The first vehicles with some level of self-driving capability are expected to come to market by 2020, with sales volumes for autonomous vehicles likely becoming significant by 2025, according to a new report from Navigant Research of Boulder, CO.
In the trucking industry the application would be integrated in the long-haul point to point equipment. Much like airline pilots, truck drivers could drive the vehicle through local roads to the highway. Once on the interstate the “auto-pilot” could then take control for the long-distance part of the journey, while the driver rests or conducts other business activities. Mercedes-Benz believes it's built a self-driving semi-truck that could eventually help cut down on highway tragedies that kill thousands of drivers each year. Using a combination of advanced dual cameras, radar sensors, and the latest blind-spot technology, the "Future Truck" analyzes the road to get a sense of surrounding traffic and terrain. While the legal and regulatory barriers to fully autonomous vehicles are high, the technology has the potential to transform the automobile industry and significantly lower roadway accidents. Mercedes officials claim that if government restrictions related to autonomous driving are softened, the semi-truck could be cruising beside you on the highway in 10 years. Advanced Collision Avoidance Systems, which have been available in personal and commercial cars and trucks recently, is a form of autonomous driving. According to the National Highway Safety Administration these systems are effective in avoiding rear end collisions and lane wandering. Additionally the "black box" associated with all this equipment could be a significant source of factual data in the event of a traffic incident.
“Autonomous vehicles have been a goal of automotive engineers for many years, and the competition among automakers to bring autonomous features to market is accelerating,” says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “In the long term, vehicles with self-driving technology may provide the optimum solution for personal mobility and commercial transportation on demand.”
Here is an interesting video of the next generation semi truck;
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