The brains of these trucks is a system similar to autopilot on an airplane, which employ radar sensors and cameras to compose a 360 degree picture of the truck’s surroundings. Some include a three-dimensional digital map. Used in conjunction with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) technology, the systems help maximize fuel efficiency by reacting to changes in terrain and topography.
While driverless cars may be a hot topic these days, some experts think that driverless trucks might be roaming the highways first. The technology is in development now, and one University of Tennessee transportation expert believes autonomous trucks might be on the highway within a decade.
At some point, technology may advance to the point that trucks will not even need a human being aboard, Holcomb said. However, Huneryager said that trucking involves more than just steering a rig down the highway.
The opportunity seems to be for long haul drives. There is a definite shortage in this area. I would expect the unions to be involved here also. One important question will be debated for sure. Does a driver have to be in a driverless car — just in case? The U.N. Convention on Road Traffic has agreed to allow a car to drive itself so long as the driver is present and able to take the wheel and the system “can be overridden or switched off by the driver” . Read more…
Image from knoxnews.com
Here is a great video of the Mercedes concept truck to be released in 2025. This truck is not someones fantasy. It has already operated in driverless mode on the A14 motorway in Magdeburg, Germany. It reached speeds up to 50 mph and Mercedes officials claim it could be on the road within 10 years.