“The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself,” reckons Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks.
He was speaking at the launch of the Mercedes Benz Future Truck 2025, which is fitted with Highway Pilot. This system enables the truck to drive completely autonomously at speeds of up to 85 km/h. The new truck was on show along a section of the A14 autobahn near the city of Magdeburg, in Germany.
Few details on how the truck actually works were available, but this demonstrates the way the automotive industry is thinking. We already have the Google car, there is the Volvo SARTRE project running truck and car platooning and DAF are part of a trial of driverless trucks on public roads in the Netherlands.
All of this speculation talks about autonomous trucks as an answer to the driver shortage. However, the exponential increase in the freight task is likely to mean, even if we have a lot of robot trucks on the highway we will still need more truck drivers.