Late last week, Daimler AG officially showcased their latest innovation: the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. This innovation is the first autonomous semi-truck ever introduced to the market, and many believe that it could change the entire industry.
“The Future Truck 2025 leads to more efficiency, and better safety and connectivity,” says Wolfgang Bernhard, the leader of Daimler Trucks. “This in turn results in a more sustainable transport system to the benefit of the economy, society and consumers.”
According to Daimler, the “Future Truck” would work much like an airplane in that drivers would start the vehicle, guide it into interstate traffic, and then let the truck do the rest through a feature known as Highway Pilot. Once in traffic, the Highway Pilot application keeps the truck traveling at a steady 52 miles per hour.
The truck is also fully equipped to navigate through single and double lane roads, pedestrians, and foreign moving objects. This capability is made possible through a series of sensors and cameras that range upwards of 250 yards in each direction.
In a filmed test run (see below) done by Daimler, the Future Truck showcased all of these capabilities along an 8 lane stretch of the A14 autobahn in East Germany. During the test, the truck drove side by side with 20 other vehicles, responding to increasing and decreasing speeds. The truck also smoothly slid to the far right lane when an emergency vehicle needed to pass.
Hans Luft, the driver during last week’s test run, said, “It’s strange at first. But you quickly learn to trust it and then it’s great.”
So far, Daimler has only made one model and is unsure of how much the truck will cost when it hits the market in 2025. They are, however, very confident that the vehicle will be a success, as long as they stay focused on setting the legal aspects in line to ensure that the release is seamless.
Bernhard says, “We aim to be the number one manufacturer in this market of the future, which we believe will offer solid revenue and earning potential. If the legislative framework for autonomous driving can be created quickly, the launch of the Highway Pilot is conceivable by the middle of next decade.”
“That’s why Daimler Trucks is committed to maintain a dialogue with government officials and authorities, and with all other parties affected by this development. We believe the chances of success are good, because autonomous driving combines the ability to achieve business and technology objectives with the creation of benefits for society and the environment.”