Self-driving truck hits the road

More over self-driving cars: Automated trucks will soon be on the road too, at least in one state. 

Nevada officials have approved have approved a self-driving truck that was developed by Daimler Trucks North America. 

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said the automatic trucks would revolutionize the nation’s shipping business. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Nevada is proud to be making transportation history today by hosting the first U.S. public highway drive for a licensed autonomous commercial truck,” he said in a statement.

“The application of this innovative technology to one of America's most important industries will have a lasting impact on our state and help shape the New Nevada economy" Sandoval continued. "The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been closely monitoring the advancements being made in autonomous vehicle development and reviewed DTNA's safety, testing and training plans before granting permission for this demonstration of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck."

Officials with the Daimler corporation shared similar sentiments. 

"The autonomous vehicle technology we are showcasing in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will help reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion, and safeguard the environment," Daimler Board Member Wolfgang Bernhard said in a statement. "Daimler Trucks North America is committed to developing the latest technology to meet our customers' needs and delivering the best commercial trucks in the world. We are proud to get this vehicle on the road here today."

Lawmakers have previously expressed a mix of wonderment and concern about driverless vehicles, although most of their focus has been on personal automobiles. 

Companies like Google and universities like Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University have pushed to develop prototypes of driverless cars that are operated without staple parts like steering wheels and manual braking systems.

Supporters have touted the potential for increased safety and convenience of operating autos automatically by computers, but some lawmakers have expressed uncertainty about their ability to regulate cars on U.S. roads that drive themselves. 

Nevada has previously approved the testing of driverless cars, which Daimler officials said factored into their decision to unveil the automated truck there. 

"Freightliner Trucks has been setting the standard for commercial vehicle design and technology for nearly 75 years," Bernhard said. "We selected Nevada to unveil the Freightliner Inspiration Truck because it is one of only four states that require special licensing. Our goal was to not only showcase what is technologically possible, but to do it in a regulated environment with safety standards and other oversight requirements."