Photograph of a large long-distance truck, taken from the front of the vehicle.
Routific News

Daimler’s Self-Driving Truck Can Help Unclog Highways

November 29, 2016

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Daimler AG is a German automotive company and one of the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers. The 133-year-old company is perhaps best known for producing Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars, but they’re also running some rad experiments in the realm of self-driving trucks.

Freightliner Inspiration Truck | Daimler Truck AG

 The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion  

It began last year when Daimler publicly launched their “Inspiration Truck,” an 18-wheeler semi-autonomous truck in Nevada — the first of its kind cleared for road tests. Nevada is one of four states that permits self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Since then, they’ve been working on platooning technology, which allows trucks to connect wirelessly to each other. Daimler tested out this technology with three trucks traveling along Germany’s autobahn, which at more than 8,000 miles, ranks as one of the most dense and longest highways in the world.

This was the first time platooning technology was tested with driverless vehicles. The trucks drove 80 kilometres an hour at about 15 metres apart.

Automated driving at Daimler Trucks | Daimler Truck AG

Daimler wanted to prove how self-driving technology could improve the efficiency of long-haul trucks traveling on freeways.

The company predicts autonomous trucks could improve fuel efficiency by 5%, and also reduce the space used on the highway by almost half. Usually big rigs require a spacing of 150 feet, but this test proved it was possible to decrease it to 50 feet.

“The smart, self-optimizing truck has the highest priority for us,” said Sven Ennerst, head of Daimler’s Truck Product Engineering & Global Procurement division. “Using connected communication between the truck and other vehicles and the surroundings, we can improve traffic flow and lower fuel consumption and emissions.”
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Pam Sykes has a PhD in History and a background in Journalism. She is the Lead Content Strategist at Routific with a focus on delivery management, delivery experience, route planning, and the last-mile industry in general. She has a passion to help delivery businesses scale with her craft of storytelling.