May 9, 2015

WINNING THE WAR ON WAGES:

Self-driving semi hits the road (Peter Valdes-Dapena, 5/07/15, CNN Money)

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.

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 vehicles.

The Freightliner truck will stay in its lane and avoid hitting cars ahead with no driver input. Radar sensors and cameras will watch lane lines and surrounding traffic. Freightliner is owned by Daimler AG (DDAIY), which also makes Mercedes-Benz luxury cars. Mercedes has also been testing self-driving cars.

Trucks like this could reduce driver fatigue, according to Freightliner executives, and allow drivers to be more productive. While the truck is going down the highway, the driver could safely attend to paperwork or plan the next trip, for instance.

Since the truck can drive itself on highways, Freightliners says, the driver can occuppy himself with other pressing business.

Automated trucks could also save fuel by driving in "platoons." In this scenario, automated trucks, communicating with one another electronically, could drive in a tightly packed line behind a lead truck. This would have huge aerodynamic benefits because only the truck in front would have to push through a lot of air. Each following truck would ride in a sort of bubble created by the truck in front of it.

Posted by at May 9, 2015 7:50 PM
  

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