04 july 2014
Tractor-trailer drivers, if you text while driving in the middle of the freeway, then the future may belong to you.
If you can afford a Mercedes truck, that is.
The German vehicle maker sent an 18-wheeler barreling down the Autobahn recently, while the driver surfed the Internet for food recipes on tablet computer — at least that’s how media photos told the story.
Its test drive was brief, covering about three miles, German media reported.
The trucker’s hands didn’t touch the wheel and his eyes were fixed on pork cutlets. But that could be the way some drive in the future, perhaps in the next decade or so.
That’s the message of the prototype “Future Truck 2025,” which Mercedes says is the first self-driven freight vehicle. It may seem illogical right now, but the hands-off idea is aimed at eliminating human error.
Special cameras and multiple radar systems watch the road, the sides of the road, and cars and trucks behind the vehicle.
Future Truck is also envisioned to communicate with other vehicles and connect to growing sources of online information as Big Data balloons on the road.
Its computerized controls will also make it more fuel efficient, Mercedes boasts.