Daimler-Benz has been granted a license to test its self-driving trucks on public roads in Nevada, USA. While Tesla and Google have grabbed the headlines with their driverless car developments, economics and logistics have driven the transport industry faster. Long distance freight trucks generally follow less complex routes outside city limits and often at night when commuter traffic, pedestrians and traffic light stops are significantly reduced. The trucks will be networked via the Internet enabling them to use maps and real-time data on traffic, weather and freight handling schedules at warehouses.
Autonomous trucks have involved a massive upfront investment in development and now testing on public roads. However over the long haul (pardon the pun) autonomous trucks will mean faster deliveries, less downtime, increased safety and considerable savings in wages and fuel costs.
Having driverless trucks on public roads in Nevada will be a milestone in technological automation. It might also mean that one day in the not too distant future, ordinary car drivers will no longer have to experience the terrors of sharing the road with trucks. Driverless trucks will still have a human onboard but they will be free to perform administrative tasks and maybe even give a friendly wave!