Daimler plans German trials for self-driving trucks

Daimler hopes to gain approval to test its self-driving trucks around Stuttgart

Daimler plans German trials for self-driving trucks
Daimler's Freightliner Cascadia.


Automotive manufacturer Daimler is planning to test its autonomous trucks on German roads within months, and foresees self-driving heavy vehicles will begin production in two to three years.

In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Daimler AG board member Wolfgang Bernhard predicts approval for road trials in Daimler’s home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg will be given within weeks. He says the company has already planned nationwide tests.

"We are positive that we will get approval for tests on German motorways within the next weeks," Bernhard is quoted as saying.

"Then we will start immediately."

Daimler became the first manufacturer to gain registration approval for its self-driving Freightliner Inspiration truck in May.

"Today, Freightliner and Nevada are pioneering something real big, a solution to a global challenge," Bernhard said at the launch.

"Ninety per cent of truck accidents are caused by driver error."

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

Launched over the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada, the Freightliner Cascadia is a level three autonomous vehicle requiring a driver to be present in the truck.

Daimler’s truck utilises a high-tech network of cameras, sensors and radar systems to analyse the road, upcoming markings and vehicles ahead to maintain distances and correctly adjust speed.

The autonomous vehicle market has been a competitive topic in North America in recent years, with Google trialling its own self-driving cars in Austin, Texas.

Just this month, the topic gained momentum in Australia with the Australian Road Research Board announcing a series of trials in South Australia.

The November trials, evaluating the merits of autonomous cars, will take place on closed-off parts of the Southern Expressway in Adelaide, Adelaide Airport, and the Tonsley Innovation Park.


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