A few months ago, Freightliner showed off the first road legal self driving truck on the Hoover Dam. The self-driving truck or also known as Inspiration Truck was also given an official autonomous vehicle license plate by Nevada’s governor.
The truck has the same rating as Google’s self driving car, NHTSA level 3 which means that it is fully automated but it will allow the driver to have sufficiently comfortable transition time to take full control of the truck in case if there is emergency.
Self driving truck is built in order to lower down the chances of accidents caused by human driver error such as drowsiness or fatigue. Daimler reported that 90% of the accidents are due to the human driver’s error while 1/8th of them are caused by drowsiness.
As mentioned by Wolfgang Bernhard, during the self-driving truck testing journey to Hoover Dam, the driver’s brain activity was tested with or without the autonomous driving feature enabled and the result is that with the feature turned on, the driver’s drowsiness decreases by 25%.
Inspiration truck is using Daimler’s Highway Pilot technology which combines radar, stereo computer vision as well as other sensors to keep it within the same lane on the freeway. It seems like the autonomous truck is able to recognize the white stripes along the freeway and programmed to move alongside with it. However, in the event when these stripes are faded off or there is some software bug, the driver should be able to take full control of it and not causing accident.