Are Driverless Trucks Coming?
Just introduced in Germany is the Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 designed to drive without active participation. 300 journalists watched the demonstration on the autobahn in Germany July 3rd. These big rigs may be coming this way, sooner than we think. If they do, hopefully they will will reduce truck crashes. As a truck accident attorney I see many needless accidents occur because of driver fatigue or inattention.
The big rig is basically driverless. In the demonstration there was an operator who was at a 45° angle from the steering wheel. Daimler, the maker of the Mercedes truck has talked about adding a desk so a driver could do other work. Personally, I would like to see the drivers eyes on the road and other vehicles.
The “Highway Pilot” technology used in the truck can monitor its surroundings with a virtual cloud of data called CAM, standing for the Corporate Awareness Message. CAM supposedly will allow these trucks to factor in what sensors on other vehicles perceive to increase sensor distance around curves, etc. Does it sound a bit like big brother?
A big question is whether a driver, not paying attention, because of the technology would be in a position to react when a sudden emergency occurs. Hopefully, the technology won’t be used to allow trucking companies to cheat more on hours of service or otherwise cut corners on safety.