The big-selling Freightliner Cascadia has received a tech upgrade, enabling the truck to perform Level Two autonomous driving.
A check of our guide on the six level of vehicle automotive autonomy shows Level Two will allow the Cascadia to assist the driver with automatic steering, braking and accelerator functionality.
Announcing the new capabilities of the Australia-bound model at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Daimler Trucks said the new radar and camera system can independently brake, accelerate and steer the truck, at any speed.
And it is that ability to work at different speed ranges that makes this a first for a U.S. series production truck.
Daimler Trucks North America boss, Martin Daum, says the company plans to take the technology even further.
“As a leader of our industry, we’ve been pioneering automated trucking.
“In 2015, our Freightliner Inspiration Truck got the first road license ever for an automated commercial vehicle.
“Now we take automated trucking to the next level: we’re ready to launch the first partially automated new Freightliner Cascadia in 2019 – and next, we tackle highly automated trucks.
“Highly automated trucks will improve safety, boost the performance of logistics and offer a great value proposition to our customers – and thus contribute considerably to a sustainable future of transportation.”
Level Four automation will see the truck being able to complete all driving requirements, but pedals and steering wheel will still be fitted to allow for human intervention.
Meantime, Daimler Trucks has decided to shelve research into platooning technologies.
They say that after a number of years of testing the tech (which sees multiple trucks travel together in a virtual single unit) that fuel savings, even in perfect platooning conditions, are less than expected.
And they say those savings are then further diminished when the platoon gets disconnected and the trucks must accelerate to reconnect.
There’s no word yet on whether the local version of the Freightliner Cascadia will boast the Level Two autonomy tech when it launches in Australia this year, we will keep you updated though.
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