Daimler unveils world-first fully registered autonomous vehicle

By: Matt Wood in Nevada

Freightliner Cascadia gains distinction in US event as Daimler eyes safety gains

Daimler unveils world-first fully registered autonomous vehicle
Daimler's autonomous Freightliner Cascadia gets its plates.


Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has shown off its autonomous Freightliner Cascadia before assembled media and dignitaries in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This truck is the first in the world to be registered for on-road use and will share the roads of Nevada with the general public.

The Freightliner Inspiration truck was christened by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval and Daimler AG board member Dr Wolfgang Bernhard.

"Today, Freightliner and Nevada are pioneering something real big, a solution to a global challenge," Bernhard says and he points to the challenges of managing a global freight task that is expected to triple by 2050.

"Ninety per cent of truck accidents are caused by driver error," Bernhard says.

"But we’ve measured the brain activity of drivers when they are behind the wheel and found that their drowsiness and fatigue was reduced by 20 per cent when using autonomous systems."

Nevada is home to the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Research Centre, and has a regulatory framework that is friendly to this kind of vehicle. Governor Sandoval says he has "100 per cent confidence in the technology".


"Today is history in transportation and innovation," says Sandoval. "And Nevada welcomes you [DTNA] and your technology solutions." 

"We were the first state in the nation to adopt regulations authorisng the use of autonomous vehicles within state lines," Sandoval continues. 

"This technology will transform the future of commerce as we know it."

The truck will have full registration for the state of Nevada and will wear autonomous licence plates.

At the handover of the special 'A' plates DTNA president and CEO Martin Daum does concede that issues such as liability in the case of an accident do need to be addressed before the vehicle is produced for the mass market.

In terms of a regulatory framework, Daum states that "ultimately this needs to be regulated federally, rather than at a state level".

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The self-driving Cascadia is a level-three autonomous vehicle, which means that the driver is still required to be in the driver’s seat "minding" the vehicle.

However, the truck steers, maintains speed and brakes autonomously using road markings as a guide.

The system has been compared with the autopilot systems found in commercial aircraft.

Bernhard suggests that this frees the driver to perform other duties such as paperwork while on the move.

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