Freightliner pulled the curtain back this week on the country’s first self-driving Class 8 truck, the Freightliner Inspiration. What’s more, Freightliner’s been working with the state of Nevada to have the truck licensed to operate legally on that state’s roadways, which it now is.
I had the chance this week to ride in the truck for a few miles up and down I-15 outside of Las Vegas.
The truck, though able to operate without driver input on highways, still requires a driver and driver operation, especially in low-speed situations (35 mph or so and lower), where a truck operator will drive the truck just like any other. Freightliner says it has no plans to pursue the next level of automation, so-deemed Level 4 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is a fully autonomous vehicle.
The Inspiration is a Level 3 autonomous vehicle.
The video at the top of this post shows Martin putting the truck in the so-called Highway Pilot mode and then later resuming operation of the vehicle as Highway Pilot turns off.