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Freightliner Inspiration Truck Can Now Self-Drive Itself Legally in the U.S.

Last year in June, the usual traffic on the German A14 autobahn near Magdeburg witnessed the world's first demo of an autonomous truck in action.
Freightliner Inspiration 38 photos
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At that time, the star of the show was the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. Fast forward over some months until the present day and witness the Freightliner Inspiration truck with Highway Pilot system being granted a license for road use in the US.

But who is Freightliner Inspiration and what does it want from us? The truck is based on the series-produced US Freightliner Cascadia model, but with the addition of the Highway Pilot technology. And this is where things get interesting.

Daimler's Highway Pilot feature uses a front radar and a stereo camera in tandem with Adaptive Cruise Control, as already seen in the standard Freightliner Cascadia models and the Mercedes-Benz Actros. However, Highway Pilot won't work until the truck is safely cruising on a highway. Once that happens, the driver receives a visual prompt in the instrument cluster and can choose to activate the feature.OK, but how does it work?
You see, all that autonomous driving doesn't just happen in a snap of a finger. It isn't magic though, so here's the secret. The radar, camera and safety tech mentioned above work together to scan, adapt and take decisions. In other words, Highway Pilot controls the speed, applies the brakes and steers. In addition, the truck is capable of recognizing and respecting speed limits. Sounds good, right?

Nevertheless, keep in mind that the truck will not initiate autonomous passing maneuvers since those are still the driver's responsibility. In case things go sideways, the driver can deactivate the Highway Pilot manually and can override the system at any time.

If the vehicle is no longer able to process crucial aspects of its environment, let's say because road construction or bad weather, the driver is prompted to retake control.

It looks like Daimler has things under control and letting the truck drive itself on highways can be done safely. After all, before being licensed for driving on public roads in Nevada, Freightliner Inspiration covered more than 10,000 miles (16,000 km) on a dedicated test circuit in Germany.



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