The future of freight is coming: Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz truck division has previewed what it believes is the future of world haulage transport this week.
The company says its new 'Future Truck 2025' is the world’s first fully autonomous example, capable of carrying loads along the highway unaided while reducing transport costs at the same time.
During a media demonstration in Germany, the manned but self-driven Benz Actros travelled along a controlled section of the A14 Autobahn unaided at a steady 80 to 85km/h.
The driver’s seat could then be swivelled away from the controls, while the driver casually used a tablet and completed paperwork.
At times the truck had several cars traveling in close company, while the driver made periodic adjustments to the truck's ‘Highway Pilot’ system using steering wheel-mounted controls.
“We are presenting the long-distance truck of tomorrow, and giving an outlook on the transport system of the future,” Daimler said in a statement.
“It is based on intelligent networking of all the safety systems already available, plus cameras, radar sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication.”
Daimler said it believes the transport sector is currently facing constraints from a lack of drivers, increasing transport density and a decline in infrastructure spending.
The truck’s name is a giveaway for Daimler’s preferred timeframe, with the heavy vehicle manufacturer hoping to see its autonomous trucks on the road in around a decade from now.
Daimler pointed to a lack of legal framework around the world for the decade-long build up to self-driving trucks, rather than doubts over the technology.