• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Daimler trials self-driving truck in Germany
The self-driving truck in action on Friday. Photo: DPA

Daimler trials self-driving truck in Germany

AFP · 3 Oct 2015, 15:36

Published: 03 Oct 2015 15:36 GMT+02:00

The truck has smart systems including radars, cameras and active speed regulators and works without a human driver -- although one has to be in the driver's seat and take the wheel if necessary.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros, fitted with the intelligent "Highway Pilot" system, travelled 14 kilometres (about nine miles) on the A8 motorway, with a driver in the cabin but his hands off the wheel.

"Today's premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks -– and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future," said Wolfgang Bernhard, board member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.

"Safe testing in real traffic is absolutely decisive for the development of this technology to market maturity. We are now able to proceed with this," said Bernhard, who sat in the driver's seat for the test.

Daimler unveiled the technology in May in the US state of Nevada, on the iconic Hoover Dam, an hour's drive from Las Vegas.

The truck in Friday's trial, the world's first series-production autonomous truck, drove between Stuttgart and the town of Denkendorf in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Daimler is headquartered.

A totally self-driving truck, without the need for human monitoring, is still a long way off.

Daimler compared the Highway Pilot to a plane's autopilot. It is able to steer the truck by itself, while the driver "retains full responsibility, needs to monitor the traffic at all times and must be able to intervene at any time".

The system includes front-mounted radar and a stereo camera, as well as Daimler's Adaptive Cruise Control system.

Should the weather or the road markings deteriorate badly, the system prompts the driver to take over the controls with audible and visual signals and, if the driver fails to respond, brings the truck to a stop automatically.

The Highway Pilot has already driven around 20,000 kilometres on test routes in Germany and the United States, said Daimler.

State premier Winfried Kretschmann of the Greens party, who was also along for the ride, said "partially autonomous and autonomous driving indicates that a new age of mobility is dawning".

"Autonomously driving and networked vehicles improve the flow of traffic and can play a decisive role in helping to avoid traffic jams and relieving the strain on drivers," he said in a statement. "They also boost traffic safety."

Daimler says autonomous trucks improve efficiency and cut carbon emissions. Thanks to optimised gear shifting, acceleration and braking, they generate at least five percent fewer CO2 emissions, said the company.

Daimler, whose vehicles include the high-end Mercedes-Benz range and compact Smart cars, is also the world's biggest maker of trucks with brands including Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Fuso and BharatBenz.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Brexit vote
Germany: Brexit vote is a 'sad day for Europe'
A British flag along with other flags of European Union member countries flies in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg, France. Photo: EPA.

Top German leaders declared that it was a "sad day for Europe" after British voters opted to leave the European Union.

Viernheim hostage-taker wasn't carrying lethal weapon
A police officer stands guard in front of the cinema in Viernheim. Photo: DPA

The 19-year-old German man who took over a dozen people hostage in a cinema in western Germany on Thursday was carrying replica weapons, prosecutors have confirmed.

Brexit vote
German stock market sees biggest drop since 2008 crash
Photo: DPA

News that British voters had opted to leave the EU led to panic in Germany's largest stock index.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
7,939
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd