Autonomous Freight Vehicles: 4 Things You Should Know

Posted on: June 18, 2015 by titan-goodrich

Daimler Trucks has released the first autonomous semi-truck. The “Inspiration” has a full license to operate on all American public roads-weather and road conditions permitting. With more and more self-driving vehicles popping up on the market, our traditional standards of transportation are being challenged. Assuring your Newport News Business Auto Insurance is in effect can ensure you are prepared for the upcoming changes to commercial transportation. In the wake of this exciting new development, here are four things you should know about the new autonomous semi, “Inspiration”.

The Semi Isn’t Completely Computer Operated- Although the vehicle isn’t completely autonomous; it qualifies as a level 3 vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a level 3 vehicle enables the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions. This means relying heavily on the vehicle to monitor changes and only requiring the human driver for occasional control such as exiting a highway, parking, or stopping.

Humans are Still the Most Important Factor- The “Inspiration” uses Highway Pilot, a system that uses forward facing stereoscopic cameras and radar sensors to determine and monitor lane markings. The driver has full range of the vehicle and can assume control by simply tapping the brake or grabbing the steering wheel to supersede computer control. The driver is also required to assess any environmental circumstances and navigate interchanges accordingly. Altogether, these features are intended to improve truck driver’s jobs and allow for a safer commute.

Autonomous Vehicles can Reduce Collisions- Sensors on the front of the freightliners can determine and maintain a safe following distance to others while the Highway Pilot can operate the cruise control. These safety features allow the truckers to manage less of the driving and still complete day to day operations of trucking without the added distraction of watching the road.

Improved Fuel Economy- By following at a steady rate and a safe distance of 25 feet, fuel consumption on the “Inspiration” is maximized. Further, aerodynamic drafting allows a platoon of trucks to operate 5-6% more efficiently. In turn, transportation costs are reduced and there are fewer emissions. It’s a win-win!

This exciting invention is proving to affect our mode of transportation in a positive way. As more level 3 cars are introduced, the long term benefits of commuting will be unparalleled. At Goodrich & Watson, we are dedicated to serving your insurance needs to protect your commercial fleets and your drivers on the road. To learn more, please contact us today at (888) 829-5004.

Posted in: blog Business Auto Newport News

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