June 2015

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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Page 23 of 84

F reightliner did it. The com- pany launched a road-legal autonomous truck in Las Vegas, Nev. Not Google. Not Ap- ple. Not GM. Not Ford. Not some unknown foreign company. Freightliner, an American medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer, beat everyone to the punch with a fully functional road-ready Level 3 autonomous com- mercial vehicle. That's it. Game over. Driv- ers need to find something else to do to draw a pay- check. It's no different for me. Who wants to read stories about ro- bot trucks running up and down the nation's highways, right? Wrong. I've seen the comments on CCJ's Facebook page. I know what many of you out there – particularly drivers – think. There's a lot of angst among our readers about Freightliner's gutsy move. But let's all just chill out for a moment and look at where we are and where we're going, and let's do it with a little bit of rationality. To start with: This is not some massive government/fleet conspiracy to screw hard-working men and women out of truck-driving jobs. I'll be the first to admit that things on the autonomous truck front are moving fast – much faster than I'd have thought even a year ago. That said, we're years – if not decades – away from a time when robot trucks without any human interaction roam our highways and deliver our goods. Freightliner's Inspiration truck is not a vehicle that can func- tion without a human driver. Nor was it designed that way. Not today, not tomorrow, not five years or even 10 years down the road. Drivers remain important. Drivers remain necessary. And Freightliner even said it has no interest in pursuing a Level 4 22 commercial carrier journal | june 2015 product reviews, oeM & supplier news and equipMent ManageMent trends by Jack RobeRts But is the world ready for autonomous trucks? The future of trucking is here Freightliner did it: the truck oeM launched a fully functional road-ready Level 3 autonomous vehicle. driving jobs saFe: We're years away from a time when robot trucks roam our highways and deliver our goods. What next?: Now that the gauntlet has been thrown, how will this industry – and this nation – respond? Freightliner's Inspiration is the first fully licensed road-legal autonomous truck in North America.

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