Mercedes-Benz demonstrates driver-less use
Mercedes-Benz recently gave a demonstration a driver-less truck equipped with a system called 'Highway Pilot', a semi-autonomous driving system meant to relieve the tasks of long-distance truck drivers, such as steering the vehicle.
On a stretch of the German autobahn about 8 km from Denkendorf to the Stuttgart airport, Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard (board member of Daimler AG responsible for trucks and buses) demonstrated the self-driving truck merged into regular traffic whilst carrying Winfried Kretschmann, the Mayor of Baden-Württemberg, .
The truck used is based on a current production model, and is designed to steer, brake, accelerate, and keep a safe distance from vehicles ahead, but it does require that a driver monitor traffic and take the controls if it is necessary. For instance, if it approaches construction areas, it will instruct the driver to take over.
The system is designed to react to emergency situations also: the truck automatically pulls over to allow enough room to pass a broken down car on the side of the road. The truck can also pull over slightly to allow room for an emergency vehicle approaching from behind, which announces its presence by sending information and data to the truck.