On the 10th of July 2014, Mercedes-Benz company officially presented a concept named Future Truck 2025. The novelty was the first auto truck with self-driving function for all the time. The debut of the model took place at the exhibition of IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. The body of the car has a streamline shape. It has the comfortable driver’s seat, which can turn by 45 degrees to get more convenient position when using the removable tablet. The heavy truck is equipped with radar sensors, a set of special cameras and satellite navigation. The system of highway controlling is responsible for the offline mode of driving. Similar technologies are used in aircraft. It is also noted that the truck driver can use the autonomous function only when driving on the speedway. The truck can’t go to settlements. Electronics won’t allow auto trucks to deviate traffic regulations and, respectively, will help to reduce the number of accidents with their participation. The model will go into mass production only in 2025. However, the company didn’t exclude the facts that the technology, which is used in the invention can be realized on the passenger models far earlier.
On the 2nd of October 2015, German carmaker Daimler declared testing of the self-governed auto truck in real road conditions. The big car with the autopilot was passed on Autobahn A8 in the south of Germany. The Mercedes-Benz Actros truck equipped with the Highway automatic control System made the first test-driving, which is 14 km long. The board member sat in a driver’s seat, and the prime minister of the state, where tests took place, was a passenger on the right. Despite the presence of people at a cabin, the pilotless truck passed the most part of a way independently. Wolfgang Bernhard called tests of the pilotless auto truck on the public road a break in a new transport era and one more important step on the way to a market maturity of such trucks. Highway Pilot assumes use of numerous sensors, radars, cameras, and active speed controllers on the basis of which autonomous driving is realized. At bad weather or lack of a road marking, the electronic engineer sound and light signals ask the driver to take to steer, and if the driver doesn’t do it, then the car stops automatically. According to Daimler, by that time the intellectual system rode over 20 thousand km of test routes in Germany and the USA. That year autonomous cars were forbidden to go on the German roads without the presence of the driving person. The test had a possibility to promote revision of the legislation in this area.
On the 6th of May 2015, auto trucks by the Daimler company first-ever obtained the license for driving on public roads in Nevada. These heavy trucks can move without the participation of the driver. The authorities of the Nevada State first-ever allowed using the truck, which is steered by the autopilot on local roads. The heavy-load car by Daimler was steered by Highway Pilot system. It became the first car, which was officially allowed to go on highways together with other cars. As Daimler specifies, the license for driving on public roads of Nevada was obtained by not less than two vehicles.
The auto truck is made on the basis of the Freightliner Cascadia production model with the addition of the autopilot system, which includes the front radar, a stereo camera, auxiliary system, and adaptive cruise control. To obtain the license for use of roads of Nevada, all these technologies passed additional tests for careful compatibility of all components and environment. In particular, Freightliner made so-called ‘marathon flight’ on an automatic pilot, having passed independently over 16 thousand km on the proving ground. As soon as Freightliner comes out to the route, the driver receives the visual inquiry on a meter panel for activation of the autopilot. After that, the auto truck passes into an off-line mode and adapts to the speed of the movement of a stream. The system of the highway pilot regulates the speed and driving direction of the car, using a wheel and brakes. At the same time, the car can independently go in the most different road conditions, regulating distance to the cars going ahead, and can activate the stop-and-go function in rush hours. It doesn’t start overtaking of other vehicles and doesn’t change lanes. These maneuvers have to be made by the driver. The system supports the visual contact with the driver. It also gives the instructions at any moment of the movement. If weather conditions don’t allow it to work correctly, the system can suggest the driver return to a manual control of the car.