Freightliner just unleashed the first real, road-legal autonomous big rig on the roads of Nevada. Here’s what that actually means and why it really matters.
The Freightliner “Inspiration Truck” will be the first autonomous commercial truck to drive on American roads. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Daimler Chairman Wolfgang Bernhard just bolted on its Autonomous Vehicle license plate to prove it’s the real deal, and it’s already been spotted in action.
After five years and $115 million of development, the Freightliner SuperTruck is Daimler's answer to a lofty challenge set by the Department Of Energy: "improve semi-truck fuel economy by at least 50 percent." This concept blows that benchmark out of the water.
Nine billion tons of things you buy get to your hands via trucks. Most structures are put up by cranes and bulldozers. All those vehicles run on diesel, and at the Pearl Plant in Qatar, Shell is cooking up an alternative fuel that could drop directly in those engines, making them immediately more efficient and more…