Daimler's Freightliner has unveiled its Inspiration Truck, the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States.
Freightliner says the Inspiration "promises to unlock autonomous vehicle advancements that reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment." The first licensing took place in Nevada; the truck underwent extensive testing before the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles granted it a license to operate on public roads in the state.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is equipped with Highway Pilot sensors and computer hardware based upon a series production Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, fully certified to meet all U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The Highway Pilot links together a set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems. This combination creates a Level 3 autonomous vehicle operating system that can perform safely under a range of highway driving conditions. In total, two trucks with this equipment exist, the company says.
The truck may be a long way from widespread use on public highways, says Construction Equipment truck editor Tom Berg. Two potential hurdles include public fear of such large, autonomous vehicles, and probable government regulations. Autonomous mining trucks are already running in Australia.