Last night, Daimler Trucks North America LLC debuted their long-awaited self-driving big rig. As part of their public spectacle, Daimler even showcased the autonomous truck by sending it off on a drive atop the Hoover Dam.
Of course, this emerging technology wasn’t the only thing being celebrated Tuesday night. Daimler’s event also coincided with new Nevada legislation that allows Daimler’s truck– nicknamed “Inspiration”– to become the first ever fully licensed self-driving semi-truck on public roads.
That’s right; starting immediately, businesses will now legally be able to use these trucks for business.
“We are really showing that we’re at the cradle of innovation,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said during Tuesday’s unveiling.
Unfortunately, though, Daimler has put a hold on customer purchases, instead opting for more time to refine the technology to ensure complete safety and performance. They say that this sort of patience is necessary because of the skepticism surrounding autonomous vehicles.
Daimler Trucks North America president and CEO Martin Daum also pointed out that while people may be willing to forgive a slew of accidents caused by tired truck drivers, they wouldn’t be nearly so forgiving for just 1 accident caused by a self-driving truck.
For that reason, Daum also said that the company has no intention of ditching drivers in the future. Yes, that means nobody’s losing their job. Instead, drivers will still be behind the wheel, watching over things as this new technology makes their life easier.
Even better than that, though, is the fact that these trucks WILL MAKE the roads safer. How much safer? Well, in 2012, approximately 330,000 large trucks were involved in accidents on American highways, killing nearly 4000 people. Insane, right?
Statistics like that have helped to motivate Daimler in their pursuit over the years.
Daimler CEO Wolfgang Bernhard says, “There’s a clear need for this generation of trucks, and we’re the pioneers who are willing to tackle it.”
What do you think about Daimler’s new self-driving truck? Can they really make the roads safer?? Let us know in the comments below.