LOOK NO HANDS! – Self Driving Tractor-Trailer Hits the Road

This tractor trailer has been given a license to “hit the road” driving itself while the guy that should be driving reads a book, chats and shares posts on Facebook, and pretty much do whatever, except for drive.

Fox59 reported that Freightliner has been given a license to test out its self driving tractor-trailer.

 Freightliner has been given a license to test out its autonomously driving tractor-trailer truck in the state of Nevada. The big-rig manufacturer already has such a truck in operation and will now begin test driving it on public highways there.

Luckily there will always be a licensed truck driver in the driver’s seat but the Frieightliner Inspiration is designed and equipped to drive itself on limited access interstates.

There are currently two of the trucks. A human driver will take full control when the truck is in city and suburban driving situations. Nevada is one of a few states that has legislation specifically allowing for the licensing of self-driving vehicle.

According to Bloomberg Business thee self-driving mode works like this:

While traveling along a clearly marked road, the truck’s main display will light up an indicator telling you Highway Pilot is available.

You can activate it by pushing a button on the steering wheel. The system is similar to cruise control, except that it also steers the truck.

You have to stay behind the wheel, though, in case the software determines that it can’t handle upcoming twists and turns. In that case, the dash starts a 20-second countdown back to human driving.

The implications are far greater than being able to reply to an e-mail while waiting to merge.

More than 3,600 Americans died in crashes with a heavy truck in 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Although federal regulations limit truck drivers to 11 hours a day behind the wheel, that’s still a lot of time—and it’s unclear how many abide by the rule.

“Ninety percent of truck accidents are due to driver error, and 1 in 8 of those are due to driver fatigue,” according to Wolfgang Bernhard, the global head of trucks and buses for Freightliner’s parent company.

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