In an evening ceremony at Hoover Dam, 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, the dam took less than five years to complete. The Inspiration Truck drove on top of the dam, while the dam was used as an emotional large-scale projection surface.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck illustrates DTNA’s commitment to investment in the latest technology and the design and production of commercial trucks. Some of the core autonomous vehicle systems in the concept vehicle are already successfully deployed in the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck underwent extensive testing before the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles granted it a license to operate on public roads in the state. Nevada Gov Brian Sandoval formally granted the license to operate the vehicle in the state May 5, affixing a license plate to the truck and taking part in the ceremonial first drive of the truck in autonomous mode.
This truck, equipped with 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 set of camera technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering, and other monitoring systems. This combination creates a Level 3 autonomous vehicle operating system that can perform safely under a range of highway driving conditions.
“Freightliner Trucks does more than any other commercial truck manufacturer to integrate the truck, the driver, and the business. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is a case in point because it is not a driverless truck—the driver is a key part of a collaborative vehicle system,” said Richard Howard, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, DTNA. “With the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, drivers can optimize their time on the road while also handling other important logistical tasks, from scheduling to routing. The autonomous vehicle technology not only contributes to improved safety and efficiency, but also allows for improved communication through connectivity and integration.”
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 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.
For more details, go to www.freightlinerinspiration.com.