Daimler trials self-driving truck in Germany

German automaker Daimler said it trialled a self-driving truck under real traffic conditions for the first time on Friday, on a motorway in southern Germany.

The truck has smart systems including radars, cameras and active speed regulators and works without a human driver — although one has to be in the driver’s seat and take the wheel if necessary.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros, fitted with the intelligent “Highway Pilot” system, travelled 14 kilometres (about nine miles) on the A8 motorway, with a driver in the cabin but his hands off the wheel.

  • Shebel

    Combines harvesting corn,wheat ,soya-beans ,etc have been doing that for a while now. All you really have to do is help turn it when you hit the end of the field.

    • In mining as well, those great big dump trucks.

    • Xavier

      Does anyone here work on a golf course? Does anyone have any knowledge of the large mowing equipment used to maintain golf courses, sports fields, and parks?

      Picture large high rpm reel mowers – like the old push powered yard mowers from the 40s, except Tim Taylor has given them the “man treatment”. Now envision an ivory tower engineer coming up with the idea of making those mowers electric and robotic. Dozens of silent self sufficient mowers running all night watched over by a single person back at robot central. No more labor costs! No more abuse of equipment! No more customers waiting on equipment before they can play a round! More customers! More money!

      Never mind that parks and golf courses are favorite night haunts for young lovers and passed out drunks. Never mind that a piece of equipment that costs $60,000 or more is out there all alone, open to vandals and thieves. Never mind what happens when one rips an irrigation head out of the ground and you have a 200 GPM leak that runs all night and washes away #4 green.

      So the ivory tower engineers came to me, (yes, background in robotics and microprocessor engineering and programming and golf course maintenance) and asked what I thought and if I’d like to help develop this new product for a certain red-colored lawn mower company.

      I told them it was too dangerous and they were out of their freakin’ minds. What happens when your mower (entirely electric and completely silent) chops up Jack and Diane while they’re getting busy on the #2 blue tees? What happens when they take off Rastus’s foot when he’s passed out in the rough? Needless to say I don’t work there anymore.

      Some robotic technologies are feasible. Some are not. The trick is being able to differentiate between the two.

      • Shebel

        But you gotta admit that it is amazing how quickly technology is advancing.
        Drones are going to bigger in Agriculture than for the Military. (at least sales wise)

        • Hard Little Machine

          Also satellite imagery across a broad spectrum to identify hot, cold, wet, dry spots, topography, even crop disease.

    • Hard Little Machine

      A big problem with large farm equipment is boredom. Having to stay awake is a big deal. That’s why industrial farms have circular fields. The equipment essentially winds and unwinds like a spool. Between GPS and machine vision you really don’t need people involved, except to repair the machines or clear an accident, etc.

  • Xavier

    Won’t ever be hacked. Inconceivable.

    • I’m never getting into a land war in South East Asia…

      • Shebel

        Why on God’s green earth would anyone want to go the Mid-East to fight and Die.
        Except for the Muslims –they do it for Religion and to kill or exterminate us.

        Why the fuck are we over there?

        • Xavier

          Because there is no oil in North America. 😉

          • Shebel

            There is lottsa oil in America .
            Is all this killing just to protect private Big OIL ? If so–
            Then why do people bother to vote ?
            Why even have elections ?
            Is it just to delude us into thinking that our vote actually means something?

  • Dana Garcia

    Truck driving is a little more than a job, seems like.


    • Brett_McS

      Disco Line Dancing. Together at last.

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  • Brett_McS

    They may need to add a subroutine or two to cope with hoards of ‘immigrants’ trying to jump on board.

  • Hard Little Machine

    We’re starting to see this in the US. Interstate trucking is limited by Federal laws mandating driver rest periods. If they can keep the trucks rolling 24/7 they automatically increase productivity 33%.