The very thought of a self-driving truck on a human populated road makes me nauseous. And I can’t be the only one. This week Daimler rolled out it’s brand new Mercedes-Benz ‘Future Truck 2025’. The truck, which can drive autonomously at a speed of 80 kilometers an hour, is being touted as the ‘long-distance truck of tomorrow’. The promo video shows a man taking his hands off the wheel and taking out a tablet device, while the truck continues to drive on ahead.
Something doesn’t tally with the scene. How, in fact, is this supposed to be any safer than human driven vehicles?
According to Daimler, the truck can drive “based on intelligent networking of all the safety systems already available, plus cameras, radar sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication...Thanks to autonomous driving, the transport sector could look like this in only ten years: Traffic flows are smoother, more predictable and safer. Human error behind the wheel is avoided. Freight forwarders operate more profitably and flexibly. The professional profile of the truck driver has undergone a change – from a trucker to a transport manager with far more responsibilities.”
Daimler hopes to have this kind of technology operating regularly on the road by 2025. However laws will have to be enacted first to enable the use of autonomous vehicles on motorways.