Mercedes has introduced the world’s first autonomous freight truck. This truck of the future is appropriately named Future Truck 2025. The number designation is a sign of when Mercedes hopes to have the Future Truck ready for active duty. Hans Luft, driver/passenger for the demonstration, said it was “strange at first… but you quickly learn to trust it, and then it’s great.”
Hans powered the vehicle up to speed and then the Future Truck took over and fell in line with 20 other vehicles. The demonstration was done on an eight mile stretch of the autobahn as the Future Truck responded to realistic conditions. The automation in the truck was able to maintain speed, safe distance from other vehicles, and even merge into another lane to allow an emergency vehicle to pass at speeds up to 52 mph. The Future Truck relies on many systems already available in today’s transportation technology such as on board radar sensors, specialized cameras, and vehicle to vehicle communication.
Daimler has not disclosed a price for the Future Truck 2025 and only one prototype has been produced. But Mercedes is hoping the Future Truck will help reshape the transport sector as traffic density increases. Autonomous vehicles like the future truck will make the transportation sector of tomorrow more efficient, safer, and highly networked.
Futuristic vehicles like the future truck will also make traffic flow smoother with less human error, more predictability, and greater safety for everyone on the road. Logistic coordinators will be able to provide better estimation and planning, increasing profit for companies that utilize autonomous vehicles like the Future Truck in their workforces.
With the year 2025 in their sights, Daimler is already considering the timeline and necessary changes to current regulations that will be required to make that goal a reality.
In addition to operating permission it will be necessary to clarify other legal aspects such as liability for traffic infringements and accidents, which can never be completely eliminated. The same applies to insurance and product liability aspects. How new working models and professional profiles are to be reconciled with the current, rigid regulations on driving and resting times also remains to be defined.
Mercedes is prepared to tackle these obstacles and provide the world with an automated transit vehicle. Is the Future Truck 2025 really the truck of the future? Let us know what you think about the Future Truck and how you think automated vehicles will shape the future of transportation in the comments section or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook!