Daimler secures first-ever autonomous truck license
The self-driving big rig is officially here.
Daimler has been granted the world's first autonomous commercial truck license. The license was approved by the state of Nevada.
"Nevada is proud to be making transportation history today by hosting the first U.S. public highway drive for a licensed autonomous commercial truck. The application of this innovative technology to one of America's most important industries will have a lasting impact on our state and help shape the New Nevada economy” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said.
Although self-driving passenger cars have dominated the headlines, Daimler believes that commercial trucks will be the first viable autonomous vehicles to market. That's partly because trucks operate "in a less complicated traffic environment” (think open highways rather than inner cities), but also because trucking firms are always looking for ways to slash costs.
"It makes the most sense to them," Daimler board member Wolfgang Bernhard told Reuters. "These guys have to make money.”
It could be another ten-years, however, before Daimler's self-driving trucks hit the road in any significant numbers. Because Nevada is the only state to allow autonomous commercial trucks, inter-state shipping is impossible at this point.
Daimler is also waiting for autonomous truck regulations to be finalized. Although the technology is in place for a completely autonomous truck, a human behind the wheel will probably be part of those rules.
California, Arizona and Michigan are reportedly interested in granting autonomous truck licenses as well, but so far nothing official has been put into place.