Google has stunned the world with its driverless car, but it is not the only one that sees the potential of the technology. China’s search titan Baidu is working on a self-driving bike and German auto giant Daimler has unveiled its truck of the future.
Last Friday, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz released a video of its Future Truck 2025, showing a big rig driving on its own at high speed at the Autobahn auto show.
The truck uses a system called Highway Pilot, which enables the human driver to switch control over to the truck’s internal system once it reaches a certain speed.
Daimler board member Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard believes autonomous trucks would be safer and more efficient.
As the truck takes care of the driving, the driver will be free to do other tasks like checking orders, or enjoy the view outside and chat over the phone without fear. The technology also saves motorists from fatigue, a major cause of accidents for long-haul drivers.
Steven Sinofsky, father of Windows 8 and now a partner of venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, called Google’s autonomous car a key disrupting factor for the auto industry.
In fact, many other big auto brands are speeding up their research and development on the autonomous car technology in order to avoid being left behind.
BMW, Nissan and even electric car maker Tesla are reportedly working on their own self-driving car projects.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has made the driverless car a key focus of the group, but his views on the technology is different from Google’s.
Google’s vision is that one day, cars no longer need a steering wheel and pedals, but Musk thinks humans will still play a role but an “autopilot” can be automated for large parts of the drive.
He believes that this approach is more feasible in both technology and regulatory perspectives than the completely-no-driver concept.
No car maker can afford to ignore the self-driving technological revolution which may completely change the landscape of the auto industry. So, more innovative and interesting ideas from this arena are definitely going to come out from the auto industry.
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