Daimler's Autonomous Trucks to Be Tested in Nevada

Daimler's Autonomous Trucks to Be Tested in Nevada

  • Germany’s Daimler rolled out the Inspiration on Tuesday night. A self-driving truck that has been granted a license for road use in the state of Nevada. Dipti Kapadia reports.
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Remember Maxmium Overdrive? The 1986 horror film, starring Emilio Estevez, was an apocalyptic take on machines coming to life and revolting against their human masters. And that scenario is now slightly closer to reality with the latest news from Freightliner. In reality, however, the first self-driving truck is absent any murderous tendencies.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval joined Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG Daimler Trucks & Buses, at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ceremonially screwing a license plate onto a Freightliner semi truck that marks it as the first legally operated autonomous commercial vehicle operating on highways in the United States.

"The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been closely monitoring the advancements being made in autonomous vehicle development and reviewed DTNA's safety, testing and training plans before granting permission for this demonstration of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck," said Sandoval in a statement. Nevada is one of four states that has regulations on the books allowing autonomous vehicles to operate on its roads.

"The autonomous vehicle technology we are showcasing in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will help reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment," said Dr. Bernhard.

Don't expect a desperate last stand inside a truck stop (although we could go for more AC/DC background music in real life). First, there are only two working Freighliner Inspiration trucks in existence. And while the truck will drive itself, there are limitations that make sure the driver is still needed. In emergency situations, for instance, the driver is alerted to take the wheel. And the truck won't pass a slower vehicle ahead. The autonomous function is also limited exclusively to highway use. According to Freightliner, its so-called Highway Pilot system uses cameras "and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems."
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Freightliner Inspiration Truck Receives Autonomous Vehicle Licensing from Nevada DMV

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval Installs State License Plate and Takes First Ride in an Autonomous Commercial Truck on a U.S. Public Highway

LAS VEGAS, May 5, 2015 -- At a ceremony today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval officially granted the first license for an autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States to Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). At the event, hosted by DTNA President & CEO Martin Daum, Gov. Sandoval took part in the inaugural trip of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck in autonomous mode with Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG Daimler Trucks & Buses, at the controls.

"Nevada is proud to be making transportation history today by hosting the first U.S. public highway drive for a licensed autonomous commercial truck. The application of this innovative technology to one of America's most important industries will have a lasting impact on our state and help shape the New Nevada economy," said Gov. Sandoval. "The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been closely monitoring the advancements being made in autonomous vehicle development and reviewed DTNA's safety, testing and training plans before granting permission for this demonstration of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck."

The ceremony, which included Gov. Sandoval affixing a state license plate to the truck, is part of a gathering of international journalists and trucking industry analysts that DTNA is hosting to showcase developments being made in autonomous commercial truck technology.

"The autonomous vehicle technology we are showcasing in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will help reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment," said Dr. Bernhard. "Daimler Trucks North America is committed to developing the latest technology to meet our customers' needs and delivering the best commercial trucks in the world. We are proud to get this vehicle on the road here today."

"Freightliner Trucks has infinite inspiration when it comes to improving Real Cost of Ownership for our customers," said Martin Daum, President & CEO, DTNA. "The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the latest example of how we meet the challenges faced by our customers through innovation."

Nevada was selected as the demonstration location because it is one of four states, plus the District of Columbia, with laws regulating autonomous vehicle operation. Nevada legislation passed in 2011 and 2013 regulates the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles. The legislation includes commercial trucks and sets standards specifying the number of miles an autonomous vehicle must have been tested in certain conditions before it can be granted a license to be driven in Nevada. Daimler obtained a special permit from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to operate the Freightliner Inspiration Truck on public roads near Las Vegas after supplying state officials with detailed information on the safety systems in the truck and the training program for the drivers.

"Freightliner Trucks has been setting the standard for commercial vehicle design and technology for nearly 75 years," said Dr. Bernhard. "We selected Nevada to unveil the Freightliner Inspiration Truck because it is one of only four states that require special licensing. Our goal was to not only showcase what is technologically possible, but to do it in a regulated environment with safety standards and other oversight requirements."

