Daimler and Waymo to jointly create autonomous tractorsOctober 30, 2020
German carmaker Daimler and Waymo will work together on autonomous technology level 4 for large trucks.
Daimler recently announced a partnership with Waymo to develop Level 4 commercial autonomous driving technology. Considering that the technology of the third level in cars is just beginning to be implemented, there is no need to talk about the imminent debut of the new system.
The collaboration will build on extensive research, development and testing of Waymo’s autonomous systems with the American truck manufacturer Freightliner, which is part of the Daimler Group. The partnership announcement provides very few details regarding the advancement to Level 4, but the plan will start with the introduction of Waymo Driver technology into custom-designed Freightliner Cascadia trucks. At the moment, the study is aimed only at the US market, but in the future it may expand to other regions.
Level 4 automation is a significant step up from Level 2 systems such as Tesla Autopilot or GM Super Cruise, which are currently in use and can perform steering and throttle functions in certain situations, but require constant driver involvement if necessary.
Level 3 systems offer limited environmental recognition, which means the technology has the ability to read what is happening around the vehicle and make decisions without human intervention. Level 4 expands provides an automated system with broad control in most situations, although a person is still required to drive.
Tier 3 systems have not been approved for widespread use in the US, so this hurdle needs to be overcome before Tier 4 can be considered in cars, let alone large commercial vehicles such as tractors. The problem is not with the technology itself, but rather with the legal implications of using such automation and who will be to blame in the event of an accident.
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