Daimler launches world's first road-registered autonomous truck

By: Matt Wood

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Daimler autonomous truck Daimler's self-driving Freightliner Cascadia steers, maintains speed and brakes autonomously using road markings as a guide. Daimler autonomous truck
Daimler autonomous truck behind the wheel Research by Daimler found that truck drivers' drowsiness and fatigue is reduced by 20 per cent when using autonomous systems. Daimler autonomous truck behind the wheel

The world’s first fully road registered autonomous vehicle has just been unveiled in the United States.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has shown off its autonomous Freightliner Cascadia before assembled media and dignitaries in Las Vegas Nevada.

This truck is the first in the world to be registered for on road use and will be sharing the roads of Nevada with the general public.

The self-driving Cascadia is a level three autonomous vehicle which means the driver is still required to be in the driver’s seat ‘minding’ the vehicle.

The truck, however steers, maintains speed and brakes autonomously using road markings as a guide.

The system has been compared with the autopilot systems found in commercial aircraft.

The Freightliner Inspiration truck was named by Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval and Daimler AG board member, Dr Wolfgang Bernhardt.

Bernhardt says it will free drivers to perform other duties such as paperwork while on the move.

 "Today Freightliner and Nevada are pioneering something real big, a solution to a global challenge," Bernardt says.

He says the challenges of managing a global freight task are expected to triple by 2050.

"90 per cent of truck accidents are caused by driver error," Bernhardt says.

"But we’ve measured the brain activity of drivers when they are behind the wheel and found that their drowsiness and fatigue is reduced by 20 per cent when using autonomous systems."

Nevada is home to the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Research Centre, and has a regulatory framework that is friendly to this kind of vehicle.

Governor Sandoval says that he has "One hundred per cent confidence in the technology".

"Today is history in transportation and innovation," Sandoval says.

"And Nevada welcomes you (DTNA) and your technology solutions.

 "We were the first state in the nation to adopt regulations authorising the use of autonomous vehicles within state lines," he adds.

"This technology will transform the future of commerce as we know it."

The truck will have full registration for the state of Nevada and will wear autonomous license plates.

At the handover of the special A plates DTNA President and CEO Martin Daum, conceded issues such as liability in the case of an accident do need to be addressed before the vehicle is produced for the mass market.

In terms of a regulatory framework Daum says this ultimately needs to be regulated federally, rather than at a state level.

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