Look Pa, no hands!
In a spectacular evening ceremony at Hoover Dam in the US, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) unveiled the Freightliner Inspiration Truck to several hundred international news media, trucking industry analysts and officials.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States. Developed by engineers at DTNA, it promises to unlock autonomous vehicle advancements that reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment.
The Hoover Dam was selected for the unveiling because it represents America’s ability to dream big and accomplish amazing things, even in the midst of adversity.
Built during the Great Depression under harsh conditions, it took fewer than five years to complete. The largest dam of its time, the Hoover Dam still stands as an engineering marvel eight decades later.
The Inspiration Truck drove on top of the dam, presenting itself to the world, while the dam was used as an emotional large-scale projection surface.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck illustrates DTNA’s commitment to customer value through consistent investment in the latest technology and the design and production of the best commercial trucks on today’s roads. Some of the core autonomous vehicle systems in the concept vehicle are already successfully deployed in the current Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck underwent extensive testing before the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles granted it a licence to operate on public roads in the state.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is equipped with the Highway Pilot sensors and computer hardware is based upon a series production Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, fully certified to meet all US federal motor vehicle safety standards.
The Highway Pilot links together a sophisticated set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck operates on highways at what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as Level 3 of autonomous vehicle capabilities, enabling the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions.
The autonomous vehicle system is responsible for maintaining legal speed, staying in the selected lane, keeping a safe braking distance from other vehicles, and slowing or stopping the vehicle based on traffic and road conditions.
The vehicle monitors changes in conditions that require transition back to driver control when necessary in highway settings. The driver is in control of the vehicle for exiting the highway, on local roads and in docking for making deliveries.
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