In May of 2015, Freightliner revealed their newest truck model: the Freightliner Inspiration. The sleek new truck was revealed dramatically atop the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Not only did the truck have a stunning design, but it also had a very important new feature: self-automation. The Freightliner Inspiration is the first self-driving truck in the United States to be able to legally drive on the road. The impressive truck also won a Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in the Transportation category, which puts it alongside other innovations such as the Tesla Model S, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, and the BMW X6.
Is the Inspiration the Answer to the Driver Shortage?
Last year, an image was released of a truck driver sitting back and reading his tablet while his Mercedes Actros navigated the road automatically. The image sparked debate about whether driverless trucks will become increasingly common, with fewer drivers required to man the trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that a self-driving automobile that requires no participation from a driver other than to input the destination would be a level 4 vehicle. Unfortunately, Freightliner has already stated that it has no plans to design a level 4 truck.
So far, there have been three self-driving trucks built by truck companies, and all of them have been level 3. This means that they have “limited self-driving automation”, or the driver can cede all control of safety functions but must still be available to take manual control when needed.
Wilfried Achenbach, senior vice president of engineering and technology for Daimler Trucks North America, described how the human brain works in comparison to the way an automated truck works. According to Achenbach, the human brain gets input from visual surroundings and makes decisions around 10 times per second. While autonomous trucks are skilled at managing on-highway operations and pre-programmed routes, they still need a human driver to watch for other vehicles on the road and make quick judgment decisions. So, while self-driving technology is certainly exciting, we may not be seeing totally autonomous trucks for several years to come.
Get In Touch With Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star Today
If you’re in the trucking business or are looking to discover more about commercial truck sales, call on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. You can call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474 or email us your questions and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1986, Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star has provided top quality service for the trucking industry. Whether you need to purchase specialized truck parts from our expansive inventory, expand your fleet with our selection of top-tier trucks, or have your company’s trucks serviced or repaired, Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star is the best choice in trucking.
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Tags: automated, driver shortage, Freightliner, Inspiration, self-driving