The Daimler Truck company announced that it has recently earned a road license for its autonomous heavy duty 18 wheeler truck. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck took its first journey on Tuesday, carrying Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Daimler AG board member Wolfgang Bernhard along U.S. Highway 15 in Las Vegas. The Inspiration truck is one of two trucks equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot System for autonomous driving and is licensed for regular operation on public roads.
Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, said in a statement: "With licensing for road use in the USA we have reached an important milestone in autonomous truck driving.” The purpose of designing this new technology was to decrease operator drowsiness by 25 percent and allow the driver to focus on other tasks. "Our achievement here underlines yet again our role as a technological pioneer and demonstrates our consistent dedication to develop the technology for autonomous long-distance driving to series production standard," AG board member Wolfgang Bernhard said. "I am proud of this extraordinary achievement by the Daimler Trucks team."
This new technology comes at a perfect time, as 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the country is transported by trucks in 2012 alone. On a global scale, that number is expected to triple by the year 2050. Autonomous trucks, Daimler said, could help ease into that growth without sacrificing economic and environmental needs. According to Governor Sandoval, "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.”
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Daimler Trucks North America LLC is an automotive industry manufacturer of commercial vehicles and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Daimler AG. On September 13, 2013, Daimler Trucks North America announced that due to almost $20 million in incentives, the company would add to its Portland headquarters, with 400 new jobs.
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