Good news for commercial truckers! Trucking itself is the hottest trend in U.S. transportation. In the American Trucking Association’s annual analysis of the transportation industry, trucking was again shown to be the primary transporter of freight in the U.S., beating all competitors. Moving nearly 70% of all domestic freight tonnage and collecting more than 80% of all freight revenue, “trucking continues to be the dominant mode of freight transportation in the United States,” concluded ATA’s American Trucking Trends 2014.
Constant industry innovation has allowed American truckers to dominate the country’s transportation industry, but a new truck trend could lead to some surprising double takes when it makes it onto U.S. highways. Self-driving trucks could be cruising down American highways by 2025!
If you’ve been impressed by videos of Google’s self-driving cars, prepare to be amazed. Daimler Trucks recently demonstrated the first self-driving truck. Daimler is calling the Mercedes-Benz prototype the truck of the future.
Daimler’s autonomous Highway Pilot driving system combines state-of-the-art GPS, radar and proximity technology to direct the commercial semi-trailer’s movements. The rig still needs an experienced driver’s hands-on guidance for passing and other complicated driving maneuvers, but the truck appears to handle the more boring aspects of truck driving with ease.
On a closed section of the German autobahn, Future Truck 2025 demonstrated its ability to maneuver in stop-and-go traffic, cruise at highway speeds, and respond to disabled and emergency vehicles.
Daimler says the goal of its self-driving trucks is not to replace drivers but to make trucking safer and driving more comfortable. “Autonomous driving will make the driver’s working time more varied and less stressful, and help to make long-distance driving more attractive as a profession,” Dr. Ing Klaus Russ told TruckNews.com.