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First U.S. License for Autonomous-Driving Truck


Freightliner Trucks received the first license in the United States for an autonomous-driving truck to operate on public highways from Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The Freightliner Inspiration was previewed for the media at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on May 5, “a historic day in the areas of transportation and innovation” and a “monumental day for the human race,” Sandoval said.

Trucking industry analysts and media got a chance to ride in the Inspiration Truck nearby while the vehicle operated in autonomy on May 6.

The inaugural ride was taken by Wolfgang Bernhard, the head of Daimler AG’s global trucks and buses division, who praised the safety benefits of a machine “that never gets tired.”

Martin Daum, president of Daimler Trucks North America, said the Inspiration sets “new benchmarks in safety, connectivity and driver comfort.”

However, Bernhard suggested no other infrastructure is required, other than “nice white strips” on the highway.

Other autonomous vehicles being developed by Google and traditional car companies, may be making recent news. Truck makers at the unveiling of Freightliner’s Inspiration believe that automated tractor-trailers will be rolling along highways before self-driving cars hit the roads.

Still, there likely will always be a human behind the wheel, more as a logistics manager and alerted to take over in emergencies.

Currently four states certify testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads as long as a human driver is behind the wheel.

Bernhard said more states need to allow testing of autonomous driving before fleets of self-driving semi-trucks fill U.S. freeways and interstates anytime soon.

"Then it starts to make sense for our customers," Bernhard said, when states that allow it are linked together.

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You are here: Home News In Brief First U.S. License for Autonomous-Driving Truck