Mercedes-Benz Actros successfully completed a journey testing three autonomous big rigs
Autonomous driving technology might sound like the death of the manually-piloted automobile and thus, the end of driving fun as we know it. But in reality, there are a ton of ways autonomous driving can be helpful, it’s just a matter of adapting it to our current way or life, or encouraging change through technological advancements.
For example, one way autonomous driving tech can be helpful is for semi-truck drivers, who spend grueling hours on the road at a pace much slower than your traditional car, which of course can really lead to fatigue and boredom, among any other things. This is obviously a huge threat to road safety and the driver’s of the trucks. So, why not design a truck with autonomous driving capabilities for those long Interstate or intercontinental highways?
That’s exactly what Mercedes-Benz is testing out with their Actros line of trucks and recently, they successfully completed a journey from Stuttgart, Germany, to Rotterdamn, Netherlands as part of their European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016 campaign.
The new trucks boast a lot of similar technology found in your average S-Class sedan, such as radar guided cruise control and a bunch of other kit to help with the autonomous function. They also have connectivity capabilities where the trucks can communicate with other wireless capable vehicles to further help the system manage its path.
Additionally, Mercedes also discovered that the autonomous piloting system can also boost fuel economy for the trucks by maintaining a more constant speed and distance in a convoy, which also helps streamline aerodynamics when the trucks are driving at a specific distance from each other and at the same speed.
Regardless, despite the fears of autonomous driving technology ruining the drivability of automobiles in general, this is on instance we can support autonomous driving.
– By: Chris Chin