• Phil Callaghan

Autonomous Trucking Getting Closer

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Autonomous trucking for some seems to be a far off venture. For others, it's as simple as jumping into the cab of a truck.


Dean Croke, Chief Insight Analyst at Freightwaves.com, an Aussie trucking veteran himself, recently drove the new Freightliner Cascadia. The Cascadia is a level 2 autonomous vehicle, which means it has an electronic steering box with adaptive cruise control.


Dean's initial response was, "absolutely amazing because it had so much technology... it was much more relaxing and less fatiguing."

It doesn't come without its challenges, Dean says, "it's easy to disconnect because the truck is doing so much thinking for you." At the moment, especially in Australia (and in light of recent self-driving fatal crash investigations) legislation and governing bodies are halting progress as they determine what is the safest avenue for autonomous technology.


To mitigate this in the Cascadia, Dean explains, "There is a biometric sensor on the dashboard to ensure your hands are near the steering wheel."


Dean has spent many, many years behind the wheel before he relocated to America. For him, as a veteran and lover of diesel, autonomous vehicles do not pose a threat to the future of the Carrier but instead pave a new way for the industry.


He went on to say, "it's fantastic for new people [drivers] joining the industry. It's like a technology safety net around you with features like...


- Lane departure

- Collision avoidance

- Adaptive cruise control


"Experience comes from poor judgment... This technology helps eliminate those mistakes."


"For new people, it gives them the ability to have the experience of a veteran truck driver through technology..." says Dean.

Watch the full interview below.

This technology may also assist in extending the longevity of a veteran truck driver's career.






Here is a helpful infographic to explain the 5 levels of autonomy.


The Freightliner Cascadia had level 2 autonomy.









Watch Dean drive the Freightliner Cascadia below.


Sources

FreightWaves, Robotics Business Review, The Verge, Daimler, Loadshift