You’ll already be familiar with some of the technologies that make up the Highway Pilot, such as commercially available systems that monitor following distances, apply the brakes when required and promote lane-keeping. Then there are other systems that round out the Highway Pilot, including Predictive Powertrain Control, which uses GPS to read the upcoming road profile and adjusts drivetrain performance accordingly. All these technologies combined can improve fuel efficiency, reduce accidents caused by driver error and make the profession more appealing, Daimler officials contended.
They said the driver of the future will be more of a ‘transport manager’ than a driver, and will control the truck much like an airline pilot today flies a commercial plane or a railway conductor controls a freight train.
The demonstration was conducted on a closed-off, newly-built section of Autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany. To demonstrate the autonomous truck’s capabilities in real-world driving scenarios, Daimler created its own traffic and in the process flexed its global muscle, incorporating nearly every type of vehicle the global manufacturer produces, including police cars, passenger cars, commercial trucks and even a Unimog for good measure.
An automated truck detects an approaching emergency vehicle and automatically moves to the shoulder.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies