My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Mercedes-Benz Future Self-Driving Truck by 2017 – Robots promote Truck Drivers to Fleet Managers as Self-Driving Trucks more efficient

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Future Self-Driving Truck by 2017 – Robots promote Truck Drivers to Fleet Managers as Self-Driving Trucks more efficient

“The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself. The Future Truck 2025 is our response to the major challenges and opportunities associated with road freight transport in the future.”

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of Daimler’s board speaking about the prospect of Automated Trucks based on The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 

Automated Cars I can deal with, as I wouldn't mind a vehicle that took over the wheel for a change, such as one of Google's Self-Driving All-Electric Vehicles coming in the Summer of 2015 as described in my blog article entitled Google 100 strong Fully Autonomous All-Electric Vehicles launched – 25 mph Limit on AI Chauffeur in 2015 with Black Boxes makes Crashes like aeroplanes”.

But Trucks?

Mercedes-Benz thinks they're the next big thing as stated in “Mercedes wants automated trucks by 2025”, published July 7, 2014 By Peter Braun, DigitalTrends. I must say, I quite least in First or Developed World Countries with large highways or Developed World Countries with extensive and very long and treacherous roads.

A Development most likely to occur by 2017, based on the advanced level of the Technology. Whether or not people will accept them is another matter altogether.

No details on the technology here, just the announcement and what it translates to, as this is basically a spinoff of Volvo's SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) Project  as explained in my blog article entitled Volvo Testing Autonomous Motor Vehicles in Spain in Live Traffic - EU Project SARTRE adds self-driving AI with smartphone Control”.

Apparently Mercedes-Benz got jealous and decided to go after the obvious niche; Trucks. Not much of a niche, as already the Americans are working on Autonomous Trucks to carry army Munitions in dangerous situations for the US Military as described in “Driverless Trucks Will Keep Army Safe From IEDs”, published 01.31.14  6:30 AM BY ALLEN MCDUFFEE, Wired.

Throw in the little Dutch Boys and their plans for Automated Trucks for transporting containers away from their Ports as explained in “Dutch Trucks Will Drive Themselves”, published 17 Jun 2014 19:00 GMT By Philip E. Ross, Spectrum IEEE and it won't be long before we have convoys of Fully-Autonomous Trucks literally driving themselves in convoys like Trains as early as 2025!

The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 – Robots to promote Truck Drivers to Fleet Managers 

The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 is bristling with the same kind of electronics found in Volvo's SARTRE and Google Self-Driving All-Electric Vehicles. Radar, Lidar, Sonar, GPS and a battery of Cameras combined with a Hard-drive loaded with an AI (Artificially Intelligent) package make these Trucks capable of navigating the roads by themselves.

The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, like the vehicles involved in Volvo's SARTRE Project have already clocked safe driving at speeds as high as 53 mph (85 km/h) on Germany's infamous A14  Autobahn outside of Magdeburg. Such feats of Engineering are necessary to prove the safety of these systems, as Germany's looking at 50% more Cargo being transported by truck in the next 40 years. Thus increasing the safety of the roads will be a major concern in the future, necessitating that accidents due to Truck drivers falling asleep be eliminated. 

Additionally, these Fully-Autonomous vehicles tend to be a lot more efficient in their usage of the Gas and brake and can save companies millions of dollars in reduced savings on Worn Tires and Fuel Consumption. Removing the human element not only removes inefficiency, it also results in more timely deliveries of goods.

This as fully automated Trucks would travel continuously day and night, 24/7/365 without the need to stop. They could even travel in closed packed convoys, communicating with each other over their own Truck-to-Truck Private Network, only using 3G and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Network to communicate back to a NOC (Network Operation Center) that would be keep track of their progress.

In clearer words, Driving a Truck is a task that’s simple, repetitive, hazardous and involves just moving goods from point A to point B. Just like Fast Food Workers, Trucking is now a Target for Robotic Automation using Fully-Autonomous Trucks that have a built in driving AI (Artificial Intelligent) Guidance System as explained in my blog article entitled Fast Food Robot taking over by 2017 - How Drones like Amazon and PrimeAir and not Humanoid Robots will be the first Robots by 2015”.

Humans and Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 – Self-Driving Vehicles to help Human be more efficient

But all is not lost for the humble Truck Driver. Ironically he'd still be needed, as Fully-Autonomous or not, an AI needs a human to vouch for him/her in the case of an accident, which despite being a good driver, would be unavoidable. Like Google's Self-Driving All-Electric Vehicles, liability in an accident needs to be determined by the built-in Black Box that would help insurers determine who to blame.

Also, the human passenger would be needed to do the talking, as the AI might not be very good at that in the early stages. Until Natural Language Talking Vehicles, Herbie or Night Rider Style come along, these self-Driving Trucks would still need a human to do the talking in such cases.

Not to mention top up the Gas, as most Gas stations, whether they be pumping Diesel, Gasoline, Kerosene or even Hydrogen or Electricity, aren't AI friendly. A Human would have to pop out of the vehicle and pay for the fuel and do the necessary connections to makes sure the vehicle's taken on the correct amount of fuel and be ready to move again. 

Change Flat tyres and wash the vehicle in General are also other human-centric task. After all, Self-Driving Vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 are designed to carry humans; no need to just have him as a passenger, as he can pitch in too to help to ensure a safe journey.

The driver would, in a sense, be elevated to being a Fleet Manager, with a few Office workers getting the kibosh and a few Truck Drivers having to lose their jobs. With that promotion, these Fleet Managers would travel at the head of this convoy of automated Fully-Autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025!

Hopefully before any of these vehicles hit the road, the Public in those countries need to be educated and understand that Fully-Autonomous Vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, but to help them say as they’re being carried along safely “Are we There yet” by 2017 the earliest!

No comments: