Daimler's autonomous Freightliner Cascadia registered for on-road use

By: Matt Wood in Nevada


The Freightliner Cascadia is the first fully registered autonomous vehicle in the world.

Daimler's autonomous Freightliner Cascadia registered for on-road use
The Freightliner Cascadia bears number plates showing it is an autonomous vehicle.

 

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has shown off its autonomous Freightliner Cascadia before assembled media and dignitaries in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The truck is the first in the world to be registered for on-road use and will share the roads of Nevada with the general public.

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval and Daimler AG board member Dr Wolfgang Bernhard were on hand to christen the truck.

"Today, Freightliner and Nevada are pioneering something real big, a solution to a global challenge," Bernhard says, pointing to the challenges of managing a global freight task that is expected to triple by 2050.

"Ninety per cent of truck accidents are caused by driver error.

"But we’ve measured the brain activity of drivers when they are behind the wheel and found that their drowsiness and fatigue was reduced by 20 per cent when using autonomous systems."

The self-driving Cascadia is a level-three autonomous vehicle, which means that the driver is still required to be in the driver’s seat "minding" the vehicle.

However, the truck steers, maintains speed and brakes autonomously using road markings as a guide.

The system has been compared with the autopilot systems found in commercial aircraft.

Bernhard suggests that this frees the driver to perform other duties such as paperwork while on the move.

The truck will have full registration for the state of Nevada and will wear autonomous licence plates.

At the handover of the special 'A' plates, DTNA president and CEO Martin Daum conceded that issues such as liability in the case of an accident needed to be addressed before the vehicle was produced for the mass market.

In terms of a regulatory framework, Daum states that "ultimately this needs to be regulated federally, rather than at a state level".

Nevada is home to the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Research Centre, and has a regulatory framework that is friendly to this kind of vehicle.

Sandoval says he has "100 per cent confidence in the technology".

 

A peek at Daimler's autonomous Freightliner Cascadia.

 

"Today is history in transportation and innovation," he says.

"And Nevada welcomes you [DTNA] and your technology solutions."

Sandoval says Nevada was the first state in the US to adopt regulations authorising the use of autonomous vehicles. 

"This technology will transform the future of commerce as we know it," he says.

 

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