“We are no longer prioritizing platooning,”
No Level 3 – “There is no business case for a high-tech truck that requires that much redundancy to a human operator,”
Focus on Level 4 autonomy, but only under certain circumstances. “Not in rural areas, not in urban areas. In hub-to-hub situations on Interstates,”
Currently working on Level 2- on its own, make small adjustments to the steering in order to keep the truck centered, the driver is required to keep their hands on the wheel. After 15 seconds with hands off, a visual warning is given, after another 15 seconds an audio warning is added, and after 60 seconds, the lane-keeping system is disabled and the truck will begin wandering around.
Unlike in Mercedes’ passenger cars, the truck will not simply pull to the side of the road and cease operation if the driver’s hands remain off the wheel. This difference seemed notable enough for us to ask why it wasn’t available.
“We will develop this in future iterations,” the engineer told us. “It requires many, many updates, and a higher-level awareness of the surroundings, in order to suddenly bring an 80,000-pound vehicle to rest on the side of the road when surrounded by moving high-speed traffic.”
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