New Self-Driving Semi-Truck Could Reduce or Prevent Trucking Accidents
The Freightliner Inspiration was tested recently in Nevada, the first state to allow licensing of self-driving vehicles – and which also features long stretches of flat highway, making the place the perfect area to test self-driving tractor trailers. The truck was designed by Daimler AG, who also owns Mercedes-Benz, a company like Google which is attempting to develop self-driving personal vehicles.
According to Daimler’s designs, the truck will always have a human driver, and can only go on full automatic mode on limited access interstates. When in cities or suburbs – roads more populated, with less predictable traffic – the human driver will take control. But for the days of long, boring stretches of highway, the driver of the Inspiration will be able to set the truck to “autopilot,” allowing the driver to relax and work on other trucking tasks like paperwork or plotting the routes.
Proponents of the vehicles praise the truck design because it will help prevent trucking accidents, which are some of the most deadly and dangerous vehicle accidents possible. While the average passenger vehicle is 3,000 pounds, a freight liner can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In the event of a high-speed collision, a tractor trailer accident can lead to severe personal injury or even death.
The highway pilot feature can help prevent trucking accidents by reducing the danger of distracted driving, at least for the driver, proponents add. If a driver must have a conversation with dispatch, for example, they can focus entirely on the conversation without worrying about also taking their mind or eyes off the road.
In addition to reducing the dangers that cause trucking accidents, the highway pilot feature can also allow trucks to move in a “fleet,” which can help save on fuel as one truck leads and creates the necessary air flow around the other vehicles, reducing drag, and ultimately the amount of fuel the engine uses.
Not everyone thinks that it is ideal to remove the human brain from the driving operation, even on long stretches of highway. According to Wolfgang Bernhard, who heads Daimler’s commercial truck operations, an important question remains, who is responsible in the unlikely event of an accident: the driver, or the truck itself?
Fortunately, as self-driving vehicle technology moves forward, reducing car and trucking accidents is at the top of the list for developers and manufacturers.
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If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injury, or a loved one has died, because of a trucking accident, you do not have to suffer in silence. The South Carolina trucking accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer a free case evaluation to discuss the accident and injuries, and to see how we can help you. Contact us today. 803.252.4800