A handful of truck OEMs have already built and road tested autonomous trucks but putting them into operation is still many years away, says one leading truck maker.
As reported by Heavy Duty Trucking, Daimler Truck North America is offering no timeline to when its Inspiration demonstration truck can become a production tractor. It points out regulatory headwinds await and a compelling business case on safety and fuel-economy gains must be made to fleet operators.
The OEM says it will continue to incrementally increase the available automation of routine tasks for truck drivers to help make driving trucks both safer and more efficient. Technology that will enable engineered autonomous driving will be built into a highway tractor over time.
DTNA General Manager of Marketing & Strategy, stressed that the Inspiration is not a prototype but “a technology showcase” for Daimler’s autonomous truck technologies and that it remains an ongoing engineering project.
Hames stressed autonomous technology is “not about removing drivers” from trucks, but “extending their capabilities” to operate more safely and comfortably on long trips.
“This technology is not about getting rid of drivers,” she added, “but taking away the tedium of driving on the highway for hours at a time so the job is less tiring.”