US trials on Driverless Trucking

14 May 2015

The next big thing in autonomous vehicles really is big. At a ceremony at the Hoover Dam last Wednesday, automotive manufacturer Daimler unveiled a self-driving truck the first to be cleared to drive on US roads.

For the freight industry, the Inspiration Truck holds the promise of a future with fewer accidents, lower fuel costs and well-rested drivers.

Over the past few years, autonomous trucks have drawn the attention of companies that repeatedly use the same routes or encounter few people or other vehicles. Some farms use autonomous grain harvesters or planters.


Mining company Rio Tinto has more than 50 self-driving vehicles hauling iron ore at a remote site in Western Australia. In Texas, the US military has been working on trucks that can navigate battle zones.


The Inspiration is different, designed to travel on the highway alongside regular cars and trucks. With clearance to drive on Nevada's highways, this could be big news for the trucking industry, which struggles to find drivers to do the exhausting work. If successful, other big self-driving vehicles could follow, such as garbage trucks or city buses.

Read More from New Scientist Here 

Top Photo 2015 BBC