On July 8th, Daimler Benz showcased their vision for commercial auto-drive transportation by operating a prototype Mercedes-Benz Future 2025 semi-truck prototype across a public section of Germany’s A14 Autobahn near Magdeberg. The test vehicle, integrating Daimler’s intelligent auto-drive Highway Pilot software system, was also shown to hundreds of spectators and media.
“With the Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks is once again highlighting its pioneering role in innovative technologies and is opening up a new era in truck transport,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, a Member of Daimler’s Board of Management, responsible for the brand’s trucks and buses business segment.
“We aim to be the number one manufacturer in this market of the future, which we believe will offer solid revenue and earnings potential. If the legislative framework for autonomous driving can be created quickly, the launch of the Highway Pilot is conceivable by the middle of the next decade,” he continued.
“That’s why Daimler Trucks is committed to maintain a dialogue with government officials and authorities, and with all other parties affected by this development. We believe the chances of success are good, because autonomous driving combines the ability to achieve business and technology objectives with the creation of benefits for society and the environment.”
The current integrated vehicle/software system is able to manage a real-time mix of road conditions and speeds, ranging from activation from a full-stop, to a high end velocity of 85 km/h. Daimler is targeting a piece of the EU’s growing expansion in the long-haul freight segment, currently projected to be up by 20% between now and 2025.
Along with accepting the emergent business growth, Daimler is also touting job growth where task contraction might normally appear to be the rule. Because the Highway Pilot system is so sophisticated, instead of losing driving jobs the system will actually offer drivers even more critical roles in load management, along with other relevant tasks typically executed by a freight operator’s administrative staff.
All in all the first public outing of the Future Truck 2025 program appeared to go exactly as planned. “The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself,” Bernhard concluded. Now we’ll see what else the company has up its auto-drive sleeve in the near-term