Daimler announced Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, its plan to invest $573 million in the coming years to develop autonomous trucks.
The spending plans are part of Daimler’s “global push to bring highly automated trucks (SAE level 4) to the road within a decade.” It said it its statement.
In commercial trucking, level 4 is the natural next step after level 2, increasing efficiency and productivity for customers, cutting costs per mile significantly. In doing so, Daimler Trucks is skipping the intermediate step of conditionally automated driving (level 3). Level 3 automated driving does not offer truck customers a substantial advantage compared to the current situation as there are no corresponding benefits to compensate for the technology costs. Level 4 vehicles are able to drive completely autonomously in most, but not all conditions.
The new Freightliner Cascadia offers partially automated driving features (level 2), making it the first-ever partially automated series production truck on North American roads. It also made its world premiere during Monday’s presentation of Daimler Trucks at CES.
Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses: “As a leader of our industry, we’ve been pioneering automated trucking. In 2015, our Freightliner Inspiration Truck got the first road license ever for an automated commercial vehicle. Now we take automated trucking to the next level: we’re ready to launch the first partially automated new Freightliner Cascadia in 2019 – and next, we tackle highly automated trucks. Highly automated trucks will improve safety, boost the performance of logistics and offer a great value proposition to our customers – and thus contribute considerably to a sustainable future of transportation.”