Unlike the so-called “driverless” Daimler trucks that debuted earlier this year that still require a human in the cab, the Royal Truck & Equipment vehicles you’ll see on Florida roads by the end of the year will be completely unmanned by humans — truly driverless trucks.
The medium-duty Freightliners will be used on construction sites and will follow either a pre-programmed lead car or be operated using GPS navigation. The trucks will be fitted with attenuators designed to help protect motorists in the event of a crash while protecting construction crews being hit. Attenuators have been shown to cut construction zone injuries and fatalities from rear-end crashes nearly in half.
Royal Truck & Equipment says that safety is the main reason that they have decided to remove humans from the cab of the trucks entirely: “Any time a driver can be removed from these vehicles in a very dangerous situation and, if the vehicle’s struck there’s nobody inside of it to receive the damage or the injuries, that’s measuring success.”
The trucks will go into operation later this year in Florida as part of a pilot program sponsored by the state’s DOT.