Mercedes-Benz self-driving truck tested on Autobahn

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have taken the first autonomous-driving truck for a spin on a motorway in southern Germany, after a special license was issued that allowed the robot truck to hit the public-access road.


The truck is the first series-production trucking vehicle to drive on using automated navigational technology on an open motorway, and Prime Minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg Winifried Kretschmann, board member of Daimler AG responsible for the Trucks and Buses division, Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard came along for the ride.

Since unveiling self-driving truck technology in May 2015, Daimler has extensively tested the system on closed tracks in Germany and the United States, AFP noted.

While praising great results in autopilot system’s ability to operate fully autonomously, the engineers still stressed the importance of having a driver present in the cabin at all times. Daimler notes the driver “retains full responsibility, needs to monitor the traffic at all times and must be able to intervene at any time.” Then, upon arriving at the busy path with actual traffic, the vehicle’s Highway Pilot takes over with the driver’s confirmation through a touch of a button.

Redundancy in the sensor systems makes test operations safe, and if weather or the road markings deteriorate excessively, the system prompts the driver to take over the steering.

We’ve been hearing about self-driving cars for quite a while now, and numerous world’s major technology companies are all stepping up with prototypes that will change the way we drive for good.

“All the technology of the Actros with Highway Pilot is in the vehicle, and the truck does not need the Internet for its automated driving function”, said Ennerst.

Daimler explained that should the driver bad driving conditions, the system would alert the driver to take over the controls with audible and visual signals. If the driver does not respond to the offer to take over, the truck will stop automatically.


The onboard sensors allow the truck to scan its surrounding areas and map any obstacles along the way while keeping itself within its intended lane and braking if necessary in order to keep a safe distance between other vehicles. “And we are of course also delighted that the German Technical Inspection Authority has so clearly confirmed the safety of our system”.

Daimler tests self-driving truck on Autobahn