The very first self-driving semi truck to hit the road

The first self-driving semi truck in the U.S. is officially on the road in Nevada.

Freightliner, the creator of the autonomous commercial truck, compares the Highway Pilot system to the autopilot on commercial airplanes.

The semi-truck can be switched to autonomous autopilot on the highway, and it uses stereoscopic cameras and radar sensors.

The truck can steer itself between lane markers, adjust speed, and brake.

It cannot change lanes to pass, or use highway ramps. The truck driver resumes full control by touching the wheel or brakes.

Right now, the system is limited to use on highways during daylight hours with clear weather.

First self-driving semi truck on road
The video shows trucker behind the wheel of the first autonomous semi-truck.

The self-driving semi truck in the long run

With only one truck on the road, it’s hard to predict the long-term effects of autonomous commercial trucks.

They do have the potential to improve efficiency.

Steady speed will reduce fuel consumption.

The auto-option can leave the trucker free to make calls, update route plans, schedule dock time, and do other tasks that would normally distract the truck driver from the road.

More importantly, removing some of the potential for driver mistakes could reduce the number of truck crashes. Currently, about 90% of truck accidents crashes are attributed to human error.

What do you think of autonomous semi-trucks on the road?

Let me know – @kevincoluccio

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