New trucking technology is sweeping through the industry and it is time for trucking businesses and owner-operators to get prepared. Daimler, the global truck manufacturing company, unveiled its new “driverless” truck last week. The autonomous vehicle is making headway, passing a variety of driving safety tests with better results than real drivers. Though a great deal of skepticism still surround the use of a “driverless” truck, the prototype seems to be challenging this reputation.
Working with Mercedes Benz, Daimler unveiled the truck at the “Shaping Future Transportation Conference” in Magdeburg, Germany on July 3. The company is already claiming that the “driverless” truck will not eliminate the need for drivers but will open up new job opportunities across the transportation industry. In addition, the company hopes the self-operating vehicle will eliminate the high levels of physical and mental stress common among truck drivers.
The technologically advanced vehicle uses a variety of innovative methods to ensure safety while on the road. Essentially, the driver will still be in control of the vehicle, much like an airline pilot while an aircraft is on autopilot. While the driver sits behind the steering wheel, the truck is constantly running a variety of tests to make sure it is performing correctly. The truck can process data ranging from weather, road conditions, vehicle speed, and traffic congestion while navigating, communicating with the shipper, the fleet and other vehicles around the truck, and actively interacting with other cars and trucks sharing the road.
Though the truck is only a prototype at the moment and is still being developed, a fully functioning road-ready model is set to be released to the public by 2025. If the Daimler “driverless” truck catches on and is not too expensive for smaller carriers to purchase, the industry might be forever changed by this new advancement in trucking technology.
The technological capability no longer seems to be the question. Now it is up to the public and the trucking industry to decide whether this “driverless” truck is safe to be used out on the open road.