If you thought self-driving cars on the highway were scary, then self-driving trucks might absolutely horrify you. But this is exactly where Daimler and Mercedes-Benz are heading with their vision of the truck of the future. The Future Truck 2025 is equipped with the latest autonomous vehicle technology that will let these transport vehicles travel on their own, save operators some money, and relieve drivers of their stress. Ironically it might also relieve them of their jobs.
It is perhaps more conceivable that we’d have self-driving cars in the future. After all, it meshes with what science-fiction has been carving into our heads. But self-driving trucks are probably the farthest from people’s imaginations. Ironically, that is probably where the biggest benefits of autonomous driving can be found.
Long-distance transports are not cheap and operators’ expenses are on the rise. Long-distance driving is also boring to the point of being stressful for the drivers. The numbers of such drivers are also dwindling. That and many vehicular accidents are, of course, attributed to human error. Daimler Trucks and Mercedes-Benz aim to banish those problems by equipping trucks with the same technology that its consumer cars are being outfitted with. These means cameras, radar sensors, inter-vehicle communications, and all that.
The result, according to Daimler, is a truck that can drive efficiently and safely by itself at 80 kph. Ideally, this will lead to smoother traffic, reduced expenses for operators, more efficient freight forwarding. Of course, it could also lead to lesser need for human drivers. Truckers, however, need not immediately worry yet. Actual commercial trucks with this much intelligence aren’t expected to hit the highway until 2025, hence the name of the truck. They will still need human companions and assistance. At least until such time as these trucks can load and unload themselves. Truckers won’t be out of a job soon, but their job description might change just a bit.
That said, a “smart” truck will magnify issues with smart cars in proportion to its size. These giant wheeled machines cast a bigger shadow on the highway and will undoubtedly cast bigger concerns about road safety. If self-driving cars are already being met with apprehension and sometimes legal opposition, a larger cannon like the Future Truck 2025 will most likely face even bigger bumps on the road.