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Freightliner Inspiration Truck Unveiled at Hoover Dam

First Licensed Autonomous Commercial Truck to Drive on U.S. Public Highway

LAS VEGAS – MAY 5, 2015 – In a spectacular evening ceremony at Hoover Dam, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) unveiled the Freightliner Inspiration Truck to several hundred international news media, trucking industry analysts and officials.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States. Developed by engineers at DTNA, it promises to unlock autonomous vehicle advancements that reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment.

"Putting the Freightliner Inspiration Truck on the road is an historic day for Daimler Trucks and the North American trucking industry," said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG Daimler Trucks & Buses. "Our team has done a marvelous job in bringing this breakthrough technology to the road."

"Freightliner Trucks has been setting the standard for commercial vehicle design and technology for nearly 75 years," said Martin Daum, President & CEO, DTNA. "Whether it was the first all-aluminum cab introduced in 1942 or the current industry-leading Freightliner Cascadia<® Evolution, we are inspired by meeting the challenges faced by our customers. Inspiration drives technology leadership and, ultimately, customer value. Our customers are our inspiration."

The Hoover Dam was selected for the unveiling because it represents America's ability to dream big and accomplish amazing things, even in the midst of adversity. Built during the Great Depression under harsh conditions, it took fewer than five years to complete. The largest dam of its time, the Hoover Dam still stands as an engineering marvel eight decades later. The Inspiration Truck drove on top of the dam, presenting itself to the world, while the dam was used as an emotional large-scale projection surface.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck illustrates DTNA's commitment to customer value through consistent investment in the latest technology and the design and production of the best commercial trucks on today's roads. Some of the core autonomous vehicle systems in the concept vehicle are already successfully deployed in the current Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck underwent extensive testing before the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles granted it a license to operate on public roads in the state. Earlier on Tuesday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval formally granted the license to operate the vehicle in the state, affixing a license plate to the truck and taking part in the ceremonial first drive of the truck in autonomous mode.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is equipped with the Highway Pilot sensors and computer hardware is based upon a series production Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, fully certified to meet all U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The Highway Pilot links together a sophisticated set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems. This combination creates a Level 3 autonomous vehicle operating system that can perform safely under a range of highway driving conditions. In total, two trucks with this equipment exist.

Trucking industry analysts and international media will be given the chance to ride in the two trucks on public roads near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesday as the vehicle operates in autonomous mode.

"Freightliner Trucks does more than any other commercial truck manufacturer to integrate the truck, the driver and the business. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is a case in point because it is not a driverless truck-the driver is a key part of a collaborative vehicle system," said Richard Howard, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, DTNA. "With the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, drivers can optimize their time on the road while also handling other important logistical tasks, from scheduling to routing. The autonomous vehicle technology not only contributes to improved safety and efficiency, but allows for improved communication through connectivity and integration."

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck operates on highways at what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as Level 3 of autonomous vehicle capabilities, enabling the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The autonomous vehicle system is responsible for maintaining legal speed, staying in the selected lane, keeping a safe braking distance from other vehicles, and slowing or stopping the vehicle based on traffic and road conditions. The vehicle monitors changes in conditions that require transition back to driver control when necessary in highway settings. The driver is in control of the vehicle for exiting the highway, on local roads and in docking for making deliveries.

"Freightliner is the recognized leader in developing trucks that improve Real Cost of OwnershipSM for our customers. The Cascadia Evolution redefined what was expected in terms of fuel efficiency, connectivity, safety, quality and uptime. And the Freightliner SuperTruck, unveiled at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, shattered the goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks by achieving an incredible 115 percent ton-miles per gallon freight efficiency improvement," said Diane Hames, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, DTNA. "And now, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck is yet another prime example of the infinite inspiration from the research and design team at DTNA when it comes to advancing our state-of-the-art commercial truck technology. We want to always have the best truck on the road, so we will never stop investing in our customers through the product we put on the road."

By bringing together the best minds at Daimler Trucks-the worldwide technological leader in the commercial vehicle business-the unveiling of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck showcases the possibilities of autonomous vehicles and advances an important discussion about the future of logistics and distribution across North America.

For more information, visit www.freightlinerinspiration.com.

About Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

About Freightliner Trucks
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 4-8 trucks and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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