Mercedes-Benz Unveils Self-Driving ‘Future Truck’

Image via Daimler

The next big thing in cars is, no doubt, the autonomous revolution. From Google’s self-driving car to installing technology that turns your everyday luxury car into a driverless one, tech companies and auto manufacturers are all after one goal.

Daimler Motor Company unveiled the race’s latest contender last week in Germany: The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, a self-driving semi the company hopes to put into production by 2025. Daimler demonstrated a live demo of its driverless truck on a section of Germnany’s busy Autobahn, right in front of a crowd of media, government officials, business representatives, market analysts and investors.

The truck’s design allows the driver to have the best of both worlds: an autopilot that allows him to relax and take his eyes off the road, while the truck drives autonomously at speeds up to 52 miles per hour, and a steering wheel so he can intervene at any time to make a critical judgment call. Sensors in front of the Future Truck 2025 have ranges of 77 to 273 yards, and its built-in cameras can take images in more than one direction, allowing it to detect single- and double-lane roads, pedestrians and other moving or stationary objects. The Future Truck 2025 is essentially a smart truck that uses all the information to respond to traffic, slowing and speeding as it needs to and even picking up on an approaching emergency vehicle and sliding over to the far-right lane to let it pass.

The Future Truck 2025 leads to more efficiency, and better safety and connectivity,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, the head of Daimler Trucks. “This in turn results in a more sustainable transport system to the benefit of the economy, society and consumers.”

The company wouldn’t say at how much they anticipated the price tag to be on the Future Truck 2025, but analysts with IHS Automotive estimated that adding self-driving technology to personal cars would increase the cost by $10,000 by 2020.

Even so, the company says that the smart truck would address more problems and provide more solutions to the increasing challenges that are present in the truck driving industry, including rising fuel and toll prices.

The Future Truck 2025 is our response to the major challenges and opportunities associated with road freight transport in the future,” Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, a member of Daimler’s board of management, said in a statement. “With the Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks is once again highlighting its pioneering role in innovative technologies and is opening up a new era in truck transport.”