World Transport Reports,” freight in the EU will increase 20% between 2008 and 2025, and trucks will transport 75% of the EU’s freight.

The Future Truck 2025 utilizes a system called Predictive Powertrain Control.  The system utilizes information about road topography and route characteristics to “adjust the operation of the drivetrain in order to maximize fuel economy.”

In the coming years, Daimler says, the trucks will improve and will be able to communicate with one another and other vehicles on the roads.

The highly intelligent Highway Pilot is comparable to an autopilot system in an airplane, which is probably the most advanced form of autonomous mobility in existence today,” Daimler said in a press release. 

In addition, Daimler says the new autonomous driving trucks will “significantly upgrade the job profile for truck drivers” by freeing up the drivers from performing “monotonous tasks,” giving them more time to complete paperwork.  “In other words, it will be possible for truckers to advance to new positions as transport managers, making truck driving a more attractive profession. Autonomous driving could thus help to resolve the shortage of truck drivers.”

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