Daimler Demos Their New Autonomous Truck Fleet
Automated driving seems to be more inevitable with time. The latest demonstration, which shows that automation is the future, was by Daimler. For the first time in the world, they demonstrated three autonomous trucks driving as a unit in Germany.
The Mercedes Benz trucks moved in perfect unison over the Autobahn A52, which is near Dusseldorf. The demonstration was given in a huge event by Daimler, which involved a lot of press presence. Daimler’s philosophy is: “Shaping Future Transportation” and this demonstration proved that they are seriously committed making autonomous fleets a reality.
The demonstration was not the first of a truck driving itself, but the link between the three trucks was new. The technology is called Highway Pilot Connect. It allows many trucks to link with a pilot truck and follow it, the same way that truckers follow a pilot trucker.
This functionality was essential for moving a large amount of cargo at the same time while being fuel efficient. Moving in formation is well known to save more than 5% fuel costs. Daimler’s autonomous fleet will allow the same fuel efficiency to be maintained automatically.
The best part of the demonstration was when a car was inserted between the trucks driving in formation. Typically, car drivers often do not drive well with trucks on the road and end up moving in between trucks. The Highway Pilot Connect system adapted to the car by making space for it to move and the trucks automatically came back into formation.
Daimler says that their autonomous system is much better than human drivers, because it can react much faster. The difference is stark – according to the head of engineering at Daimler, human drivers take around 1.4 seconds to react at high speeds while the computer can react in 0.1 seconds. This will result in much safer roads and may bring road fatalities due to trucks to an all time low.
The event is still going on and we will have more information for you soon. Autonomous fleets are not close to being a reality right now, and a lot of advancement is required before we drop these off on the roads. We will have to change not just the way we drive but also the legislation for autonomous vehicles.