Freightliner Inspiration – the first autonomous driving semi-truck
The Verge announced this week that the semi-truck company Freightliner has released a new model that can drive itself…most of the time. The Inspiration Truck could help saves lives, mitigate driver fatigue and stress, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions up to 5 percent. Upon its unveiling, it has been made street-legal and is registered in Nevada since autonomous vehicle testing has been allowed through the legislature there (and as of this post, subsequently in three other states — California, Florida, Michigan — and the District of Columbia).
Technically by law, this vehicle and the previously announced Google self-driving car fall under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) automation scale at level 3 meaning that the vehicle is advanced enough to enable the driver to relinquish control to the vehicle in certain conditions. The driver can interrupt and regain control but the vehicle should allow a “comfortable transition time.”
The technology for this automation is called Highway Pilot and was designed by Freightliner’s parent company, Daimler AG. It uses a combination of a stereo camera setup along the top of the windshield and a radar system that detects vehicles ahead and beside with automated cruise control.
For more information and pictures of the new rig, check out this article from The Verge.com