Daimler and Freightliner stake claim to first autonomous driving truck in the U.S.

Freightliner Inspiration Truck

Daimler Trucks has notched a first with the unveiling of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck on two fronts: Not only is the truck equipped with radar technology that enables autonomous driving, but the truck is street-legal in Nevada.

While the Freightliner Inspiration Truck doesn’t quite drive itself at all times – lane changes and highway exit maneuvers still have to be done by the driver –its proprietary Highway Pilot is a lot more than just cruise control on steroids.

If nothing else, the innovative truck serves as a showcase of the possibilities that autonomous driving can bring to long-range trucking. Providing support to drivers who often experience extreme fatigue behind the wheel over the course of long-distance trips is one of its highlights.

Daimler says that the Highway Pilot system features a radar unit in the front bumper that monitors the road out to about 820 feet at aperture angle of 18 degree, while another sensor scans the road out to 230 feet at a 130-degree angle. The two units sync as Adaptive Cruise Control and Active Brake Assist safety systems. The systems aren’t exactly new: Daimler has previously deployed them in both Mercedes-Benz Actros and in Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.

In addition to the radar sensors, a stereo camera is mounted above the dashboard inside the windshield and, with a range of 328 feet and aperture of 45 degrees horizontally and 27 degrees vertically, “recognizes pavement markings and communicates with the steering gear of the Highway Pilot system to keep the truck in its lane autonomously,” according to Daimler.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck was tested over a Marathon Run that spanned 10,000 miles on a test circuit in Papenburg, Germany. Nevada has licensed two versions of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck “for regular operations on public roads.”

Photo Credit: Daimler

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