Mercedes-Benz Unveils Self-Driving Truck Concept That Signals 'New Era' (VIDEO)

Sep 23, 2014 03:30 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Mercedes-Benz unveiled an autonomous truck concept this week at the 2014 Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show that is likely a precursor to self-driving interstate trucks, Motor Authority reported.

Autonomous trucks will be much safer than human drivers, who can become drowsy or angry while on the road, Daimler board member Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard said in a video statement.

"This truck basically drives in an environment where driving is boring, monotonous, not very exciting," Bernhard said. But the self-driving system "never gets tired. It's always 100 percent sharp. It's never angry. It's never distracted."

Daimler, Mercedes' parent company, is one of the biggest producers of commercial vehicles worldwide.

The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 drives on its own thanks to a "Highway Pilot" system of radar sensors and camera technology, and it uses autonomous vehicle technology that Mercedes developed for passenger cars.

Radar sensors on the sides of the vehicle monitor the road to the left and the right, while 3-D digital maps allow the truck to keep a virtual eye on the course ahead.

During the summer, the truck concept was tested in Magdeburg, Germany, in "realistic traffic situations" at speeds of up to 80 kilometers an hour, roughly 50 mph.

The Future Truck 2025 and similar technology will bring "a new era in road goods transport and communication" where "traffic will flow more smoothly, predictably and safely," Mercedes-Benz said in a statement.

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