Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fasten your seat belts : Mercedes self-driving robot truck takes to public roads

The self driving truck
Credit : You Tube/Daimler
The self driving truck Credit : You Tube/Daimler

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have taken the first self-drive truck for a jaunt on a motorway in southern Germany, after a special license was issued, allowing the robot truck to hit the public-access road.

The Mercedes-Benz 'Actros', a 430-horsepower truck, equipped with the ‘Highway Pilot’ system, drove for 14 km on the A8 motorway, without the help from the driver.

The innovative truck is kitted out with smart systems including radars, cameras and active speed regulators and made a successful journey between Stuttgart airport and the German city of Denkendorf.

Daimler unveiled the futuristic technology last May at the Hoover Dam in Nevada, but last Friday, a special permit was issued by the Baden-Wurttemberg state which allowed the truck to drive on motorways on an automated basis.

“The multi-sensor fusion enables the truck with the Highway Pilot system to continually observe the entire area in front of the vehicle and to take control itself in certain situations,” Daimler said.

While the engineers praised the autopilot system’s ability to operate on a fully autonomous basis, the engineers emphasised the importance of having a driver present in the cabin at all times.

Daimler says that the Highway Pilot is able to steer the truck by itself, while the driver “retains full responsibility, needs to monitor the traffic at all times and must be able to intervene at any time.”

It looks like a 'road trip' is about to take on a whole new meaning.

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