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Daimler previews latest automated findings

Automation represents the third pillar of the Daimler technology strategy according to Roger Nielsen, Managing Director and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.

In an online statement Nielsen confirmed that the commercial manufacturers’ focus on e-mobility and connected services, two of its other pillars, would be augmented by expansions into the leading edges of automated vehicle technology.

The announcement earlier in the year of an Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland coupled with its High Desert Proving Grounds are part of the global hotspots of emerging technologies and innovation Daimler is investing in as part of its mandate to enhance freight efficiency, safety and driver experience.

“Our engineers in North America collaborate closely with colleagues around the world at Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India to form a global network of hundreds of engineers devoted to advancing automated driving technology,” Nielsen said.

“We leverage this depth and breadth of experience across Daimler’s vehicle divisions to include both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.”

In June, Daimler demonstrated automated driving through vehicle pairing in which it incorporated advanced, vehicle-to-vehicle communications between two trucks.

It proved a showcase for its emerging high-tech safety systems.

Paired vehicles, according to Nielsen, are in communication 50 times every second as they collect information such as position, speed and braking status.

Trucks in an automated pair can respond to each other in coordinated fashion, much faster than a human.

With vehicles able to travel safely at a close following distance reductions can be seen in fuel consumption.

“We’re not just developing technology for technology’s sake,” he said.

“Our new Automated Truck R&D Center is a hub for co-creation where customers, suppliers, and business partners alike can provide input that deepens our understanding of how this technology can help our customers increase their profitability.

“Our eyes are on the bottom-line impact—not just for our customers, but for society at large. That means safety and reliability come first, as always, and automated driving systems are no exception.”

Nielsen said drivers would remain crucial to any new development for trucks that feature highly automated functions. He cited a recent report conducted by the American Center for Mobility in which it found that automated vehicles were likely to supplement rather than substitute vehicle operators over the next decade.

“Only through examining, listening and understanding potentially disruptive new technology from every angle can we remain responsible global stewards, as we develop and commercialise groundbreaking new tech,” said Nielsen.

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